|A Steve Redmond design, Tetra, was chosen to be my first boat building project. I had a lot of fun and stayed sane. I rigged her with a tapered unstayed mast ala OK Dinghy and fitted a modified Sabot sail. She was named "SkeeterII" after my dad's nickname.
|Skeeter gave me the boatbuilding bug and I was wanting a canoe. I chose to build the Sassafras14 design by Chris Kulczycki from his book "The Canoe Shop". This was where I first came up with my curved plywood, black painted decks which continue through to my most current Geodesic Airolite builds. At 15kg most people thought it was light.......
|Smile - This is what started the whole "Smile" philosophy and is rightly named "Smile" as it wasn't known at the time where this was leading....... Smile1 is the third boat I built. I was introduced to these Geodesic Airolite designs by Steve Clark in Canberra. Having built a ply canoe and having everyone tell me how light it was (15kg) I was out to build a really light canoe. The study plans for this Snowshoe14 said 20lb, and I was after at least a 10% reduction. I built in Australian Red Cedar - which was an unfortunate choice for my first attempt at steam bending, though it did give the required result. Smile1 weighed in at just 7.5kg or 16 1/2 lbs. Smile1 also became the first "Lampshade" and now hangs proudly on her owner's (Gina Raccanello) wall as a piece of art..........
|Smile2 - When I advertised Smile1 for sale I had an enquiry from Guy Baker who lived in Northern NSW. Unfortunately, before a deal could be done Smile1 became a piece of wall art. Some months later Guy contacted me and asked me to build another one the same. This second Snowshoe14 was also built in Australian Red Cedar - last seen hanging as a Lampshade in Northern NSW........
|Smile3 - This is a Geodesic Airolite design Nimrod12. It was my first experience with Huon Pine and I was completely taken with it. She was built for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in 2009. She is now named Bodhran and resides in Ireland with her owner Hal Sisk (or should I say Hillary) - completed 2009
|Smile4 - This was the first build under the "Canoes and Lampshades" banner. Anne Close found that "she had to have one", a feeling I sympathise with:) After some discussion it was a Snowshoe12 that came into being for her. Named "Whisp" she turned out a delight and is much loved (though seldom used - sorry Anne :)
|Smile5 - I met Hal Sisk at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival and he wanted "something", and gave me 300euro while he was thinking. He decided on a Classic14 with a centreboard case so that it could be rigged for sailing and hand woven cane seats. Many was the time I rued agreeing to those seats. Now named Scuta she rows in Ireland with castles in the background.....The transom plays up to my "Art to Use" motto...
|Smile6 - A long time friend and owner of several of my craft, Tom Wright, needed to add a Geodesic Airolite to his collection. Many of my customers want Tasmanian timbers used and Tom wanted Huon Pine - ALL Huon Pine. Another Snowshoe14, this one differs slightly in that my trademark curved plywood decks were replaced by a couple of nicely bookmatched pieces of Huon.
|Smile7 - The first real departure from a run of Geodesic Airolites. Peter Burgess was another visitor to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival and he wanted "something" as well. After some months discussion he became fixated with the need for a Baidarka, or Aleutian Kayak. This was to be a traditional design, though finished with modern materials - Ballistic Nylon and Urethane - and also ALL out of Huon. The completed frame was stunning.
|Smile8 - As well as selling my wares at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival I also bought!!! I ended up with three unfinished school projects - all Percy Blandford PBK10s that were semi-finished frames. A friend at the Lindisfarne Sailing Club, Jeremy Fish, bought one and planned to skin it in plywood. However, he was a convert to the GA process as soon as he saw it. I skinned the PBK10 in Dacron after giving the frame a severe make over. Jeremy did the polished alloy bits - a nice finishing touch that I was to repeat on Smile11
|Somewhere along the line I managed to refurbish a couple of other Percy Blandford canoes - original canvas covered examples belonging to John and Victoria Bishop. A PBK20 and a PBK27. At this point I was really falling in love with the Percy Blandford style and was beginning to think of building one with the GA techniques I'd learned.