Top Five Boat Kits & Plans of 2016
As is our wont, at year's end we don our green eyeshades and do our sums. We like lists as much as the next boatbuilder, but this is a family business and John is on the road visiting family. So instead of a series of Top Tens, we offer you...2016's Top Fives!
1. Kaholo Stand-Up Paddleboards - 12'6" and 14'
Our Kaholo paddleboards dropped with a bang in 2008 and have never fallen off the podium. There were days we felt a bit like a paddleboard company that made some other kits on the side. No matter; the Kaholos handle beautifully and are quick to build. What's not to like?
And then from left field...something that is not a boat. In the six months since we started full production of the Teardrop Camper, this spunky, personable design has swept the field and lands at second place for 2016. At boat shows, the Teardrop drew enormous crowds. It is small, wooden, elegant, and efficient, pretty much everything a lover of small boats would like to see hitched to their rear bumper.
Dories have always been about getting a lot of boat for the money, and apparently plenty of you have done the math. The 17-foot Northeaster Dory features an 800-pound payload, rows beautifully, and will delight the fussiest of sailors with either sloop or balanced-lug sailplans. You can add a sliding seat, go camping out of the boat, or even win an adventure race or two. Traditional dories were the Boston Whalers of the waterfront a hundred years ago. In the 21st century, the combination of speed, payload, and economy remains a major attraction of the type.
Practical, fun, and sharply handsome, the Wood Ducks are the very model of a modern recreational kayak. They can be found on every continent except Antartica, not that a Wood Duck wouldn't make a nice winter project at McMurdo Station. You just need 70-80 hours and a few inches of liquid water. The easiest boats to use are the boats that get used the most.
The original Annapolis Wherry entered production in 1998 and has always made the top five. These elegant lapstrake pulling boats beguile sliding-seat rowers with speed and beauty. While the Annapolis Wherry and Annapolis Wherry Tandem are slicing up rivers and bays all over the world, the rugged back-country Expedition Wherry continues to climb the charts.