Copyright 2024 - Woods Designs, 16 King St, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 2AT UK
  • production Strider 24

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

Josh, Dan and I formed a team to build a Duo in two days as part of the Edensaw Boatbuilding Challenge, see HERE, held as part of the 2014 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.

We started building at 9am Friday. By 11am we had what was obviously a boat, above, with all the panels cut out and wired together. (The competitor's "boat" behind Josh's head is actually the pre-made mould for a cold moulded dinghy, the builders had only just fitted their transom by 11am). By 5pm we had all the interior glass joints made.

Next morning we fitted the decks, turned the hull over and finished the outer chine joints. We declared the boat structurally finished at 3.30pm, for once the epoxy had cured it could be launched.

But we still had Sunday morning to work, so we spent the time sanding and staining all the wood. We used good quality okoume plywood, 6 different woods, including clear sitka spruce, cedar, sapele, maple plus contrasting wood for screw plugs and stripes. It looked very smart and certainly didn't look like a boat built in just 35 hours - oh and we also made a pair of lightweight oars with laminated spoon blades.

Meantime, what of the competition? There were 6 other teams, most of whom kept working until after midnight each day. Even on the Saturday it wasn't obvious that some people were building a boat. So maybe we should not have been surprised when, at 10.30am Sunday and we had just put our Duo outside and said "finished", that the Challenge organisers said "the time limit has been extended to 1pm".

We could have done so much more "tarting" up, sanding and painting. So we hung around until 1pm when everyone launched and rowed through the marina to the judging beach.

Most if the other boats were built without plans, so it was no surprise that one capsized immediately. Fortunately a bystander was an expert kayaker and volunteered to try it. They did manage to get it, very wet and partially flooded, to the judging beach. Another boat had such very low freeboard (maybe 50mm, 2in) it was lucky the sea was calm. More of a surprise was that it seemed only two boats (including the Duo of course!) didn't leak.

We had a seaworthy boat that was finished in time and we had made everything, in fact we were the only ones to make our own oars. Certainly we were the only ones to build a boat without cutting corners or rushing the build to finish on time.

So we were somewhat disappointed to come second, especially as the winners boat was one that leaked - we didn't understand how the boats were scored. But still we were very happy with the USD1000 prize, which more than covered the materials cost (about USD250). Of course the prize was not cash, but a voucher - so now we will have to build another boat...

You can see a video of Josh and I rowing our Duos away after the judging HERE.