Billed as the "World’s Best Dinghy", the Portland Pudgy certainly seems to be an interesting (and tough) design.
Made from rotation-molded polyethylene, it has closed-cell foam filling making it "unsinkable". Easily rightable (they have videos of it being done by a person in the water), it looks like a tough, serviceable boat.
How may dinghys have you seen flying?
A Portland Pudgy was used as a gondola under a bunch of helium filled balloons on an attempted Atlantic aerial crossing. Really.
Wooden Widget has come through with another nifty design, the Fliptail.
I got started with Benjy’s Origami design, which is a surprisingly stable and versatile little boat. The Fliptail looks to be a lighter design (important in this type of boat), that is still stable and usable.
Cute take on a pedal powered tender. Mad Marinerâ„¢ magazine recently did an audio/podcast which gives some background and "review" type information.
The boat’s efficient Nauticraft designed single pedal drive system turns a 15" propeller, making movement through water feel effortless, reaching speeds up to 5 mph. A spade type rudder provides easy and effective turning capability, controlled by a side mounted steering handle. The sailboat type hull positions the operator down inside the cockpit. Features a dry shelf up front for items you don’t want to get wet and stretch cord retaining system around the front perimeter of the cockpit keeps life jackets, towels and even a beverage safely tucked away. A rear bench seat fits 1 to 2 people with a molded in storage compartment beneath the seat cushion.
The secret is now out! Our friend Benjy at Wooden Widget has a new design in his stable. With a Dacron skin stretched over a lightweight frame, it’s billed as the world’s lightest nesting dinghy. The halves nest for storage, and it can be assembled in the water (with you in the boat).
Dane and I built one of the original 8′ folding Origami dinghy’s and had fun with it. Performs well, but is a bit heavy. This design should solve that.
Not only can it be stowed on the smallest of foredecks, or put in the back of the average estate car but it can also take an outboard motor up to 3.3 hp. If you want you can also add a mast and go sailing.
The Stasha sails surprisingly well and is a lot of fun. The Stasha was designed to be easy to build so that anyone can make one regardless of their woodworking experience. All you need are a few basic tools such as a jigsaw and a plane and the confidence to have a go. No specialist tools are needed and even the ribs are formed with just a heat gun.
Wooden Widget has released plans for a new, nifty design. Instead of a "folding" dinghy this time, we have a dinghy that you can remove the bow of and nestle it around your mast or other obstacle.
There is a provision to install a Hobie Mirage drive. This is a "pedal" setup that moves two flexible fins below the water. You stay dry (or at least your feet don’t go in the water), but the boat moves.
Looks slick, although the drive is a bit pricey. Plans are very reasonable and from my experience on my previous build, are very detailed and good.
I hadn’t really expected NPR (National Public Radio) to be a source for my boating interests, but they surprised me yesterday.
They have an ongoing series of "SoundClips" segments (many are quite interesting) where listeners send in interesting sounds that they have encountered and recorded. The segment yesterday dealt with a "Origami Boat" that a man produced in Austin, TX.
The SoundClips series continues with listener Zane Baker of Austin, Texas, who cruises his handmade plastic boat across a lake.
Another "small boats" web site that has recently come active which I found a pointer to on the Duckworks mailing list. David is still getting content up, but it looks like it will be a good resource, especially if you are interesting in folding boats and various small paddle craft of that sort.