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Kiwi Racer

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  • the Kiwi PD Racer

    more fun for your dollarthan anything else youll find

    BUT IT KEPT POPPING UP, AND I SOONfound out that a PD Racer was not just aparticular boat, it is a set of rulesdeveloped by Shorty Routh with theintention of providing a very simple

    development class sailing boat that would suit peoplewith limited resources, and give them a means ofhaving a lot of fun without breaking the bank.

    Shorty has a website here which explainseverything and shows some of the many variationsthat have evolved www.pdracer.com

    I had a look at the rules, almost anything isallowed as long as the hulls lower part is the sameas all the others. That allows a lot of creativevariation, but I still was not enthused enough toget involved.

    The darned thing would not go away, on variouswebsites and boating news sites I noted that there

    d e s i g n e r J O H N W E L S F O R D

    It was perhaps three or four years ago Inoticed a mention onwww.duckworksmagazine.com newspage of a boat called a Puddle DuckRacer. My initial impression was that itwas a ridiculous little box, designed forpeople who thought that they could notwork with tools well enough to build areal boat, and I dismissed it from mythoughts and got on with other things.

    Builder Mike took her to a smallboat gathering for her launching,brave man. Brave too because hehardly saw the boat after that.Wood Duck, the smallest andmost unassuming boat there wasborrowed for a sail by almosteveryone who saw her. He had towait until he got her back homebefore he could take her for aproper test sail, see the text forhis impressions.

    38 Australian Amateur Boatbuilder

  • were regional and world competitions springingup, some quite reputable boatbuilding and sailingpeople seemed to be getting involved, aninternationally well known Aussie designerproduced plans for a very sophisticated version,and toured the USA to talk to people about it.

    Then, Jackie Monies, whos boatbuilder husbandhad just built a pair of Aussie PD Racers, asked meto design one for her. Although she and I live8000 miles apart we correspond regularly and getalong very well.

    Jackie is an extraordinary flower arranger, a greatwriter whose work features inDuckworksmagazine on a regular basis, has runall sorts of businesses in the past, has been aroundboats a lot but was completely new to building ,or even sailing her own little craft.

    Being gentle about this, she is not as young asshe once was, has health issues that limit herstrength and agility and is not as tall as somepeople, all of which information I teased out ofher before beginning the drawings. I needed thatinformation to proportion things so the boatwould truly fit her needs.

    As the Monies previous PD Racers were arelatively complex build, I set out to design abeginner level boat, both from the point of viewof building, and sailing but with performance thatwould take it to intermediate level as the skipperlearned the ropes. What I have drawn will fitsomeone from about 10 years old up to an adultmale in terms of cockpit space. Even my 1.95mtall friend Blair could get his legs in there withoutbeing too cramped so the Kiwi PD Racer is reallywell suited to children and women while stillallowing Dad to sneak out for a sail on the pretextof checking it out and the simple lateen style rigwith its easy setup and light sheeting loads is bigenough to give good performance without beingoverwhelming.

    Study drawing.

    Australian Amateur Boatbuilder 39

  • I wanted to reduce the boxy appearance asmuch as possible, after all someone who has justbuilt their first boat will want something that theycan be proud of. I wanted to give extra cockpitspace and a seat height that would comfortably fitmy customers leg length. I aimed to put the crewweight out where it would do the most good, and

    achieved all of those goals with a cheeky sheerlinethat was down near the minimum allowed by therules, and by putting wings on in the form of anextension of the deckline forming wide seats thatoverhang the sides in a graceful curve from bowto stern.

    The inner edges of the decks are curved as wellas adding to the boats good looks, the foredeckcovering a big buoyancy tank and there is anotherone under the after deck. This gives totalbuoyancy of about 880lbs ensuring that the boatcan be recovered if an over enthusiastic sailoroverdoes things, plus for those who wish to picniccruise the tanks interiors are accessible throughhatches for dry storage. I can imagine a little flockof them skippered by early teens and an adult ortwo heading away for a weekend campsomewhere with everything stowed awayshipshape and Bristol fashion.

    The build is about as simple as it can possiblybe, and as cheap as well. Hardware store glue isfine, as is a reasonable grade of utility plywood.Her spars are standard aluminum tube, or the keenwoodworker can make wooden ones and Ive verysuccessfully used bamboo, a sail can be made fromcheap polytarp, sewn up from sail material orbought ready made from our favourite on lineboat parts shop below.

    Her completely straight sides hidden by the extended sideseats formed by the deck overhang, and a clever paint job thelittle sailing punt looks quite pretty. Wood Duck is not only apun on her materials, its a species of duck common to thelake where she lives in Oklahoma, USA. All good fun. (top)Jackie is a real beginner boatbuilder, here is she is fitting theside decks for her Kiwi PD Racer, Ashes the cat offershelpful suggestions. (above)

    40 Australian Amateur Boatbuilder

  • The fastenings can be cheap off the shelf stainless steel ones andwww.duckworksmagazine.com will supply a kit that includes all therigging parts, pulleys and ropes. You can paint her with varnish andhardware store paint but please do make her colourful, somePuddleDuck Racer owners are choosing Duck names and paintingtheir boats in the colours of the breed that theyve chosen. Imlooking forward to seeing pics of one that is painted up like theMandarin Duck shown here www.ducklings.ca/

    Heres a report from Mike Monies a few days after launching:

    Finally got a good chance to put the Kiwi through its pace.Wow!!

    Left our beach at noon and sailed downwind for six and a halfmiles in one hour and 20 minutes, averaging five miles per hourdead downwind.

    The wind was 10 to 15mph and waves eight inches building to18ins. Stopped at a beach for lunch and then went back towindward. The wind built to l5-20mph and seas to two feet withwhite caps.

    Going downwind I sat on a cushion on the floor, portside aftwith the bulk of the sail out to starboard. The lateen sail did itsthing and was well behaved. Never once tried to death roll.

    Arrived at my destination with a dry boat in spite of doing a lotof surfing down waves.

    Going upwind, even when the wind got up to 20 plus mph, Isat on the bottom aft corner windward side and always felt incontrol. No water came in over the sides.

    She points really well, and moved to windward at about 30 tothe apparent wind. When I eased off just a little I got speeds (evenin 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 abeam 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 wasable to scull her at l.5mph to windward with the sail up just bywaggling the tiller. Magic!!

    Mike Monies, Eufaula OK USA

    This little boat is all about having fun, do enjoy yourself and letshear how you fare.

    KiwiPD RacerLength 8ft / 2.44mBeam 4ft / 1.22mWeight. Approximately 75lbs / 35kgSail area 55sqft / 5.1sqm

    John Welsford Marine designer

    Plans and a comprehensive written building guide are available as aprintable download from www.duckworksmagazine,com John Welsfordplans sales section.

    Australian Amateur Boatbuilder 41

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