Russell and all of our design consultants have a lot of experience with wood and epoxy boat building and a lot of thought and science went into making sure our boats are designed to be both light and strong. No boat is indestructible of course, but please consider carefully any modifications and feel free to consult us if you have concerns based on your planned use of the boat. We may not have a full time tech line but we do try to be available for customer concerns.
There are lots of ways to personalize your boat but please do not attempt to alter the structure. Also, a well built Pt 11 is a valuable boat and modifications could negatively affect resale value.
Boat building is a creative process. With our kits, it may be said the Russell has thought of 'everything' and thus, the margin for builder inventiveness is limited. I beg to differ and I have great faith in each person's ability to creatively personalize their boats! It is also our hope that the building experience in itself serves the creative spirit well and the end result is a boat that makes the builder proud and happy. It is difficult to make guarantees, and especially so if any part of the design and/or the described building method, is omitted or modified.
In reference to some questions we have received ;
Flotation vs Storage; about the PT 11: The three compartments, one in the bow and the two in the stern, are completely sealed flotation and have the same value as foam flotation in this type of boat. If access ports to flotation compartments are installed, equal foam flotation would then be required to replace the sealed air. This would be a lot of work and totally pointless. Trying to use designated flotation compartments as storage can be dangerous if the boat flips or floods. On the PT 11 & Spear, there is a large storage aft of the mast step with ample space and the PT Skiff has 3 separate storage areas. We had to calculate flotation for the PT11, the non nesting PT SPEAR, and the PT SKIFF in order to satisfy the USCG safety guidelines. It is the builder's responsibility to abide by those rules, and, it is just plain smart.
Re-enforcements; Any additional wood or glass than what is prescribed in the manual, serves to add weight and will not necessarily make the boat any stronger than designed. Our boats are already designed with heavier glass on the bottom and solid fiberglass caps on the skegs for added toughness. If it is expected that the dinghy will be typically dragged over rough landings rather than carried, one could beef up the fiberglass on the bottom further, but it will add weight.
The transom, as designed, is strong. The rudder is a kick up rudder so there should be no chance of ripping off the transom of the boat with this rudder. If you plan to use a small outboard, (max 2HP) you would use bearing strips on the outside and clamp pads on the inside.
Builder resources; Our PT 11 family is growing. This is very exciting for us as we are a small company of just Russell and myself. Even more exciting is that our customers have been building beautiful boats! This year, 2013, we established a registry of sorts (see the map) as an owner/builder resource and aim to create an interactive community. (see our Builder Center page) The questions, comments, shared experiences of each builder are all welcome material that I will look forward to adding to the blog for others to learn from and enjoy. Our heartfelt thanks to our customers, followers, and friends who share their opinions and enthusiasm about our products. We would not be here without you.