Thanks to a letter by Mark Suszko in the latest issue [#15] of Make Magazine, I have learned about a boat design called the Corky designed by David M Swartwout published circa 1950 in Boat Builders Annual. My lady Hannah and I used to live in Montana, and one of our favorite activities was floating rivers in a inner tube. I always fantasized about ways to modify the truck inner tube to improve it as a tiny boat. I was mostly thinking in the category of drink holders, but this Corky sailboat takes it to a whole new level.
The real thanks here goes to David Beede at simplicityboats.com. He says, “Here are some old boat plans I ran across at a garage sale in Maine.” He hosts a fantastic small collection of boat projects. The complete Corky page has more great information as well as both pages of the design. (Also, be sure to check out Beede’s Pond Skiffs, these awesome model boats kits he sells.)
Perhaps my favorite discovery in this lengthening line of inquiry is a letter on Beede’s Corky page in which a Tom Dacon describes seeing these scans of Corky Article.
I absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it after more than fifty years. When it was published in 1950, I was a seven-year-old who was already in love with sailboats. My father helped me build it and my mother sewed the sails. At that young age, I was already studying the rudiments of boat design, and I worked out a yawl rig for it. I designed a swiveling combination rudderpost – mizzenmast, added a bowsprit, and rigged it as a yawl with jib, mainsail, and mizzen. The sails were navy blue muslin. The boat is long gone, of course, and I never had a photograph of it. Now that I have the plans again I’ll build another one someday, just for fun, and try to find a young child to give it to.
The story of this 2 page design, published in the 50′s, carried around in boxes, sold in Maine, and ultimately scanned, shared, and voila, Mr. Dacon is psyched!