My list of links includes my agents for plans and book sales in The USA and Australia,  both Ross in Brisbane and Chuck in Texas are experienced boatbuilders with a passion for small craft,  people who use the boats themselves whenever they can, and who enjoy helping and advising the people who build my boats.   The list of links also includes friends with similar interests to us, suppliers some of whom have products that are useful to boatbuilders,  and some who have products that are just useful.


A fascinating story of a charming boat, Something About Navigator explores the development, building and sailing of one of John Welsford's most loved designs. The Navigator has become an incredibly popular boat, with over 600 plan sets sold at last count. Robert Ditterich uses a narrative style to pin down the charm at the root of this popularity, while also extensively illustrating the processes involved in building one, fitting it out and using it. The Navigator 'in the wild' is represented by illustrated essays from experienced Navigator sailors and builders. The romance of small open boat sailing, and the freedom felt, even just in dreaming about one, will make this book appealing to owners or aspiring owner/builders of many wooden boats available to-day.


For those interested in JW designs, the building, the boating, the materials they are built from, the cruises and the designs themselves there is a Yahoo Group dedicated to the Designers and the Designs at

It's active and filtered to ensure that Spam doesn't get through. Come on over for a chat.


Chuck Leinweber of Duckworksmagazine Is my agent for boat plans, books and other products yet to come within the USA.  He has an excellent magazine devoted to and largely written by small craft enthusiasts who are into building their own boats.  A great place to find out what is going on in the world of home boatbuilding,  he has a very good range of boat building supplies such as cheap paintbrushes and  sailcloth and his range will grow as time goes on.

Visit him when you are at a loose end, but warn your wife that you will need meals brought to the computer as you are likely to be in there reading for quite a while.


Duck Flat Wooden Boats in Adelaide South Australia, is a top spot for builders of small wooden boats, expert builders, enthusiastic sailors, knowledgeable and capable. Ted and the crew there have plans ( including a full stock of my plans range ) and do a lot of mail order work so are able to have your order in the mail pronto. They do plans like I said, but can also do frame sets, part and complete kits and boats from bare hull to complete ready for the big day.

They also stock fittings, fastenings, wood, and advice. If you are buying the other stuff from them there is no charge for the advice, but it can be worth more than all the other stuff put together! - Good people, good service.

Duck Flat Wooden Boats
25 Secker Rd
Mt Barker
S A 5251
Phone ( 61) 08 8391 3988

Fyne Boat Kits are situated on the shores of historic Lake Windermere in Englands Lake District. In fact they occupy a building that was once used by a “Mr Walker” to do boat repairs and it is thought that this was the model for “ Mr Walkers Boatshed” in the Swallows and Amazons stories.

As the name suggests the company produces boat kitsets, but are also distributors for John Welsford Small Craft Designs plans in UK and Western Europe and will soon be producing several of my designs in kit form.

Of interest to locals are the boatbuilding classes, and further afield the mail order service that supplies materials and fittings for small craft builders. Check them out here.

We have sold quite a few plans into South Africa over the years, enough to show that there is a strong interest in building small boats, and in cruising them both coastal and on inland waterways and lakes. But South Africa is a very long way from New Zealand, and with a lot happening in other markets finding representation for our customers in the Rainbow Nation was something we’d not done anything about. Until very recently that is!

Roy Mc Bride is a very keen sailer, builds boats both finished and hulls for home completion, has a specialised wood supply yard that has plywoods, solid woods of many species, and many of the essentials of home boatbuilding plus produces precut kits from frame sets to complete kitset boats. CKD in fact refers to the old car manufacturing system where a car builder would send a full set of components “Completely Knocked Down”) for local assembly and that what the CKD in his company name refers to.

CKD Boats sells plans, JW Small Craft Design ones among them of course, plus the kits, frame sets and materials. Roy is a very experienced builder and pleased to be helpful when a home builder gets stuck The company has our plans in stock so can save you the long shipping delays and fights with customs that are inherent in ordering from overseas, and all in all, we are very pleased to have Roy and his team on board as part of our Family.

Check them out at:
Roy Mc Bride, CKD Boats
Unit L, 29 Gray Street,
Paarden Eiland, Cape Town
Tel/Fax: +27 21 510 7206



I’m happy to welcome aboard a recommended builder for the west coast of the United States.

Located in Portland, Oregon, David Graybeal at Harbor Woodworks has done custom woodworking for over 30 years. Over the last several years he’s focused on small plywood boats, building – on his own, or with others -  everything from Jacques Mertens designed D5’s and Routh Puddle Duck Racers to a Michael Storer designed Goat Island Skiff and a Bolger Long Light Dory. He has also built components for several larger new and existing boats. In addition, HWW has fabricated and installed complete interiors on two larger boats that were being refurbished.

He can build you anything from a complete Welsford boat to a parts kit or frame kit. He can ship throughout the western U.S. and beyond. He also enjoys building – for any boat - components like spars, foils, tillers, and such. You can reach him via email -, or by phone – 503-860-3160.

To see a sampling of his work, please see his website:

Boatbuilder Jim Lowe up in North Carolina , an area near perfect for playing about in cruising dinghies, is set up to build JW Designs to order. Look for really nice workmanship, good quality materials and friendly service here. He will build you anything from a bare planked up hull ready to take home and finish, to a boat painted up and complete with trailer, motor, lifejackets and fishing gear ready to launch and set off on your adventures.

Go and visit his site, and if you like what you see, give him a shout.


Retired Teacher Gerry Lavoi emailed me with some questions about my Walkabout design. It seemed to me that cruising the islands and inlets of British Columbia where he lives was well within the capabilities of both the skipper and the boat, and that building a project like this would be a good way to spend the winter. I did not hear much from him for a while, and then he wrote to tell me that he had completed the boat, launched her and was carefully evaluating her abilities and characteristics. He has a great little webpage here .
Enjoy the reading, and do go and check his writings now and again as there are bound to be adventures over the summer.

from John Chipper:

If you go to the web site below you will see the detailed pictorial story of the building of two boats which took place every Tuesday night over two years. They were very much community projects in which we all learned a great deal and made great friends.

Bernie Perano was our tutor. Without him the Plimmerton Wooden Boat Festival would not have happened and we would not have had two very sea worthy Navigators.

Wilfrid Vermien in Belgium has a dream. The freedom of a small cruising boat, out on the seas where its just the sailor and the sea. He has been getting ready to build his Navigator, issues like the building and the building of a model to explore the project are all covered in this interesting website. Do have a look and cheer him on.

Kent Georgeson worked on his Navigator for two and a half years. He says: "Launching something made by my own bare hands cannot compare to anything I have achieved in my working career." I guess he thinks it was time well spent.

Swaggie Uruguay, Luis Nin Esteves and friend are busy building a Swaggie. For a good look at how this very big little blue water voyager goes together plus some tantalising glimpses of homelife in Uruguay and what looks like an ideal boatbuilding climate have a look at his site.

"Kotuku", a Navigator, was built over a period of 9 months, March to November 2004 by Peter Kortens (on the left) and Alaster Stewart. Both retired and with nothing better to do they embarked on a project that frequently terrified them, often made them doubt their abilities to overcome tasks and finally gave them great pride in having created such a thing of beauty.

Peter Black is working steadily on his HOUDINI , and his site is a real credit to him. He has carefully documented the building process to date including costs and hours. This is a good place to go to read about not only the boat and the building but the motives, the ups and downs, and the "frequently asked questions" about the whole home boatbuilding thing.

Melbournes Mark Paterson (anyone in Australia, especially within cooee of the Snowy Mountains who is a "Paterson" will get called " Banjo" after the deservedly famous Aussie poet) has been building his SWEET PEA for a while now, and also has shots on his site from others building the same design. A good place for Sweet Pea fans or builders to meet and have a virtual beer together.

Barrett Faneuf, of Olympia, Washington on the Pacific Northwest of the USA is busy. She is building TWO Navigators, one each for her mother and herself. And these are “practice” for a 26ft double ended centreboard gaff yawl that I am drawing for her.
Keep track of her building progress at

Note that you have to “join” this photo album site but I have never had any spam or advertising that I can attribute to them.

David Perillo is a Navigator fan. Some owners have completed amazing voyages and have proven to be incredibly capable but David is head and shoulders above all of them. The experiences of voyaging in his two Navigators has made him a real enthusiast of small boat cruising and he is actively encouraging people to try getting out there in small boats.

Read the inspiring story about his Fiji Cruise on his open boat cruising site here.

Aussie Nick Giles lives close to what most of us would consider Small Boat Paradise, the Hawkesbury River is a drowned river system just north of Sydney which has hundreds of miles of inlets and waterways that take the sailor from almost city waterfront to seriously lonely coves where the cockatoos and parakeets add colour to the bluegums overhanging the water.

He's building a Navigator sailing dinghy to access this wonderful area, watch his progress here

Lindsay Fenwick loves his Houdini to bits. He has added another mast, (I‘ve seen him with 5 sails up) and he and wife Kylie have cruised the little boat all over Aucklands Hauraki Gulf. This boat has proven to be a very effective cruiser, and one that has plenty of potential for exploration as well as daysailing.
Read about their adventures here.


Murton's Motor Camp & Timbercraft

The nearest camping ground to Wellington city centre - 22km,
ferries - 20km, and airport 40km. Located 1km north of Porirua - take the Waitangirua exit - 1.2km up the hill on your left

Handy to: Porirua City Centre, Railway station, Shopping Centre and Aquatic Centre.
Steamboats really capture peoples imagination, even when very small the hissing of the boiler and the gentle chuffing as the boat slides along is evocative of a much more peaceful time. Leather aprons, the smell of high grade coal burning, oilcans and that wonderful whistle.
Steam engines are still avaialable, go and check this one out.
Reliable Steam Engine Co.
David Robertson is another Navigator owner. We got to know each other pretty well over the time he was building Wairua and he has an on line magazine that has a huge amount of information on this and others of my designs. We ran the site jointly for a while which means that I contributed a lot of material, he has even more of his own writing in there and anyone with an interest in boatbuilding, sailing, maintaining or cruising small or traditional boats will find a lot to interest them here.

Wooden Boat Fittings  Buying nice traditional looking fittings for a stylish boat can be frustrating and expensive, the usual chandlery carries very little other than stainless steel which does not look right on a traditional craft so when we come across someone like Mike here who is producing really nice brass and bronze ware we like to stand on the rooftops and shout.
Woodenboat Fittings are in Australia and do a good mail order service so for us Kiwis and Aussies here is a place where they think as we do .
West System Epoxys  I use several brands,  but have been helped a lot over the years by by Chris Timms and Colin Palmer the local West System people here in NZ.  They have answered an awful lot of silly questions with remarkable patience and have helped me with literature and technical information.  I have never had a failure of any kind with this brand of resin, and I can tell you that I have pushed the limits pretty hard at times.  An interesting and very useful site.
NZ Steam Russell Ward is a steam and old engine enthusiast.  He is also the man who runs the annual regatta at Whangateau near Omaha on the way from Warkworth to Leigh north of Auckland New Zealand.  His site is mostly devoted to small steam boats, his wonderful "Romany" featuring large in the site that he runs but there are lots of other small steamers in there, and whether you like the smell of a coal fired boiler or not this site is worthy of a visit.

England has a very active Dinghy Cruising Association, dedicated to the principles and practices of cruising in small open boats the members have accumulated a lot of useful information on camping in and from cruising dinghies. There are interesting links, good stories and some discussion on what is a suitable boat.

If you sail a cruising dinghy you might enjoy becoming a member of an elite and interesting group that follows in the footsteps of people such as Frank and Margaret Dye, Bill Serjeant and ( from my own area) David Perillo.

Lake Rotoiti near my home in Rotorua is host each year to a remarkable parade of Wooden Boats.  Some are residents, some are trailered in for the event.  I have been honoured to be the judge these last two years and can assure you that there is an amazing range of boats from traditional sail, rowing boats and launches to very modern craft.  I think we had something like 80 entries last February and there is a very good range of photos on this site.