A Little Boat





Introduction: A Little Boat

The aim of this project was to create a small boat which could fit into the back of our car. Total length is 1.4m, width 0.8m and depth 0.3m.

The boat (called Appie ) was made from plywood leftovers and pallet wood. The bottom is 3.5mm ply, the sides 7mm ply. Polyurethane glue and latex house paint were used. After about 3 months one of the seams opened up. This was sealed with construction glue, followed by painting a strip of bed sheet over the chine. Total cost to date has been something like 20 dollars (NZ) for glue and some bits and pieces.

This boat could be built as a one sheet boat, although the bottom profile would have to be changed to allow thicker ply to make the bend.

Rowing performance is great! Very easy to get up to hull speed (due to the short length). Sailing performance is ok, with progress to windward being almost non existent. This is an area that is still being worked on!

More details (videos!) can be found on my website .

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    15 Discussions

    The helicopter was some kind of search and rescue practice exercise I think. They had a buoy in the water and you can just see the basket on the end of the rope.

    Thanks. Can't say I have :-) There is very little space in this boat, and a pretty real danger of swamping. Not ideal! For a small steam engine something long and graceful would be nice.

    How stable would you say this is to say, an old out-board style, aluminum boat? I think it's really cool, and there's space at my grandmother's house on a lake for this kind of thing, so my dad and I are looking to build something of the sort. It would be nice to add to our collection of boats :D Also, do you think any structual rigidity was lost due to the holes in the oars? I thought maybe you could "add lightness" by drilling holes in homemade oars, made from small planks of wood?


    2 replies

    Note that this is a tiny one person boat, and not really comparable to boats of that size. Standing up is possible but not comfortable, sort of thing. It is not tippy at all when sitting down though, but if you sit way out of position all the way at the front or back it will start taking on water.
    The holes are not recommended! They greatly weaken the oars (I broke one not long ago) without saving much weight. Also they allow water to travel into the centre of the oar, making them less rot resistant.
    For links to a lot of one sheet boat plans, see this page:
    Some of these are much better than others though. I like the one sheet sampan a lot.

    Yea, I understand the size. We're not looking for something to go out into the lake itself with a bunch of people, but a single seater boat that's small and fun for traveling to a nearby lane, that's too shallow for most boats. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.


    why not make the frame wood, cover it in cardboard, and finish by covering the bottom in a tarp?

    you could always coat the bottom with fibre glass....long as you didn't hit anything the boat would stay water tight...Just a thought

    Thanks! I didn't take enough pictures while building to make a good step by step, unfortunately. There are instructions for a similar boat at this website, which uses planks for the side.

    I made a boat like this except it did not have wood on the corners and it had a seat in the middle, too bad I never finished it.