Houdini, with all the bells and whistles on!

Roger Kane bought some Houdini plans a little over four years ago, and I recall a phone conversation that suggested something special was in store, I’d met Roger as a member of the Hamilton ( New Zealand) Traditional Small Craft Society , both he and father Tom are very capable craftsmen with an inventive streak and anything that either one does is likely to have innovative and original built in.


Rogers Houdini in the pivoting mountings that made fitting out her interior so much easier.
A view from above with the cabin sides and centrecase in, the wee cabin is small but has good sitting headroom and with the cocklit tented there is plenty of room to lay out a pair of sleeping bags.


From this angle you cans ee that although not a big boat Houdinis beam and freebaord means lots of room inside.

(click images to enlarge)


In this case the first hint was When I attended a TSCS meeting at Roger's home where we spent the evening in his workshop marvelling at the near complete hull in it's pivoting mountings . She was suspended by stem and stern so she could be rotated around her long axis to give access while doing the tricky interior, and it was then that Roger told me that he was going to put a cabin on this 13 and a bit foot boat.

Although only short, Houdini is quite a big boat and I have been wondering if a cabin would work, I think that I prefer an open boat at this length , a boat where with the tent up I have the full length of the boat as a cabin, or when sailing I have a roomy boat so (Please note) won't be drawing one for Houdini. However, I received an envelope full of photographs from Roger, and a letter explaining where he is at, and a little about her.

You will note that there are a number of changes. She will have a sloop rig that with the jib out on that bowsprit will move the centre of effort forward to suit the very forward daggerboard that has replaced the swinging centreboard. There is a tiny motor hidden in the sternsheets, in this case it WAS (note past tense) an outboard motor but has had the leg shortened, the exhaust modified and the controls moved to a fixed position on the bulkhead ahead and is permanently bonded into the bottom of the boat in the same way that a saildrive is. It’s a real work of art and deserves a separate article sometime (watch this space)


All painted and finished with lots of lovely rich natural wood! The toys will be her crew for a little while yet until she hits the water. This view shows something of the conversion from outboard motor to miniature saildrive, tidy and compact, a real credit to the builder
So perfectly proportioned that its hard to see just what size she really is, this tiny cruiser is a real work of art.

Although broad in the beam she is pretty slick underwater, its going to be interesting to see how she performs.

(click images to enlarge)

The workmanship on this little boat is superb! Note the attention to detail and the thought that has gone into the layout, there is even a hatch at the forward end of the cabin so that the crew will not have to go forward to attend to the sails, lots of locker space for cruising provisions and sleeping bags. She’s a treasure, and is going into the water on Tuesday 17th Feb.

May good luck be with this little ship, and all who sail in her.

John Welsford
Designer.