An updated Mini Max Seaflea

by Laurie McGowan

This is the 3-D concept drawing to supplement the installment found in WB No. 268, May/June 2019.

MS NOVA SCOTIA is a diminutive outboard-powered racer made from two pieces of 4′ x 8′ plywood and a handful of dimensional lumber. The boat is meant to compete in a vintage class of tiny outboard racers called Seafleas; its hull design is based on the Sea Sled concept patented by designer Albert Hickman in 1916. The steering wheel and engine controls are within comfortable reach of a middle-aged skipper.


  • LOA: 8′ (243 cm)
  • Beam: 2′ 7″ (80.5 cm)
  • Hull weight (without motor): 75 lbs (34 kg)
  • Displacement (for calculations): 260 lbs (118 kg)
  • Motor: Any 2- 6-hp gas outboard; electric options: Golden SO6
    or Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 (or 4.0) TS/TL with v30/p4000 prop

The great challenge of early Hickman Sea Sleds was to get them to turn effectively and safely. MS NOVA SCOTIA’s chines are angled on their outboard sides to generate lift and thus keep the boat from “tripping” in a turn.

MS NOVA SCOTIA may be powered by engines ranging from 4-6 hp. She’ll feel fast even at low planing speeds, and she’ll prove to be thrilling at the higher speeds achievable with custom propellers. As with Sea Sleds, MS NOVA SCOTIA’s hull sides are dead straight outboard and curved inboard. This throws a speed-enhancing cushion of spray under the boat.

Laurie McGowan ( is a Nova Scotia–based boat designer with a diverse on- and below-water work history. He specializes in energy-efficient commercial and pleasure boats.

Do you have a boat concept you’d like to see Laurie McGowan develop on these pages? If so, send it to Sketchbook, WoodenBoat Publications, P.O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616, or email it to Your letter should be no longer than 500 words.