The Wee Lassie

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 it effectively.

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
Includes measures and mold patterns hand drawn by Mac McCarthy. $25.00


Featherweight Boatbuilding

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 river.
$20.00

 

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