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Cheap, ultralight

Calico Boats

Aircraft techniques used on frame.

Basic 12' X 3' sailboat frame weight: 19.5 Pounds.

Cheapest boat design short of hollowing out a tree trunk.


Uses heat-shrink fabric construction similar to crop dusting aircraft still produced today.



Fun to build design.

Simple, cheap repair.

No steam bending required.

No exotic materials to order.

No messy epoxy resin or fiberglass.

Modular design can be customized easily.

Collapsible 'rigid' wingsail design in the works.

Loaded on car top without help (unless it is windy).



Scrap wood (free?)

3' hardwood dowel $2.50

3/4 inch PVC tubes (6) @ $0.84 each.

Nylon ties from the Dollar store @ $1 per 100

Hot glue sticks from dollar store @ $1 per bag.

Small wood screws and glue are the most expensive items.

Fabric from thrift stores only a few dollars. (hence the Calico Boat name)




Saber saw

Electric drill motor

Hot glue gun (mini the easiest to use)


Helpful tools

Table saw

Cordless screwdriver

Hand grinder (Dremel type tool).


Bow Bow       Stern Stern

Frame half covered with polyester.

Frame half covered with Dacron (polyester)


Hints and tips

Cheap (almost free) homemade 12 Volt bilge pump HERE

Cheapest car-top boat carrier. HERE


Bill Weller