Island Trail 22 Construction – Update May 2013

Continuing his great progress, George has sent us some great shots of the cockpit layout and of the boat out of the shop with the masts in place.  

Centerboard Case

Centerboard is shaped, glassed, and ballasted. 

Water Ballast tank

Sole and Mizzen Mast Tube


Cockpit seats are dry fit. 

The boat is pulled out of the shop and masts are dry fit.  

Stern View

Profile View

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The Hill 16 Construction – Update May 2013

Jason is moving quickly towards a June launch of his Hill 16 skiff.  As can be seen from the pictures, his hard work is paying off and the results are looking good.   Stay tuned for updates as the launch date draws near.  

The egg-crate interlocking stringers, frames, and bulkheads

Closed cell foam is added to the bilge compartments to meet ABYC recommendations for flotation. 

Sole is installed.  

Deck beams are shaped and installed. 

Deck carlins

Plywood deck is installed before trimming, toerail, and rubrail are installed. 

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A 14 ft. Panga Kit And A Versatile 26 ft. Aluminum Runabout

2013 is proving to be a busy time. Besides some different contract work, we have been working on two new designs.

14′ Panga Kit

With a request from a client for a low horsepower, efficient aluminum fishing skiff to be marketed to lake resorts and cottage owners, the 14 ft. Panga was born. The design brief required a boat that was easy to handle but also required a refined aesthetic not found in the average aluminum runabouts. Incorporating the delta pad found in the Japanese Pangas, she will be efficient while on plane but her high deadrise bow will soften the ride and will prove seaworthy when motoring into a chop. To learn about the origins of Pangas, click here.

As we have progressed through this design, it became apparent that this would be a perfect boat to also market as a kit, with an option for plywood or aluminum. With all parts being CNC (computer cut) and using a unique tab system to align and hold the parts together while the boat is assembled, this model will be a pleasure not only to own but also to build.

Bow Perspective- Painted Plywood Version


Side Deck Version


Canoe Gunwale Version



Bow Perspective- Unpainted Aluminum Version

26′ Aluminum Runabout

Resembling the famous American runabouts that popularized family boating throughout the world, the 26 ft. Runabout is being designed to fill a niche for a semi-custom but yet affordable family boat. Again, all hull and structure will be CNC cut to facilitate an efficient build. The standard hull will then be used to offer up to 4 different models. The classic runabout will have weekender accommodations  the dayboat will have an open layout with plenty of seating, the fisherman will have the helm station located for better viewing while the stern is clean of obstructions, and the fisherman hardtop will provide shelter for all weather use.


Classic Runabout



Fisherman Hardtop



Open Day Boat

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Island Trail 22 Construction Update 3

We just received some great shots of George’s Island Trail 22 build since he has returned to Florida this Winter.  He has made some great progress and hasn’t lost any of his excitement towards his project.   

 George has opted for covering the bottom with Durasurf.  Found on many snowboards and skis, it will take a beating when being dragged up those rocky beaches found along the Maine coast.  

George applying some fairing compound.  Fairing has to be the toughest job in any custom build.  George showed some great patience in achieving a beautiful hull. 

Primer is sprayed over the fairing. 


  Profile shot while baking in the Sun before being turned over. 

Nice shot of the bow and false stem.  

 One of those exciting moments in any build, roll-over day. With the hull remaining pretty light at this stage and a bit of ingenuity, George was able to roll the hull by himself. 


 All settled in and ready for some attention to the interior. 


 The stem area showing some reinforcement for a bow eye. 

The open interior ready for some bulkheads. 

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METS 2012- Amsterdam

The Marine Equipment Trade Show is one of the largest shows of it’s kind with almost 1300 exhibitors displaying their leisure marine equipment.  For anyone in the design, construction, or refitting of today’s boats, this show is the one to attend to keep informed of advances in technology, new equipment, and make contacts in the industry. 

One of the highlights of METS is the yearly DAME awards.  Products are submitted in multiple categories and are judged on design, styling, quality of construction, and the overall impact on the marine industry.  The overall winner of this years DAME awards was the Deep Blue 80 hp electric outboard from Torqueedo

Torqueedo has been known for a few years for their innovative electric outboards.  Until now, these outboards were quite small and were mostly used for dinghies, small inflatables, and for lightweight displacement craft like small sailboats.  Their whole product range is very impressive.  Using lithium-ion batteries and gps technology, the outboards are quite efficient and your range can easily be monitored to ensure a safe trip.  The new 80 hp outboard is a huge leap in technology.  It now allows larger planing boats to benefit from an all electric outboard.  Although they have not officially released the specifications on this system, you can see a video of the motor in use on their website. 

One of the highlights of METS for me is to see all of the beautifully designed hardware that can’t normally be found by North American suppliers.  The floors of the show are broken into sections by nationality and walking through the Italian pavilion at the show proves to be a study of functional art!  One of my favorites over the past few years is Seasmart.  Their whole range of cleats are amazing. 

Photos Courtesy of

As you can see from the pictures of one of their cleats from their stainless line, the cleat goes from almost flush to raised.  The best feature is that the housing is completely sealed and no water drain lines are needed under deck.  I also like the fact that all the cleats can be custom engraved with the brands logo or boat name.   Besides their cleats and fairleads, they make many other well designed pieces of hardware. 

The other aspect of the show that really impressed me this year was the overall advancement in equipment meeting the NMEA 2000 protocol.  In simple terms, NMEA 2000 is a recognized computer language that enables equipment from different manufacturers to communicate to each other using a standard network cable.  At first, this networking was pretty simple stuff.  For example, it meant that a chartplotter from one brand could display the weather information output by a masthead wind sensor from another brand.  As the NMEA protocols have advanced, the engine manufacturers started outputting engine information like oil pressure, rpm, heat, etc., so that the engine could be easier monitored at the helm and by other equipment.   

In the past few years, the technology has taken another big jump.  In a smart move by the electronics manufacturers, they have started incorporating Ipads, Iphones, Droid devices into the use of their systems.  For example, Raymarine has created an app that can be downloaded onto your device that allows you to not only display your chartplotter information but also to remotely control it, wirelessly. 

Photo Courtesy of 

There are many great benefits of a system like this.  The most common scenario that I imagine is that the skipper is navigating by a chartplotter while the tactician or navigator is making changes to the desired course while sitting down below or elsewhere on the boat with the handheld device.  Besides those advantages, this setup would also work well in getting other crew members involved in the operation of the boat instead of twiddling their thumbs. 

Another scenario that I particularly like is that this setup will allow you to do all of your trip planning while at home on your couch.  Just imagine setting your waypoints, landmarks, etc. in the comfort of your home and then after getting to the boat, you “sync” the system, uploading all of that information to your dedicated chartplotter.  Really great stuff that, in the end, makes life easier for the end user while making boating more enjoyable.  Something the industry desperately needs to continue. 

In a future post, I will discuss the new generation of distributed power systems.  Since the first talk by Nigel Calder on this technology in 2005 at IBEX, I have been intrigued by the benefits of switching, monitoring, and customizing the electrical loads of a vessel through one of these systems.  I will discuss  how the systems work, show what the NMEA 2000 protocol means to these systems, and give an example of a simple system that is being considered for an upcoming design.   



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Sunset Channel 24 – Open Water Model Testing


One of the great advantages of a hull designed with developable surfaces, like the aluminum Sunset Channel 24, is that the hull plating is easily scaled down, printed, transferred to lightweight model aircraft plywood, to create an accurate scale model.  

Although powerful computer programs with large databases of information make estimating performance, resistance, and horsepower requirements very quick and accurate, a scale model is useful to evaluate seakeeping, maneuvering, and to gauge how wet the full-scale design will be.  In this instance, we wanted to observe how quickly the Sunset Channel transitioned onto a plane and performed at different speed landmarks, including how wet of a ride she will be in rough water.

To build the model, a few female molds were setup just as her full-scale construction specifies.  

After the hull is finished, the model is carefully ballasted to float on its waterline and to correctly position the center of gravity.   

With the finicky Fall weather upon us, we had to take what mother nature gave us.  So, our first trials were held in somewhat windy and wavy conditions.  Of course, even a relatively small wavelet on the testing course scales up to a large wave compared to the model.  These conditions did allow us to view her seakeeping and wetness.  

In the following animation of still shots from the trials, the model encounters a sequence of three waves while operating at the lower end of her cruising speed.  The animation begins as the model is coming down the back of the first wave and plunges into the second, much larger wave.  After a quick recovery, the model slices through the third wave and settles back into normal operating trim.  Throughout the sequence, the model stays dry with very little spray above her sheer.  

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Impromptu Photo Shoot

At a recent visit to Quiet Waters Boatworks, we dragged Mike from Mike Phillips Photography along to get a few good shots of The Hill 16 construction.  This was no easy task as it was a small space with poor lighting and cedar dust floating in the air!  It turned out great and it was a lot of fun.  Hopefully in a few months we can drag Mike back down to Annapolis for some launch pictures when the The Hill 16 is completed. 

The goal of the shoot was to capture the boat at this raw stage where you can begin to see everything coming together to form the curvaceous hull. 

Besides my ugly mug in the shot, let me know what you think! 

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4 Meter Power Tender

Our newest project is a foam core 4 meter power tender.  We were approached by a client from Australia to design a lightweight power boat to be used as a transportation tender while cruising on his lobster yacht.  The tender will be stored on brackets attached to his swim platform, so lightweight was a necessity. 

As can be seen from the exagerated sheer, high bow, and flare, she is inspired by the traditional lobster boat.

It is important that she transitions to a plane quickly and easily, while remaining dry in a chop.  Therefore, she differs from the classic lobster boat with a wide chine flat that tapers into the bow while retaining an effective high angle of deadrise in the forward sections. 

  The layout remains simple while allowing multiple seating locations to balance the addition of crew and their gear.  There is a small anchor locker in the bow and a full-size motor well in the stern for safety.  Along with the foam in her hull and furniture, enough foam will be added in the box gunwale to ensure she can’t be sunk if swamped. 

Construction is planned for this Winter (August, September) in Australia.  The final set of construction drawings  will be offered as one of our stock plans for sale. 



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Island Trail 22 Under Construction-Update

George made some excellent progress on his Island Trail 22 before heading North to Maine for the Summer.  Although he is there for work, I know he is scouting out the islands he will be sure to visit next year in his finished boat.  In a recent conversation, he expressed how anxious he is to get back to his project.  I know I speak for those who are following his build, but we are too!

The transom and bulkheads are laminated and ready for installation.

The two hull halves have been joined together along the keel

A good perspective of the transom and the box keel.

The false stem is attached and faired into the bow.

The rubrail is glued into a dado in the topsides.

The exterior glasswork is underway.

After a couple gallons of epoxy and a large dose of patience, the hull is glassed.


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24′ Efficient Aluminum Power Cruiser – Design Update

Since we are getting close to starting construction drawings on our 24′ Aluminum Power Cruiser design, it seems a good time to share our progress.  In a previous post we discussed the design brief and intentions for this design and thankfully, since these haven’t changed, I won’t repeat them here. 

Designing with aluminum, steel, plywood, or other plate material, with the intention of using a CNC machine to cut the various parts, requires that all surfaces are developable or have no compound curves.  Simply put, the parts must be curved in only one direction.  For example, you can wrap a piece of paper around your typical coffee mug, but you can not wrap that paper around a basketball.  These qualities must be considered as they greatly affect how the hull and superstructure are constructed. 

Every designer seems to have their own methods of creating  developable surfaces, some use expensive computer programs while others use the century-old method of hand-drawing multi conic projections.  I use a combination of both as can be seen in the screen shot from when I was creating the curved hardtop visor. 

Whichever method is used, it is important that aesthetics aren’t sacrificed in the attempt to ease construction. 

Using our method, a hull was designed that incorporates some bow flare that transitions to  tumblehome in her aft sections.  Constructed of 6 major plates that have been cut by a computer, the hull will wrap around her frames and can be easily welded together.   

 As you can see from this comparison, we have successfully remained very close to our original preliminary sketches.  A few changes have occurred to improve aesthetics and ergonomics, like the small cabin house added to the fore deck. 

Bow Perspective

Aft Perspective- Note the curvaceous but developable stern.  



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