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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

ξξ Build-your-own Boat Plans,

ξξ Boat Building Instruction Books,
ξξ Complete Boat Kits Available,
ξξ Custom Built Boats

D 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.

T 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.

N 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

T 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

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.

Petrel in Askehoved Peninsula Denmark, by Mikkel Gundersen
A fast, responsive sea kayak for open water and close to shore.

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

T 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

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.
Jari Temonen of Finland in a Guillemot

S&G 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
Guillemot Double and Guillemot by Greg Hughes
A roomy and stable tandem sea kayak.

Fast Double
An fast tandem for experienced paddlers.
Great Auk Family

B 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

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

R 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.

I 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 tumble-
home 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...
W 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

T 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
N 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

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

Adirondack Guide Boat

A seaworthy traditional rowing boat.
Stitch & Glue Designs

M 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

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 high-
strength 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

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
Plans Prices

B 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
Over All
Length Beam
At Waterline
Length Beam

the plan drawings directly to your form material

Coot 8’ 48” 7’ 45.5’ 110
and cut out around the lines to assure no loss of Matunuck 8 24 7.5 23 85
accuracy. Nymph 10 25.5 9.8 24 90
Little Auk 10 28 9.5 26.3 85
The instruction manual for all the strip-built kayaks
12 Foot Nymph 12 26.5 11.9 24.9 90
Ganymede 13 25 12.2 22.9 55
is the book The Strip-Built Sea Kayak. If you don’t
have experience building kayaks, I recommend that
14 Foot Great Auk 14 24.5 13.8 23.5 90
Solo microBoot-
you purchase the book as well as the plans. leger 14 26 13.9 24.6 100
Sea Island Sport 15.5 27 14.2 25.1 99

Adirondack Guide
its are available for all Guillemot Kayaks designs Boat 15.8 38.8 15.6 29.9 90
from Chesapeake Light Craft. Please visit our Guillemot “S” 16 20 13.8 20.1 90
website for more information. Play 16.5 22 14.4 21.7 85
Guillemot 17 21 14.7 20.7 90

C ustom built boats are also available, please give

Nick a call at (860) 659-8847 to talk about your
next family heirloom.
Great Auk
S&G Guillemot 17 21 15.2 20.7 60
microBootlegger 17.4 27 17.2 26.1 105

N ick Schade has been designing and building

unique, beautiful small craft since 1986.
His work has been recognized worldwide for their
Night Heron
S&G Night Heron
Hybrid Night
performance and elegance. The author of two books Heron 18 20 16.2 19.4 110
on boat building, Nick has helped introduce do-it- Greenland Night
Heron 18 20 16.2 19.5 90
yourself boats to thousands. Aleutesque 18 20 17.8 17.7 110
High Cap. Great Auk 18 30 17.8 29.4 105
Making your own boat is a gratifying project. Even Guillemot “L” 18 23 15.6 22.6 100
if you have never built anything, it is possible to Expedition Single 19 21 16.7 20.7 100
construct a beautiful vessel. Razor Billed Auk 19 20 18.6 18.4 90
Mystery 20 20 19.9 17.4 100
Prices subject to change without notice. Postage and Guillemot Double 20 28 17.6 27.4 105
handling are based on your location. Please visit our Great Auk Double 21 26 20.1 24.3 105
website for up-to-date charges. Fast Double 25.5 21 22.7 20.7 105

Please call, write or go online to place an order Other Products Price

The Strip Built Complete instruction book for
Sea Kayak Book 19.95
strip-building kayaks.
Guillemot Kayaks Building Strip In-depth book about building Planked Boats any small boat using strips of 22.95
54 South Rd wood.
Groton, Connecticut, USA 06340 Paddle Plans Plans for making a kayak paddle 15
(860) 659-8847 A Guillemot Kayaks Logo on
T-Shirt 16 front
Fleece Comfy fleece with paddler logo 49.95
Master Boat Builder…
Passing on His Craft
N 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

Boat Kits
C 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-and-
bead 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

I 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
Price $5.00

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