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the Kiwi PD Racer

more fun for your dollar

than anything else youll find
found out that a PD Racer was not just a
particular boat, it is a set of rules
developed by Shorty Routh with the
intention of providing a very simple
development class sailing boat that would suit people
with limited resources, and give them a means of
having a lot of fun without breaking the bank.
Shorty has a website here which explains
everything and shows some of the many variations
that have evolved
I had a look at the rules, almost anything is
allowed as long as the hulls lower part is the same
as all the others. That allows a lot of creative
variation, but I still was not enthused enough to
get involved.
The darned thing would not go away, on various
websites and boating news sites I noted that there
de s i g n e r J OHN WEL SF ORD
It was perhaps three or four years ago I
noticed a mention on news
page of a boat called a Puddle Duck
Racer. My initial impression was that it
was a ridiculous little box, designed for
people who thought that they could not
work with tools well enough to build a
real boat, and I dismissed it from my
thoughts and got on with other things.
Builder Mike took her to a small
boat gathering for her launching,
brave man. Brave too because he
hardly saw the boat after that.
Wood Duck, the smallest and
most unassuming boat there was
borrowed for a sail by almost
everyone who saw her. He had to
wait until he got her back home
before he could take her for a
proper test sail, see the text for
his impressions.
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were regional and world competitions springing
up, some quite reputable boatbuilding and sailing
people seemed to be getting involved, an
internationally well known Aussie designer
produced plans for a very sophisticated version,
and toured the USA to talk to people about it.
Then, Jackie Monies, whos boatbuilder husband
had just built a pair of Aussie PD Racers, asked me
to design one for her. Although she and I live
8000 miles apart we correspond regularly and get
along very well.
Jackie is an extraordinary flower arranger, a great
writer whose work features in
Duckworksmagazine on a regular basis, has run
all sorts of businesses in the past, has been around
boats a lot but was completely new to building ,
or even sailing her own little craft.
Being gentle about this, she is not as young as
she once was, has health issues that limit her
strength and agility and is not as tall as some
people, all of which information I teased out of
her before beginning the drawings. I needed that
information to proportion things so the boat
would truly fit her needs.
As the Monies previous PD Racers were a
relatively complex build, I set out to design a
beginner level boat, both from the point of view
of building, and sailing but with performance that
would take it to intermediate level as the skipper
learned the ropes. What I have drawn will fit
someone from about 10 years old up to an adult
male in terms of cockpit space. Even my 1.95m
tall friend Blair could get his legs in there without
being too cramped so the Kiwi PD Racer is really
well suited to children and women while still
allowing Dad to sneak out for a sail on the pretext
of checking it out and the simple lateen style rig
with its easy setup and light sheeting loads is big
enough to give good performance without being
Study drawing.
Australian Amateur Boatbuilder 39
I wanted to reduce the boxy appearance as
much as possible, after all someone who has just
built their first boat will want something that they
can be proud of. I wanted to give extra cockpit
space and a seat height that would comfortably fit
my customers leg length. I aimed to put the crew
weight out where it would do the most good, and
achieved all of those goals with a cheeky sheerline
that was down near the minimum allowed by the
rules, and by putting wings on in the form of an
extension of the deckline forming wide seats that
overhang the sides in a graceful curve from bow
to stern.
The inner edges of the decks are curved as well
as adding to the boats good looks, the foredeck
covering a big buoyancy tank and there is another
one under the after deck. This gives total
buoyancy of about 880lbs ensuring that the boat
can be recovered if an over enthusiastic sailor
overdoes things, plus for those who wish to picnic
cruise the tanks interiors are accessible through
hatches for dry storage. I can imagine a little flock
of them skippered by early teens and an adult or
two heading away for a weekend camp
somewhere with everything stowed away
shipshape and Bristol fashion.
The build is about as simple as it can possibly
be, and as cheap as well. Hardware store glue is
fine, as is a reasonable grade of utility plywood.
Her spars are standard aluminum tube, or the keen
woodworker can make wooden ones and Ive very
successfully used bamboo, a sail can be made from
cheap polytarp, sewn up from sail material or
bought ready made from our favourite on line
boat parts shop below.
Her completely straight sides hidden by the extended side
seats formed by the deck overhang, and a clever paint job the
little sailing punt looks quite pretty. Wood Duck is not only a
pun on her materials, its a species of duck common to the
lake where she lives in Oklahoma, USA. All good fun. (top)
Jackie is a real beginner boatbuilder, here is she is fitting the
side decks for her Kiwi PD Racer, Ashes the cat offers
helpful suggestions. (above)
40 Australian Amateur Boatbuilder
The fastenings can be cheap off the shelf stainless steel ones and will supply a kit that includes all the
rigging parts, pulleys and ropes. You can paint her with varnish and
hardware store paint but please do make her colourful, some
PuddleDuck Racer owners are choosing Duck names and painting
their boats in the colours of the breed that theyve chosen. Im
looking forward to seeing pics of one that is painted up like the
Mandarin Duck shown here
Heres a report from Mike Monies
a few days after launching:
Finally got a good chance to put the Kiwi through its pace.
Left our beach at noon and sailed downwind for six and a half
miles in one hour and 20 minutes, averaging five miles per hour
dead downwind.
The wind was 10 to 15mph and waves eight inches building to
18ins. Stopped at a beach for lunch and then went back to
windward. The wind built to l5-20mph and seas to two feet with
white caps.
Going downwind I sat on a cushion on the floor, portside aft
with the bulk of the sail out to starboard. The lateen sail did its
thing and was well behaved. Never once tried to death roll.
Arrived at my destination with a dry boat in spite of doing a lot
of surfing down waves.
Going upwind, even when the wind got up to 20 plus mph, I
sat on the bottom aft corner windward side and always felt in
control. No water came in over the sides.
She points really well, and moved to windward at about 30 to
the apparent wind. When I eased off just a little I got speeds (even
in two foot seas) of 4.7 to 5 mph to windward. (GPS)
When I got her close to a windward shore I got 5.3mph on a
beam reach. Great fun, really fast for an 8ft boat!
The big rudder really works. She is very responsive to the helm.
Coming back to the beach into a dying wind on the nose I was
able to scull her at l.5mph to windward with the sail up just by
waggling the tiller. Magic!!
Mike Monies, Eufaula OK USA
This little boat is all about having fun, do enjoy yourself and lets
hear how you fare.
KiwiPD Racer
Length 8ft / 2.44m
Beam 4ft / 1.22m
Weight. Approximately 75lbs / 35kg
Sail area 55sqft / 5.1sqm
John Welsford Marine designer
Plans and a comprehensive written building guide are available as a
printable download from www.duckworksmagazine,com John Welsford
plans sales section.
Australian Amateur Boatbuilder 41