Bolger's Brick became a Puddleduck, then a PDRacer, now it's a Kiwi PDR, Catbox and an Ozracer!
The PDRacer or Puddle Duck Racer as it was originally tagged is just about the most fun you can have with clothes on, and to that we would add, that apart from a personal flotation device and maybe a hat even clothes are optional.
It's without peer as the cheapest, and easiest to build sailing yacht in the world today. Built of simple materials with a polytarp sail using only basic hand tools part of its great attraction to enthusiasts and tinkerers is that with very few detailed specifications every aspect of construction and design is open to experimentation.
While I am the first to applaud that approach, and built two of them from scratch using salvaged materials and construction seconds, the reality is that few first time builders or of those new to the sailing scene are in a position to tinker and experiment, and so there is a risk that they will, through lack of guidance become discouraged, or make expensive mistakes in what was after all supposed to be a cheap, FUN class.
The primary intention of the class was to engage creativity and water borne fun, that no one would be excluded from an event and to ensure the spirit of the class was the over riding constraint, a devilishly simple set of rules was devised.
Michael Storer's instruction set have quite rightly been described as a "boat building course in a book", and make a great place to start no matter which variant the builder chooses to build.
There are number of free plans available, and many people start from one of the existing plans and design their own, but some of the world's most capable small boat designers produced designs for similar boats including:
Phil Bolger's Brick from Instant Boats in the USA
OzRacer from Michael Storer in Australia,
John Welsford's Kiwi PDR, from New Zealand
Jim Michalak's Catbox from the USA
Perttu Korhonen's Ocean Explorer Micro Cruiser from Finland
OzRacer-RV from Michael Storer.
They recognised that while many love to experiment and learn from their mistakes, most first time builders and sailors need a comprehensive set of documents to build confidence and to ensure a care-free construction process.
They, and others have produced detailed plan sets for PDRacer variants with varying degrees of interpretation of the the rules while still within the spirit of the class.
They have generously made comprehensive instructions available with their plans at a nominal cost, (usually less than $20.00) and the Duck - a whole new grass-roots class of construction began to evolve.
Anyone intent on building a boat with the express intention of winning a world championship, whether from any of these plans or drawing on the pool of PDRacer knowledge, should be aware that a minor modification or two may be the order of the day if strict rules compliance is required. Alternatively the adoption of an even simpler rule set would allow everyone to play together for any given event.
We are strongly of the view that if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, well it's probably a duck so just go off and have fun and leave the measuring to others!
Me? Well I don't currently have a sailing boat (sob) but I'm a bit busy in other places at the moment and after six years of letting this site gather dust, I thought perhaps it's time to put it to good purpose!!
For more good times, don't forget to visit my OzRacer construction guide at PDRacer.info.
• peterhyndman • bitingmidge • captain jojo•about•privacy•contact • blogs • sunshine coast daily photo • fading memories • galerie peter hyndman • postcards from the road • notes from captain jojo • boats • goat island skiff • eureka canoe • pdracer • ozracer • two foot skiff • joyeux •this page last updated March 10 2012