What is different about kits from PT Watercraft and why do they cost what they do?

To start, we produce the kind of kit that we would like ourselves, something more advanced. Advanced from the perspective of functionality, performance, longevity, and good strength to weight ratio, etc.
This approach seems to be working as our nesting dinghy kits (our most complex kit) has been selling very well.

Most kit companies avoid hand-made parts when possible, and for good reason; they take a lot of time to produce and they increase the cost of the kits.

How can we afford to have so many custom and hand-made parts in our kits? Because we have no real employees and a very low overhead. This can be limiting in some ways, but it does afford us the ability to to really focus on each and every part that goes into a kit.

Development and manufacturing has been a lifelong interest. Figuring out new, more efficient ways to produce parts is fun for us, so we thought we would share a bit of it with you.

Double checking the packing lists

Even though there are 5 different thicknesses of plywood in a PT 11 kit, the 6mm plywood parts (shown below) form most of the hull, foredeck, transom, etc.

There’s no handwork here; all these parts are cut by a very good CNC operator (Turn Point Design). There is however, much effort that goes into buying and grading this plywood. We reject unattractive or warped sheets and pick the best looking sheets for cutting the foredecks, buoyancy tanks, etc.
We are lucky to have Edensaw Woods, a very large plywood importer right here in Port Townsend, yet finding good (and good-looking) plywood has become both more expensive and more difficult. When we find what we want, be buy a lot of it.

The 6mm parts are the first parts to go in the crate. We use a 5 page “map” to show how the layers nest to take up the least space and yet lay flat in the crate.ptwatercraft.comThe main connective bulkheads (12 mm plywood) are also CNC cut with scribed marks for locating doublers, gussets, and trunk. The forward of these two bulkheads has a notch for the hull gasket, which unfortunately needs to be on the opposite face as the scribed marks, so CNC cutting the notch is not easily done. We very carefully cut the notches with a jig and router as shown below. ptwatercraft.com

hand routering the gasket notch in the PT 11 main bulkhead.

The large gussets, visible in most PT 11 photos, are what really tie the front and back halves of the boat together (and help us sleep at night).
There are 8 of them per boat (complete set in foreground of photo below) and they are made from 25mm (1”) thick plywood. Being so large (and thick) makes them both very effective at taking the loads and also relatively easy to install in the building process.
For the first couple of years of selling kits for this boat, we asked the builder do the handwork on these parts which, without the right tools could be difficult and potentially dangerous.

The upper gussets (right hand cluster in the foreground below) are heavily beveled on the outboard edges to match the angle of the hull. We do this with a large 1 hp tilt-table disk sander hooked up to a large vacuum.

The appropriate edges are then rounded on the router table, which is far safer and easier than the builder rounding them with a router by hand.

ptwatercraft.comThere are only 3 different gusset profiles when we start the handwork part, but when we finish beveling and rounding edges, there are 6 different parts. In other words, it’s critical to bevel and round the right edges and pack the right parts.

Ashlyn is shown here at the router table removing the tabs left from the CNC machining.

The machined gunwales (also made from 25mm plywood) don’t require handwork, (besides checking the joints and packing), but they do a very effective job. ptwatercraft.com
Not only are these gunwales easy to join and install, but they lock the upper edge of the hull into its designed shape without having to laminate the gunwales and without needing much framing to support the upper hull panels (see photo).

The outer faces of the gunwales are “capped” with unidirectional glass to make them very strong for their weight before gluing on the bumper.
Making gunwales from plywood was not an inexpensive route for us to follow (we are the only kit company currently doing this) but the result has been worth it.

PT11 gunwale kits

The lumber kit unfortunately ends up hidden under the foredeck (mostly) in a finished boat. Unfortunate, because we use high grade Sitka spruce that no one but the builder gets to see.
We use Sitka spruce to keep the parts light and strong.
The foredeck stringers (the biggest of these parts) let us keep the foredeck thin and light, yet stiff and strong enough to be walked on.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comJoining the foredeck to the hull are machined 15mm plywood glue cleats. These are machined to the curve of the foredeck edge to make them easy to install and pre-beveled to fit the angle between hull & deck.


Our trunk logs (the spacers that separate the daggerboard trunk walls) are cut on the table saw from pre-fiberglassed stock.
Why do we pre-glass?, because if the builder were to glass these pieces it would be difficult to keep the edges square when trimming the glass. Square trunk logs help make square trunks, which helps the dagger board fit into the trunk, etc.ptwatercraft.com ptwatercraft.comMaking our own mast sockets is necessary because the masts that we use are an odd outside diameter and the mast must fit into the socket without a lot of wiggle room.
We found a steel tube the right diameter (after much searching) and use this as a mandril to make tubes long enough for 5 sockets to be cut from.

How we actually make these tubes is more than we want to show, but how we get the tubes off the mandril is interesting: The mandril is covered with adhesive-backed Teflon film (small photo),ptwatercraft.com so after the tube has been laminated and post-cured (with heat), the tube is pulled off the mandril with a come-along.
We used to do this between the shop truck and a tree (it takes a lot of pulling), but now have found that we can put clamps over the ends of a 2” thick plank and pull from those as shown.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThis photo shows the mast step assembly placed on the mast step bulkhead. These parts are easy to install (if one follows the manual) and easy to install accurately as there are scribed centerline marks on all the parts.
All bulkheads have tongues (visible in this photo) that fit into slots machined into the hull panels.ptwatercraft.comHow we make the alignment clips is also more than we want to show, but they are really a lot of work to make. We almost cry when it’s time to make more of them.
They are molded from many layers of carbon in a long blank and then cut into the shapes shown.ptwatercraft.comThe alignment clips are part of the joining system. They automatically (when pushing down on the forward hull-half), align and hold the two halves so that the threaded pins can find their sockets. ptwatercraft.cmptwatercraft.com

The alignment clips seat over small strips of filled epoxy (photo on left) that are glued to the bulkhead edges and then shaped level with the foredeck, where the clips are attached. ptwatercraft.com


 At the heart of the PT 11 is the connective hardware.  This hardware has evolved considerably since our early prototypes.
Designed by Russell Brown and Paul Zeuche, this hardware (4 sets per boat) is very strong, easy to use, and maintenance-free.

Paul Zeuche machines these parts from 316 stainless steel and does so with a lot of care and pride.
We assemble these parts with the knobs and the custom beveled cap nuts and check tolerances, etc.

ptwatercraft.comThe knobs (star knobs, we call them), are machined from G-10 fiberglass plate.
This is a very dense and strong (similar to aluminum) epoxy and glass material that machines well and doesn’t corrode.

Unfortunately, G-10 is no longer available in black, but since the builder has to sand and coat the knobs anyway, they can just as easily be painted instead, even with enamel paint in a rattle can.

These are cut by the CNC machine, but we chamfer the edges on the router table and tap (thread) the holes.

ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comAlso made from G-10 plate are the wear strips that are used at the upper and lower ends of the dagger board trunk.
Our method is a very effective and easy way to seal and toughen these damage-prone edges.

The towing hole is a piece of G-10 tubing that is bonded into the cutwater area of the stem.
A towing point should be strong enough to yank hard on the boat when it is full of water and this one is.




ptwatercraft.comThe PT 11 is covered in fiberglass cloth on every exterior surface (including the inside).
Glassing inside and out gives the boat a very long potential life span and it’s not hard to do.

The method we use is to pre- fiberglass and sand all inside surfaces with light cloth before assembling the hull, while the parts are laid flat on the table.

The outside of the hull is glassed with heavier cloth after assembly, and the bottom of the hull is glassed with even heavier cloth yet.
This takes a lot of cloth and three weights of cloth...And there’s peel ply for the chine taping.

The fiberglass types and weights used on the PT 11 are carefully chosen to make the boat as light and strong as possible.ptwatercraft.com

Unidirectional fiberglass (additional to the 3 types mentioned) is used on the outside faces of the gunwales to dramatically stiffen and strengthen them.


We carefully roll the cloth onto tubes on our 24’ long cutting table.



The parts you have seen in this article are base kit parts. Several parts included in the kit are not shown here.  See the kit contents photos.
In 2016, some of the parts that have previously been options will be included in the base kit.

The PT 11 (and Spear) foils are not the usual dinghy fare. Good foils are just as important as good sails if you want performance, especially upwind. Again, we went for something that we would want ourselves.
Sailing adventures on our multiple PT 11 prototypes while cruising have provided some of the highlights of our trips. Having a dinghy that really performs, especially upwind, makes it possible to explore farther and it is definitely more fun.
The accurate foil shape (NACA 0012 section) and high aspect ratio are what makes these CNC machined foils perform so well.

Machining them from plywood (instead of making them from fiberglass in a mold) is more affordable and there’s not a huge amount of labor involved in going from the kit to finished foils. The result can be really beautiful and tough foils that are lighter than most molded dinghy foils.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.com

Unfortunately, the Okoume plywood industry has recently moved to using thicker veneers in thick plywood panels, so instead of the foils being made from 9 ply (12mm), they are now made from 7 plies.
The foils are machined in halves (photo below) and bonded together with vacuum pressure so there are actually 14 plies in a foil that is almost 1” thick.
Machining foils from plywood is the ultimate way to find defects hidden within the layers. All of our foils have some visual defects or slight waves in the veneer lines, but sometimes a whole batch of foils will become “paint grade” foils sold at a discount.
From one 4’x8’ sheet of plywood we can machine 12 foil halves, which sounds like a lot, but that makes only 6 foils, enough for 3 boats.

Vacuum bagging the halves together is a laborious process, mostly because the parts have to be held straight when being joined, but we have a new method to try, which could be better.

The machined surfaces of the foils are very accurate and fair, but we sand out the tooling marks after the halves are bonded together. We sand just until the tooling marks start to disappear, and then sand the edges and round the upper (rectangular) parts on the router table.ptwatercraft.comThe design of the foils parts is something we are proud of. The kick-up rudder is simple yet can be locked down or up and can be folded back to fit in a foils case.
The gudgeons are modified (by us) to be the right width for our rudder case and there are scribed marks machined into the case walls to show gudgeon location.
The tiller and hiking stick are Sapele mahogany. The tiller is tapered on three sides in a router jig and the holes drilled in drill press jigs, leaving just the edge rounding to the builder.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.com





The rigs are an entirely different kind of work for us. The wonderfully lightweight two-piece carbon masts come to us through the windsurfing industry, but we do a large modification to the bottom ends of them to make them strong enough to be socket-stepped.
The boom tubes are made for us by ICE  and they are so lightweight that adding the Harken and Ronstan hardware to the booms just about doubles their weight.

We build the rigs complete. They are ready to use when they leave the shop.

Having grown up dinghy sailing (from a cruising boat mostly), I knew that for our rigs to be successful, they had to extremely easy to use. Carbon fiber spars make it possible for us to build a 13 pound rig. That’s 13 pounds for the mast, boom, sail, running rigging, and the bag that it all fits into.
Set-up and break-down of this rig is fast and easy enough to make a “quick sail” something that one actually does, instead of just thinking about doing it.ptwatercraft.comLike everything else we do, we try to build a lot of rigs at one time. Shown here are 10 rigs worth of spars. The upper mast sections (far right of photo) are the only part that isn’t much work.
The fatter sections are the lower ends of the masts, where all the hidden reinforcement happens.
On the left are 10 booms just started, with only the gooseneck fittings attached.ptwatercraft.comThis kind of work can be stressful, as mistakes would be very costly (the tubes are expensive), but also quite rewarding. The process is refined with every batch we do.ptwatercraft.comThe gooseneck fittings are built this way for two reasons: # 1 is that assembly is so fast. Just plug the boom onto the mast and snap on the tack hook instead of fiddling around with fitting a gooseneck pin into the end of the boom. # 2 is that no hardware is bolted to the mast, which would weaken it. This gooseneck is strong and is very nice to the mast.
The gooseneck fittings are made of molded (vacuum bagged) carbon fiber in long blanks and then cut into strips on a table saw. All very easy until the corner and edge rounding, coating, and drilling, and of course mounting to the booms.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comAll the hardware for sailing and all the running rigging is carried on the boom.
Sheet, vang, and outhaul all live on the boom.
The quick disconnect vang set-up is shown here.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThe dagger board trunk caps are machined for us from 3/16” G-10 plate. They are machined with a gasket notch and now are machined with a recess for the mahogany stiffener. The recess makes it easy to bond the stiffener in place and also makes the cap significantly lighter.

A good trunk cap is a luxury if you like dry pants and a necessity for towing, and is now included in the base kit.

We sand and chamfer the edges of the caps and riser blocks and we make the stiffeners.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThe daggerboard trunk cap kit uses many of the same parts that the hatch kit uses, except that the cap uses riser blocks to lift the turn dogs to the level of the cap and custom washers to lift them just a bit more. One of the two washers provides a tie point for the lanyard (see both photos below).ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThe hatch kit will be included in the base kit in 2016 because everyone purchasing the PT 11 has opted for the hatch kit.
The hatch opening and turn dog fastener locations are now machined into the foredeck and we now pre-round the edges of the coaming opening and lid stiffener.ptwatercraft.comThe hatch is flush, which is necessary because it is sat on when rowing with two. It is also airtight (the gasket sits inside a machined gasket notch). How airtight? Removing the lid takes a good pull if the boat has cooled as the vacuum pulls the lid down tight.ptwatercraft.comWe machine a lot of small mahogany parts such as foot braces, back seat cleats, stiffeners, and oarlock riser blocks. We have gotten pretty good at producing parts that are basically ready to install and finish.ptwatercraft.comFoot braces are almost as important as oars when it comes to rowing.
We have experimented with many different types of foot braces and keep coming back to these glued-on Sapele mahogany braces. They are easy to install (with the included template), lightweight, hard enough to hold a finish well, and made from a species that would hold up well even without finish.
The back seat cleats are also shown in photos above and below.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.com








The photo below shows three of the finishing steps used on all the cleats, stiffeners, and foot braces.
The piece on the right has had its ends cut to length and angle on the table saw. The piece in the middle has had its sawn faces sanded and sharp corners rounded on a table sander. The finished piece has had its edges rounded with a sharp round over bit in a router table.

All the stock for these parts is run through a sharp thickness planer after cutting to make all four edges smooth before cutting the individual parts.ptwatercraft.com


To say that we make a lot of these parts is not an exaggeration.
Shown are foot braces and back seat cleats for only five boats.





The oarlock riser blocks are not strictly necessary, but they give the sockets more support and give arguably better ergonomics, especially if you like to sit on a cushion when rowing.
A block of wood with holes drilled in it would work fine, but we machine them to the shape of the socket.
Making these parts is laborious and makes sense only if a lot of them are made at one time.
CNC machining them is possible, but would be expensive (5 axis machine) and the parts would still need finish sanding.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.com





The drill press is used with a fence to drill both large and small holes on center.

The sockets are installed with the screw size that will be used for final installation and marked around as shown.

After cutting the strips into individual parts, the shapes are roughly machined very quickly on a large tilt-table sander. They are then finished on a smaller tilt-table sander with fine sandpaper as shown below.ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comThe back seat (also visible in photos above) is made from very tight grain Red Cedar which seems to be an ideal material for a removable seat. It’s very light, looks good, and doesn’t ding up the inside of the boat. We pick through piles of expensive wood to find the nicest pieces, plane them to thickness, and cut them with a template.ptwatercraft.comThe construction manual is what ties all the parts together.ptwatercraft.com

The PT 11 manual has been the largest single effort of this boat. It seems to be paying off as we get very few “tech” calls or calls from builders in trouble.

The only embarrassing thing about the manual is that it is so thick (306 pages) and some find that intimidating.
The reason it’s so thick is that we try to show more with photos than with words and there are more than 700 photos in this book, showing every step of the building process.
The PT 11 is not a simple boat and while the manual needs to be carefully followed, total amateurs have built very nice 11’s and had a good time doing so.

The manual has undergone multiple re-writings (even very recently), which usually involves building a new boat to use as a photo prop for design changes or changes in process or sequence. The result of all this is that the boat is now both better and easier to build.

What do we do with our “spare time”? We make other stuff, such as turn dogs and carbon eye straps. We make these parts for our own boats, but we also make them for our friends at Chesapeake Light Craft, who have managed to sell many thousands of these parts for use on their own kits.

The turn dogs are machined from sheets of Delrin(TM) and we bevel the edges on the router table, which sounds dangerous, but really it’s just mind-numbing (and finger cramping). Small fingers like Ashlyn’s are pretty much a requirement for this job.


..each piece has the upper & lower edges chamfered on a router table...

The carbon eye straps are popular because they look cool, but also because they can be glued to a surface (such as a kayak deck) without fasteners. We make long blanks in a two-part mold (long enough to make 80 eye straps). After trimming and finishing the blank, the eye straps are cut, beveled, and finished by hand. Both the turn dogs and eye straps were just an idea (floated with crude samples) to our friend John Harris at CLC about 5 years ago. These parts now are a small industry and can be seen on boats far and wide (including our boats).ptwatercraft.comWhat’s next for us?
Kit sales in 2015 challenged the production capacity of our shop so the thought of someone else taking over PT Watercraft has crossed our minds more than once. This would allow us to develop other boats and write about  building techniques.
For the present, however, we are happy to keep producing the best kits we possibly can.



14ft nesting dinghy loaded up
14ft nesting dinghy loaded up

Every now and then a friend has a boat for sale that they would like us to post on our website. We do this selectively for free. Paul Zeusche, who makes the connective hardware for our kits, has recently finished refurbishing a molded fiberglass nesting dinghy (14 feet) that he and his wife used extensively on their cruising boat. It looks like he did an amazing and thorough job on this boat.

This boat is much longer than our nesting dinghy. The advantage of length is higher rowing speeds. This boat can be rowed by 2 people at once, using either 4 oars or just two.

Because the boat is relatively narrow and a very slippery hull shape, I would describe it as having "long legs."

You can check out the photos and specifications here.

paul zeusche
Photo taken October 2015


This last June and July, Russell and I sailed our multi-hull from Port Townsend to Haida Gwaii/Gwaii Haanas park (also known as Queen Charlotte Islands) and back down the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Soaking in a hot tidal pool

There is really no way to accurately describe what it was like for me, or the feeling that we dropped off into another world for a wonderful but all too brief period of time. "What does one do in absolute wilderness?" This was a question asked by my adult daughter. "It's more about being there." I finally said, but I lacked for words and still do.

Our general track

I did take some pictures and videos but not many, nor do they capture the wonder that surrounded us. I simply spent more time looking, listening, breathing, and just being.

We were tandem sailing with dear friends, Alex and his rotating crew (all the coolest of people),  and we met up with "Blackbeard II"  and "Able" along the way. We also met some really interesting people in port. There was a lot of curiosity, honesty, generosity and simple human graciousness in the people of North Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Thinking about some of those people still kind of blows my mind. A blog post just isn't the place to do them justice. Of the Haida villages, we visited Skedans, Hotsprings Island, and SGang Gwaii. I was very impressed with the "Watchmen"; each one very different, each one with a story to tell in their own way, and each clearly passionate about their culture, history, and path into the future. I am so grateful, for the whole experience.

Vito Dumas often set out ahead of us in the mornings.

This adventure was in the planning since summer 2014, with our friend, Alex, on his lovely and magical boat, 'Vito Dumas'. Sailing in tandem with Alex is one of our great pleasures in life and we try to make at least one small trip every year. This one was a big one, 6 weeks and over a 1000 miles. He carried a PT 11 on his fore deck and we had ours on the trampoline. We were able to go adventuring in both boats and actually get some new video. Alex has become our PT 11 Star. Thank you, Alex! Some video is already published, others yet to come. Here is a video glimpse into our trip.

My 'take-away'? .. Nature, harmony with nature, back to nature; it is so nurturing so let's do more to preserve and help nature recuperate from human destructiveness. I left Gwaii Haanas feeling hopeful.

If you want to go to Gwaii Haanas, you need to do their orientation, make reservations and buy passes. It is not difficult and it is so very worth it.

cruising in BC
Gwaii Haanas

Contact: Ginette,
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site
60 Second Beach Road, Skidegate BC V0T 1S1  |
PO Box 37, Queen Charlotte BC V0T 1S0  |Email: gwaii.haanas@pc.gc.ca  Website: www.pc.gc.ca/gwaiihaanas
Telephone   |   Téléphone  250-559-8818
Toll Free   |   Sans frais    1-877-559-8818
www.parkscanada.gc.ca   |   www.parcscanada.gc.ca
www.facebook/gwaiihaanas   |   www.facebook.com/GwaiiHaanasFR

For an interesting approach to harmonious living that you can visit,  see: http://www.roseharbour.com/

As beautiful as clear coated Okoume is, a couple of builder's have chosen to paint their dinghy interiors. They have also added non skid. I have to admit, I think these boats look super smart!

exterior paint job on Sadee Ann includes a nice racing stripe.
Sadee Anne PT 11 nesting dinghy nested
Sadee-Ann with painted interior and clear coated accents.
A PT 11 in Holland with paint over non skid on the interior
This PT 11 in Holland matches the 'mother ship'

With 2 boats carrying our Pacific Swift emblem, you can guess Russell has been helping get them ready for the race. We have been very excited about this race mainly due to the spirit of it, in the tradition of the early OSTAR, where practically anybody with a boat and perseverance could enter and possibly the least likely could win.
Some boats have been designed and built from scratch and been launched a little too close to the race date to be ideal. But, they made it to the starting line and the shakedown leg to Victoria has been a great learning experience. For entrant details you can see the Race to Alaska website. As of writing this blog the racers have left Victoria on the second leg of the race. The spot trackers allow you to follow their progress in real time.

So what was the start like? Numerous great videos have been posted online but that  morning, with so many boats on the water at daybreak and the sudden cheer that erupted from shore at the starting horn, is hard to capture on film.

We were out on the water, not as an entrant, but signed up as a "chase-boat" / support for the arrival side. We sheeted in the sails along with everyone else at the start.  We were fast; making the crossing in just over 3 hours averaging 9+ knots in windy rough conditions. About midway our tack pennant gave way and the genoa raced up the stay. We 'parked' long enough to retie it and continue. Russell sent me down below for a specific line and I realized too late what a bad idea that was. The boat was jumping around faster than my eyes could keep up and and by the time I was on deck again, I was on my knees heaving. Yuk... I hate heaving but I did feel better afterwards! Some time after that I realized I was cold. I had not dressed warm enough under my foul weather gear. I was doomed to go below again and all I could manage was to lay down on the floor and cover myself with a sleeping bag and hugging a bucket. So I have been thoroughly initiated for our upcoming sailing trip.

Sean Trew took this photo as we neared Victoria. (thank you Sean). We were still in front of the fleet at the time. I was down below getting warm.

HERE is the only video I got before I got the queezies.

We were still leading the fleet until right near the harbor entrance, where Team Golden Oldies slid by to receive their well deserved victory. They made a perfect crossing in conditions, (strong wind, upwind) well suited to both our boats!

Team Golden Oldies passes us (on Jzerro) at the outer harbor channel marker of Victoria BC at the end of the first leg of the R2AK. The wind had just eased up.

In Victoria we quickly cleared customs and headed back out to cheer on arrivals and get some pictures. It was a good test for our boat, Jzerro, which Russell considers a cruising boat and not a racer. Had we tried to create a way to human power it, we might have entered this leg of the race, but we were swamped with work leading up to it and Russell spent a lot of time helping two of the teams prepare. We just wanted to be there and are grateful to Jake Beatty of the NW Maritime Center for our 'back stage' passes and a fascinating event.

While in Victoria, we enjoyed a lot of conversation and brainstorming on improvements and routes north with some of the crews. The rough and windy conditions were nature's way of sussing out weaknesses and filtering out those less well prepared. I know I will pack some warmer clothes than I had.

The internet is full of reports and commentaries on the second leg. See Youtube, Vimeo, Sailing Anarchy and of course, the R2AK website and facebook pages!

"on, on!" racers! We are thinking about you! AEB 😉


I want to share this PT Spear with you. Built in Texas and transported to the East Coast, the builder has done a great job and customized the boat to hang just right on the mother ship's davits.  The custom cover they had made is also very attractive and functional. See the photos below.
And..of course... the following comment was very happily received! 😉
"...We have been using the dinghy for nearly two weeks to get to and from the boat and the beach/dinghy dock.  So far, we have not splashed so much as a drop of water onto the crew or passenger (other than what I splash up with the oars - I’m still learning to use these long babies), despite rowing ashore and back in up to 20 knot winds and fairly choppy conditions.  It rows like a dream and I get an upper body workout for no extra charge.  We could not be happier with the finished product."

Photo by Hal Wells
Creating protected holes for a bridle.
Mock up of lifting the boat to create the bridle.
Swallow in place on the 'mother ship'..
Rain cover for Swallow, a PT Spear

Construction pictures of PT Spear, "Swallow", and current adventures can be seen on the owner's blog HERE>

Google recently announced that if your website is not 'mobile friendly' then you are going to the back of the line. Essentially, they will not show your website in the search results unless someone types in your specific website address.  I have known for some time that my website, ptwatercraft.com, is not mobile friendly as they say. Thus when I got a call from a company promising a solution for a good price, I begrudgingly accepted. I will say that it took a very persistent salesman to wear me down. I was told they would use my own text from my website and I could request changes at any time. I already knew my site had issues and thought I would save some time...what was I thinking? (I wasn't, apparently)

The snap shot of boatkitsinseattle.com below is a site created by a third party and not my creation. I am working now to have it  removed from the web.
This is a snap shot of the repaired site but even repaired it feels alien.
This is a snap shot of the repaired site but even repaired it feels alien.

When I saw the site I cried. They did not have a clue what they were talking about and had taken way too many liberties in re writing my text to sound like a used car salesman...in the worst way.  I spent hours on the phone with them for changes only to have them tell me to 'agree' that my changes might adversely affect the visibility of my site on the web and effectively negating their responsibility to get top search results.  Not agreeing to that, I had to tone down my changes and in the "end" (of my patience) I asked them to terminate the service.  This fabricated persona was not worth a penny and in fact feels damaging.

I am learning something real here.. If it feels wrong in your belly, DO NOT let a salesperson change your mind. HANG UP THE PHONE! As I write this, I am disputing my 'contract' with this company, called Local Lighthouse, in S. California, and have sadly discovered that they are totally insensitive to their customers' satisfaction. They do not hear the word, terminate. They want their money in full, point stop. I do not know what the outcome will be but I have been seriously upset about it. I have had to re-write almost everything but within their parameters that I don't like, and I am still expected to pay them.  (They should pay me for the stress and time I have wasted.) (May the final outcome be happier....?)

Bottom line: If anyone saw or sees the site pictured above, I apologize. I may not be able to create as visible a site that the search engines especially like, but I would rather our name, Port Townsend Watercraft, is spread through referral from happy customers. We are clearly not selling used cars.

A mobile friendly interim site of my own making will be forth coming before the year is finished and it will represent the PT Watercraft that many have come to appreciate and respect. I send out warm thanks to all of my customers for their feedback, support, and the pride and joy they have taken in the boats they have built.  Ashlyn E. Brown

As an update, I finally did manage to persuade them to cancel the agreement. Yay...it took many many tries.

June & July 2015

There is a good reason we have a business based on boating. We love sailing! But what good is it if you only get to hear about others going on voyages? We have been pretty good about getting away from time to time but generally we keep those trips short. For 2015, we have been planning something bigger.
A sailing trip to the Queen Charlottes (HAIDA GWAII) has been on our radar for years and HG Mapthis Summer we know a few friends that are making the trip. After a year in the planning, we are going too, for what might be our last real trip on our sailboat Jzerro. (raising the FOR SALE flag)
This means PORT TOWNSEND WATERCRAFT will be closed from early June through late July.  I will have someone shipping out books during our absence. {UPDATE: for more immediate print book ordering, please see the links below}
I am bringing this up now because we do get some orders, primarily from the southern hemisphere, during the summer months. Besides that, it is a slow time for us

Jzerro in Port Townsend
Jzerro in Port Townsend

since most folks who get this newsletter in our hemisphere are on the water playing. So here is the plan;
-We will be shipping kits through May but the sooner we know about your order, the better. {All done here.}
-Some orders will go out in August. Again, the sooner we know about them, the better. {some are already on order. Yours can be too. See below for quick deposit instructions}
-We will be participating in the Port Townsend Annual Wooden Boat Festival in September and will be taking orders for shipping from October on. We hope to see you there!

Visitors study the PT 11 nesting dinghy

How can you secure a kit quickly? There is a quick deposit link (green box on the right hand side bar under the form links) on our ordering page. A hull number is assigned to names in the order deposits are received. Kits will ship in that order.

Upon our return we will go through all mail and reply in detail so please do email us! We apologize in advance if this timing inconveniences anyone.
The reality about this trip is that we do not expect to have access to internet or mobile phone coverage except on rare occasion. Yes, that is still possible. I am so excited!  (AEB)

Our print books are on AMAZON: But, beware of crazy prices in the "used" section. Our books new are priced under $20. There are likely to be delays getting builder's manuals shipped. Our apologies for this. Please use the BUY NOW buttons (not the order-form) on the manuals page and our trusty caretaker will get them shipped.

Epoxy Basics

Scarfing Basics

Sailor Sai Aboard Big Blue

Scarfing Basics is finally an e-book/PDF too! 

I know ...it took forever! I will just Books from PT Watercraftsay that I am a MAC person and if I never have to use a certain MS word processor again, I will be happy.  After a lot of tutorials and finally formatting the book, the version I used did not allow active links even for the table of contents. I scratched it and went back to my free word processing program. It took a while to get over the lost time. So now you can get the DIGITAL version of SCARFING BASICS HERE.

I have also just published a children's book. Children's book for sailing kids

I created this book when I was cruising with my daughter many years ago. Sailor Sai Aboard Big Blue is a little tour of life living aboard a sailboat from the eyes of a child. The book hosts rhyming verse, a colorful illustrations and  colorable line drawings. Each page is a sampling of living on a boat and the nature seen while cruising. The story was inspired by the real life of a little girl named Sailla who sailed many of the worlds oceans before her 10th birthday. Best suited for ages 2 to 10.

I have it priced at $12.95 (26 full color pages) and can send it postage included for that price  anywhere in the USA. You can also buy it from AMAZON.com HERE. Amazon.com likes to play with numbers and they offer the book at a range of prices.ptwatercraft.com Thank you! (Ashlyn)

Books from PT Watercraft

Re: Sail Making and Sail Design.

As introduction, Sandy Goodall designed the PT 11 sail. Working with Sean Rankins of NW Sails and Canvas, and Russell, they prototyped and modified the sail to its current size and shape. Sandy is a friend and great to work with but I realized that I knew very little about his career as a sail designer. So I asked. (I have to say, that Sandy is pretty humble.)

Sandy in the PT 11

Ashlyn: How did you get into sailing and sail making?
Sandy: I was very interested in sailing from a fairly early age (my mother was an avid sailor from the Canadian maritimes), and I knew that I wanted to get a job working with sailboats.
So it was either yacht design, boat building or sail making. I ended up choosing sail making, thinking that it involved the least math. (wrong!)

Ashlyn: When, where and how did you learn sail making, and how long have you been doing it?

Sandy: My family was living in Toronto in the late sixties, and the famous Danish sailmaker Hans Fogh (who trained under Paul Elvstrom) had emigrated to Canada, and lived in Toronto.
His loft was not far from my parents’ house, and I visited him and nagged him until he agreed to take me on as his apprentice, after I completed university in 1974. So, it has been 40 years now!

Ashlyn: What types of boats do you deal with?

Sandy: Almost all kinds. My first real responsibility as a young sailmaker was cutting the Laser sails for the newly introduced Laser class dinghy.
But since then, I have sailed, and made sails for everything from Optimist dinghies to square riggers, high tech mono and multi hull racers, and Arab Dhows.
So all kinds of boats, really, and I appreciate all of them for different reasons.

Ashlyn: What type of design tools do you use?

Sandy: When I started sail  making back in 1974, it was all still pretty traditional. The master sailmaker kept all his design notes and secrets in a "little black book", and we apprentices were not necessarily privy to all the tricks of the trade. But we were in search of ways to increase the repeatability of a good design, so we gradually started to reverse engineer the traditional methods, at first using very simple programs written for HP programmable calculators.
Surprisingly, as a non–math person (I studied philosophy at university), I was very interested in this process, which ended up directing my career in sailmaking.
I continued along this path, becoming involved in the ongoing development of sail design software. I ended up selling my share of the Elvstrom Sails loft in Denmark, and focused on sail design software (“SmSw6” and “Azure Project”), and sail design, working free-lance, designing sails for other sailmakers. These days, sail design software is quite sophisticated, and we can do both structural and aerodynamic analysis on proposed sail designs, all on a lap top computer.

Ashlyn: Do you manufacture sails?

Sandy: Not any more. I was directly involved with manufacturing sails (Elvstrom Sails Denmark) until 1990, but I have specialized in computer sail design since then.
The digital recipe that is the result of the sail design process is then sent by E mail, and cut on some computer driven machine, to be assembled "somewhere in the world".
I collaborate with quite a number of sailmakers, where I do the design work, and they build the sails. I also coach other sailmakers in the use of the sail design software.

Ashlyn: "Do you think custom sail makers (in the USA for example) still have an impact in a world of factory made sails?"

Sandy: "Yes! It's hard to dispute the fact that the big offshore sail manufacturers offer very attractive prices, due to the economies of scale.
But there will always be an important place for local lofts, producing excellent sails and providing on-the-spot personal service to their clients. I'm happy to be in a position where I can collaborate with these local lofts (like Northwest Sails and Port Townsend Sails). The personal contact, the creative discussions, the boat measuring, prototyping etc. that this close collaboration allows, certainly represents added value for the end user."

Ashlyn: Do you have any favorite boat types, or types of design work?

Sandy: I like all kinds of sail boats, large and small, fast and slow, modern and traditional. But I suppose that I prefer smaller boats, and the projects that involve working with people I know and like.

Ashlyn: Can you predict anything concerning the future of sails and sail making?

Sandy: New high tech materials are constantly being developed at an increasing rate, and we can build sails that are lighter, and less stretchy, than ever before. But these (racing) sails are not necessarily a pleasure to use, for the leisure sailor. So there is still a place for traditional dacron and nylon sails, and there are still many people who appreciate and prefer them.
I think we will see more kites and “thick sails”, and lots more work on hydro foils, and various other drag reducing inventions! The "foiling moth" class is a good example of one of the many interesting directions things are going!

Ashlyn: How can people best contact you?

Sandy: Via E mail, at sgoodall@telus.net

Ashlyn: What information should people have on hand to begin a new "design" conversation?

Sandy: To begin with, just the size and type of boat they have, and where they sail, and whether it's racing or cruising. Then we can take it further from there.

Ashlyn: Thank you Sandy! Russell and I feel very fortunate to work with you.
Sandy: You're welcome! I really enjoy working with you and Russell!

Learn more on Sandy’s website; http://www.sandygoodall.com/

Read Sandy Goodall's Review of Sailing the PT 11 nesting dinghy.