Promoting A Puddle Duck Fleet


To get more people out on the water in sail boats.
To provide a project that will bring families together in a worth while activity.


A few years ago with co operation from Lowes Stores and the local Chamber of Commerce we initiated a "Family Boat Building Event" based on the 16' "Weekend Skiff" It was successful in that 27 groups built boats, but many found it took more time and effort than they had expected. For a repeat event in 2009 we decided to build the simpler PDRacers.

The Moraine Sailing Club has held a successful programme over recent years helping 17 member families to build Optimist Dinghies to the original Clark Mills design. I put together a kit of parts and experienced members help families new to wood working or boat building. It is heartwarming to see the pride kids have in a boat that they have built themselves rather than just having received one as a gift


For a successful porject of this nature it is essential to get a backing from a known group (e.g. Chamber of Commerce) rather than just being promoted by an unknown individual.

* Contact was made with the Editors of local NewsPapers explaining the project. The resulting articles produced a response of contacts who were interested to build PDRacers
* Tri-Fold Fliers were printed and distributed wherever possible.
* Models or 6 different configurations of PDRacers were made and loaned out as opportunities arose to gain publicity
* Permission was obtained from Home Depot Store Managers to build a PDRacer in their store during a busy saturday. This has been repeated in three stores and resulted in finding would=be builders. They also allowed us to display PDRacers in their Car Park from time to time.
* News articles were supplied to the Editor of the Moraine Sailing Club News Letter
* The Regatta at Lake Arthur Committee were shown models and publicity for PDRacers and welcomed the idea of our organising special events for Puddle Duck Racers. ( August 6th and 7th 2011)
    + Puddle Duck Racers have been put on display at various events including photo montage and leaflets for distribution. These have been both indoors and out of doors.
* Group building sessions have been advertised and three have now been successfully held with co operation from State Parks
    + A group called "The Friends of Yellow Creek" wanted to revive sailing on their lake and decided on PDRacers. A group build of 6 boats was successful, and more are being built to be ready for a big event planned for September.
* PDRacers were transported to take part in an Ohio event showcasing wooden boats


* For the Home Depot Demos all plywood and wood was pre cut to dimension. Starting at 10 am two volunteers glued and nailed the sub components whilst answering numerous questions and then assembling the hull which was completed by 4 pm. Decks were not fastened

* Gaining from experience with the Optimists a lot of fore thought went into planning a group building of 6 hulls in one day.

All parts were pre cut so that there would be no need for circular saws or other potentially dangerous machines by novices.

6 stations were set up with a pattern to copy and a detailed set of instructions for each sub component (e.g. Bow Bulkhead). Each was manned by a couple of would-be builders.

A completed PDRacer was set up for examination.

Once most of the sub assemblies were ready work could start on assembling the first hull. (Caution this could lead to a rush of interest and slowing down of remaining sub assembly tasks.

Four volunteers with experience were there to lend a hand or advice as needed.

Masts were glued up and tapered before the day. Use of a tool to draw lines to make the square into an octagon, that to a polygon and then how to round with plane and sandpaper was explained.

Booms had been rounded on all four corners, but still needed sanding

All participants were encouraged to investigate what was happening at other stations in between concentrating on their particular task.

A list of items to purchase for completion was given to each skipper together with suggestions as to where they could be obtained

Sails were cut out from a roll of TYVEK and use of Double sided carpet tape explained and demonstrated.

. All builders were advised to study both the PDRacer website and the "Making the TYVEK Sail" before the day of assembly

Some of these builders volunteered to spend a day cutting out the lumber and plywood in my shop.

We found by experience that it is better to accurately cut all the notches in the bulkeads beforehand by setting a fence appropriately on a band sasw. Cutting them at the building site provided interest and task, but the in accuracies meant time taking adjustments at the time of assembly..

A Rigging session and Learn to Sail Instruction will be given to a group at the time of their first launch

All participants wereasked to pre pay $ 75 to cover the cost of lumber and plywood. They will each have to supply paint, rope, pulleys etc for an expected total cost per boat of $150.


One year after the start of the project we have 22 PDRacers built in the Pittsburgh area