This September we had the opportunity to play with an EP Carry electric motor for the first time.  Dinghy owners often ask about an outboard for the PT 11.
Our preference is to discourage outboards on our dinghies because good rowing and sailing boats never make great motor boats. But some people really want to be able to use an outboard. That's understandable, but the fact is that the smallest gas outboard motors currently available are really too big for our boat; too much power and too heavy.

Now there is an option we can support; the EP CARRY electric "outboard". All of the  technical information about this innovative little motor can be found on the website ELECTRICPADDLE.COM. Though it is compared to a 1HP on their website, it has sufficient power to get the PT 11 up to a cruising speed of about 4 knots. The USCG however, considers all small electric outboards as "2HP". Based on that formula, the PT 11 and PT Spear are rated for "2HP" so, the EP CARRY aligns with the Coast Guard figures.  The amazing thing about this motor is that it weighs only 14.4 Lbs. This makes it very easy to mount and remove. The battery pack weighs 6.3 Lbs, making the total package less than 21 Lbs. There are several design features that add to the ease of handling as well.
(At this years wooden boat festival, Russell showed up with the motor in his bicycle bag.)

Our recent experience with the EP Carry was very positive and to my surprise, I caught Russell grinning after speeding off to visit other boats in the anchorage. "Mr. anti-outboard" was actually having fun and we enjoyed it further by taking a friend on an evening "cocktail" tour of Reid Harbor, a deep bay with lots of shoreline and  many boats to observe.
We spent a couple of days, driving along the shore of Sucia in the San Juans,  in Shallow Bay making watery doughnuts, backing up, going forward, generally goofing off, and then venturing out to 'Danger Reef' to "brave" close proximity to a group of Stellar Sea Lions. We were pleasantly surprised by how far the battery went on one charge. You will notice in our video that we carried our oars with us but we did not need to employ them.
This motor is not silent. Neither is it loud. Our lightly built plywood boat seemed to acoustically amplify the sound a little. Even so, there was no need to raise our voices for conversation. In fact, we could almost whisper and still communicate. This was a plus to me. Loud outboards in quiet anchorages are, in my mind, a real nuisance and many of us are familiar with boaters talking in their loud dinghies barely hearing each other and assuming no one else can hear them either...but of course we hear every word. Sound is a funny thing. With the EP Carry, the birds, seals, and sea lions were undisturbed by our passage. It made it a great modus for exploring the nature around E Brown
Another thing that is really attractive to us about this motor, is that even with our limited house battery power, we could re-charge the EP Carry Battery. It does require a 150-200W inverter, but this lithium battery requires a third of the power than comparable models to recharge. At home, it is simple to plug it into a normal outlet. Beyond charging the battery and rinsing the unit after use in salt water, there is virtually no maintenance. Yet another plus.
(see our video exploring Sucia with the EP CARRY)
When our EP Carry arrived at the door, unpacking it was quite amazing. The care taken to pack it and the detailed contents made for a well thought out and complete package. It was a positive reflection of Joe and Linda who have spent  years perfecting their product. They, like us, had a vision that they worked and reworked in every detail. In fact, the original mount did not fit the PT 11 and now it does.  Further, the EP Carry, designed right here in WA State, is assembled in the USA. It is yet another example of admirable American ingenuity with style and a small business making a positive difference in the world. Of all the outboards on the market, we feel confident that the EP Carry is a good fit for the PT 11.



Sunday, March 24th was an overcast and cold day to be out on the water. Russell was not deterred. Paul Bieker's new design (the Riptide 41;"BLUE") was in the water and Russell was invited to check it out. "BLUE" is one of the most innovative racing sailboats around and sailed almost 23 knots on her very first sail.  { read more about it. }ptwatercraft.comBieker Boats design team of Paul Bieker and Eric Jolley are responsible for designing our PT Skiff, the 18.5ft fuel efficient motor skiff kit, sold by PT Watercraft. The PT Skiff, "Pika", built by J. Brandt in Seattle, was also there to compliment the gathering. ptwatercraft.comWhile on the dock at Shilshole Marina, a wedding party came down the dock and the bride and groom asked for a ride in the PT Skiff. Jan obliged and the smiling couple posed for photos. Russell snapped a few along side the wedding photographer. The PT Skiff has been put to work as a regatta chase boat, a marine research commuter, a phototgrapher's platform and now as a wedding prop!ptwatercraft.comSince we sold our PT Skiff, :( .., we have been using our experimental tornado cat motor boat for any over water commuting. The 'Grasshopper" (as we sometimes refer to it) has many many miles on her 15hp motor. The trip from Port Townsend to Seattle takes about 2 hours and generally uses about 2 gallons of fuel. This boat was designed on the back of an envelope and it is definitely a unique boat. No, there are no plans available.. :)ptwatercraft.comRussell was able to surf a cargo ship's wake for about 10 miles before the intensity of it got to him and he exited the wake. The trip from Port Townsend to Seattle and back, with favorable currents and surfing, used about 3 gallons of gas. This short video does little justice to the fun he was having.

We now have the option with some nice drawings for making the PT Skiff self bailing. Follow this link to see it!

One of several images to see on the website

This last summer we drove the skiff across country and had some opportunities to splash in the Atlantic and Chesapeake. Alas, my video skills are not too hot. I compiled some of the better clips from the summer in this video.

I would like to mention that Russell has been working on the nesting dinghy design and we hope to start a blog for it soon. Cheers.

On September 15th, as the City Hall tolled 9:00am, Russell and I were pulling out of Port Townsend Harbor in the PT Skiff. We were loaded up with nearly 600 lbs between the 2 of us and gear. It was foggy and cold on Puget Sound but that is nothing new.
We were headed for Desolation Sound BC to visit friends with a new baby. We had not devised a dodger and the weather was questionable but we were happy to be off on an adventure even if it was just for the short time we had available.


We spent 8 days total on our trip, camped ashore every night, travelled some 360 miles at an average of 15knots, and burned about 30 gallons of gasoline.  We did prepare an option for sleeping onboard but never needed it since campsites were plentiful along the way. We got caught in the rain once between Ganges and Wallace Island but we had our foul weather gear and watertight bags.

Russell napping on the forward sole
Russell napping on the forward sole

The only semi rough water we encountered was East of Nanaimo and even that was mild. We didn’t even have to slow down, though trying to hand hold the camera steady enough to show the gps was a real trick.  I will be putting together a short video of that day, surfing the Navy’s wake and Dodd Narrows.

 beautiful day in Desolation Sound
beautiful day in Desolation Sound

The biggest threat of the trip was the raccoons!


On Wallace we had to tie our food bins up between 2 trees and chase the critters off, but our last night out on Jones Island in the San Juans, we were slack and the coons got into everything, devouring all the food we had left and making a disastrous mess in the boat and on the dock. We could have kicked ourselves. We mourned our stupidity over breakfast at Rocky Bay Cafe in Friday Harbor.

raccon prevention
raccon prevention

The other difficulty was not having a tide chart with us. We had wanted to tie up at the very end of Sturt Bay on Texada but decided the risk of getting stranded in the morning low tide was too big. We tied the boat just south of where we had floated over a good 5 feet of water. The tune of rapids woke us before daylight and in the morning the whole area was high and dry. Our precaution paid off and the skiff still floated in a foot of water outside of the channel and we were free to continue our trip.

Sturt Bay lagoon
Sturt Bay lagoon

All the way home we had current against us but being able to hug the shore and make use of back eddies gave us a knot + on our speed.

riding the back eddies
riding the back eddies

It was a beautiful trip that climaxed at our friends homestead near Quadra. Add to that, fresh fish and a campfire dinner, hunting Chantrelle mushrooms and enjoying the amazing wildlife of BC at close range, such are the things that made the trip extremely memorable. The skiff made it easy to get away on short notice and return home in a short weather window.





August 8, 2010 is now marked on the calender as the first PT Skiff rendezvous. PT Watercraft and "Pika" met in Puget Sound and compared boats and notes and each took turns at the wheel of the other. Paul Bieker and family happened to be Seattle bound on their boat which provided a great photo platform and we were able to get some video. The PT Skiff Rendezvous 2010




Pictured here you will see the "Pika" powered with Evinrude's E-Tec 25hp. We are working on a fuel consumption study and comparison for the two boats to be published soon.

"Pika" has her driver's seat and grates held snug with velcro to great effect. Furthermore, the builder opted for a larger forward hatch. He also kept the side decks clear finished and the wood grain looks really nice next to her "20 feet of Bahama water"-blue hull paint.



Of his return trip, the owner of PIKA wrote:

"Not sure if you guys noticed the large Hapag Loyd container coming down the sound as we split. He was running at 20 kn and I took his stern by about 100 yards and got on his east side a bit north of Point-no-Point. He had an awesome wake and I ended up surfing and carving sweet bottom turns for 5.5 miles until I had to bail out for Edmonds. Now, THAT is more fun than you are allowed to have in a powerboat! Truly the surfing was just brilliant. Everything came together perfectly, flat water, lot's of space, and a big ass container ship running at 20 kn in the right direction. Who knew the skiff would bottom turn like my 9'6" longboard, over, and over, and over again. I am still grinning!"


We are on the road to the east coast and somehow these photos did not upload right on the website so I am posting them here. When we get back I will be able to make such updates from the main computer. Here is the windshield photo and a photo of a hatch with the watertight gasket and custom machined turn-dogs installed. These photos relate to the kit details page linked from the PT Skiff page of the website (or click on the photo here in) and are options available in addition to the base kit. Thank you for your patience! Best to all, Ashlyn & Russell.

Plexiglass windshield with adjustable height on a welded stainless bar.
Plexiglass windshield with adjustable height on a welded stainless bar.
Installed watertight hatch
Installed watertight hatch