Since we first started selling kits for the PT 11 we have been continually updating the kit, building process, and the boat to make it better.  It's in our nature to do this and it means the boats get stronger, lighter, easier to build, perform better, etc.
click the photo for a detailed post about our rigs.

A good while back, through friends in the high tech world, we developed a connection with a company called Innovative Composite Engineering, a renown carbon tube company in Washington state. They now make our lightweight booms for the sailing rigs.

The 7 1/2' booms are incredibly lightweight. The tubes start at 20 ounces each. With the gooseneck, hardware, main sheet & vang tackle, they weigh 40 ounces.  No one is likely to get knocked out by one of these booms in a gybe and so far they have been strong enough (remember not to over-do the boom vang).

While the masts we sell have been extremely reliable, we knew they could be lighter. After a year of bugging I.C.E. to come up with a mast for us, we finally got a prototype.

The masts that we have been using are modified windsurfing masts. We have to modify them because they are stepped in a short socket and the loads where the mast comes out of the socket are quite significant and different than the loads applied to a windsurfer mast.
The new masts have extra layers of carbon at the lower end starting just above deck level and ending just above where the boom connects to the mast. These extra layers of laminate mean that we will have to do less work to the lower end to make them strong enough.

How light is the new mast? It’s light! The current two-piece masts weigh 104 ounces (2937 grams); already impressively light. The new mast weighs 69 ounces (1950 grams)!

We stress tested the prototype mast as shown on land (and on the water) using two 180 pound people on the rail and the mast was fine.
Having two people on the rail is strongly discouraged by us because of the twisting loads it puts on the boat, the very high loads at the mast step, and finally the mast.
In other words, what we are really after is a feather weight mast, not a mast that could break the boat.

The weight of the rig is directly related to ease of use. Our theory (and it seems well proven now) is that the easier the sailing rig is to use, the more it will be used. Our rig was already the lightest, easiest to use, and most power-per-pound dinghy sailing rig out there. Now it is significantly lighter.

We will pay quite a bit more for the custom masts, but because they will be less work to finish we will likely be able to keep the complete sailing rig cost the same.
Ashlyn can't get much mast bend.
Russell and James hike out with approx 360 Lbs.


We did a load test on the ground, tying the mast to a building and getting two people hiking out on the rail. This was a little scary, but a very effective way to see if the mast was strong enough. (RB)

Ashlyn's footnote: Our ballast assistant in these photos is a local luthier. Here he is holding the 15' 1" mast up by the tip to see how it sounds as a Didjeridoo.

What sound can it make?

See this silly video to hear....

I had him lower the tip for the video because, in the camera, the green house behind appeared to dominate. I regret this now since it would have looked fine. It was impressive how easy it was to keep it up in the air. (AEB.)

There is no doubt about it...We are R2AK junkies...

This year we did not have a sailboat in the water so we launched the Waterbug and followed some of the lead boats to Victoria.

I have put together a little video (HERE) of our outing, from the start of the Race in Port Townsend, crossing to Victoria and cheering many of the arriving boats. They trickled in all day. (and in the morning on Friday as we left) The very best way to follow the race is on the website.

Below is a slide show as well. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting many good pictures with the equipment I had and in the rain. There are some very good photos being posted on Facebook and other places online. See Jan's Marine Photography on

Port Townsend Watercraft will be closed for the first 2 weeks of July.

Other dates when we will be hard to reach will be June 22 thru 25th. We plan to be part of the welcoming committee in Victoria for the Race to Alaska participants. Hope to see you at the pre race Ruckus in Port Townsend (June 22) or in Victoria on the 23rd!

We hope everyone has something beautiful and fun within nature in their lives. Get out on the water, take a hike, lay down in a field of flowers, grow a garden...

Happy Summer everyone.



As more PT Spears are built, the question of an ideal dolly has been asked. Recently, Russell and I joined friends in Port Townsend for a day of sailing. Our friends both own PT Spears; the one-piece version of the PT 11. Each are transported differently."Pato" arrived in this truck. This is actually an older photo on a day when we left from the launch ramp.

"Rascal" has its own little trailer.
Rascal has a small trailer

Both PT SPEARs have dollies since their humans often launch by themselves. One uses a kayak cart purchased from our local Pygmy Kayaks. We found that the kick stand on this particular cart was a little tricky to get to and adjust with the dinghy being wider than a kayak.
using a kayak cart
tipping into the water.."Rascal's" human, being a plumber by trade, created his own sturdy dolly.

PVC pipe with a fixed "kick" stand. Sturdy and always in the right place so no need to access to raise or lower.
Made from PVC plumbing- support stand visible here.
getting ready to splash

I also found while writing this post, that there are thousands of images online for kayak and dinghy dollies. It is important to note that the PT SPEAR, at 85 pounds, is easy to manage with a very simple dolly (like a kayak dolly) compared to most of the more complex dinghy dolly designs shown online. UPDATE: One customer has offered his design and details for a PVC dolly he uses for his PT SPEAR: PDF HERE
getting ready to sail away...
The perfect day for a dinghy sail...
beach picnic

A brief clip using the PVC dolly:


I feel very fortunate to have such an interesting and creative family. I am taking this opportunity to share links to my mother's current project. Now in her seventies, she has been building a horse drawn gypsy wagon with little or no resources. The magic of those resources appearing when most needed has been a recurring theme and creates inspiration for anyone wishing to launch a seemingly impossible project.

Toti Bleu Gypsy Wagon project. Blog - or - PDF book of blog posts Purchases of the book help fund this cool project. Suzanne is also a painter. In contrast to the whimsical watercolor illustration below, she also works with acrylics, capturing the beauty and essence of the French country side, as well as home and pet portraits. The sale of these lovely paintings that are way under priced in my opinion, also provides funding for her continued creativity. AEB 😉
Toti Bleu, a project starts with a dream and an idea envisioned.




Now available, Project Cheers is a candid tale of single handed Trans-Atlantic racing in the 'early days'. (ON AMAZON - Or directly from PT Watercraft)

Project Cheers is a narrative by the late Dick Newick, Tom Follett and Jim Morris about their American entry into the 1968 OSTAR (Observer Singlehanded Trans Atlantic Race)  Things were very different in 1968 in the world of yacht racing. Newick's unusual design, Cheers, a proa, shook things up a bit and forever changed certain ideas about ocean racing.

See our new website to compliment the book.

The book was only ever published once in England in 1969 and original copies are hard to find and precious. With multihulls in the spot light in the America's Cup and breaking records at an astonishing pace, we wanted to honor Cheers and the three men who created and raced the boat, for their vision and perseverance. The story is an inspiration to anyone attempting the "impossible".
In St. Croix after the race..

Over the last 2 years, I have acquired permissions from the publishing house of the original book, and worked with the copyright heirs to obtain original photo scans and feedback on what direction we would take in re-publishing the book. (Nothing about the book had ever been saved digitally) I also nearly checked myself into a loony bin trying to work on MS WORD but was saved by MAC's Pages to format the book. Many pictures were not found in originals. It took a special scanner to get scans of them that did not produce Moire distortion when printed. We even had the photo curator at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News VA looking for original pictures. The museum hosts an extensive multihull collection.

While I would have liked this to be a glossy hard cover, my budget did not allow it. If there is interest, I can work on it. I did choose to print it with slightly larger print, and created a new cover to distinguish it from the first edition.

Profits from book and poster sales will benefit the Newick family.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in this republishing project. You know who you are. Besides the unusual grammar in the book, (we left all of that as per original text) any major mistakes can be corrected if you find them. I almost published the book with a super big boo boo (thanks to MS WORD auto format) but that was caught, (Thank you Katrina for your expert proof read!) just before going to press. Yay!

Finally, I have digital videos produced in 1968 by the BBC and CBS. (Not to mention reels of 16mm film!) Permission to upload these to the internet is still in question. These would be extremely fun to share and it seems like after more than 45 years, it should not be a problem to do so. I am working on it and if anyone has connections to those agencies, that could be helpful.

Please check out the book, poster, and website!

Enjoy a little clip that I think is from the 1960 (first) OSTAR race. The BBC has been very reserved about releasing such features to the public domain.

Thank you!! Ashlyn Brown 😉

info @ ptwatercraft . com


Does your rudder not stay down? ...Your back seat slip off? ...Your knobs tight and your leather pads  loose? Maybe we can help.

We have used our PT 11’s hard enough and long enough to have had some issues and it seems like it’s time for a maintenance discussion.
Also, there were manual updates that earlier builders didn’t get to see that we will show here.

We would like to hear from you as well. If you have had issues or failures with your boat, we want to know. Sometimes really bad things happen to boats, such a backing into one with a truck, (which we did) and sometimes the repairs are actually quite easy, so let us know if something like this happens to you.

Does your rudder kick up when you don’t want it to? If the rudder rotates back just a little bit then the pressure on the tiller increases dramatically. We’ll talk about how to fix it below.

How many of you have used the self-steering feature on the 11?  The hiking stick is of a length that if the tip is placed in the aft corner (as shown below), the boat can be steered by shifting weight side to side. This only works if there is pressure on the tiller (usually when going upwind or reaching), but one can go for hours in steady breeze without steering (even without shifting weight) or this feature can just be used when needing two hands for something. ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThe traveler line can be short to make it less in the way when not sailing. We drilled holes about 14” apart (7” either side of center), ran the traveler line through those holes and used stopper knots underneath.

The holes should be about 5/16” diameter and be sealed carefully with a couple of coats of epoxy. The traveler line can be 3/16” or 1/4” diameter.

The hiking stick can still pass through if the rudder is fitted to the boat with the stick facing aft.

As we indicated, having the rudder not stay down all the way can mess up a good sail.
Usually this is caused by corrosion forming in the brass insert inside the plastic knob, reducing the force that can be applied with the knob.

Cleaning out the threads and applying a bit of grease should solve the problem, if not, try applying strips of tape to the rudder as shown.
We’re not sure which type of tape is best. Electrical tape smears, but sure does make the rudder stay down.
Plain masking tape or plastic tape may be better.

ptwatercraft.comIf you have one of our boats, you know that the hiking stick is attached with a piece of bungee.PTWATERCRAFT.COM
This works amazingly well, but the bungee should be replaced every couple of years, especially if you like to scull with your rudder.
We just found a source for Dyneema (Spectra) covered bungee and will now be providing this with our kits. If you would like a  short piece for your hiking stick, let us know.

ptwatercraft.comWhile we are on the subject of rudders, the rudder will only fit into the foils cases that we sell if the knob is on the port side as shown in the photos.

As described in the manual, the port side is good if you are right handed, but we never realized that putting the knob on the other side would restrict the fit in the case. If you are set up left handed, we have one left handed case in stock.

The rudder should be folded as shown to fit into the foils case.

The forward leather pads had to be replaced on our older boat. It seems that there is a lot of sideways force applied to these pads when the boat is nested and tied down tightly or if people sit on the boat when nested.
The adhesion of the contact cement to the boat can be improved by sanding the epoxy with coarser sandpaper (100 grit, or so), instead of just using the 3-M scrubbie. This is challenging, of course in such a tiny, taped-off area, but still easier than replacing one “in the field”.

The manual now shows glued-in hardwood dowel pins keeping the back seat from sliding forward.
If your seat slides off and you want to do something about it, we will e-mail that part of the manual to you and can send the pins as well.




Not included in older manuals is trimming the width of the seat to allow wedging it between the bungee eye strap and the cleat that supports the seat.
This can be handy to keep the seat out of the way when nesting. It is not a very positive way to hold the seat, but it works with no extra parts or steps.
The width of the seat should be trimmed a little bit at a time with a table saw or block plane until it just wedges in place. ptwatercraft.comAlso missing from older manuals is the dagger board hold down strap. It is a loop of line that just fits around the aft turn dog base as shown.ptwatercraft.comNotice the tether on the trunk cap? it is glued into a hole drilled in the cap but tied to a custom washer that we now include in the kit. If you didn’t get one, let us know.

The connective hardware now uses 316 stainless C-clips that fit into notches in the pins to make the pins captive. Older boats have O-rings that serve the same purpose, but the O-rings & surrounding areas require cleaning and greasing to keep them from getting stiff and hard to use.
If you want to change O-rings and didn’t get extras with your kit, let us know and we will mail you some. Remember to use just a small amount of grease after cleaning all the parts well.
The pins can be removed with two 9/16” (14mm may fit) box wrenches as shown. The nuts, knobs, and washers are removed before pushing the pins out forward. ptwatercraft.comThese bailer photos have appeared on an earlier blog, but a good bailer is an absolute necessity and showing this again seems important.
This half-gallon laundry product bottle has had it’s bottom cut off and has a long tether attached to one of the eye straps placed above and below the bailer. We used carbon fiber glue-on eye straps,  for tying the bungee to, but small stainless eye straps would work fine using  3/8” long screws installed with epoxy.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comPlacing the bailer in the location shown keeps it out of the way and also allows nesting the boat without removing the bailer, as long as the bailer is not too big.

If you capsize, sweeping the water out with your arm or sloshing out the water before getting back in gets much of the water out in a hurry.
Have you seen our capsize video?

Oars need collars (or stops) to keep the oarlocks from sliding off the oars. Hopefully your oars came with collars that work with the large Gaco oarlocks and are adjustable.
The collars should be adjusted to fit the boat, so that when rowing the oar handles almost touch each other on the centerline of the boat.
The collars should be adjusted to fit the forward oarlocks because they are closer together. Measuring  from the outboard edge of the collars to the inboard tip of the oar handle, 22 1/4” should work fine.ptwatercraft.comThe collars shown were made from contact cementing a long length of 3/4” webbing around (and around) the oar.
This is not the easiest thing to do and hopefully you have oars with collars that work well. The diameter of the collars shown is not large enough, as the collars can get wedged in the oarlock, restricting rotation.

If your PT 11 or Spear is damaged, even if it happened in an embarrassing way (such as backing a truck into it), we want to hear about it. Take careful photos and send them to us. sometimes big repairs can be quite easy to do.

One repair that would not be easy to fix is what could happen if your mast was not seated all the way down in the socket and you went sailing. The socket itself is not very strong, it’s the upper and lower mast partners that spread the considerable mast loads out into the boat.
If the mast wasn’t all the way down, the bottom end of the mast could break the socket and a very ugly hole in the deck would result.

pt11-seated-mastA mast hold-down is not very convenient, but could be just an eye strap mounted to the deck just aft of the socket. A bungee or lashing to the boom vang eye strap would hold the mast down. A wrap of colored tape on the mast to show when it is fully seated is another idea.
Remember to check that the mast is seated after a capsize.

Speaking of the boom vang, don’t over do it. The sail is most powerful if it twists a bit, and the boom could be broken if you used way too much tension, so go easy on the vang.

Also, remember that dinghy sailing takes a lot of skill and should be approached cautiously. Going for your first sail on a gusty day is not a good idea, even if you sailed dinghies as a kid. Ease into it by starting in light and steady wind. build your skills in stages. If you are serious about it, do a capsize and self-rescue test, but do it with help nearby and don’t forget the bailer. PDF version of this guide

Fun! For the second year we had a blast in our PT 11 as the smallest entrant in the Shipwright's Regatta hosted by the Port Townsend Sailing Association. Russell was at the helm and I was ballast, chocolate dispenser, and "kite" handler,  .... hmmmm... maybe we have some work to do if we are going to get real about racing...
My little kite... 'I think I can, I think I can...' photo by 'Ace' Spragg

Of course Russell would have been much faster by himself but no fun without me! Kidding aside, we didn't do all that bad (13th out of 19 boats in Class B) since our competition was all multiples of us in waterline. (except for Simeon in Noddy, his SCAMP)
Lil B is our PT 11.

It was a beautiful day, perfect breeze, sunshine, and little chop. I took some photos and Ace managed to capture a shot of our "kite" on the down wind leg... yes, it really was a kite. I could not get it out from behind the mainsail but it actually did have some pull to it. The one time I got it up higher, it nose dived into the water and became an instant drogue. A funny experiment that confirmed we could come up with an 'itty bitty' spinnaker and make use of it. We shall see...

Oddly, for Russell and I, it takes more discipline to actually get it together to participate in our local sailing events than to work in the shop and office every day! Gotta work on that... 😉 AEB

Pictures follow.

This letter came in November and I have the author's permission to post it along with the pictures he sent. It is clear by the pictures, that this boat has gotten some real use. Nothing could please us more. 😉

"The boat went into the water Thanksgiving 2014. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time with it. I have become quite jaded over the years with lots of bluewater miles and lots of hours racing a thistle-not to mention dozens of other boats. However I think I can state unequivocally that this boat is by far the most fun I’ve had on any boat in a very long time.

I have to confess to some off-label uses—on Sunday I was on a lake in Northern Massachusetts and had an adventure in an unexpected snow squall. Gusts 15-20 and horizontal snow. The gusts went away and I managed to keep the boat bottom side down. It took me a long time to regain normal feeling in my toes after I got back to base.

In So Cal (my normal stomping grounds) I can take it lots of places that neither a Thistle or a Canoe (two of my other boats) are comfortable. The Thistle is too much boat for a narrow cove with gusting winds and canoes don’t deal with surf (at my level of skill—though they are fun in whitewater rivers). I bought a small Rocna and use it to anchor and dive off of the boat. Dolphins seem frequently curious about the unusual traffic and check the boat out. You don’t realize how big they really are until you are eye to eye from water level.

In one incautious moment (or of one of several)  on a flat calm day I rowed into a little cove. There was a rock pillar in the center of it, but I didn’t think anything of it. A boat wake from a passing ferry picked the PT11 up and deposited it directly on top of the pillar. I was really worried it was the end of my favorite toy. However when I got back to the dock, there was a slight paint chip aft of the mast area and NO OTHER DAMAGE!  This boat is strong.

In another adventure had a 2+ mile long plane down a lake in New Hampshire in a really big blow. I knew it was a bad idea but I was flying all the way and it was too much fun. I did not succeed in taking the boat upwind. After a couple of capsizes I gave up and left it on the lee beach until the weather changed. I think I would have been OK, but the boat was so slippery inside that I couldn’t get up on the rail between tacks. I simply fell down.

I’ve since put a tasteful patch of non-skid on the floor of the boat, and found that I can feather upwind sitting on the rail, even in a good bit of wind.

Matt Foreman
Newport Beach, CA"


Our Christmas present this year was a very large stack of plywood.

This is a big deal for us. Some of you may know from an earlier post that one big reason end-of-2015 production halted was due to not liking the plywood that was available. We take plywood very seriously for our kits. It needs to be beautiful since most of our builders like a clear finish. Flatness is critical for many parts and  consistent ply thickness is important especially on parts like foils, both for strength and because shaping the foils shows off the separate layers. If we accidentally cut foils from faulty plywood, they need a lot of extra work on Russell's part and then are sold discounted as 'Paint-grade'. So we have learned to be even more particular in our selection even if that means being a bit of a pain in someone's rear....

Thus, we are very happy to announce that Edensaw Woods has recently secured some beautiful plywood.
We tend to buy lots of plywood when we like the quality so pre-Christmas Eve, Russell went through an entire unit (86 sheets) of 6mm and only found a few that we didn’t buy. We also bought enough 12mm to not have to worry about that thickness for at least a year. Very important parts are cut from 12mm, such as the main bulkheads and foils, so, high grade plywood is critical.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you were hoping to build a PT 11, PT Spear, or PT Skiff in the New Year, we will have kits!

If you would like to know more about the care we take in producing our kits, we have been putting together an in-depth article about it. This will follow soon.
Double checking the packing lists