Two weeks have already slipped by since the festival!  I am late to express my deeply felt gratitude to everyone who makes the festival happen, ( , all who participate, and all who come to talk wooden boats and all things boaty. I realize that is a big blanket statement.
Our booth with WEST SYSTEM EPOXY and 3 PT 11's on display!

For the past 5 years we have been very fortunate to share a tent with WEST SYSTEM EPOXY. This year Alan Gurski (CEO) and Bruce Niederer were on hand with their comprehensive and unbiased knowledge about epoxy; its uses, history, and the very chemistry of it all. If you want to understand epoxy, pros and cons, these are the guys to talk to.

There were more than a few of our customer boats in the festival. PT 11 nesting dinghies and PT Spear dinghies were to be seen on boats, behind boats, at the docks, and out in the bay.
A PT 11 primly nested on Xanadu's deck/
Pato; T/T Vito Dumas
A completely painted PT 11 as t/t SKYE. PT SKIFF, MOJO in the back ground.

Two customer PT Skiffs graced the festival as well. Both boats are mind blowingly beautifully built and equally unique interpretations of the kit. High compliments are due to these two builders.
The totally tweezed PT Skiff Mojo, built by Mark Ramsby of Portland OR.
Mojo's Instrument panel
Mojo parading during the Sunday Sail-by. Note the PT 11 sail in the back...
Takin' Five PT SKIFF built by Steve Merrill.

Steve Merrill wipes the morning dew from his PT SKIFF, Takin' Five. Steve has been meticulous with his build, taking his time. He says he has been really enjoying it and getting creative especially with his 'expanding' driver seat and his self bailing installation.
Unique expanding driver seat.

This seat hinges up, slides forward and ......
Expanded seat. NO PLANS so DON"T ASK!

....expands into a romantic, "side-by-each" joy ride seat. My jaw dropped upon seeing this. But, alas, there are NO PLANS for it so you will have to charge up the brain-waves to create your own if you want one!
The PT 11 out in the bay with an RC sailboat and a classic motor yacht.

Our friend, Cooper Parish, took time off  from his high-tech job at Scaled Composites in Mojave, to help us at our booth again this year. We love having him! We want him to keep returning every year so we make sure he gets plenty of sailing time in! In spite of being the smallest boat with the least sail area, Cooper sailed 'Rascal', a PT SPEAR, to a 3rd place finish (out of 6) among the Non-T-Bird class in the 26ft and under race.
The PT 11 and CLC's Pocket Ship.

ptwatercrfat.comOf the events in the bay over the weekend, I totally missed getting photos of the Schooner Race. With a piping wind, it was one of the fastest schooner races on record at the festival. It was over before I could get to the beach with the camera. I hear it was eventful! John and Anne Bailey's recently re-launched , Sir Issac, snuffed the fleet.
The Baileys on Sir Isaac in September 2016.
The early morning rowing race at the Festival.
Lots of varnish!
layers of boats...

The PT Wooden Boat Festival is always a colorful affair.  It is an overwhelming weekend for us, exciting, exhausting, and encouraging. Customers often visit us at this time and we see our 'family' growing. We are seriously looking forward to holding a casual, PT11 sailing regatta of sorts and I will keep you posted on any development in that direction.  Thank you all again. AEB 😉

Fun overview Video off of You Tube..


Brian in Australia has completed his PT Skiff and I think there is much to consider about what he has done with his boat. After developing sensitivity to epoxy, he had to hire help to finish the boat and we tip our hat to his perseverance. Clearly Brian is a stickler for detail and he has maintained a clear vision for his skiff. He sent a detailed account of his choices for outfitting the boat and it is this account that I want to share.  I have put it together as  a PDF document (HERE) that you should be able to download or read online. It is filled with photos to compliment his notes.  If you are currently building a PT SKIFF, these notes will be informative. If you are thinking about building one, this should wet your appetite!  His boat is very impressive!

In addition, the following photos arrived with this 'Launch report"

My PT Skiff launch went extremely well today. Everything worked.
The photographs attached were taken during the initial 15 minute warm-up of the motor at the boat ramp at Adelaide Sailing Club. Whilst it looks very calm at the ramp (large breakwater), we ventured out into wind waves up to 1 metre in St Vincent’s Gulf. The wave fetch here is approximately 38 nautical miles from the other side of the gulf with the wind in a WSW direction. I have checked our weather website tonight and the wind was 11 knots gusting to 14 while we were doing stage 2 of the motor run-in (2000 to 3000 rpm).
The boat was lively. Whilst it is quite tender at the dock, once you understand that you can deal with it.
We went upwind for about 20 minutes. The boat was reminiscent of a lively sailboat. The boat was bouncing around a little into the wind waves, though it was dry. The boat was very pleasantly quiet even in the one metre waves. After flooding the water ballast tank, the boat was a little more stable, but did not show any significant loss of speed into the breeze.
Running downwind (again limited to 3000 rpm) the boat started surfing the waves. It was fun.
The first 1 hour of run-in is now complete and I can now use the boat at weekends without causing queuing problems at the ramp.


September 5-7th were the days of the 38th Annual Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.
This year was unique for us due to having a relative fleet of PT 11s on hand; 8 or 9 PT 11 dinghies could be seen over the weekend of marvelous sunshine and sailing breezes, tethered behind their "motherships" in the harbor or out in the bay among so many beautiful boats!
A PT 11 chasing Vito Dumas and sister dinghy the PT Spear on the leash..

Joining them was  our own PT 11 captained by Cooper Parish.
Cooper in our PT 11 chasing Scott in his International 14

Cooper (who currently works for Scaled Composites) has built a PT 11 at the NW School of Wooden Boat Building. Many of our friends and customers share our deep appreciation for innovative aircraft as well as boats. We love the following picture Cooper sent to us earlier this summer, (wearing a Port Townsend Watercraft hat!) and we love having his help at the festival!
Cooper in..."one of the rocket motors from Space Ship One... Representin' PTWatercraft!"

As usual, I did not get out and about to take more pictures. The reason, I am pleased to say, is that our display maintained a virtual flood of visitors and our team (including my wonderful sister, Dana) was happily kept busy showing off 2 PT Elevens (one on the stand and one for rowing demos), and a PT Spear, (generously loaned by Mr. Swantner).
Our display next to WEST SYSTEM

Our tent hosts, the smart folks from WEST SYSTEM EPOXY, were on hand with expert epoxy advice, interesting props and informative booklets. This year’s festival was also special and memorable due to having  our dear friends, Kathy Massimini & Steve Callahan here. Steve was a guest speaker for the festival. If you have not read his book Adrift or don't know about Steve, you've missed out. See his website HERE.
Steve & Kathy

ptwatercraft.comYou might already know about Off Center Harbor, and all of the really well done, interesting videos they offer on a wide range of boating topics. We were honored (and pretty camera shy) to receive an interview request from the OCH team. Filming took place right after the festival and the video will be available sometime in the future. Thank you Steve Stone and Off Center Harbor!

The fine weather inspired more boats to be out sailing for the entire three days than I have ever witnessed in my 5 years of attending. The final ‘Sail-By’ was quite spectacular. If you missed it this year, mark your calendar for the first weekend of September 2015 and keep an eye on the NW Maritime Center website for events over the year.

Please enjoy a small album of pictures I took during the Festival.

Some videos of this years' festival are on You Tube. This is a particularly artistic slide show. HERE


Enjoy Pictures recently received of boats launched this summer or boats in use. I love the new colors added to PT 11's; now sporting blue, green, sunny yellow, mellow yellow, cream, red, white...have I missed any? Beautiful!! Keep those pictures coming! What do you think about a photo contest???? Let me know and I will work on prizes to offer. 😉

Milo in his PT 11 that he and Cassandra built. See more on this project on another post called " Builder Spotlight 9/14" by clicking the photo.
PT 11 "Forget me knot", Built in Maine and launched this summer. Photo by owner.
PT 11, 'Forget Me Knot' in New England.
Built by W. Frost in Renton WA. Photo by owner.
PT Skiff almost ready for launch. Note the solid aft floor soles. We think it looks fantastic and see this as the future standard for the PT Skiff. The owner also installed self bailing. We look forward to more pictures! Located in Australia. Photo by owner
Shiny green paint job by Mr. Kuntz of Sequim, WA. photo by owner
Paul's green PT 11 was launched at the Boat Festival this year in Port Townsend. Mr. Kuntz was able to leave it at the dock on display with the rig up by removing the batons and rolling the boom up in the sail. Click the photo to read about the Festival this year, 2014.
Joy enjoys a sail in her PT 11, 'Patos" T/T "Dromen".
"Patos" in Desolation Sound. photo by owner
Patos nested on the SV 'Dromen'.
Patos and Dromen in the marina. Photo by owners.
Mr. Mc Cormick's PT 11 in California.
Joe taking all the gear ashore.
"Rowff, Oneff, twoff, rowff"
PT Spear, 'Rascal' seen in front of Port Townsend. photo by Ashlyn E. Brown
Owners enjoy an evening row in 'Rascal', a PT Spear. Photo by Ashlyn E. Brown
Exploring the San Juan Islands in a PT 11 and a PT Spear. photo by Ashlyn E. Brown

More boats are getting wet this year. I am really enjoying everyone's news.

Olav in Victoria BC launched his PT 11 earlier this year. I like the below photos in particular. If you had to choose a dinghy to be proud of for your beautiful cruising boat, would it be like those in the back ground? Or more like the sleek hull in the fore ground??  Beautiful job Olav!  😉

James in Australia launched his PT 11 this winter (summer ,'down under') with his son. I received these pictures in January. Again, a great job on the boat!!

BLUE WHALE ADVENTURES is headed into the Pacific with a PT 11 that was recently built by Cape Fear Yachtworks. Fair winds and happy adventures!

It sure is fun when folks get colorful. This sunny yellow PT 11 is sure to turn heads for Gregg in California! I continue to be impressed with beautiful workmanship. I may be able to publish more photos soon as the weather warms and folks get out on the

Is your PT 11 or PT Skiff in the water? I would love to feature it next. 😉 PTW

More PT Watercraft boats are hitting the water! Here are some to spotlight;

Simon and "crew" happy after launching in New Zealand.  I quote Simon, "I didn't really realize how much of a delight to build she's been until the bumper had been stuck on and I was a little disappointed that there wasn't anything left to do except go sailing."

The blog for this build is great. Simon took wonderful photos of his progress. Check it out HERE.

PT 11 nesting dinghy in New Zealand ttMelody_cityscape

I really like the red on the PT 11! Great choice of color!ttMelody_scootin

Garland has finished his PT Skiff in Virginia! The first one to be built on the East Coast and the first with self bailing installed. Congratulations!  Looking very classy! garland's skiff

While taking his time to build the boat, he wrote, "“The other thing that delays me is I enjoy it too much! And it relaxes me. I stand back and admire the quality of the wood, and how things look. Once it takes shape, I'll admire how  the flat panels pull together to make the graceful curves.”IMG_1096_1 IMG_1099_2Garland says.."we launched Sunday, and carried a real load! Five adults and two dogs. Considering the load, we did well. I was prepared for the boat to be tender, and she was, but not bad."

Not everyone has a camera handy, even in the age of fancy phones. I still want to congratulate James in Olympia on his launching of his PT 11 this year.  I am looking forward to pictures! See his blog with some construction photos HERE. Awesome glosscoat!

Wouldn't it be fun to have a fleet of dinghies and skiffs at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in 2014??!!   My thanks to everyone for doing such lovely work on their boats. These kits are very detail oriented and our growing family of builders appears to be putting heart and soul into their projects and I must say, it makes us feel really good! Thank you! 😉 PTW

You can see the official website here.  We enjoyed our visit as guests of Glenn and Kathy, owners of a PT Skiff. This is a small event with a lot to offer.  ...

live music
live music
RC sailing
RC sailing
One-off SV Tumblehome
One-off SV Tumblehome
History on the ODYSSEE
History on the ODYSSEE
A beautiful clear day; view of Seattle
A beautiful clear day; view of Seattle
View of one dock, PT Skiff and PT11 side by side. 6m boats in the back.
View of one dock, PT Skiff and PT11 side by side. 6m boats in the back.

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.

This article was written a while ago and somehow lost on my computer. When a recent wooden boat discussion showed up about flotation in boats, an intense search prompted by Russell's certainty that I had written on the subject, turned up the 'untitled', and thus, 'lost', document. So here it is.

The USCG’s “Pool of Truth”
Testing the PT SKIFF  (Ashlyn E. Brown)

In June of 2010, Russell and I embarked on a cross country road trip. We would not have done this except for 2 compelling reasons: an invitation to the Woodenboat Show in Mystic, CT and the chance to have the PT Skiff tested by the USCG.

The USCG has regulations for various classes of boats, and contrary to common belief, kit boat companies have the responsibility of providing a product that, built as designed, will pass federal requirements.

The PT Skiff falls under the category of “under 20ft outboard powered motorboats”. The rules for this category are particularly stringent due to a higher number of fatalities on record occurring on boats in this class. With ski boats and other high speed recreational boats under 20ft, this is not really surprising. So they have devised a method for testing motor boats under 20ft in a tank with 2 careful procedures.

First, the USCG wants to be sure that the rated capacity and HP of a boat are acceptable. To physically check this, they load a boat with 5 times it’s rated capacity or until the boat is about to submerge. For the PT Skiff, the former would be 6000 LBS. The computer images below demonstrate the displacement with 6000LBS and the maximum 9000LBS before submerging. These calculations were submitted to the CG headquarters and they agreed that our capacity label of 6 persons or 800LBS, or 1200LBS persons, gear & motor, was a modest rating.

The second critical test is to show what happens when a boat is totally flooded. This is called the Flotation and Stability test. ptwatercraft.comsimulated 6000 Lbs in the PT Skiff (Image by Eric Jolley) ptwatercraft.comMaximum Capacity of 9000 LBS (Image by Eric Jolley)

We arrived at our family’s home in Virginia on June 10th and took a couple of days to recover from the long time on the road and dip the skiff into the Chesapeake. ptwatercraft.comTouring the East River of the Chesapeake in the PT Skiff. Photo Ashlyn Brown

Over the weekend, Russell removed the motor and controls in preparation for the testing. We had been talking with the gentlemen at the CG about the testing procedure. While we were not concerned about 6000 LBS being loaded into the boat, we were a bit shocked to learn the method; blocks of pig iron weighing 800LBS each, measuring 1’x 2’x 2’ loaded into the boat. Further discussion revealed that the point load would be on the 1’ x 2’ base. The man in charge promised to stop the loading if he heard any “cracking”.

Russell spent the weekend considering any possible way to spread the load.  To put this into perspective, just one of these pig iron ‘blocks’ weighs more than twice the weight of the PT Skiff and, still roughly 1.5 times the weight even with motor & controls. They would be loading 5 of these blocks and then some. The lightweight construction of the skiff could get very stressed with that kind of point load and even the designers were concerned.  What about  smaller blocks or sand bags? we asked, or Water bags? We would cover the cost, we offered. No. They had their method and at this time, they were not set up to do it any other way.ptwatercraft.com800 LB, 1ft x 2ft x 2ft blocks. Photo; Ashlyn Brown

On the appointed day, with some trepidation, we drove to Solomon’s, Maryland where the one and only USCG testing facility is located, somewhat incognito, in an unmarked warehouse. We were greeted by a team of 3 middle aged men who scrutinized the boat on the trailer while we discussed our options. It was at this time that we learned that the capacity ratings had been accepted by headquarters so that the load test, while recommended, was totally optional.
On the one hand, we badly wanted to prove the boat and the method of build as capable of point loads such as this. On the other hand, if it did go ‘pop’, we would not have a boat for the boat show a week later, and this was most definitely, the only time we would be on the east coast with it.  Had the test been scheduled after the show, things would have looked different, but that was not the case. We were told that we could later make our own (albeit 'unofficial') load test that would verify the calculations.

The flotation and stability test remained and once the decision was made, our hosts relaxed and invited us to return at a given time to observe the test.
When we got back, they had the boat in the slings inside the building and were weighing it; 388

The PT Skiff weighed and ready for the “pool”. Photo; Ashlyn Brown

Next, a basket with lead weights was mounted on the transom to match the weight of the 25HP and other weights under the console and driver seat to simulate batteries etc.
They lowered the boat into the tank, which was a swimming pool measuring about 22ft x 10ft. All air voids were opened. In most boats, they have to drill holes but our air voids all have deck plate access. Hoses filled these areas first. The slings were then totally removed and the water continued to rise until it broached the back seat and ran out the scuppers. At this point, our host, demonstrated with red food coloring, the outflow from the scuppers and declared that the boat would not hold more water.
Now the boat had to ‘sleep’ flooded for 18 hours before the rest of the test could be done. We could come back early the next

PT Skiff totally flooded and floating level. Photo; Ashlyn

Food coloring to show outflow of water. Photo; Ashlyn Brown

We walked from our hotel, across the little inconspicuous  bridge that proves this is an island and followed the singular street to it’s end where it loops back. The place definitely had an island feel to it with full marinas, lots of tourists, a big waterfront boardwalk, colonial style buildings housing stores with tropical patterned clothes, a Kontiki bar and plenty of restaurants. Russell had been testing the vanilla ice cream across country and here was no exception. We sat in the shade of a little umbrella and gave our critiques on his ice cream cone and my smoothie. It was very hot but it had been since we crossed Wyoming. The Chesapeake can boast a particular kind of hot that once experienced, is not to be forgotten in a lifetime by one’s sub-conscious senses.

We also strolled through the maritime museum and admired it’s collection of old local skiffs and fishing boats, long and narrow things of linear beauty that understood efficiency once upon a time.

We ended the day by having dinner at the Catamaran restaurant since they had an outdoor balcony. From there we could watch the sunset while idly eaves-dropping on a group of locals discussing, what else but, sex, parties, and politics. With the thick summer heat, the mellow southern drawl, and the chain smoking, our north west home felt far away indeed.ptwatercraft

Sunset in Solomons, MD  Photo; Ashlyn Brown

We arrived at the testing facility by 7:30 AM and the crew was already at work adding water to the flooded skiff just to be sure she was properly topped off.  The sling was put back on to support the boat while Steve carefully stepped into the boat and placed carefully calculated weights in prescribed locations to simulate the presence of people. They explained that they would move the weight around as if the passengers were to one side or the other, simulating a ‘worst case scenario’, and then measure the list of the boat with the slings removed. For outboard propelled boats, they should float fairly level with a maximum list is 30 degrees. In contrast, for boats with inboard motors, stability is not key but they do have to have some part of the boat above water in order to pass. This could be no more than the tip of the bow. No amount of explanation of this could make sense to me but those were the rules.
While I’m not the most technically minded person, Steve was a very good teacher and he explained every step and the concept behind it. He and his crew worked patiently and systematically as they recorded data, took pictures, worked with the electric winches, passed weights back and forth and stepped up to the waist in cold water. These guys had a good sense of humor but they also took their job very seriously and worked together like a well oiled machine.
By the end of the test, the PT Skiff listed a maximum of 11 degrees and all had gone extremely well.ptwatercraft.comFilling the boat with water. Photo; Ashlyn Brownptwatercraft.comStarboard maximum list. Photo; Ashlyn Brown

We picked the skiff up a couple hours later after they had pumped it dry and loaded it back onto the trailer. Steve explained the report he would prepare and best of all, calculated our mileage from Port Townsend and typed up a bill in our name. That’s right. Volunteering to have a boat tested is a paid deal and we got our check about 2 months later. Why do they pay you? Simple. It is cheaper than buying a boat. When new boats get red-flagged or there is any suspicion that it might not pass, these gentlemen buy it incognito and test it. If the boat fails, the manufacturer receives notice that it must recall all boats of this model at their own expense. Usually if the USCG goes to the trouble of buying a boat, there is already a probability that it will fail the test and there were enough boats in their shed to show that some do indeed fail.
A strong reason for re-designing the PT Skiff with side decks, in contrast to the first prototype, was to get the flotation up high; under the side decks and front deck as well as under the back seat. This not only provides better flotation when flooded but gives it the stability demonstrated by the test. Obviously, every boat could encounter conditions that outwit any controlled imitation but these tests show that the designers have taken the rules seriously and applied important safety factors into the design.PT Skiff on display at the Woodenboat Show in Mystic CT, 2010
Photo; Russell Brown

A final note; my explanation here is how I have understood the process and the reasoning behind it. Further “official” information can be found on the USCG website here (pages 16-18 specifically about flotation):
Or see the USCG website where there is lots of information.

A shipment is headed for Australia and there is still time to get your kit onboard. Shared shipping cost is a benefit to all. The gentleman ordering is offering a super fair deal to share shipping costs, clear the shipment into Adelaide and hold the kit for fowarding or pick up. You can even work with him to pay in AU$..! He has really done the homework and as he really wants his kit, he is offering to do all the hassle for you. Please contact me right away if you want to get a PT Skiff KIT or PT 11 KIT to Australia as they need to be cut in the next week (May 7-11) to make the departure date. This kind of opportunity will  not happen often. Cheers! :) PTW