More about the boat…

The design of the Greta T followed a “scrapbook” of ideas which I had sent to Skip Izon, a builder of canoes and kayaks in Grand Bend (Shadow River Boats). This photo essay by Jessica Brown offers a peek into the art and craft of Skip’s boatbuilding process.

Here are the main inspirations for our design:

A sailing canoe designed by Jurgen Sass


This specific design is 5.2 m. long, and I think would be pretty heavy to move/haul out. It also is optimized for paddling, not rowing. However the schooner rig is pretty appealing. It also has the concept of the Y shaped mounts for the masts which is very different and seems very efficient.

The Driade 444 designed by Paolo Lodigiani and Matteo Costa


Before connecting with Skip Izon, my plan was to modify this design to accommodate a sailing rig.

The Liteboat Race designed by Samuel Manuard


 The bow shape, the rising but simple deck and the width at the stern all are pleasing.

And last, but certainly not least!!!

Skip Izon’s Chipmunk kayak design


So after about a week of consultation at Skip’s shop, where he worked up in the loft on the hull design and I stayed masked and socially distanced and worked below in the shop on how to incorporate the oars and sailing rig we came up with the lines for the Greta T, shown in the two rather faint diagrams below.



You could be forgiven for being puzzled at the faintness of the lines in these two drawings. They are scans I had made of the original large scale drawings – Skip works at his designs the old fashioned way: on a drawing board with a pencil and French curves on vellum paper. While marveling at what he had created, my first worry was to get copies made of all the drawings before anything happened to them!

A word about the drawing directly above: it looks confusing until you know that the left hand side is related to the cross-section profiles looking from the stern (back end). The right hand side of the drawing is the cross-section profiles looking at the bow (front end). The first drawing above is the more conventional plan view (from above) and profile view (from the side).

Finally, a word about the building process. Although using the method of “strip planking”, Skip builds his boats in a way that is certainly not the norm. He builds the boat in two halves (port and starboard) with the halves mounted vertically! The centre of the boat is at the bottom. This allows a much easier build of the deck portions and fairing and fibreglassing of the outside of the hull. Once the halves are off the strongback forms they are remounted, again vertically into new forms, but with the centre upwards to fair and fibreglass the inside which greatly increases the strength and stiffness. After trimming to size, the two halves are mounted conventionally on the level and they are brought together along their centrelines and joined and fibreglassed. For this design, this method was a great advantage – especially when adding the various cross-members (knees, bulkheads and ribs) – we were able to do this without working hunched over or upside down!

Published by Ian C. Robertson

I am a retired Mathematics teacher and formerly a sailing instructor and Instructor-Evaluator with the CYA. I have been planning this fundraising trip for a number of years now, and despite setbacks - notably a cancer diagnosis and the pandemic - I am now at the building stages of a light, wooden, 16 foot rowing and sailing boat for the trip. The trip: 1,3000 km. along Lake Ontario, up through the Trent-Severn Waterway, along Georgian Bay to Lake Huron, through the St. Clair River, Lake Erie, alongside the Welland Canal and back onto Lake Ontario to get home to Grimsby! I am offering to match all donations to the WWF for this trip up to $8,000 and I hope and believe that there are lots of people who will support me and the WWF!

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