Work on a slightly re-designed PT 11 and a much improved building manual for the 11 is well underway.
We have long been planning to develop a smaller version of our nesting dinghy, but for several reasons, we decided to focus our efforts on making the PT 11 as good (and as easy to build) as we can make it.
One reason for this decision is that we are a small company with no employees (just ourselves) and even though the design process for the smaller boat was well underway, the thought of needing to stock all the parts necessary for a smaller boat seemed like too much.
Very few of the parts for the bigger boat would fit the smaller one. Even the rig and foils would need to be different, so the PT 9.5 has been put aside... For now.

The PT 11 has been a constant evolution. I have built so many prototypes and modified the manual so many times that I have lost count, but we love the boat and it has become quite a popular

The new changes in the boat (and the manual) are mostly aimed at making the boat easier to build.
The biggest change is to make the gussets both thicker and slightly larger so that the builder can avoid the tricky job of applying the structural fiberglass over the gussets, besides making sense
The gussets will now be pre-beveled so that the upper gussets fit the hull without the builder having to do it and the curved gusset edges will be pre-rounded so that builders without router tables can avoid the risk of rounding their finger tips.
We wanted to make the two halves of the boat key together more snugly when nested, so the transom inwale is now wider and has a reinforced notch cut into it that the stem fits into when nested.
That, along with the larger gussets will mean that the forward half will just fit into the aft half, and once it’s there it won’t be able to move.
We will have the new boat cut in half soon to check our tolerances and then machine new gussets and inwales for future kit orders.

In the manual we are changing many parts of the process, mostly just to clarify parts of the process with more photos and better text, but some parts, such as the process of fiberglass taping the chines has been changed to a much better method, one we have used on the last couple of prototypes.
We have also been working on a video of some of the more challenging parts of the process. This video will (eventually) include filleting, chine taping, glassing, gloss coating, and painting.


As of Monday, April 7 th, our PT 11 nesting dinghy will be on display at Fisheries Supply in Seattle. This is something we have talked about doing for a long time and we are pleased it is happening this year. Fisheries Supply is one of our very favorite resources.

On display is our PT 11 that we have used a lot for 3 seasons now, around Port Townsend and north into Desolation Sound, BC.  We have done a lot of exploring in this boat, some of which is featured in our videos. The interior finish is still the original WEST SYSTEM EPOXY(R) clear finish using 207 Special Clear Hardener(R) done in 2011.  It is due a coat of varnish but I think you will be impressed at how little the scratches show even after all the sand and shoes.   So if you are in the area, please stop by FISHERIES SUPPLY and check the boat out! Let us know you stopped by.  THANK YOU!
Loaded with gear commuting to our boat's mooring, before taking off for Canada.

We recently had the opportunity to test drive a Lehr outboard on the PT 11 nesting dinghy.
I should say up front, that we are personally anti-outboard for this boat. The PT 11 is lightweight with a hull shape well suited for easy, near effortless rowing, even for longer distances. The sailing rig is also very easy to use. Our vision has been that this dinghy can be a tough, utilitarian, and totally enjoyable alternative to inflatables, as tenders for cruising boats.  Even so, the PT 11 can be used with a small outboard.  We have calculated that a 2HP outboard would be plenty of power to move this little boat with ease and also keeps the PT 11 within a certain USCG category.

In our opinion, however; those who expect to use a motor on their dinghy more often than not, might be better off with a different dinghy. One could choose a boat with a fuller aft end. Rowing performance would be compromised but these boats would plane with a 5HP motor.
There are, it seems, few, new model outboards of 2HP or less.  Most outboard producers currently have models of just over 2HP. Other than the perceived "need for speed" from the general public, we are not sure why they have chosen to discontinue lower HP motors. See a PT 11 test drive with an EP CARRY.
For the sake of experiment and because this motor was offered to us for this purpose, we went ahead and made a test drive.  Thank you to J.S. for this opportunity.
Here is what we found and there is a link to a short video at the the end of this post.

I. Motor: New Lehr 2.5HP propane outboard. ( 15” shaft, cost: roughly $1050)
Port Townsend Watercraft
II. Weight: We feel like this motor is quite heavy at almost 39 LBS(incl small 1 LB gas bottle)

III. Noise: Moderate.

  • Comparison:
  • On forums online, the Honda 2.3 has been proclaimed as very noisy.
  • Electric motors are obviously the most quiet.

IV. Speed: The Lehr 2.5 propelled the PT 11 with a single, 180 pound operator, at 6.8 knots, at full throttle in protected waters.

  • No comparisons at this time.

V. Trim: The PT 11 is light weight. The weight of the motor being nearly half the weight of the boat, and with a single operator having to sit far enough aft to reach the tiller, causes the bow to ride high. One would need a tiller extension to be able to shift driver weight forward.

Port Townsend Watercraft
Taking off at full throttle..

VI. Mounting: The outboard was mounted with a raw mahogany block just below the inwhale. For the purpose of this demo, we adhered it with double sided tape. For more permanent installation, we would advise exchanging the bolts on the top gudgeon, for screws that bite into the block. On the outside of the transom, we used raw mahogany strips. The block and pads are to prevent crushing or denting the hull skins when tightening the clamps.  For a motor this heavy, we recommend re enforcing the transom with vertical ribs adhering to the buoyancy tank walls and butting up to the underside of the inwhale. This would be light and effective. Port Twnsend Watercraft

Port Townsend Watercraft

VII. Conclusion: In general, if you are set on mounting a motor on the PT 11, it is preferable to choose a motor that weighs less than 30 LBS. We will be making some effort to mount and test drive the Electric Paddle in 2014.
Click here to see a short video of the PT 11 with the Lehr 2.5HP.   PTW 😉

Note: If any of our builders have tried a small outboard on your PT 11, please contact us with your experiences.

UPDATE: This information was sent to us from one of our builders in Florida. The HP used exceeds sanctioned HP for this boat but the results are informative.

"Today's Sea Trial:  Salt water, 75 degrees, sea level, iPhone GPS.

POWER:  2.5 HP (rpm restrictor removed to increase to 3.3 hp), 1990 vintage two stroke, factory propeller, 27 pounds, Mercury outboard with tiller extension.

Life jackets, paddle, no additional gear.

Top speed, one 140 pound operator, 10 mph.  
Top speed, two people 330 pounds, 8 mph.
Top speed, four people 810 pounds, 6 mph.

Ideal cruise "sweet spot", two people, 6 mph.

Boat exceeded all expectations. " (Video below)


Having a bailer in a dinghy is a very important thing. Dinghy sailing in gusty wind can get wet, especially if the captain is not paying attention and dips the rail. Russell came up with a handy bailer idea. ptwatercraft.comThis oblong fabric softener bottle offers both a wide mouth scoop and a low profile that fits neatly below the seat tongue. Stashed inside for minor spray is a sponge. This green sponge was a waste of pennies. It does little more than spread spray water. A good absorbent sponge like this PVA sponge or 3M C41 7456-T is a much better choice. I personally like these pop-up sponges but they do not hold up well if left outside, which is kind of the point environmentally.. 😉 DSC09645This bailer installation does not interfere with nesting. There is room to spare. We used carbon glue on eyestraps and a bungee cord to keep the bailer stored out of the way but within quick reach.

If you capsize, sweeping the water out with your arm or sloshing out the water before getting back in gets most water out. See it all on this video.  PTW :-) PT Watercraft website



The water is cold here. The idea of jumping into it takes some courage so this video has been put off for way too long.  Russell actually did about 8 capsizes while I happily recorded them....or so I thought. In sunlight I could not see if I was recording or not and guess what... I had some nice video of my feet, and Russell getting ready to capsize.. I had to ask him to do it all again and by this time he was pretty chilled with teeth chattering and all. Well, he persevered and I got in there afterwards so that he would not be the only one to freeze, and because I had never done it before! It was much easier than I thought it would be. Lucky me had a wet suit but the initial shock of the cold water was not wasted on me even through the wetsuit. So the footage we got was limited but hopefully fun and informative. If for some reason you cannot view it, please let me know.  I did use some music that may cause it to block. If that happens, I will have to change the tunes.. PTW 😉

PT11 Capsize video

We took the sailing option very seriously for the PT 11 and it's a good thing we did. Most of the PT 11 builders have chosen our rig and foils.  The sailing performance of this boat is not only measured in sailing ability, but also in simplicity and ease of setting up the rig. Setting up and breaking down a sailing rig is always a bit of work, especially if you are doing it alongside a cruising boat. It's true that the easier the set-up, the more one goes sailing. Our rig is as light and easy to use as possible.         The carbon fiber mast is two-piece and sleeves together. The boom carries all of the hardware and running rigging. The gooseneck fitting is made by us. It has no moving parts, installs instantly, and is held to the mast by the sail and vang. High quality snap and "S" hooks make set-up significantly faster.

The sail is small (54 sq. ft.), but it's a powerhouse, thanks to a good sail designer, Sandy Goodall. The sails are made from our favorite sail cloth, Dimension Polyant.(TM)

The PT 11 sailing rig is sold complete and ready to use.

The rig comes in its own bag measuring  just over 8ft long..

ptwatercraft.comIn the bag, carbon mast, boom, running rigging, and 54 ft sq sail.    All this weighs 13 pounds!

ptwatercraft.comOut haul and main sheet tackle.

ptwatercraft.comGooseneck and vang  The red part is the sleeve on the sail.

ptwatercraft.comHaving fun!

A new video has been posted showing the PT Eleven nesting dinghy being towed at 9 and 15 knots. Check it out here: Towing the PT 11

Also, as a heads up, we have yet to update our PT 11 water tight hatch blog. It just got lost in the stack of "to-do's". Since our original hatch blog last year, we offer an improved hatch kit with our PT 11 kits. This has recently come to my attention because this outdated blog has been referenced on some forums and I thought, hmmm, we need to fix this... Thus, a new post will soon be up. Coming soon, we will have 2 additional sizes of water tight hatch kits designed with the SCAMP in mind. Thanks to Howard Rice and Josh Colvin of Small Craft Adviser magazine, our hatch design has gained the interest of SCAMP builder's. A detailed post about this will also follow soon. PTW :)

A good friend of ours decided to be a beta builder for a Non-nesting version of the PT Eleven. He wanted a fun sailing dinghy for his grandson. Yesterday, word got out that he was launching the boat that he began in June. Lots of curious friends showed up to give it a spin. I am totally hooked on dinghy sailing now... So congratulations Alex on a lovely little boat. "Pata" will be at the wooden boat festival this coming weekend, Sept. 7,8 and 9th!  PTW


We have developed a case to carry and protect your stored dagger board and rudder for the PT11. We are using a fabric called "Evolution"(tm) or "Block-out", designed for classic car covers. It is water repellant and breathable so you can put your foils in the case wet. These bags are not padded but the fabric is slightly cushioned and chafe resistant, and  the case is double stitched with heavy, UV protected Polyester thread. Our design is streamlined and fitted to the foils shape. Separate pockets house the dagger board and the rudder while a single flap closes both openings, secured with 2" x 9" Velcro.  Custom made in the USA. Retail price of $90

http://www.ptwatercraft.comShown above with the PT Swift applique.

Close up detail of the fabric texture showing both sides. ptwatercraft.comSee the options offered for the PT Eleven nesting dinghy.