The original Wee Lassie, an undecked double-paddle
canoe, was created in the late 1800s in upper New York State
by a canoe builder named J. Henry Rushton. Most of the double-paddle
canoes in Rushton's era were like the present sea kayak: they
had full decks but were wide in beam for more stability. They
were not designed to be Eskimo rolled; rather, they were intended
to be paddled easily in an upright position. The Wee Lassie
type of canoe differed from its contemporaries by being open
- that is, undecked - thus saving a lot of weight.
Without cutting any corners, a Wee Lassie that weighs just a
little over twenty pounds can be built by using the methods
described in Featherweight Boatbuilding.
(The boat can be built to be even lighter, but we want an elegant
canoe, not a fragile one.) Because of this light weight, these
little boats are a delight to paddle and are easy for one person
to carry. You sit on a comfortable seat, with a thwart for a
backrest, and a foot brace to enhance your paddling ability.
You also sit low in the boat, which provides excellent stability.
I almost always carry a camera and binoculars with me when I
paddle, and the last thing I want to do is practice swimming.
. . . The double-paddle canoe has many advantages over the traditional
tandem canoe, which requires two people to carry and handle
With a featherweight double-paddle canoe, you
are master of your own fate. The boat is easily carried by one
person, and easily cartopped, so you can go canoeing whenever
you want to and with only a few minutes of preparation.
A canoe propelled by a double-bladed paddle is easy to take
upstream in shallow water. The experience is like rowing, but
you are facing forward. A regular paddle needs two feet of water
under the canoe to be paddled properly. The double paddle works
well in six inches, which is quite a difference.
Wee Lassie Full Size Patterns
measures and mold patterns hand drawn by Mac McCarthy. $25.00
A WoodenBoat Book
By Henry A. "Mac" McCarthy
Go step by step through the process of building your own
Wee Lassie. Mac provides 18 years of knowledge and many helpful
hints to get you from cedar planks to sliding quietly down a