12' square stern canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hi, this is my first post on this forum. As a bit of background, I've built 3 strip built canoes, 2 strip built kayaks, a hybrid kayak and a stitch and glue kayak. However, I haven't built anything in a few years. I hope to change that this summer. A few years ago, I purchased Robb White's Sport Boat plans http://www.robbwhite.com/sportboat.html, but I haven't gotten started on the project. Due to storage problems, I'm considering building something similar, but smaller. The boat I am considering is based on a 12' Peterborough square stern canoe. I've searched the web and have come up empty on information about this boat. Anyone have any information, especially photos, that they can share? I have a 2 hp Suzuki outboard to use on the boat. My main concern is whether or not the stern of the boat will squat too much raising the bow if I am sitting in the back operating the motor. The motor I have does not have a tiller mounted throttle or a neutral gear. Once the motor is running, it is in gear so I'd prefer not to run it with a tiller extension. All the photos I have come across of 12' boats show it either at rest with no passengers or on the water with someone sitting in the bow. 90% of the time, I'll be using the boat alone.

12" square stern

I think your concerns are well founded. I haven't seen much information about 12' square stern Peterboroughs, but any narrow sterned, short boat will certainly tend to "squat" at the stern, especially without passenger or load up front to balance it.

I have two suggestions -(1) look for plans for a 12' cartopper with a wide transom, designed for motor use, as made by many of the older canoe companys and (2) to position oneself more centrally in a short boat, use a tiller extension and rig a motor safety shut-off to gain more control of your motor.

square back canoes

I determined that an older 2HP(25lb), in a square back freight canoe was not advisable. It would work in a Penn Yan Kingfisher but that is not really a canoe, it is very broad in the stern. For a real canoe I stick to electric trolling motors since with extra wire you can place the battery in the very front of the canoe and balance yourself. It is also low powered. I had a scare just opening the throttle of that 2HP and seeing the bow lift 30 degrees out of the water and wind catch it. I returned to shore at idle power. I guess if you have a person in front, or gear, it would work out but solo is just dangerous.
Pictures are the Penn Yan. Penn Yan motors fine but paddles poorly. needs oars.


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Thanks for the information guys. I think my description of the boat may be a bit misleading. I've since found a few photos online of a Peterborough Autoboat. It looks like the boat I am considering building. Below is the specs for a 12' Autoboat that was posted on this forum. Does this change your opinion about the suitability of a motor?



You're correct

Yes, but that is not a square back canoe. It may be "canoe" construction, ribs, cedar planking, canvas, but that is made for a motor and will do just fine. Good looking boat. Obviously a competitor to the Penn Yan "cartopper."
but even a short boat like this is not going to balance very well with out adding some weight to the front, I have used a 2 hp Honda on a 12 ft aluminum boat some in the past, always had a 5 gallon bucket full of water or rocks for the front.
Robb White boat friend

KURT: ..WELCOME. You sure have a prior inventory of stuff you built.
.. Your comment on the now deceased Georgia ,Robb White link. My Knoxville , Tenn friend built the Sport Boat & I have a picture on my website , should be viewed here if copy link is working . http://splitdeckguideboats.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=65675051
. Seems Henry has a newer 2hp Nissan . I also got a yamaha last summer at our church sale. . Sort of impressed.
Split, Thanks for the Sport Boat link. I've searched the web and not found a single photo of a strip built SB other than the one on Robb White's web page. I've exchanged emails with a number of guys who have the plans, but none of them, including myself, have started construction. My problem is storage of the boat. I have 2 canoes and 3 kayaks at my house at this time, not to mention an aluminum jon boat. The length of the SB, 16', is the problem. I have a spot that I can store a 12' boat. That's the main reason I am looking at a shorter alternative. Plus, I need to insure the boat is light enough to load on the rack on my truck. I typically fish the marsh in south Louisiana and launch my canoe off the side of the road. A trailer would not be practical. When you say you are impressed, are you referring to the motors or the SB? If Henry doesn't mind a few questions about the SB, can you send me his email address? Below are a few of the boats I built.




I may be a little late, but I just caught this thread this morning and started playing around with lines based on the info. given. Here's my first shot at it.


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