10 ft sailing dinghy
Twelve year old Daniel had pretty much outgrown his Stuart
Reid designed miniature flat bottomed skiff, and father Wayne
Chittenden had arranged to stay with me over one Christmas
to do a spot of boat building.
Wayne wanted to build himself one of my light surf dories
and had also asked if I could design a replacement for Daniel's
skiff. The brief was straightforward enough - they needed
a sailing dinghy light enough to roof rack or for a youngster
to drag up the beach. Big enough to take three adults sailing,
or five when rowing so she could double as a yacht or launch
Wayne with Applejack
almostfully planked up,
decks and seats still to come
She was to be seaworthy
enough to cope with the four mile passage across to the grandparents
place on Waiheke Island and fast enough to be worth sailing
in the kid's classes at the annual Waiheke regatta and last
but not least she had to be built on the thinnest of budgets!
By the time my guests arrived I had a preliminary sketch on
paper, based on previous boats similar but larger.
I gave her more flare than her bigger sisters to keep the
lightweight crew out where the weight would do the most good,
lots of freeboard and a cutout for an outboard motor. The
area under the foredeck provides a capacious locker for camping
gear as well as adding to the buoyancy tanks under the seats.
I gave her an underwater shape that would allow her to plane
when lightly loaded, ample sail area and reef points for sailing
on "those" days.
Wayne and Dan flew
into the building and made rapid progress. I dashed out to
the workshop several times a day with more drawings as the
previous parts were completed and the piles of scrap and sawdust
grew as the two boats took shape.
Wayne and young friend
Applejack having a good time.
The Light Dory
was completed in time for the Stillwater rowing race. Wayne
slid the boat into the water, named her "Emma McLeod"
after his Grandmother, climbed in and headed off out to the
start line with his (very comely) passenger aboard. He didn't
win but he had a big grin on his face at the finish. Daniel's
boat went off to their home in Hamilton structurally complete
but what with one thing and another Dan didn't get her in
the water for a while. In the meantime the prototype had created
a lot of interest. Over the next few months five sets of plans
were sold, the resulting boats being firm favorites with their
That was a few years ago, and then Shane Kelly (my Sea Spray
magazine editor mate) talked me into the series of "how
to" articles on building small boats that became the
basis for my book. I included a photograph of Daniels Boat
and the readers responded with a flood of enquiries, so I
redrew the somewhat sketchy plans and here she is.