At the age of 12, Kevin McDonnell decided he wanted to build a boat. He sought advice from a family friend, Steven Schoeck, who had already built several boats. Steven agreed to help, provided Kevin did the work. They ordered Dynamite Payson’s book, Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson, in the summer of 2013. Kevin chose an 11′6″ Cartopper design. Steven helped him get the right materials and then Kevin started spending every spare minute building his boat.
When Andy Bradbury started building the Cartopper dinghy on his patio, he promised his wife it would only take a couple of months for him to finish. Just short of two years after that, he finally launched the 11′ 6″ WREN in his home waters of the Pamilico River Washington, North Carolina. His wife, Kristin, and two children, Ellie and Margaret, joined him on WREN's second voyage