Sea trails of a "Yaquina" canoe
August 12, 2012

I've built a few Skin-on-Frame (SoF) boats, and I really like the technology. This technique is all prep-work:Cut the stringers, cut the frames, sand everything, treat, and then it all goes together in a matter of hours. I've found SoF to be the fastest, cheapest way to make beautiful, light, functional, canoes and kayaks.

The Yaquina is the first of 3 canoes I'll be designing. At 11'6", it is also the smallest and has the least carrying capacity: One adult. It's a solo canoe, and I don't usually do solos because I believe experiences on the water should be shared, but that doesn't mean other people don't like solos.

As stated:It's all in the prep. I ripped all the stringers, keels, and wales from (3) 8' 2x4s, then scarfed them together, sanded them smooth, cut them to 12' long, sanded them, and painted them. I'd tried using construction plywood for the frames, but they just broke. These frames are 1/2" Meranti marine ply, and they will be painted after assembly of the skeleton.

We'd just gotten Darling and I was rediscovering why schnauzer are NOT considered helper dogs. Any little piece of wood went right into her mouth.

Then there was the time-suck of having a puppy around. My neighbor, Bill just had to come out and meet Darling.

Schnauzer are unwaveringly loyal and protective, so that's a good thing. She made sure no one was going to take my drill motor.

12' is significantly smaller than my other caneoes. Look closely and you'll see the keel is dead flat - no rocker at all. This is a lake and calm water boat.

She only weighs about 40lbs and barely makes a splash in the water.

I could have saved weight by not having the bow (and stern) floorboards, but I like 'em. The seat is about 5" over the floorboards, low enough to keep the boat stable but high enough to be (mostly) comfortable.

There were a couple kayakers ahead, so I sped up and passed 'em. The boat is so light, it's like paddling air. It moves with the slightest effort.

I saw this guy swimming around and asked if he'd take a few pics for me. He agreed.

I weigh 200lbs and I have about 5lbs of clothes on. the center of my weight is 6" aft of the center of the boat. The flat rocker helps her track, but it doesn't lift the bow out of the water. This is not a performance canoe - it's sole purpose is to provide one person with a stable ride in flat water.

Action photo.

As near as I can figure, the draft is slightly less than 4"

I offered Jim's wife, Delores, the chance to go for a paddle. She loved it. She said it was like paddling air - it moved without effort.

Delores is a very tiny person, less than half my mass. For her, it must have really been like paddling air. Jim and Delores are true boat people - they even have a harrowing tale of near death. You can read about it here: Couple pulled from the surf at the the mouth of the Salmon River.

Best thing about this boat? At ~42lbs, you can carry it with one hand.

Yaquina Canoe

  • LOA: 11' 6"
  • Beam: 32"
  • Weight: ~40lbs
  • Capacity: 1 adult

Plans will be offered soon.