small boat Building

Building Tewantin


Building the original Tewantin

I built this boat while I was building my catamaran, in the mid-90s. Out of the many small boats I built back then, this was by far the best. It flew.
With a 6hp outboard motor it had a top speed of over 20 knots with 2 adults onboard. It could plane easily with 3 adults onboard.

Doing it the “old” way

I didn’t own a computer back then. I made sketches then dimensioned drawings, and built the boat using a temporary frame screwed to the shop floor, over which I bent the plywood to shape.

Creating the hull

First, I scarfed 2 sheets of plywood together, as the boat was longer than a sheet of plywood. Then, I cut out the hull panel a little oversize and bent it around the frame. There was a bit of “torturing” to get the plywood into shape, but the final product was a tight and rigid hull, with a nice form.

Ready for the water

After pulling the hull off the frames, I added in the framing, seats and coated the lot with epoxy resin. I used epoxy resin for everything, bonding, coating and laminating the fibreglass tape along the joins. 

My new “sports car”

I was quite proud of this boat. It made a nice diversion from building the cat which was a job that went on and on, seemingly without end. In contrast, it took just over a week to get my newly built boat in the water.

Up in the Everglades

I couldn’t wait to get her in the water.  I stuck the rego numbers straight on to the epoxy, without waiting to paint the boat. I tested the boat with a 3hp motor, then bought a 6hp Mercury 2-stroke. It suited this boat perfectly in weight and power, so smooth and so quick.

Harry’s Hut – northern end of the Everglades

This was about as far north as we could navigate, up the Noosa River. Many tourist boats visit here each day, a nearly 30km trip from Noosa Heads. It was better in our own boats though…


On the way home – with 2 of us aboard, a heap of gear and leaving little wake behind.

Time for some paint

After lots of “testing”, it was time to give her a coat of paint. I painted the boat with a 2-pack polyurethane paint, which gave a beautiful hard shiny finish. Before painting I took time to prepare the bottom well, giving it a finish as smooth as glass.

A day out on lake Cootharaba

This lake is huge, but we could have got out of our boats here and walked back. You can walk across this lake, it’s so shallow.

A great workhorse

I loved this boat, it was a great workhorse. Light enough to carry on the roof racks, on top of my car, as I didn’t have a trailer. And it had plenty of room to throw the gear in, and head off for a day on the water.

The boat lives on – inside my computer

I sold the boat many years ago but it lives on, inside my computer. I recreated this hull exactly as it was back then. And Tewantin lives on not just in 3D space. There are now over 35 new Tewantin’s, that have been built in 13 different countries.

small boat building

Simple materials – high performance

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