I decided to make a new Boat, a Puddle Duck Racer
- Part One, What's a Puddle Duck?
- Starting to Build
- My Puddle Duck Racer goes 3D It's official, I get my hull number.
- Next, I add flotation compartment.
- Bottom gets fiberglassed and Gunnels are added.
- Daggerboard case and seat get made.
- Making the daggerboard.
- Adding weight to the daggerboard
- Making the kick up rudder along with a tiller.
- I made a wooden sprit
- Finishing the carbon fibre mast I made a few years ago.
- Replaced the Broken Carbon Fibre mast with a wooden one.
- My PDR gets a mast step, plus side and front decks and more glass
- Finally Finishing the hull
- The Duck gets some hardware
- I make a Sail for the Puddle Duck
- My Puddle Duck Gets Launched!!
Being perfectly satisfied with my little Skerry,
I decided to make a new boat.
WHAT is a Puddle Duck Racer??!
Quoting the Puddle racer website:
"The PDRacer is a one design racing sailboat that is basically a plywood box with a curved bottom, and is the easiest boat in the world to build. Free plans, ... all boats must have have the lower 10" of their hulls be alike, but the rest is up to the builder. You can put any type of sail rig or underwater fins that you wish. Also the interior and deck above 10" is completely up to you.
A simple hull can be made from 2 sheets of plywood, titebond II glue, and latex house paint. It only took me 10 hours to make the basic hull on my boat. The sail can be made from polytarp, or borrowed from another sailboat. You could literally make a complete boat for $100 or less using materials that came from your local Home Depot. Or, there are many different ways and configurations you could use to build your hull."
So far there are well over 1000 hulls registered as of 2017. (You can get a hull number once you have gone 3-D). My Boat Hull Number is: #457. Here is a link to the registry page for international Puddle Ducks
The Puddle Duck Racer is not the first small rectangular boat designed. Several years ago Philip Bolger had drawn up the plans for the Brick. It was more of an experimental idea than as a practical boat. In his book Boats with an Open Mind: Seventy-Five Unconventional Designs and Concepts he says:
"Brick started as an exercise in how much boat could be built out of three 4x8 foot sheets of plywood. ... It's disconcerting that these box boats do everything better than elaborately modeled boats of the same overall dimensions, if they both have to carry the same load."
Many were build and well loved. Here is a page talking about the differences between the Brick and the Puddle Duck Racer.
WHY build a Puddle Duck Racer?
WHERE will I build?
The nice thing about building a 8 feet x 4 feet boat is that it will fit just about anywhere. So far I've been working in the basement and then in the back yard. It's moved to the garage now. My long suffering Nick is eying his shrinking garage with alarm.
Can it actually sail?
This is the surprising part. YES. It has even been made to plane. Because of it's footprint it is extremely stable. Various people have developed sailing rigs and lee-boards or daggerboards that have performed extremely well for an 8 foot box. Crazy groups have taken Ducks to Gulf of Mexico races. Texas 200, Everglades challenge
There is an active building community hell-bent in experimenting and just plain playing.
To be class legal the lower 10 inches have to conform to the official shape. Everything else is pretty much open for experimentation and sometimes just plain silliness.
- Official Website Designer of the boat Shorty Routh website. Free plans and lots of info and links to Duck related pages.
There is tons of interesting material, and photos (Most of the finished boats on this website come from the official PDF website, with thanks!)
If you plan to make a boat this is your first stop. You can get plans and lots of suggestions for rigging your boat, playing games, and you can register your hull and get an official hull number at no cost!
- Michael Storer's Oz Racer It's often referred to with the OZ prefix. He has produced plan which includes his rigs, improved foil sections and spars. In particular he has refined the shape of the profile for the daggerboard / rudders. Slight variation (no flat spot) in the hull profile differentiates it from the official PDR. He has also perfected the oversize version the OZ Goose.
- There is an active yahoo group on the PDRacer.
Lots of video are available on youtube about PDR's here is one example among many.
Sails for the Puddle Duck Racer
The triangular sprit also known as leg of mutton sprit and a few other names is often seen on Puddle Duck racers. It's easy to make out of polytarp and allows for a clear deck free from low head banging spars. Many "serious Puddle Duckers" have experimented with Balanced Lug Sails.
There is no regulation class sail for Puddle Duck Racers and just about every rig has been tried.
Some puddle ducks sport ridiculously large sail rigs. Because the boat is so stable it allows for lots of experimentation.
There have been many terrific paint jobs as well.
This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view.