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Special Projects

Restoration & Custom Builds

Special Projects

Our workshop is always busy building a new boat or giving new life to an old one. Rebuilding old boats has been a great education as it teaches us what works and what doesn’t. We then incorporate what we have learned into building better new boats that will age gracefully.

Special Projects

Special Projects

We built ‘SPARKS’ as our family cruiser. She is a 30’ hybrid electric half-cabin fantail launch. Visually reminiscent of the fantail steam launches used in our area a hundred years ago, it brings to mind an era when taking a journey was as enjoyable as arriving at the destination.

This low impact, eco friendly cruiser will accommodate a couple in simple yet luxurious comfort and safety during an inland voyage of several weeks. Up to six passengers can comfortably enjoy day trips with seating in the open aft cockpit.

To meet our objective of consuming the least possible amount of fossil fuel, Canadian yacht designer Steve Killing has created a hull shape that is optimized for low speed cruising. Although the boat has a 6,000 lb. displacement, hull speed is reached on less than two horsepower.

Jonathan Killing designed and installed the hybrid electric/diesel/solar propulsion system. It provides multiple power options in an efficient, integrated system to drive the boat with an electric motor directly connected to the drive shaft.

The eighteen 12v batteries are charged by eight solar modules that are built into the cabin top, the diesel generator, or shore power. The solar modules will top up the batteries from a day of cruising in about two days at the dock.

When underway, a touch screen computer monitor shows the operator the current status of all of the components including power flows and state-of-charge. A simple, intuitive screen allows the operator to see which sources are supplying power and adjust speed to suit the desired balance. For example, for purely solar boating, the operator can match the motor power to the solar input and maintain the battery state-of-charge.


Bear Mountain Sprint Racing Canoes

Special Projects

Racing C15 War canoe and C4’s is a very old Canadian sport. These classes go back to the very beginning of organized sprint canoe racing, long before it became an international sport.

Until we began building in the 1980’s, Walter Walker of Lakefield Ontario had built these boats. He was building on molds that were from the turn of the century using the original building materials and methods. The war canoe mold did change; about 1940 the bow was built up for more buoyancy.

When we began building, we duplicated these hull shapes using our building methods. In-put from coaches and paddlers pointed out many quirks that made these boats tricky to handle. This must be the only piece of sports equipment in the civilized world that has not evolved every season; interesting that no one mentioned this. The fact that no one asked points out why these classes have endured. A war canoe race is all about paddlers testing themselves in equal boats.

Special Projects

Building each boat better than the last one is our challenge but also our reward and why we are boat-builders. It concerned us that we were building a war canoe that tracked like a streetcar; fine when going straight in the lane but hard to control in the wash from leading boats. Once out of control, the boat could end up anywhere. The stern of the C4 would sink as speed increased so the boat was always climbing out of the hole. The stern deck was typically below water level so sinking from the stern was common.

In 1999 we decided it was time for a good look at these boats and see what improvements we could make. We commissioned yacht designer, Steve Killing (check out Steve's personal site here) to analyze the traditional designs then give these classes a fresh start with new hull shapes. Our prime objective was to keep the new boats competitive with the traditional boats. We would like to see these classes continue as a competition of paddlers against paddlers.

The underwater profile of the hull (the rocker) has been altered to reduce the tendency of the bow to over-steer, and give the aft a weathervane effect. Underwater sections of the boat have been rounded to reduce frictional drag, especially at lower speeds. The top-end speed has been extended for stronger paddlers by reducing the tendency of the stern to squat. Whether the crew is light or heavy, focuses on technique or strength, they will find these new designs the optimum balance of speed and control.

C15 War Canoe + C4 Water Shots

Special Projects


Special Projects

The hull is a composite of a strip-planked cedar core reinforced inside and out with fiberglass cloth that has been impregnated with WEST SYSTEM(R) epoxy resin. This creates a stiff, strong structure that is also very light. Because the moisture content of the wood is stabilized by the epoxy, varnish lasts longer than would be expected with traditional construction.

While each hull is built on the same mold, we work with the coach to outfit the boat to their specifications.

To identify the boat, the fore deck is painted the club color as well as a club logo applied on the bow. We appreciate the effort that goes into raising money for new boats; talk to us about applying sponsor identification.

C15 War Canoe + C4 Floorboard choices and Foot Brace options.

Special Projects