PolySail International

High Performance/Low Cost Sails for Small Sailboats



Free and Low-Cost, Easy-to-Build Boat Plans


At PolySail International, one of our goals is to make sailing and rowing more accessible and more affordable to the general public. Both of these recreational water sports are environmentally friendly and good for a person’s physical and mental health.  We are particularly interested in introducing families and young people to these water sports, given recent reports about the state of our citizens’ health. This page will link you to a number of inexpensive, easy-to-build boat plans meant for novice builders, especially teens and families. Boat building involves following directions and plans, problem-solving, measuring skills, tool use, vocabulary building, and a host of other skills related to learning and responsible behavior. We would hope that these pages prompt scout troops, community organizations, after-school programs, summer camps, park programs, and other organizations and programs to help youths build some inexpensive boats and join our efforts to introduce youth to life beyond the TV screen. Of course boatbuilding, sailing, and rowing might not be too bad for the older generation, either.


To assist you, we have organized this entry page into three kinds of links. These include:

1. FREE PLANS: These links take you to pages of easy-to-build study plans that were featured in some World War II era “How-to” magazines. Because most of these magazines are as old as the PolySail founder, the pages are often faded and yellowed. We have digitally enhanced these plans to the best of our ability, but some of the details can still be murky. These plans involve large files that are often slow to load. Be patient.

2. RESOURCES: These links take you to articles, pictures, people, and other resources that might be useful in the boatbuilding process.

11-year old Tristan Delahunt launches his boat Red Devil. Note that Tristan is wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket—unlike many of the sailors in the pictures with the free old boat plans.


3. FREE/LOW COST PLANS AND KITS: These links take you to pages where you can get free or inexpensive sets of plans for easy-to-build sailboats and rowboats from others who like to mess about with boats.


CAUTION: Boats built from these plans are meant for protected waters such as small lakes and ponds with adult

supervision. This information is for educational and research purposes only. By accessing the links below,

the user assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury and agrees that PolySail International has no liability for

any consequential, incidental, indirect, or special damages suffered by the user. To access these pages, click on

the sites listed below. Use your browser’s back button to return to this site. Additional pages will be added as

time allows.







Redneck Duck Our 47-page illustrated guide & plans for building a low cost PDRacer.

Link for US Coast Guard and State Approved Boating Licenses and Safety Courses

Gavin Atkin’s Free Boat Designs Gavin offers a number of boat designs, including his popular Mouse series.

Tik-Tak Kayak Andy Linn’s easy to build 2-sheet kayak. Photo essay and plans.

Glen-L Designs Order their catalog. They have been in the home boat building business over 60 years.              

Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s Plans  Dynamite teamed with Phil Bolger to build a number of Bolger’s designs

PDRacer.com Go to the site and click on “Plans”. This is a very stable, racing class sailboat that costs very little to build. A great trainer for young sailors.

Boating Terms A visual introduction to sailing terminology.

Bateau.com’s Free Canoe and Skiff Plans Includes the iconic D4/D5 pram plans. Check out their site for additional plans and boatbuilding supplies.

Frosty  55 lb. plywood sailing dinghy. Good family project.

Quick and Dirty Oars  David Goodchild’s instructions for making PVC oars.

Jim Michalak’s Boat Plans All Jim’s boats are designed to be built with basic lumberyard materials.

Skate 8’ utility skiff for ponds and small lakes. Sail or row.

Make Your Own Oars  Dynamite Payson’s pictorial instructions.

Craig O’ Donnell’s Cheap Pages The title says it all.

Snorky  A fast little 14’ scow/ catboat that will carry two.

Sail Area Math A Jim Michalak essay.

Mother of All Maritime Links John Kohnen’s links to all elements of the nautical world.

TBear Jr. Moth Class sailing scow. 70 lbs. of great fun.

Making a Simple Polytarp Sail PolySail International’s simple construction guide.

Uncle John’s Skiff  Uncle John offers a simple skiff kit intended for rowing or sailing.

Wheelie Willie  8’ utility craft that doubles as a garden cart.

Sail Shaping Article on shaping polytarp sails for best efficiency.

David Beede’s Plans  Home of Simplicity Boats.

Wrinkle Dink  Fabric-covered double-ender for sailing or rowing.

Making a Lightweight Box Mast. Mostly visual instructions for a lightweight mast.

The Scow  Excellent English site for building a simple scow.

Bingo  11’ 4” multipurpose dinghy for sailing or rowing

Boatbuilding in Plywood  Glen-L’s helpful site.

Dave Carnell’s $200 Sailboat  Dave’s Nutmeg version of a popular Bolger sharpie lives on at this site.

Jiffy Skiff  5’ pine box boat. Sure winner of the ugliest boat contest.

Amateur Boatbuilder’s Page Lots of information on materials.

More Old Sailboat Study Plans DN Goodchild’s large collection taken from 1940’s era How to Build 20 Boats magazines. He charges for them.

Cootie Craft  Hand paddled mini-scow for children.

Hot Tub  My version of Payson’s Skimmer made from Styrofoam or lauan.

OZ PDRacer Plans Michael Storer, an Australian, offers his downloadable PDRacer plans for $20. Nearly 90 pages of boatbuilding expertise.


Yeshi (14) and Zephyr (16) Delahunt built this schooner without adult help. For more pictures of their boats, click here. An article about their boatbuilding exploits appeared in Messing About in Boats.

For young people interested in careers in boating or the marine field, here is a link to college scholarships in that field of study as listed by BoatUS:  http://www.boatus.com/colleges/scholarships.asp 





PolySail International

2291 SE Gaslight St., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952-7332

 Email polysail@polysail.com or call Dave Gray at 317 385-3444

PolySails–Sold on the Web since 1996. Customers in all 50 states and around the globe.


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This page updated on 7/20/2014

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