An odd post from me after what seems like months of silence.

Readership of my blog is in steady decline – it’s obvious that content, new content especially, keeps the readers coming back.

Interestingly I’ve had a readership spike over the last couple of days since Ali Mau sort of ‘revealed’ that she is ‘possibly’ in a relationship with another woman. So what, I say.

My spike in interest is solely based on search engines finding the one story I wrote about Alison Mau. Her reaction to Paul Henry and ‘mustache-gate’ was enough to drive people to Skinny. I guess I should thank Google for that.

But I digress.

I’m currently building a boat which seems to have been taking up a lot of my time. It’s called a Minimax. It’s a mini hydroplane literally built from two sheets of plywood (marine ply if you want to spend up large) and some odds and ends of untreated pine board.

I’m on a tight deadline. I need to get it finished for the Antique and Classic Boat Show, held at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes every first weekend of March. This is the eleventh year. I’ve been about eight times previously, as official photographer. Last year on the 1oth anniversary I decided I needed to participate as a casual contender, hence my boat building began.

The Minimax plans first appeared in Popular Mechanics in the 1950’s. The plans for that and many other Popular Mechanics boats can be found on Svensons Boat Building website here.

According to the instructions the boat is a typical ‘father and son’ project and can be built in a weekend. So far that has not proved to be true. I have two sons, both of whom are too young to help, other than passing rulers, or nails, or screws. The kind of help I actually need was an extra pair of hands to hold pieces of structural support in place while I glue or screw or both. Hence my ‘weekend’ project is taking a bit longer.

I will post some progress pictures, if I remember to take them. In the meantime here is a shot I took of a Minimax in action at the 2009 Antique and Classic Boat show. It can take up to a 15hp outboard and, with that motor, achieve speeds of up to 30 knots.

Minimax hydroplane
Minimax hydroplane

Stay tuned for more updates as construction continues.

9 thoughts on “Minimax boat building”

  1. Well done mate….hope to see you and MiniM there this year. How big’s your outboard?

  2. Hi Bill, according to Pete it’s a 5.5 HP Mercury – I think it’s yours!!! Of course you can have a ride on my boat in exchange, if it floats 🙂

  3. I built one in 1967 as a woodshop project- spent 2 summers riding it all over , best 35.00 I ever spent. Of course the materials are m,ore expensive now, but what a blast to ride. Mine was green and white. I flipped it at 35 mph on a sand bar tore the transome right off. Had a 10 hp engine on it. Viet Nam came along and the boat was retired.

  4. Hi Table Pads – thanks for the comment – I’m just gonna be happy if my boat floats let alone doing a flip! It seems to be taking me ages to build but is probably due to my procrastination on making delicate woodcuts and bevels that is slowing me down. I only have two weeks to go to finish – put the stringers to length and put the transom pad in tonight – will be shaping and gluing stringers tomorrow hopefully ready for the deck in two days time. Check back to see progress. I’d love to see pictures of your boat if you have any.

  5. Hey skinny

    Thinking about bulding one of these myself.
    How did you get on? I’d really appreciate some build pics if you have any?

  6. Hi Adam,

    Are you in Wellington? If so you are welcome to come and have a gander at it – I’m in the process of stripping it back and sealing it properly ready for summer holidays.

    There are build pics on the site – just type ‘minimax’ into the search box and the results should all show.

    Otherwise happy to correspond by email if you need help.


  7. thanks Skinny

    After making the comment I did just that and fiound the other posts.

    I’m actually in Auckland but thanks for the offer of having a look.

    If I hit trouble I’ll flick you a question or two 🙂

    Thanks again.

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