Editor's Page

Electric Boats

Last fall, Holly and I bought an all-electric car—our first. We’d all but resolved, some time ago, that when our old Toyota RAV4—the “beater” in our two-car stable—turned in its final mile, we’d make the switch from internal-combustion to electric. That moment arrived just 15,000 miles shy of the 300,000 mark, and a quarter-mile from home. The car’s demise was something of a relief; making it to 300,000 was a misguided challenge, a point of pride, but that old Toyota was really showing its age. The electric car has proven to be an ideal replacement. With a home-based charger, it’s always full and ready to go. It’s much peppier and more fun to drive than our other car, which runs on gasoline. It’s cleaner: the only fluid we handle is windshield washer. While we’re aware of the arguments regarding the off-site combustion to generate electricity to power cars, last year, 64 percent of the energy in our state, Maine, came from renewables—including hydroelectric, wind, solar, wood, and biomass.

This step into electric transportation has gotten me thinking about the possibilities in electric boats, and the stunning example on the cover of this issue represents a milestone in this regard. This boat is a foiling hull developed jointly by the English builder Spirit Yachts and the foiling specialists BAR Technologies. As Nic Compton notes in his article about the boat beginning on page 78, the Spirit foiler “represents a quantum leap forward for electric boats” in terms of both range and speed. “It will,” Nic writes, “cruise at 20 knots for 100 miles on a single charge.” This boat comes at a significant price, as he notes at the end of his article. But for those of us willing to slow down and smell the seaweed, Harry Bryan, beginning on page 50, presents another option.

Starting with his venerable Handy Billy design, an open, hard-chined, efficient outboard-powered launch he developed a few decades ago based on the earlier work of William Hand, Harry has created a modest-speed electric-powered launch that he’s cleverly name Hand-e-Billy. This boat cruises at 5 knots (respectable in comparison to a sailboat, Harry notes) and can go 40 miles on a single charge. An array of three 330-watt solar panels in full sunlight, Harry says, will yield an hour of operation for each hour of charging. This has gotten my mind racing with possibilities: This boat, with its laminated bottom, could live in my driveway during the week, right next to the electric car, and be topped off by the sun in time for an evening jaunt or a weekend expedition.


With this issue, we bid farewell to our longtime art director, James Bartick, who is moving on from WoodenBoat Publications after three decades with us. James, our longest-serving art director, has loyally and ably designed every issue of the magazine since No. 239; before that, he designed our sister publication Professional BoatBuilder. He is leaving us to pursue a new and exciting opportunity: He and his wife were recently chosen to operate the horse-drawn carriage concession at Wildwood Stables in Acadia National Park—a full-time commitment for both of them. We’re all grateful for James’s loyal art direction and counsel over the years and wish him the best in his new endeavor.

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

Page 24


by Lawrence W. Cheek

For many amateur boatbuilders, the first thing we do when we open up a new set of plans, right there in the first hot flash of enthusiasm, is to begin scheming all the things we’ll change. And it might be justified when the design is nearly 60 years old—venerable enough to legitimately feel outdated, but not yet a sacred classic.

Preview Article
Page 38


by Dan Houston

Classic boats can hook owners with their history. Such a boat is ESTER, a fast Swedish racing sloop from 1901 that dominated Baltic Sea yachting for several years before the First World War.

Preview Article
Page 46

Plank Repair…from the Inside

by Text and photographs by David Stimson

In autumn 2022, I was asked to look at EVENTIDE, a big 90-year-old catboat that had been donated to Community Racing, Inc, a nonprofit group based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Preview Article
SARAH, a modification of the author’s Handy Billy
Page 50

The Hand-e-Billy

by Harry Bryan

To address climate change, it would seem that recreation should maximize well-being and minimize harm to the environment. If fossil fuels are consumed in the process, the goal should be to get the most recreational value for the least amount of fuel.

Preview Article
Norwalk Islands Sharpie
Page 56

The Norwalk Islands Sharpies

by Randall Peffer

When Jacob saw POULE D’EAU, his skepticism began melting away. He liked the sleek, hard-chined hull and the raked, unstayed, cat-ketch rig. What truly blew him away, however, was his first sail with her seller, Dr. Peter Sawyer. “It was fast as all hell,” he gushed.

Preview Article
The sharpie ketch EGRET
Page 66

The Oceanic EGRET

by Bill Schwicker

EGRET is moving too fast. The ocean bottom is 2,000' below the sharpie’s flat bottom as successive seas rise 10' high astern, too steep and too close for comfort above the open, shallow cockpit where I sprawl, legs braced, one hand on the mainsheet cleat, the other on the tiller, one eye forward and one eye aft, as sapphire rollers carry us in sun-spangled slaloms of amazing speed toward the east coast of Florida.

Preview Article
The Spirit 35(F)
Page 78

The Spirit Foiler

by Nic Compton

But the yacht that really stood out at this year’s event wasn’t old, wasn’t a sailboat, and wasn’t even racing. It was a 35' speedboat with a long, pointy bow and sloping reverse stern reminiscent of an English slipper launch. The whole boat was varnished above the load waterline, with an inlaid stripe of pale wood between its curvaceous foredeck and its equally curvaceous hull.

Preview Article
A Nordic Folkboat
Page 84

A Cautionary Saga

by Michael Sauter

The three sailors were as exhilarated as always when SAGA heeled to the breeze as she sailed close-hauled at the start. On the day’s final leg, they were again close-hauled when she heeled alarmingly to port, putting the gunwale under water; in quick succession, before they knew what was happening, the cockpit flooded, she downflooded through the open companionway, and the mast and sails hit the water.

Preview Article

From Online Exclusives

From the Community

Boat Launchings

Boat Launchings


Intro to Boatbuilding Semi Dory

I was gifted tuition to the WoodenBoat School for my 40

Boat Launchings


The build was started in 2009 by Dr. David Likely of Dorn Ridge N.B.