PT 11 kits will become available this year if all goes as planned. The hiccups include supply chain issues and rising shipping and material costs. We are making forward progress.

We have been working with a well established kit company who long mentored our fledgling business and really wants to produce our kits. We will continue to manufacture and supply them with specific parts that make our kits unique.
This has been an incredibly interesting and challenging task to put our process into a transferable format. We are ‘creatives’, not ‘business managers’ persay. That we have managed, is nothing short of amazing to me as I fill in lengthy spreadsheets with suppliers, part numbers, current pricing, how many of what per kit, etc. Everything needed updated numbers. This rather daunting assignment has simply taken time to accomplish as Russell continues to make large runs of certain parts that get stocked in advance, to determine how those parts should be priced.
We have redesigned our rudder and daggerboard with help from very skilled friends. The new foils are thinner (18mm), denser, and slicker. The birch plywood is not as handsome for clear coating as the Okoume but we are pretty pleased with the overall change. Modifying the foils kits affected several other parts of the kit, so those changes are being made as well as a total rewrite of the foils manual.
We are working on a boomless rig for the PT 11. Why? Besides greater simplicity of set up and even lighter weight, a large portion of the cost and labor in our current sailing rig is in the boom. We have asked our favorite sail designers to work on this but getting a prototype is one of the supply chain hiccups. We know there will be trade-offs. It is the only way we see being able to keep producing sailing rigs that we would want to use ourselves.
With the retirement of our connective hardware machinist at the end of 2019, early inquiries at machine shops nationwide were not encouraging and we will not take this overseas. We discovered, however, that Port Townsend has a first class, family owned and operated machine shop. Truth be told, the initial quote took time to digest but we considered quantity, precision, and other local advantages. We just picked up the first run and the parts are excellent.

Kit pricing is to be determined but we expect minimal change. Our efforts to simplify parts of production are also intended to offset increased costs in other areas aiming to stabilize cost to the builder.

We expect to announce kit availability later this Summer. The details of ordering will be explained in the next update.

I continue to add names to a list of seriously interested builders. Everyone on that list will receive an email update before this blog. I do this because some of you have been waiting a year for news of kit production continuing. It is all of you on that list especially, whom I wish to thank for your patience and encouragement. It is deeply appreciated. We are excited about finding a pathway forward.
First in production will be the PT 11 Nesting Dinghy and second, the PT Spear. We are not 'there' just yet and we totally understand if you find or have found a different project to work on.

Thank you again,
Ashlyn Brown

The PT Skiff is not in our hands at this time. There is no manual that addresses design changes. The designers may have some information for experienced builders but we will not be offering tech support for that project for the time being.

This is kind of a long post featuring my festival pictures, our booth, the Pt 11 on the water, a customer built PT Skiff, end show humor, & video links...

The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is a great event any year. This year, the 39th, was no exception. We had two hot and sunny days and Sunday cooled considerably under cloudy skies. In spite of the Hood Canal Bridge closing earlier in the week and again for a flotilla, people made it to our peninsula.

I did not get as many festival photos as usual but here are a few. It is hard not to get the same pictures as everyone else. Everywhere you look seems photo-worthy.

For PT Watercraft, the festival is increasingly a family reunion of sorts. Among the thousands who visited, were quite a few builders of our kits; some of our earliest customers, some who recently completed beautiful boats, and some who are just beginning construction. We were so happy to see everyone.  We even have show regulars who are still dreaming about building a PT 11 or a skiff, and they come every year to stroke the bright-work, listen to conversation, ask new questions. It is great to see familiar faces.

Our booth photos;

Schooner Martha has returned to Port Townsend. The Port Townsend Sails loft cheered as Martha tied up at the dock:

You can probably tell that I love our wooden boat festival even if I talk myself hoarse over the three days. I walked the docks Thursday afternoon as boats were filling the harbor, and again early Sunday morning.  The Sunday Sail-by is a highlight, though this year I found myself talking to booth visitors more than watching the hundreds of boats out on the water at once. Still very impressive! I expect lots of videos will appear on Youtube.
Harbor masters get boats into their slots for Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in 2015

See a fun NWMC video of getting the boats into the harbor:



Our annual helper, Cooper Parrish, raced the PT 11 in the 26ft & under, and then sailed around during the Sail-by. Cooper makes very cool things at Scaled Composites in Mojave and we are so grateful that he is happy to take time out and join us at the show. Our friend Simon Miles of 206 Composites here in Port Townsend, had the Patin out as well. The Patin is probably the first beach cat design ever. Interested cat sailors might want to check out videos of the Vela Patin.

Customer built PT Skiff 'Mojo', was in the water. It was great to have a skiff at the festival for folks to check out. Builder/owners Mark and Meg were rightfully proud of their boat. Mark chose to really spiff it out with various woods, a sprayed paint job in indigo blue, and some plush outfitting choices.

At the end of the festival, packing up has a party like feel to it. We all survived a fun but physically challenging weekend. Our friends and show neighbors, Chesapeake Lightcraft, often display a bit of end show humor.  This year, they thought the Wee Nip bar next to them was closing the festival with 'BYOB' for a fill up.  Well, John and crew brought a boat!  Thanks John for all the laughs!


Our first PT Skiff builder, Jan, who built the PT Skiff, "PIKA", continues to create beautiful boats. "PIKA" was by far, not the first small boat he had built, but I will venture to say that it was a turning point for him.

Jan on PIKA in Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of Jan and Family
PT Skiff, PIKA, and family touring Puget Sound
Port Townsend Watercraft
Russell and Jan talking boats...

Exploring and camp cruising in 'PIKA" with his family led Jan to dream of a bigger, fuel efficient motor boat. When he could not find quite the design he wanted, he noted what he liked about the many possibilities and after absorbing Russell's confidence in him, combined them into an original design.  Jan's experience and detail oriented, methodical mind made him a good candidate for this. The result is "SYHOJA", a 22ft cedar strip planked and carbon sheathed, retro and yet very modern motor boat. With her modified "V" hull shape "SYHOJA" runs on a 60HP E-tech outboard, quietly and efficiently. We caught just a little of "SYHOJA" on video at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival 2013.

See the end of this post for Jan's description of the project and the boat specs and be sure to note the 16knots with 2.2gal/hr fuel consumption!

Photo by Russell Brown
SYHOJA, at the PT Wooden Boat Festival
photo by Russell Brown
Heading back to Seattle from Port Townsend on SYHOJA

Jan is now looking into a 'tender' for "SYHOJA" and he favors the PT 11 as both tender and toy.  He recently came to PT from Seattle to fit a PT11 on board. The two positions tried were both a pretty neat fit. A third idea was to make a stand for holding the nested boat on edge. The idea here is that even small boats often need a tender and a good nesting dinghy is a great option. With small boat camp cruising getting ever more popular, we are seeing an evolution in home built, "pocket" cruisers. The mind set is leaning ever more towards fuel efficiency, minimal cost, and minimum waste. Further, people want to spend less effort on transporting and storing their boats, and are having more fun with less. Having a good rowing/sailing dinghy as part of the package, really adds to the fun.

photo by Russell Brown
Fitting the PT11 abeam on SYHOJA
photo by Russell Brown
Fitting the PT11 fore and aft on SYHOJA

"PIKA" and  "SYHOJA" have been family projects for Jan & Holi and their daughter, Sydney. I find it inspiring to see how they have enjoyed it all and each is personally invested in ownership of the whole process of dreaming, choosing, creating and using their family boats. I have no doubt that the next project will be as beautifully executed and thoroughly enjoyed as their previous endeavors. Russell and I really like the idea of getting more individuals & families involved in back yard boat building and away from today’s addiction to electronics.
“SYHOJA” is a one off design and therefore, plans are not available. Now that "SYHOJA" is the family boat, "PIKA" is actively for sale.

Designer notes & SPECS from Jan: "The concept for SYHOJA was for a fuel efficient planing cabin cruiser for a couple + teenage daughter (if she wanted to come along) for day trips and up to week long cruising in the PNW.    While we do not need to travel at excessive speeds in our beautiful cruising ground, we have found that 14-16 kn is a nice cruising speed to cover the sometimes larger distances between anchorages, and having some speed in reserve allows a small boat to make use of a weather window or even "make a run for home".  While small by many standards, 22 ft was the absolute longest hull I could build in my 2 car garage, and even this required a temporary addition to provide the necessary space.  However, we are content with few amenities and are comfortable operating a small boat in the reasonably sheltered waters of the PNW.  For the brisker days we have a full cockpit enclosure, which also provides our "living room" while at anchor.

For our inaugural family cruise we spent 8 wonderful days this July along the Sunshine Coast of BC and Princess Louisa Inlet.  SYHOJA exceeded all of our expectations. "

LOA:                              22 ft, including stern scoops which serve as hull extensions and swim platforms
BOA:                              8'2"  which includes generous bow flare
BWL:                              7'2"
Displacement fully loaded:  2,700 lbs
Displacement light ship:     1,475 lbs
Engine:                           60 hp E-Tec
Fuel                               29 gal
Fuel consumption @ 16 kn: 2.2 gal/hr
Range @ 16 kn                 210-220 miles
Cruising speed:                16 kn
Max speed:                     26 kn  SYHOJA deckSYHOJA interiorSyhoja at the dock

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

Hello All,.. I am back at work after 3 weeks out of the country. I was visiting family and snowed in up in the black mountains of southern France... far from boats...but I also spent time investigating the logistics of making our kits easily available to our European followers.  I am a little bit closer to a viable solution. With our limited budget, it all takes real figuring and coordination.  One thing that is clear, is that in order to keep shipping costs low, being able to ship at least 2 PT Skiff kits or 5 PT Eleven kits at once reduces the cost for each buyer dramatically. Ocean freight is calculated with a minimum volume so shipping one kit or 5 is nearly the same price.  Import duties and clearance fees are being checked into in France and should provide a basic idea for most of Europe.      There have been discussions about having kits cut in Europe but we find this to be more complex. It simply is not possible at this stage to have someone in Europe make all of the parts. Besides the fact that our kits have parts cut from 5 different thickness of plywood, there are lumber, carbon, fiberglass, and stainless steel specialty parts. We will avoid any kind of fractured production ideas. Our quality expectation is very high and it will be a good while before we have all the glitches worked out so that someone else could reproduce our kits to our standards.

On another note, we will have a PT Eleven on display at the NW Maritime center symposium happening here in Port Townsend on March 16, 17, & 18th.  This cruising theme event has a limited number of tickets available so if you think you would like to attend, follow this link and get more information. The presenters scheduled promise to make this a very interesting weekend. We are nearing completion of the current PT Eleven nesting dinghy, which has been a bit on the back burner. Russell has had other projects demanding his attention. Symposium participants will be able to take it out for a row at various times over the weekend.

We have lots of posts in preparation so we hope you will stay tuned. :)
Black Mountains farm in one of the coldest winter snaps in 60 years.

We are at the Festival. We have a booth next to the presentation stand out on the point. The PT Skiff is in the water at the dock. We hope some of you can make it over the weekend!  We will be accepting orders for both kits for shipping in October. The PT Eleven will be having a few file adjustments and these need to be reflected in the manual.

I will post a couple of sailing pictures with the new rig up. We just got one chance to try it out yesterday. Worked great! ptwatercraft.comptwatercraft.comAlso there is all new info on the website. Still some blank spots but it will be filling in soon. Cheers to all..

This month saw the launch of our proa, Jzerro. She had been pulled up onto a bank in a friend’s yard on the Hood Canal for more than a year. With a ‘come-along’, logs for rollers and skids, Russell got her onto the beach just in time for the tide to float her. A couple days later, we picked her up with friends, Bly and Abel, in the PT Skiff and  passed under the bridge and onward for a great sail to her new mooring. The day began in thick fog but ended in beautiful sunshine and gusty winds.
Bly captained the skiff and had some adventures of his own, exploring both sides of Puget Sound and discovering what the skiff can do in 20knots of wind. By the end of the day, we were happy to hear we had a new fan of the boat.

Russell at the come-along as Jzerro nears the bank's edge
Cruising around in the PT Skiff
Bly exploring