Guillemot Kayaks

Kayak and Small Boat Plans by Nick Schade

Guillemot Kayaks 54 South Rd Groton, Connecticut, USA 06340 (860) 659-8847

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Cover: Solo Bootlegger © 2011 - Nick Schade - All Rights Reserved

Build It Yourself
Beautiful Wooden Boats

ξ Build-your-own Boat Plans, ξ Boat Building Instruction Books, ξ Complete Boat Kits Available, ξ Custom Built Boats

rawing inspiration from sources ranging from the Inuit of Greenland to 1920’s runabouts, Nick Schade has drawn on his 30+ years of small boating experience to create beautiful, high performance designs suitable for building at home. hese designs are special because Nick approaches boat design as a dedicated boat user. He started building boats because he wanted a kayak. The boat comes first, the beautiful, elegant lines are a side effect of a form that is engineered to function beautifully on the water. With years of experience on the water Nick develops boats with performance on the water as the number one goal. He understands that there is more to a good boat design than merely floating upright and paddling straight and a successful design must be created to meet specific performance goals on the water and these goals vary with the waters where the boat is used. The fact that these wooden boats are beautiful is a bonus that comes from obsessive attention to performance. ick offers do-it-yourself wooden boats plans for woodworkers and boater who want to build a boat. The plans include full size paper patterns for all the building forms. He has written two books that serve as instructions that will lead you through the construction of any of these boats.



Photograph: Night Heron sea kayak in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. – photo by Richard Bergen

Night Heron Family

his adaptation of a traditional Inuit kayak form to modern construction techniques has the on-the-water performance to match its looks. With long, graceful lines, the Night Herons flows across the water smoothly and easily. The narrow waterline makes this boat very efficient, while maintaining enough stability to sit comfortably in even the most unruly water. This family of designs includes the Petrel, a shorter, more maneuverable version of the Night Heron which is suitable for smaller paddlers and women, or larger paddlers seeking a fun play boat. The Night Heron can be built with 3 different deck configurations: Standard height which is suitable for most paddlers, High Deck version for taller paddler and those who need more leg room, and a Greenland deck version with a smaller cockpit and lower back deck allowing easy Greenland style rolls. The Night Heron design can be built with the stitch and glue method, strip planked, or as a hybrid with a S&G hull and strip deck.



A sporty, playful sea kayak that loves rough water.

Night Heron - plans include high-deck option.

A fast, responsive sea kayak for open water and close to shore.

Petrel in Askehoved Peninsula Denmark, by Mikkel Gundersen

S&G Night Heron

A stitch and glue version of the Night Heron.

Hybrid Night Heron - plans include high-deck option.

A version of the Night Heron with a strip deck and S&G hull.

Greenland Deck Night Heron

The Night Heron hull with a lower deck.

S&G Night Heron off Mistake Island, Maine

Tandem Night Heron

An elegant, fast tandem for intermediate to advanced paddlers.

Guillemot Family

hese designs fit a wide range of needs. With graceful curves throughout, from the stem to stern and all sections in between, this family is sultry, smooth and sweet. The family ranges from a small play boat up to a capacious tandem, with an efficient expedition boat and well rounded solo boat in between. Originally designed for an article in Sea Kayaker Magazine, the 17’ Guillemot will serve as a good day tripping boat with the capacity for short trips of several days. Petite paddlers can choose the Guillemot “S” for efficiency or the Play for stability. Larger paddlers may select the Guillemot “L” for increased capacity, or if you are looking for you need long-distance efficiency, take a look at the Expedition Single. For those looking at tandems, the Guillemot Double is roomy and comfortable, where the Fast Double is… well… fast.


Guillemot ‘S’

A fun, playful sea kayak for small paddlers.

A responsive and playful sea kayak.
S&G Guillemot

Jari Temonen of Finland in a Guillemot

A stitch and glue interpretation of the Guillemot below.

A quick and responsive sea kayak.
Expedition Single

A responsive and efficient sea kayak for touring.
Guillemot ‘L’

A responsive sea kayak for larger paddlers.
Guillemot Double

A roomy and stable tandem sea kayak.
Fast Double

Guillemot Double and Guillemot by Greg Hughes

An fast tandem for experienced paddlers.

Great Auk Family

ack in 1986 Nick needed a kayak. He sat down on the living room floor and drew up a kayak with the plumb bow and smooth curves of an early mahogany ChrisCraft. The Great Auk family of kayaks is the progeny of that early design. Characterized by a elegantly simple and functional form, these boats provide the perfect entry to building and paddling. The baby of the fleet is the Little Auk, a cute little 10 or 11 foot long recreational kayak. Stepping up in length and capability the 14’ Great Auk is a good cross-over design for those who want an easy to handle boat that can move along at a moderate pace easily. For venturing out further and paddling farther, the 17’ Great Auk has the stability for long term comfort and the capacity for long distance touring. The High Capacity Great Auk was designed for extra large paddlers and paddlers engaging in extra-long expeditions needing maximum carrying capacity. The Razor Billed Auk design is suitable for racing and high-speed touring. Finally the Great Auk Double is an efficient tandem with good touring capability.


Little Auk - plans include both 10 and 11 foot long options.

A small recreational kayak for poking around protected water.

Mario Giacummo of Uruquay built a Great Auk

14 Foot Great Auk

A roomy and comfortable small kayak for lakes and harbors.

Great Auk

A simple roomy and stable sea kayak.

High Capacity Great Auk

A boat capable of carrying large paddlers and extended touring.

Razor Billed Auk

An efficient sea kayak for touring and racing.

Robert Ciappara paddles his Great Auk in Malta

Great Auk Double

A comfortable and efficient sea kayak for two paddlers.

µBootlegger Family

acing boats from the 1924 Gold Challenge Cup are not the usual inspiration for a sea kayak, but a picture of the George Crouch designed Baby Bootlegger got me thinking. Baby Bootlegger was an innovation in its time, introducing the “rolled sheer” where the deck blends smoothly into the side and the long stream-lined stern. While this may be an unexpected starting point for a kayak, the graceful, efficient shape struck my fancy. The µBootlegger (micro Bootlegger) is a roomy, efficient tandem kayak for cruising a lake or exploring a bay. While more sedate than her namesake, she moves easily through the water and, should a wind blow in, will handle rough water with aplomb. For those who are looking for flat-out speed, the Mystery is narrow, racy speedster. Designed to compete in the Blackburn Challenge, a 20 mile open water race, the Mystery is ready to go as fast as your motor can power it.


Solo microBootlegger

An elegant solo decked double paddle canoe.

A modern take on a double paddle canoe.


A sea kayak optimized for speed and racing.
Paddling the Solo microBootlegger by the big brother.

n the 1880’s J. Henry Rushton developed a line of small, ultra-lightweight canoes designed to be propelled with a double-ended paddle like a kayak. Based on the ideas of J. H. Rushton, I developed the Nymph using modern building techniques. This boat uses the strip-built method and the latest materials to create a fun and easy to handle little craft. At about 15 to 20 pounds Nymph is easy to carry down to the water. The tumblehome below the gunwales makes the paddle stroke easier while keeping good stability. At 10 feet long it can easily poke into hidden coves. The 12 foot version has greater carrying capacity but is a couple pounds heavier.



A sweet double paddle canoe for small paddlers venturing out on ponds and sheltered lakes. Available in 10 foot and 12 foot versions.

Designed for Use...

hile these boats may make look like fragile works of art, their construction is well suited for serious use. Wood is a natural composite material that is more rugged and fatigue resistant than the best high tech synthetics. This wonderful, beautiful material is then protected under a completely transparent layer of fiberglass fabric and sealed with epoxy resin. The result is a durable, rot resistant, lightweight vessel that is worthy of hanging on the wall, but capable of crossing an ocean.


More Strip-Planked Designs
he Aleut people lived in some of the most extreme conditions in the world. They hunted from an amazing form of skin on frame kayak. The Aleutesque steps off from these unique boats to create a stunning, fast and fun sea kayak. The Aleut boats were named “baidarkas” by the Russian traders who first encountered the native kayakers. The baidarka was unusual for it bow and stern shapes. The bow was “bifurcated” with a split between the high volume top and a slim wave cutting bottom. The stern was truncated into a skeg. The Aleutesque vamps on these forms to create a high performance modern kayak suitable for fitness training on lakes and the ocean. At the other end of the spectrum is the Simple. It is just that, a simple boat that is easy to build and comfortable to paddle. The shape was specifically designed to allow easy stripping while producing a boat that will be easy to paddle and comfortably stable.



A simple to build strip-planked recreational kayak

A sleek and fast kayak loosely based on Aleut Baidarkas.

Rowing Boats
ot just another white dinghy. The Coot is an able little vessel to get you out to your yacht and back. It rows along easily with room for a couple passengers and their gear. The design could be rigged for sailing and can take a small outboard. This design can be built as a rugged little knock-about boat at about 65 lbs or as a little more delicate lightweight craft for easy stowing on a yacht cabin top. Fishermen and hunters traveling to the bountiful lakes of the Adirondacks during the 1800 came to deeply respect the amazingly capable Adirondack Guide Boat. This lightweight vessel rowed quickly to their favorite fishing spot and was light enough to portage from lake to lake. The narrow waterline makes if fast, the wide flare makes it seaworthy.



A classic pram style dinghy tender to get to your yacht or do a little fishing.

Rowing the Coot

Adirondack Guide Boat

A seaworthy traditional rowing boat.

Stitch & Glue Designs
ost Guillemot Kayaks designs are designed for strip-building, but several are available exclusively as “stitch and glue” construction. This method uses precisely cut plywood panels temporarily wired or “stitched” together then glued permanently with epoxy reinforced with fiberglass. This method allows quicker construction than hand-fitting multiple narrow strips as is done with strip-planking. The results do not allow for as fine curves as stripping, but stitch and glue produces nice, rugged boats with less time and effort invested. The Matunuck design is at home scooting down open ocean swell along side surf boards. This beautiful little boat is a highly refined for surf. While the small size is appealing for other, less extreme uses, it really isn’t well suited for anything other than sliding down steep waves. If you are a first-time boat builder and want an inexpensive, quick and easy project to get your feet wet, the Ganymede design was created specifically for you. This simple, but distinctive little kayak can be assembled in a couple weekends or about a week of evenings. The result is a fun little boat with a lot of capacity. Fishermen and paddlers who would prefer sitting with their legs out in the sun and wind will appreciate the Sea Island Sport sit on top kayak. Originally designed for a friend who had difficulty getting in and out of standard kayak cockpits, the stable and efficient kayak is easy and fun to paddle.


A dedicated surf kayak for ripping up the local beach break.


An easy to build, fun stitch and glue design for recreational paddlers.

Sea Island Sport

A fast and stable plywood sit-on-top kayak.

Creating a Kayak
Strip-planked boats are built over a form that defines the shape. Narrow strips of wood are shaped to fit tightly together.

Each of about 100 strips are carefully shaped one at a time by hand to create strong, tight joints between each piece of wood.

After the forms are covered with the strip planks, the wood needs to be sculpted and smoothed to create a fair shape.

The outside is reinforced with cloth. Fabric woven from fine strands of glass is flexible and strong. This cloth starts out white as the thin threads of glass catch and reflect the light. It is hard to believe that this silk-like cloth is created from glass.

The white fiberglass fabric becomes completely transparent when saturated with a two-part epoxy mixture. This highstrength adhesive bonds the ‘glass fabric to the wood with a rugged layer of waterproof resin.

The inside of the boat can be further reinforced with more fiberglass or for even greater strength and toughness a layer of Kevlar or Carbon Fiber cloth may be substituted. While not transparent like the fiberglass, the exotic fabrics add a handsome contrast to the natural wood.

After several layers of epoxy have been added to the surface of the boat a multi-step process of sanding and further resin fill coats produce a smooth, hard surface ready for a glossy protective clear coat.

After many hours of careful work, the final product is beautiful to behold. It is ready to be displayed in a great room or paddled across a bay.

Plans Prices
oat plans include all the forms and patterns needed to build your own boat. They are drawn out at full size and individually. You can simply glue the plan drawings directly to your form material and cut out around the lines to assure no loss of accuracy. The instruction manual for all the strip-built kayaks is the book The Strip-Built Sea Kayak. If you don’t have experience building kayaks, I recommend that you purchase the book as well as the plans. its are available for all Guillemot Kayaks designs from Chesapeake Light Craft. Please visit our website for more information. ustom built boats are also available, please give Nick a call at (860) 659-8847 to talk about your next family heirloom. ick Schade has been designing and building unique, beautiful small craft since 1986. His work has been recognized worldwide for their performance and elegance. The author of two books on boat building, Nick has helped introduce do-ityourself boats to thousands. Making your own boat is a gratifying project. Even if you have never built anything, it is possible to construct a beautiful vessel. Prices subject to change without notice. Postage and handling are based on your location. Please visit our website for up-to-date charges. Please call, write or go online to place an order


Coot Matunuck Nymph Little Auk 12 Foot Nymph Ganymede 14 Foot Great Auk Solo microBootleger Sea Island Sport Adirondack Guide Boat Guillemot “S” Play Guillemot Petrel Great Auk S&G Guillemot microBootlegger Night Heron S&G Night Heron Hybrid Night Heron Greenland Night Heron Aleutesque High Cap. Great Auk Guillemot “L” Expedition Single Razor Billed Auk Mystery Guillemot Double Great Auk Double Fast Double

Over All Length 8’ 8 10 10 12 13 14
14 15.5 15.8 16 16.5 17 17 17 17 17.4 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 19 19 20 20 21 25.5

At Waterline Length 7’ 7.5 9.8 9.5 11.9 12.2 13.8
13.9 14.2 15.6 13.8 14.4 14.7 15 16.6 15.2 17.2 16.1 16.2 16.2 16.2 17.8 17.8 15.6 16.7 18.6 19.9 17.6 20.1 22.7

Beam 48” 24 25.5 28 26.5 25 24.5
26 27 38.8 20 22 21 20 24 21 27 20 20 20 20 20 30 23 21 20 20 28 26 21

Beam 45.5’ 23 24 26.3 24.9 22.9 23.5
24.6 25.1 29.9 20.1 21.7 20.7 19.9 22.7 20.7 26.1 19.6 19.4 19.4 19.5 17.7 29.4 22.6 20.7 18.4 17.4 27.4 24.3 20.7

Plans Price

110 85 90 85 90 55 90 100 99 90 90 85 90 100 90 60 105 90 110 110 90 110 105 100 100 90 100 105 105 105



Other Products
The Strip Built Sea Kayak Book Building Strip Planked Boats Book Paddle Plans T-Shirt Fleece


Guillemot Kayaks 54 South Rd Groton, Connecticut, USA 06340 (860) 659-8847

Complete instruction book for strip-building kayaks. In-depth book about building any small boat using strips of wood. Plans for making a kayak paddle A Guillemot Kayaks Logo on front Comfy fleece with paddler logo


15 16 49.95

Master Boat Builder…
Passing on His Craft
ick is recognized for his mastery of the skills of building small wooden boats using the strip-planked method. He has passed his skills on to others through two books. His first; The Strip-Built Sea Kayak is the acknowledged bible on the subject of turning a small pile of wood into a rugged, functional kayak. His second; Building Strip-Planked Boats extends the method to any form of small boat.


Boat Building Classes
Every year Nick brings his boat building experience to students at institutions like the WoodenBoat School, and the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. You can choose between classes in strip-planking or stitch-and-glue.

Boat Kits
omplete kits with all needed materials for all the Guillemot Kayaks designs are available from Chesapeake Light Craft, the largest maker of small boat kits in the world. Strip-planked kits include CNC-cut forms, and western red cedar cove-andbead strips. Stitch & Glue kits include CNC-cut plywood panels. All kits include needed fiberglass and epoxy as well as seats and decklines as needed. Further information about these kits is available either through the Guillemot Kayaks website or at the Chesapeake Light Craft site at


Custom Built Boats
f you want a beautiful wooden boat, but don’t want to build your own, Nick can build one for you. With over 25 years of boat building experience, Nick’s boats are often mistaken for works of art. The most common reaction when seeing one of his boats is “I would be afraid to put it in the water. It is too beautiful.”, but the boats look better on the water. Please visit his website for more information.


Price $5.00 Guillemot Kayaks 54 South Rd Groton, Connecticut, USA 06340 (860) 659-8847