Monday, November 10, 2014

Duck Punting: Introducing MRS MUMBLES

AHOY! A new boat joins this blog! We have seen a Goat Island Skiff, a Quick Canoe, a Sea Pearl 21, assorted other boats from friends, and now I present FLO-MO's stitch and glue interpretation of a West Mersea Duck Punt from southeast England!

At the end of September, I got a hankering to do something a little different than the coastal open-boat cruising.  A rainy solo evening at home got me reacquainted with Dylan Winter's duck punting videos from the UK.  For the intrepid reader who DOESN'T know anything about duck punting in traditional duck punts from West Mersea, England, have a look-see over at Ye Olde YouTubes.

I strongly suggest looking at Lurch's page, as he has some phenomenal videos of duck punting with his local duck punting group. I have spent hours watching his videos to glean sailing tips.  Dylan Winter, through his famous Keep Turning Left adventure has literally wrested this small traditional duck boat from SE England and plunked it on the world stage of sailing, where it has weaseled it's way into many sailor's hearts for it's simplicity that also demands high levels of technique.

Duck Punts have no rudders, or centerboards. They are sailed by sail and weight trim, and an oar. They sail in a few inches of water, and cost little to build.

Cap'n Jon pushed me over the edge, and I built a duck punt in one month, for a few hundred dollars.
I built my punt from FLO-MO's stitch and glue adaptation of John Milgate's classic West Mersea duck punt plans.  There were a few aesthetic and construction changes, but the scantlings and dimensions are true to FLO-MO's plans.  I did not play naval architect and I wanted to ensure I kept the West Mersea shape that FLO-MO put together. John Milgate requires a strongback and 10mm plywood, I wanted mine built out of 6mm ply and without the strongback.  Primarily, this was because I wanted to car top my punt, as I live somewhat landlocked.  Meranti ply and pine came from Goose Bay Lumber, leftover epoxy, some screws, and a few cans of Rust-O-Leum.  An optimist club sail came from Intensity Sails for a swell price.

Then, I called the legendary Dan Noyes, who built a solid wood 12' Yankee reimagination of John Milgate's punt, and we went punting!

Dan Noyes with his punt on a dolly, walking down to the water.
Dan's punt is constructed of solid pine boards and oak frames.

MRS MUMBLES and Dan's Punt getting ready to launch.  Note Dan's DIPPING LUG RIG.  SALTY!

Detail of Dan's Punt

MRS MUMBLES working through the grasses to a hidden creek in Plum Island Sound

Dan follows behind, snaking through the grass

Dan and his dipping lug, which he dips.

Working up another creek

We find small irrigation ditches and follow them deep into the flats.
Notice my super cheap-o boom jaws! The entire rig is made of poplar dowels.
Not ideal, but a quick fix for quick sailing. Forestay to keep mast from wobbling too much.
A more permanent mast is in the works for this winter.

Dan in his own irrigation ditch.

Dan's ditch comes to the end of the line. From here, we will drag the boats.

A salt pan, that remains full at low-tide, above the water line, in the middle of the flats.


Time for lunch! We are pleased with this beautiful day.

Dan sailing MRS MUMBLES
After these pictures, they ran away from me

MRS MUMBLES is very fast, which is why I have lots of stern pictures from a distance,
and very few up-close action shots.
Having a fast boat is not frustrating, unless you are trying to take pictures of it.

Heading home in round-about kind of way.

Hauling out in the muddiest canal we could find in the entire state of Massachusetts.
Please join in me in welcoming MRS MUMBLES to GISAmateur Style! HUZZAH!

There is an entire gallery, including construction, that you can peruse at this link.


  1. HUZZAH! I can see MRS MUMBLES is a welcome addition to your fleet... and inspirational, too.

  2. Great post! I've admired these little boats from afar for quite a while. Good stuff!

  3. pretty excellent my man! oar steering!!

  4. So cool! Congrats on finishing your punt! I hope you put up some video so we can see how she sails. I sure love sailing mine! I would love to have an area like that to sail in...