Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedbackWebLetter 71 logo

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

Glen-L Marine Designs - 9152 Rosecrans Ave. - Bellflower, CA 90706

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Web site:
    • The WebLetter is a little behind schedule this month... I went on vacation. Hope to get back on schedule for the next issue. I could probably have saved some of the articles in this WebLetter for next month to be sure that I have enough to get it out on time, but I really don't like to delay publishing your contributions.
    • Gayle sent out our first email "Questionaire" to our customers. The response has far exceeded our expectations and we are up to our elbows in printouts. More about this below.
    • Re. Power Skiff 14: This boat is versatile, light, easy to manage and economical. I also own an 18' fiberglass runabout. I hardly use that any more. - Marc Bourassa
      We live in a world where bigger, faster, more expensive is "better". Marc and others like Ray Macke have discovered, or perhaps always known, that bigger and faster is not all it's cracked up to be. We should all slow down take time to view the passing scenery.
    • And what's with Gibbs and that boat? Another year and he hasn't gotten any farther. I think he is setting a bad example for future boatbuilders of America. We should all write letters to CBS.
    • FIBERGLASS BOATBUILDING FOR AMATEURS was recently reprinted and we discovered that there was a problem with the binding after having sent out about 50 copies. The books went back to the printer for rebinding. It seems that the glue used was not for the higher quality paper used... go figure. Anyway, after we received the replacements, we reshipped replacements to all of you who had ordered them.
    • On the drawing board: Glass bottom boat anyone? Actually the boat will have a small window and a viewing trumpet. It's sure to be a hit with the kids. Method: stitch and glue. About 10' long. Should be ready for January.
    • We really got a lot of help with this WebLetter. I'm sure everyone will enjoy reading what their fellow builders have to say... what about your story?


Glen-L Questionnaire Exceeds Expectations!

by Gayle Brantuk

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you who completed the Questionnaire that I sent out a couple of weeks ago, but first I would like to 'splain some things about why I did this.

Having worked at Glen-L for over 18 years, I have had various jobs along way. For the past few years, I have handled the advertising - Barry passed it off to me as brothers do when they don't want to do something. Glen-L has always handled the advertising in-house but none of us really know what we are doing and we have done the same type of ads year after year (next year will be different - watch & see!). So, I decided that I should learn Marketing, having been brought up with my mom's words seared in my memory that "you can do anything if you set your mind to it". In reading books and taking courses on the subject, there are many references to knowing your "target market". So, I thought, who the heck IS Glen-L's target market? I know that you are primarily men that like to work with your hands, but that's about it. One of the books suggested that we send out a survey and that people would happily fill it out. Some of the people here (not to mention Barry's name) didn't think anyone would want to fill out a survey. Anyway, after receiving over 750, I think some minds have been changed!

I have truly been overwhelmed by the response to this survey. Because of the number of them that we have received, if you asked a question, chances are you will not get a reply for a while. Currently, I am working on next year's advertising, but when that is completed, I will start compiling the questionnaires and include a summary of your responses in future Newsletters. One thing I have learned from the ones I have read is that you are really nice people! I suspected that, but now I have proof! Many of you were grateful that we care enough to ask your opinion and many of you had very helpful suggestions which I'm anxious to implement.

Bottom line, thank you all so much! So far, some of your answers have made me chuckle and many brought tears to my eyes (okay, I'm a softie). And, I can hardly wait to read them all! Be watching future Newsletters for the results - I think you will find it very interesting!

· · ·

Submit your Photo for Glen-L Advertising

As mentioned in the article above, this year Glen-L's advertising will be different. For our ad in Woodenboat Magazine, we are going with four color and will be including photos of YOUR completed Glen-L boats! The January/February 2006 ad will feature Ray Macke's Cabin Skiff, Mark Bronkalla & Bill Yonescu's Rivieras, Doug Hodder's Zip, Jack Rouse's Gentry and Lloyd Warner's Drifter. The builder name will not appear in the ad, just the photo, but this is your chance to have your boat featured in a major boating publication. I plan on changing the photos for each issue, so if you send me a GOOD photo of your Glen-L boat, preferably in the water, and if it is chosen, it will be included in our ad. Just send your photo to me with "Advertising Photo" in the subject line and I'll let you know if your photo was selected! I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful photos.


Upper Missouri River

Atchinson, KS to Sioux City, IA
by Ray Macke

Note: At the end of this last trip Ray had logged 20,800 miles and 1213 hrs on his Cabin Skiff since the launch, 7-22-00.

Ray Macke on the Missouri River

There is an intruder on my boat! I felt Therapy suddenly rock, I turned and there he was on board. I tried to convince him to leave but he gently nudged me aside, ignoring my suggestions and continued to rummage through anything that caught his eye. Now what? He seemed harmless but then again...


Feedback: Glen-L 15

by Rich Dufresne

Exactly two years after receiving the plans in the mail, I launched "Margarete", a Glen-15. The 2 years includes demolishing and building a new garage, halfway through the project, as I decided my shop was too small. Your easy to follow plans and directions helped me feel like an old pro. The finished boat, and the response I get when showing her, are more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. The entire process has been a real confidence builder. When asked how long I worked on it, I reply zero hours; no work, all fun. She sails beautifully and was such a pleasure to build.

I've got my eye on Lo Voltage next. Next, that is, after building a Kayak that I designed using the skills and confidence I gained building Margarete.

Customer Photos

Feedback: Kidyak

by Marc Bourassa

Please find attached some photos of our Fall father/son boatbuilding project; 2 Kidyaks for the boys! I have built 2 boats prior to this, both stitch & glue, including the Glen-L 14' Power Skiff (see Feedback below). This Kidyak design is a real breeze so far. My boys are 9 & 5, and they are able to do a lot of meaningful work on the boats. I'll keep you updated on our progress - we're looking to splash before Halloween!


Feedback: Sweet Caroline

by Darrell Hodo

Enclosed you will find photos of my Sweet Caroline boat.

I completed the boat and the upholstery in about 2 years by myself. I used Douglas-fir for the frames and gunwales, half inch marine plywood for the hull, and mahogany and eastern white cedar for the deck and flooring. Every thing is coated in epoxy. One sheet fiberglass cloth on the outside of the hull.

I originally had a 40 hp motor and it worked very well with the boat. I moved the 40 to the Zip and had this 50, so I made it work. It is too much for the boat, so I had to prop it down. I also had to put 5 degree wedges in the motorwell to get more of an angle on the motor. The boat handles very well with the 50 hp motor. Planes out quickly. Top speed is about 30 mph with an 11 pitch prop at about 5000 rpm's. I have found out that if you shift weight to the port side and make more of a V-bottom at full throttle, it makes a much smoother ride. I use the boat for fishing the inlets and creeks of South Carolina and could not ask for a better flats boat. It can go almost anywhere without running aground.

Isle of Palms, SC

Customer Photos

Feedback: River Rat-Aluminum

by Bill Zubko

I just finished my River Rat, the hull is 20'6" with a 2'6" outboard bracket/swim platform. What a cool little boat. If anyone is thinking about this hull, it's super. I get a solid 23 knots with a 1986 70 hp Evinrude outboard. It handles great, overtaking other boat wakes, it tracks incredibly straight. It makes an excellent crabbing, clamming and fishing boat, and it's very stable at rest. It is an excellent bay boat, and from the design and how easy it is to plane, real easy on fuel. I also like the bow, nice and high, like this is. I don't know how much water it draws, but its not much, the transom corners at the chines are about 1 1/2" under water. As I was building my River Rat I was concerned about the boxy appearance, but as you can see from the photos that gives a lot of room inside with/ plenty of storage in the bow. It planes at 12 knots with 3 adults on board, and doesn't squat at all coming out of the hole. My outboard bracket is an extension of the hull for about 26" and is about 2'6" wide at the bottom (wet surface). Getting on and off the trailer is a breeze. I built the trailer low enough (hull to road height), so I launch and retrieve the boat with my rear hubs (dual axle trailer) 2" to 3" above the water. And finally trailering this boat is a breeze, as I said before, the hull sits low on the trailer and the top rail is at my chest level. I am more than pleased with my River Rat... please pass on the good word about this boat.

One last thought as to how tough the hull is... last winter the boat was up on concrete blocks and at a friend's house, (it had snow drifts completely covering the boat, and a lot of water got in the hull as things melted and thawed). He put 5 gal. of antifreeze in the hull through the same open hatch. latter as things thawed again he knocked it off of the blocks, as it fell a couple of blocks had broken and only one small dent in the 3/16" bottom on the bow, it's in the photos but I can't even find it. I thought that was pretty cool. A well made all welded aluminum boat is a really strong hull. If any one has any questions on what I did, I'll be glad to answer. (Email address in Project Registry)

Customer Photos


Cooking with Dave

by Dave Grason

This is a sampling of the great information to be found on the Boatbuilder Connection.

Well, I finally got around to reading September's newsletter. I should say I at least got around to reading about Ray Macke's second Tennessee river trip. Great Stuff Ray.

Anyway, I got a chuckle when I got to the part about Ray trying the grits at the restaurant. Being from Tennessee, of course, I was raised on grits. And of course, one of the reasons that we like them is because it's one of the biggest ice breaking conversation starters there is. The novelty of seeing folks from farther north exclaim: "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?" never wears off. Usually after someone says the previous sentence, someone else will say: "Well, I've tried them before and I just don't see why anyone likes them." And someone else will say: "Really, what ARE they?" So folks, here is a quick primer on all grit knowledge.

Grits are nothing more than boiled corn meal. Ray compared them to cream-of-wheat. That's very apropos. They're made exactly like cream-of-wheat just with corn instead. One of the big problems with grits is that in order to get good ones, they need to be cooked up properly and NOT from a box of instant grits. It's just like the difference between instant coffee and fresh brewed coffee. You would never make your coffee decision based on the swill some restaurants call coffee. With that in mind, so often restaurants cook the instant grits and they're just NOT the same. Also, they leave them out on the buffet where they get old and their taste goes away. Then people that have never tried them get a mouthful of really nasty grits and they swear off of them forever. That's really not fair.

Grits should be cooked fresh and eaten fresh. It takes about 20 minutes to cook them properly. All folks who eat grits on a regular basis will almost always flavor them to taste. Around here, we have what's known as "city" grits and "country" grits.

City grits are flavored sweet. It may be with sugar, maple syrup, molasses or something else....honey is very good. My grandmother always mashed some butter in with some sorghum and used that on her grits. The sorghum taste is a little strong for me though.

Country grits are flavored with salt, pepper and butter. It's an entirely different direction from city grits. This is not my personal favorite but my wife likes them that way and with just a little garlic.

The next time you see them on the buffet, take a good look at them first before scooping them on your plate. Fresh grits will actually look good and inviting. But if they have a little bit of a crust, are old, cold or they're watery and runny, take a pass. Someone obviously doesn't know how to cook them properly, they certainly don't know how to take care of them and you're not going to get a good first impression. The Cracker Barrel is one chain of restaurants that keeps grits on the menu but I've never gotten a good bowl of grits there. They're not bad, but they're not really good either. Throughout much of the southern US, another chain is Shoney's. They keep grits on their breakfast buffet. Shoney's grits are downright horrid! Hell, it's no wonder folks don't like them. Someday if I ever get the opportunity to meet Shoney's CEO, I'm gonna slap him for those god awful grits.

If they're looking good and hot, then take 2 little samples. Do one up city style and the other country style. Then if you still don't like them, you can at least say that you gave them a fair try.

Af course, we're still gonna have fun with it all. When folks ask what's the best way to eat grits, we say: "Why, with chopsticks, of course!"

"WHAT is a GRIT?!" Joe Pesci -from the movie: "My Cousin Vinny"

Sounds a lot like polenta.

The story of a
Glen-L Two Plus design
in pictures

Feedback: Power Skiff 14

by Marc Bourassa

Power Skiff 14

Well, I finally got around to providing you with pictures of my Glen-L Power Skiff 14'. I began construction in January, 2004 and, after a long hiatus moving to a new town, completed (is it ever?) the boat in June, 2005. The boat is an absolute joy to drive, and the Fast-G construction process lived up to its billing; fast, efficient and accurate.


Harold the boatbuilder

And then he asked me what I knew about repairing fiberglass boats... I just looked at him.

The trials of building the Renegade

by Mark Haxton

I purchased the plans for the Renegade in August 2003, two months after my younger daughter was born (Which is part of the reason it took me over 2 years to get to the point I'm at now). I chose the Renegade because I want to use it as a wakeboard boat. I don't have a background in woodworking or mechanics, but one of my friends built a boat using Glen-L plans, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm making it an outboard so I can just bolt the motor on the back and not worry about motor brackets and lining up the couplers.


Recent email:

Subject: TNT Registry - My boat
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005

Here is my TNT, I started it in Feb of last year and took a 9 month break. It is getting glassed over now. From there I will float test it, then build the cockpit. It has an 18hp on it now but I will move to a 35 as I get the boat's hull number and inspection done. Am loving this build. Will be float testing the boat next week - just need to glass the sides. Will update my site as those and other pictures come in. I HIGHLY recommend this design to the first timer.
David Ruff
Denton TX

Subject: MIST MISS
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005

I finished building th Mist Miss in 1975, my family used the boat for 30 years. I installed a 403 Buick with a Berkeley jet pump. The boat bring designed for a prop drive, I had to have a step built into the bottom. This was done and the boat handled beautifully. It is a 50 mph boat with excellent pulling power. I still have the boat, however, the interior needs reupholstering. I used the boat for salmon fishing in Montery Bay as well as for water skiing. Anyone who has any questions regarding this boat project, write me.
(see Project Registry for email address.)

Subject: Thanks
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005

Hi Gayle,
Thank you for the replacement copy of 'Fiberglass Boat Building for Amateurs', which I was very surprised - and delighted - to receive today. I have to tell you that customer service at this high a level is something which we in the UK have learned to live without for the last many years.

I will not discard the previous copy. I have put all the pages into plastic punched pockets and put them in a binder. I shall use them as a workshop reference when I finally get around to building a boat.

I assure you that I do not in any way attach any blame to Glen-L Marine Designs for the condition of the original book.

Thank you again for the book and the excellent after-sales service. I look forward to having many more dealings with Glen-L in the future.

Best regards,
Geraint Jones.

Subject: RE: Order Acknowledgement
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2005

I have to tell you that I LOVE YOUR SITE, and the FORUM is WONDERFUL. EVERYONE seems to feel your Company and Staff are the BEST. I will be ordering a frame kit for the Malahini in a couple weeks. I am an experienced wood worker and even though this will be my first boat, I have NO CONCERNS. I know your books and your forum will work me through such.

Thanks for hearing me out.


Subject: Your latest newsletter
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005

Dear Barry;
I was just looking at your most recent newsletter and must say that your new boat design called the Gentry is a real winner in my book. What a beautiful boat that is. Jack Rouse and friends did a beautiful job building that boat. In my opinion it is a real piece of art and it really takes you back in time to the days of the Hackers, Chris-Crafts, etc. I just might have to look into building one of them, when I get my Tornado finished (ok, ok I know I have to start it first to get it finished lol). Thank you for such wonderful designs.
Duane Wood

Subject: Re James Cook
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005

Hi Gail,
Just updating my project and some photos. I must tell you how pleased I am with the plans and the way that everything is working out for me. I had never built a boat before the James Cook and often wondered if I was taking on too much but as the project progresses it is clear that all the information I need is there in the plans, Thank You.

I have taken the hull out of the work shop and attached it to the keel and all went to plan. All inside bulkheads are installed and the cabin sides and top are fitted and fibreglassed. I am putting on the sheer caps and hope to have the hatches and port lights fitted before the winter. Thank You for all your help in the past.
Noel Grant

Customer Photos

The following email resulted after Darla Received a call from Public Television producer Steve Chessin. He inquired if we knew of any way that boatbuilding was being used in education. He gave her his phone number and Darla emailed it along with a message to Doug Wolven.

Subject: Darla- PBS headhunter
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2005
From: Doug Wolven

Dear Darla,
Thank you very much. I will contact him. I like to get the word out about learning as reality. On a similar note, "Ark" (Minuet) was in a commercial for Hostess Cupcakes about five years ago. It was a lot of fun.

Captain W

Subject: Public Television!
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005
From: Doug Wolven

Darla and All,
I spoke with Steve Chessin from my classroom for 45 minutes today. As he is in New York, this was quite exciting. I was ending a spelling test with my kids and assigning them new work on the board as I spoke to him about all we do in Frogville with our boats. He didn't realize I was with my kids until I had them say thank you at the end of the conversation. It was a lot of fun. It was also very exciting to think they may be able to do a program on Boatbuilding in the elementary school. Thank you so much for thinking of Frogville and our Bo-Jest.

I have Dinky in our room for a reading center at the moment. The kids have patterned and cut out the spacers for the deck stanchions so far this year. I will send pix as quickly as I have them signed off with the parents.

Doug Wolven
Captain W

Subject: Leaning About
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005
From: Steven Chessin


I know this is something you are involved in.

I thought you would find this interesting. We spoke several weeks ago. I produce the TV series "Learning About ...." hosted by Michael Douglas.

The series has progressed, and I am focusing on boating in both vocational and academic terms.

In the photograph below you will see the third-grade class of "Captain W". Not only is boat-building taught as a continuation of what they began in the second-grade... but more advanced skills are continued in the years to come. The education goes far beyond the construction skills. Math is used to calculate displacement, geography with longitude and latitude, navigation by the stars, marine biology, history of the great explorers... etc. They even learn about the cost of building the boat, its market value .... and they estimate the profit upon its sale! Boating is the central theme of their entire education.

"I will send you an information packet with photos and a detailed explanation of how I incorporate boat building projects in my classroom. I look forward to this challenge and doing what I can to bring it about. Thanks for all your compliments this morning. It made my week."
Doug Wolven -Captain W

This is the story I have been looking for. The craftsmanship of education based on the crafts of boating and boatbuilding.

* * *

Regards, Steven Chessin - Producer
Learning About .... hosted by Michael Douglas

Subject: Re: Glen-L Newsletter
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005

Thought you might like to see a picture of an early 60's Glen-L, 21CB, that was featured on the front page of the News Times (local newspaper), in the Wednesday August 31. 2005 edition.
I had taken my boat "Cat's Away" (Glen-L 21CB) from Newport, OR to Toledo, OR on the Yaquina River for the Port of Toledo's 1st Annual Wooden Boat Show. She was in a class all by herself, the largest wooden sailboat entered in the 70 some boats trailered in and on the water. So, they are still out there. It is a 4 hour sail, and a 2-hour motor trip, working the tides and prevailing winds.

Tom Chandler

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Thursday, September 22, 2005

name: david w jenks

Comments: I think I am going to build a boat from your plans, seeing all the boats people have built makes me think I can do the same.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

name: don hogan

Comments: We built one of your boats from plans and found it very easy to follow, this was in the early 1950's The boat was a 18/20 foot semi-v hull with a mid-mounted engine, we powered this unit with a 331 cci Olds engine. Hull and engine balanced out quite well with a top speed of around 60/65 mph. Hull was laid up in Laguna Beach and used mostly for skiing at Carlsbad, California.

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