Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

WebLetter 50

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

Glen-L Marine Designs - 9152 Rosecrans Ave. - Bellflower, CA 90706

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • Epoxy pumps are coming... but they aren't here yet. This comedy is still waiting for the final act. We have been trying to get pumps that have been tested with our Poxy-Shield, but it has been a long process. "They are on the way..." "No, they haven't been shipped yet..."
    We hope to have the pumps available before the end of October. We will send an email as soon as we have them in-hand.
  • So, did anyone see the first TV episode of Navy-NCIS? Much to our surprise, Allyn's special Amigo Frame Kit appeared at the beginning and end. We assume that they went back and added the boatbuilding scenes to those episodes already shot. It will be interesting to see how/if they integrate boatbuilding into future episodes.
  • The response to the new GENTRY gentleman's runabout, has been great and we hope to see Project Registry entries and photos soon.
  • Thanks to Larry Pullon for his jetski cut-up tutorial, an invaluable resource for those of you who are considering installing a jetski motor in your boat. We really appreciate the fact that Larry offered to let us post this information on the Glen-L site.
  • Thanks to all those who have contributed to this WebLetter, especially to Mark Bronkalla for his continuing contributions, Tania Moxley, Cameron & Peter Walters, Mike Worrall, Phillip Harrison and all the others who sent email, letters and photos.


Pumps for Glen-L
Coming Soon

Jetski Powered Boats

by Larry Pullon

I've been written by several people planning on using your Glen-L hull designs with jetski power. My website is devoted to that topic and I have detailed photos showing exactly how to cut up and install a Kawasaki 550 stand-up and a 2001 Seadoo GS hull.

Buying a Jetski

If you haven't already purchased a Jetski, let's take a minute or two to talk about finding and purchasing the right candidate. First, you gain nothing by buying a good looking jetski with a blown engine. Don't be concerned about the external appearance, in fact, ugly is better because you'll get a better price! Anything you save buying a jetski that needs engine repairs will soon turn into a loss as one thing leads to another and you put several hundred into the engine before you even get started.


What I know about jetksi power in full size boats

by Larry Pullon

Glen-L DynoJet - Designed for a jetski motor

Jetski pumps do not like air, and they do not like rocks. The air issue can be avoided by selecting a hull with a deadrise that approximates the deadrise of the donor jetski. Avoid putting strakes or other obstructions within three feet of the front of the intake. A flat bottom will work, but it will cavitate (aerate) in very minor chop and be nearly unusable in typical weekend lake chop (stick to small rivers).

Jetski pumps are touted as linear flow - not exactly true. The only true linear jet pumps are those developed for use by Navy Seals and Army Special Forces and they are highly modified outboard lower units (sometimes on ebay). Water going through a jetski pump in a regular sized boat is lifted a bit as it goes through the pump. This puts a significant downward pull on the aft of the hull and can result in porpoising as you near cruising speed. I've tried a VTS (variable trim system) but due to the length of the hull, benefits were limited. Then I tried 6"x12" manually adjusted trim tabs - eureka! A nice smooth ride.

Rocks - as I said, pumps do not like rocks. I have replaced several Kawasaki pumps and one Seadoo pump (much more expensive and harder to find than Kawasaki 550) because I did not know how to run my boat in shallow rocky water. In one instance, a pump ingested a granite rock, and actually sawed the pump in half before I knew it was there! In water under 18" the pump is strong enough to lift rocks off the bottom and pull them through the pump with disastrous results. At speed, this isn't a problem - rocks are lifted, but the intake has moved before they can get into the pump. The problem occurs when you start the engine in water less than 18" deep. There are two things you can do to prevent rock ingestion - one (risky) is to drift down river until you are in deeper water before starting the engine. The other solution is the fabrication of a "rock grate" which is a steel intake grate with metal bars on 1/4" spacing running lengthwise (crosswise will cause pump cavitation). You can still damage the pump ingesting small rocks - but at least you won't have to "walk" home.

Very sandy (muddy) water can fill the engine's cooling cavities and cause the engine to overheat. Never let the motor idle on a sand bar or while beached. An aftermarket hose attachment will let you run the motor with the boat on the trailer, allowing you to flush the engine if you operate in less than ideal waters.

Adding a second cooling line to the pump/engine is OK if you always operate in warm waters. Trout rivers are too cold for this and cooling the engine with too much cold water can cause it to sieze.

Weight is critical with jetski powered boats; 750cc and up should be used for full sized boats (14'-18'). A variable pitch impeller or an impeller designed for towing skiers will work the best for heavier boats (500 lbs up). Speed impellers are fine for the little 11' hydroplane type hulls. Also, proper alignment and shimming is critical for all these pumps. It is worth the expense and time to take a pump to the pros (hopefully in off-season) for proper set up. A Seadoo pump alignment tool is over $300 - and if improperly aligned, the pump will give your boat a severe teeth rattling vibration.

Although my focus was on Kawasaki and Seadoo donor skis, there are lots of other brands out there that work just as well. I know that Polaris is very similar, but Yamaha has an aluminum intake and will need a totally different installation process.

Larry has graciously offered to answer any questions our readers may have about using jetski motors. Email him at

On the Mark: Repair and refinish

by Mark Bronkalla

After three years the finish on the boat was looking pretty rough. When built, I had applied two coats of spar varnish. The following spring two more were added for additional UV protection and to restore the gloss. The third spring the interior was varnished and touch-up was done along the water line and for scratches.

By mid-summer 2002, the finish was looking dull in many areas and was crazed on the sides and transom. The areas that had been touched up still looked OK. Clearly a better way of finishing was needed. Having to refinish every year is a higher level of maintenance than I am willing to endure.


In the news

Long Beach Press-Telegram, Business Monday, September 1, 2003.

Caption: "Glen Lewis Witt, stands with his daughter, Gayle Brantuk, in front of a Tubby Tug at his business, Glen-L Marine Designs in Bellflower. Glen-L is celebrating 50 years in business this year. Witt, 85, still works three days a week on boat designs. Brantuk and Witt's son, Barry, now run the company. In the back stands Al Perry, shop foreman. Some kits ready to be shipped to customers are shown by the boat."
Photo credit: Leo Hetzel / Press-Telegram

Note: The photo actually shows Barry and Gayle.

Designer's Notebook: Bigger is better?

We've always been mystified by large people, six foot plus and more than 250 lbs. who wish to build the smallest boat. Or the person who wishes to build a boat to carry himself, a passenger (both heavyweights) a dog, decoys, and probably several 12 packs in a boat of about 10'... and be capable of being out in four foot seas. Then there is the prospective builder who wants to build a small hydroplane, carry a driver, observer, and pull a skier. Ridiculous, but we are amazed at what people expect of a small boat.

When you contemplate building a small boat and you are edging into any of the above examples, investigate. The beam and length of the boat is in our catalog. Use a string and outline the size on the living room carpet or similar area. Get seated in the outline. Simulate the gear and passengers that may be aboard. Be practical. Do you really want to be bouncing across the water in a boat this size? Remember too, this boat is not on that level, flat, non-moving carpet. You must get into this craft that is going to tip, possibly severely, when you get aboard and move about. Is the available space adequate for your needs?

Many would-be builders want to build a small boat and increase the horsepower we have listed. The power we give in most cases is conservative, but based on USCG requirements. See WebLetter 43. In addition, you may not be able to get insurance if the boat is overpowered. Again, be practical. A larger motor weighs more and, if carried to the extreme, can be downright dangerous. It's generally not the hull strength; a reasonable increase should not be structurally harmful. However, overpowering can cause capsizing or other dangerous handling conditions.

No we are not stating you must build a larger boat. We're just saying realize the limitations. A slightly larger boat will not add appreciably to the cost. Time and difficulty in building changes little. In fact, a smaller boat usually has sharper bends, and springing in longitudinals may be more difficult.

To be honest, I like small boats. The feel of skimming over the water is exhilarating and fun. Sailing alone in a small sailboat with a brisk breeze is a challenge and the maneuverability is a joy. I like the plop plop of the oars or paddles as I skim through the water in a small boat in the early morning or at dusk. And I like to show my small boat transom to some guy in a multi-thousand dollar boat. When built and used for their purpose, small boats are all fun. But please don't expect more than a small boat is capable of.

See you on the water in MY small boat!

"Fishbones", more than just another boat

by Tonia Moxley

The following article about Jay Newman's Cabin Skiff is taken from the Roanoke Times, Published on July 5, 2003. Copyright, Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA.

Jay Newman lives in Christiansburg, miles from Claytor Lake or any other body of water. But he wears his deck shoes everywhere, even in the living room. He's earned the right.

Newman, a pharmacist by trade, has spent the past three years building his own 17-foot boat, not from a kit, but from plans.

"I've wanted to do it since I was a kid," Newman said. "It was a challenge, and I couldn't buy one like this. They don't build them exactly like I wanted."

Three years ago, he said he felt like he had the time and money to build his own cruising and striped-bass fishing boat.


Seen on the Web

I came across the following when doing a search in Google. The site sells used books and catalogs.

02032-M0893EELK- Catalogue- GLEN-L MARINE DESIGNS, Bellflower, CA, 1977. Boat plans catalogue offering plans, full size patterns, frame kits, etc. for 38 different runabouts, 37 cruisers, 27 sailboats, 12 "fun" boats, 9 house-boats. Well illustrated. Oblong format. A few cover indentations, otherwise very good condition. 11"x 8-1/2" x 128pp. $24.00

From an email dated 8-27-03: "... Would you believe it, a carpet cleaning man stole my catalogue!! I'll be ordering another soon." Berle Maxey

If you don't already have a hard copy of our catalog, you might want to get one and put it away in a safe place as part of your diversified portfolio.

The current catalog has 216 pages and is the first Glen-L catlog to be printed in a vertical format. Because so many of our customers use the on-line catalog, we are printing fewer catalogs which makes them even more valuable. At $9.95, it's a deal.

Feedback: Tiny Titan

My Son and I started our Tiny Titan project last winter and completed building this June. Thank you for clear and accurate plans which made this project very enjoyable for both of us.

My son has called the boat "Wild Thing" and I have included pictures of our efforts. The boat was built to the plans with the exception of some extra reinforcing for a battery hatch in the front. The boat is fully fiberglassed and rides great with a 15 HP Mercury, having a top speed just over 35 MPH. A 9.9 sticker is on the motor to make it "legal" for my son in Canada who won't turn 12 until after the summer.

This is the first sea-flea to enjoy the waters of Kashagawigimog and Canning Lake in Haliburton Ontario for over 25 years and has been thoroughly enjoyed by all of our family and friends this summer.

Thanks again,

Cameron and Peter Walters
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Customer Photos

Featured Design: Lord Nelson

I had a recent phone call asking if I knew anything about a Lord Nelson that was up for sale. I recognized the name and looked through our album of photos and was able to give the caller a little information about the builder. While paging through the photos of the Lord Nelson, I noticed that we have some really good photos of this design, including photos of Ned Smith's boat mentioned in the previous WebLetter as the boat that appeared in an episode of the TV series "Crossroads".

I have included photos of three different projects in the following pages. All are cold-molded construction and between the three projects, they give a good idea of how the process is done.

I would like to head off any fruitless inquiries... these are older photos and we no longer have contact information for these builders.


Darla's corner

by Darla Schooler

I welcome your contributions

It's back-to-school time. We received our first boat plans order from Cape Elizabeth High School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We usually receive several orders at the beginning of the school year for designs to be built in their boatbuilding classes.

The following was in an email from a builder of the Lucky Pierre; he built the boat in Arizona and trailered it to Nova Scotia where he now lives.

I towed it across country, 3,400 miles, behind a huge 1977 Mercury Marquis. People would ask: "What kind of a boat is that?"
When I got to Nova Scotia people knew it was a Saint Pierre Dory, and would ask: "How old is that car?"
Automobiles don't last a long time up there because of the weather and salted roads.
M.L. Caplan

Shop Talk: Painting

I visited Ray Macke's web site and noticed his article about Painting with "Easypoxy". Since we get so many questions about painting, I have included a link.

Interlux has on-line articles and Boat Painting Guide in PDF format.

Previous WebLetter painting articles

Turning the Francis Drake

For those of you who don't regularly visit the Boatbuilder Connection, the following is an entry and link to photos of the turning of the Francis Drake.

Posted by Mike Worrall on September 11, 2003 at 00:44:51:

Have just turned over our Glen-L 'Francis Drake' 29' sailing cutter.
See photos at:

Mike Worrall
Los Angeles

Feedback: The launch of the Wild Thing

Well, we finally completed the Wild Thing and had the official Launch on August 17,2003. I've attached a few more photos showing before and after painting and the official launch. It has been a long year and a half of construction on weekends and whenever we could steal some time here or there, but the pleasure was in the doing. Once the boat was painted and the 9.9 hp Nissan Outboard motor installed, I checked out all of the components and everything work liked planned. So, now it was time to enjoy the finished product. So we packed the family up and headed up to Clear Lake for the official launch.

After the official launch and with the boat in the water and tied up to the dock, I attempted to start the motor. Well, wouldn't you know it, the darn thing wouldn't start, I checked and rechecked everything, it was turning over and it was getting gas but wouldn't start. After about 20 minutes of aggravation, I was just about ready to pull the boat back out of the water and go home and decided to give it one more try, I checked everything again to make sure that the kill switch was attached and that the fuel line was attached and then noticed that I had forgot to pull the choke. I pulled the choke out and turned the key and what do you know, she started and purred like a kitten. Boy did I feel foolish.

I did the first test run and everything was working like it was supposed to, the boat maneuvered well and got on plane surprisingly easy, especially with my size and weight. I turned the boat over to my son for his first run and he was about 200 yards off shore when he stopped. The throttle linkage had come loose, he idled back to the dock, we reconnected the linkage and off he went. Well, we didn't see him for the next hour and when he did return, he was about a quarter mile from the dock when he stopped again. In anticipation of the boat breaking down I had loaded up my break down paddles from our ten foot inflatable dinghy in the center console. Well, he got them out and began paddling toward shore when the shore patrol saw him and gave him a tow. Another first, we had the first launch and had the first tow all in the same day. It turned out that he had run out of gas, boy three gallons just does not go very far. I now have two 3 gallon tanks installed just in case.

I again want to thank you for the plans that were easy to read and understand and your quick delivery of supplies and answers to my questions. We truly are having fun and enjoying the fruits of our labor. I hope you enjoy the pictures, as you can see we modified the cowling plans somewhat. Now that I have the Wild Thing finished, I have room to begin working on the Tempest again. I'll provide more pictures of the Tempest as we move forward with the frame building.

Thanks again, Phillip Harrison

Customer Photos

Recent email:

Subject: Malahini launch
Date: 9-23-03

Just thought I would pass along some photos of the launch day on August 20th. My goal had been to get the boat in the water before the end of summer- well I did it! I can't tell you how much fun it has been getting this boat from drawings to the water. I launched on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota (just west of downtown Mpls). The sunnier photos are from the first launch day. The cloudier photos are from the second trip out. I'm really pleased with how the hull design feels in the water. It's a really smooth ride! I'm currently running with a Honda 15 horse until I can afford something with higher horsepower. The 15 pushes the boat around adequately however. Of course, there is more to come like the windshield and electrics, but we're in business. I just came back from a solo boat camping trip in Voyagers National Park and the boat behaved beautifully. Thanks to all who have encouraged me especially my spouse, Maura who put on a few finishing touches of varnish before launch (photo). Thanks also to my able crew (photo), Matthew -5 and Clare 10 months. I also want to thank my father in law, Mike, who contributed woodworking advice and tools. It's been great fun. Tom

Customer Photos

Subject: Project Registry
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003

My name is Steve Durham. I have begun building your TNT design. So far, I have obtained lumber for frames and transom, and begun to cut parts out. I have also prefabricated the building jig. The floor space I need will not be free for a few weeks yet, so I hope to get all the pieces ready by that time. I am thinking of building the 'stretch' version (12') to slightly increase payload, and to better balance the 40 hp engine I will be using.

I am really excited! I feel like a kid again!! (And I am most surely not!) Based on my initial contacts, and the postings on the web site, I am convinced that I will truly enjoy working with Glen-L. ...and I will do my best to build a good boat. I am an amateur wood worker with a fully equipped wood shop, so a project like this is a good fit. Wow!! Am I excited!!!!




Dear Glen-L

I was very proud to see my Jackknife on your website. I don't have my own computer, but my friends showed it to me. I tried building one of your boats when I was just out of high school, but had no dedication. Over the years, boats and boating have become a passion instead of a hobby. I work for a lumberyard 50 hours a week, then work whatever time is left in my shop.

I wanted to do a quick boat that was different. I built the Tubby Tug in 2 months part time work. It was all built from wood available at our lumberyard. I used Douglas-fir plywood, but stained it to color with a water-based stain before encapsulating with epoxy. The boat came out with a very nostalgic look… I am including pictures.

With two people and a 4 hp outboard it is a fun boat to drive.

The day I launched her, I had never gotten so much attention. I sold her that day. See, I am saving my money to build a Bo-Jest.

Peter Schiele
Union Grove, WI

Customer Photos

Entry on the Boatbuilder Connection. Dave lives in Frankfort, IN and can be contacted through the Project Registry. There are photos of his project in Customer Photos - Archives.

Posted by David Quick on September 16, 2003 at 11:58:42:

I need to know where to advertise my Tango project. Due to health problems, I am very interested in selling my project. The boat is about 3/4 finished. It is complete, brand new, never licensed trailer and with masts, all rigging, and many accessories. I want a firm $3500 for it as is... Again, are there any appropriate places either within the Glen-L website, or other sites to advertise? Thanks. Dave

Subject: Fancy Free
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 16:26:51 -0400

I just thought you might like to know Boatbuilder magazine published my article on building the Annie B, my version of your Fancy Free design, in the July/August issue.

Ray Wulff

----- Original Message -----
From: Barry Witt
To: Ray Macke
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 6:25 PM


Just stopped in to see what was happening with your therapy...
I noticed the article about painting with Easypoxy, probably been there forever, but I just noticed it. Would you mind if I linked to it in the next WebLetter? We get a lot of questions about painting, so any instructions are really helpful.


Subject: Re: Paint Link & Cabin Shiff
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 22:33:15 -0500

Hi Barry,

It's been awhile! Been a tough year for me with Therapy. This darn earning a living thing has been seriously getting in the way of boating. I ran her quite a bit locally but long trips have been a bust. I tried twice last spring to run up the Ohio River, but was turned back both times by high water. The last time it was up 26 feet over normal pool, but it was the only time I had to get away so I tried anyway. Towed Therapy five hours to my chosen drop-in ramp and pointed her upstream. Wasn't too bad at first, but then I started getting into tons of floating debris. Everything from tires mounted on wheels (counted eight), tree stumps, numerous plastic 5 gal buckets, two partly submerged 55 gallon steel drums and one 500 gallon steel tank!

I was stopped in the downtown Cincinnati area by some sort of security patrol. They really didn't say why they stopped me, but my best guess was that they thought that anyone out on the water in these conditions must be insane and that alone posed a threat! After talking to me and seeing I wasn't foaming at the mouth or anything, they let me go on my way - but I didn't last much longer. After tearing a blade off, the SECOND aluminum prop, I stuck on the stainless (should have had it on from the start), did a 180 and headed for home. Spent about 4 hours on the water and drove 10 hours - not my best boating day, but as they say, still more fun than being at work.

The summer has been very busy at work, but finally this week I was able to get some time off. I wanted to try The Ohio again, but again a heavy rain had raised the levels and it was filled with debris. My next choice was the Missouri River, but there the problem is just the opposite. A several year political battle has caused the Corps of Engineers to reduce flow on the Missouri and it is running extremely low.

Next choice was the Mississippi, but because of low amounts of rain AND the reduced flow from the Missouri, barge traffic had been stopped at St Louis by two groundings mid-channel. I feared this would have a ripple effect on upstream with lock tie ups when it started to move again.

So, I opted for a repeat run on the Tennessee River. I dropped in at the top of Kentucky Lake and ran about 350 miles to Chattanooga. It took two days to get there, passing through the six locks. Arrived at about 5:30 PM, got a bite to eat and knocked around the downtown area for the evening. Slept in a little late the next morning but by 8:30 I started back. It was a great trip with absolutely perfect weather - upper 60's at night, mid 80's for the highs with lots of sun and NO wind. I mean water like glass for almost the entire trip. It was heaven... All in all, about 720 miles in four days.

By the way, Therapy celebrated her third birthday in July and now has traveled well over 12,000 miles. She has a few nicks and scrapes in the paint, but other than that, still performing perfectly. I did add another boat to my collection (24' Bayliner 2452 - kind of a Cabin Skiff on steroids!) and a friend asked if I would now sell Therapy. I replied, "Would you sell one of your kids?" I can't imagine ever parting with her.


Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Sunday, September 7, 2003 at 10:04:08

name: Tom Brady

Comments: I built the Geronimo in the 60's as a dive boat, and later the Eight Ball for my kids. I was always going to build the Blue Fin - my absolute favorite boat.

Glen-L is a special part of me. I knew every boat, every picture, every word in everything Glen-L. Thanks for the memories. Tom Brady, Upland California.

Source Key: : Previous Customer

Subject: glen-l 14
Date: 10-02-03

Hi, I am Terry Hagell, I am updating my Glen-L 14 project. I have completed the boat and have sailed it 5 times. I am delighted with its performance. I would like to thank the people of Glen-L whose fine products and excellent advice made this a fun project. This was my first attempt at boat building and if I attempt another I will look to Glen-L first. I have attached some pictures of the finished product. Happy sailing

Customer Photos

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 at 21:32:45

name: Jim Gaull

Comments: I built a Glen-L 12 and have had many enjoyable hours sailing her. It's nice to look again through the other plans and do some dreaming about building another, larger one. The Glen-L 25 caught my eye.

I have to tell you that I took longer than the average builder to finish - about 13 years. Of course, I didn't work all the time. Part of the fun was just wondering how to do it all. Your plans worked well for me. I am very proud of my "Small Wonder". Thanks

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