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Puddle Duck Racer

Page history last edited by Dave Raftery 13 years ago


The PD Racer is a 8 x4 foot rectangular scow made from plywood and sailed as a PDR class boat.




Shortys home page

Polytarp sails

Plans from OZ

Narrative of building OZ PDR

Summerland PDR building info

Good articles

2006 World Championships

plans for 15 inch sides with side air tanks


Matts 8 foot cruiser

PDR  origin




PDR Building FAQ


The overriding design rule is Build It Light. Try to avoid the idea that

thicker/more is better/safer.


Where can I get plans for a PDR?

The most complete plans that will teach you more about boat

building than most boat builders know were written up in Australia by

Michael Storer and are available either off his website:


Or from Duckworks Magazine



Less informative plans are available off the Free Plans section of the

Puddle Duck Racer website:



What plywood should I use?

Whatever thickness you use, make sure to get plywood rated for Exterior

use. There is no need to go to the expense of Marine ply, the glues are

the same and PDRs made with exterior grade ply (even that cheapo stuff

labeled "moisture resistant") have lasted for years.

1/4 inch works great. Some people use 3/8 for the bottom because of the

added thickness and protection (and weight.) Personally, I use that

cheap 5.2mm stuff and have never been disappointed.


What kind of glue should I use?

It appears any waterproof glue works for building a PDR.

Epoxy (WEST, System 3, any marine epoxy): Excellent all around

adhesive, fills and provides structural integrity for gaps up to 3/8.

Expensive, not widely available, and people can develop allergies to it.

Construction Adhesives (PL Premium, Sitka 5200, many others.) These

glues are applied via a caulk gun and are available at almost any home

supply store. The expand as they cure and can fill gaps up to 3/8 wide,

but they only provide limited structural integrity over the gap. PL

Premium seems to be the construction adhesive of choice for most PDR


Expanding Polyurethane (Gorilla Glue, Elmer's Ultimate, etc.) These

glues are applied via a bottle and are available at almost any home

supply store. They expand as they cure, filling small gaps. They do not

provide structural integrity over a gap. They work great for building PDRs.

Wood Glues (TiteBond II, TiteBond III, etc.) These glues are applied

from a bottle and are widely available. They do not fill gaps, but they

are non-toxic, easy to clean up, and seem to last forever. Many PDR

builders swear by these glues.


What kind of sail should I use?

Sky's the limit here, it is all what you want to do. People sail with as

little as 30sqft up to near 100sqft. We have had Lateens, Lugs

(Standing, Balanced, Dipping, and Chinese), Leg-o-Muttons, Crab Claws,

Bi-Plane, Wing, boats with jibs and spinnakers, whatever your mind can



What sail material should I use?

Nearly everyone is using plain old blue poly tarp. It is cheap, readily

available, and lasts for years as long as you store it out of the sun.

An excellent source for a kit that contains everything you need to build

a sail is www.polysail.com. Each kit includes: white tarp, double-sided

tape, your choice of trim color, bolt-rope, scissors, razor knife,

measuring tape, dry erase marker, grommets and grommet tool, and

complete instructions, and is an excellent value.


What should I use for a mast?

People have used everything from a plain 2x4 to a log from a Lodgepole

Pine. In general, 2x2s are too flimsy, but a 2x2 stuffed inside a piece

of conduit or PVC pipe works fine. In general, you want your mast to be

about 2 or maybe 2 1/2 inches for the bottom 1/3 and then tapered up to

maybe 1 1/2 inches at the top. The length of your mast depends on the

dimensions of your sail.


People have been having great success with making hollow wooden masts,

like the Cooper's Mast shown here:


Or the hollow, tapered, square, mast shown in the Australian PDR plans.


What about rudders and leeboards (control surfaces)?

People are using anything from boards with rounded edges to

professionally shaped foils In general, a rudder should be between 2%-4%

of the sail area and lee/center/daggerboards should be between 4%-7% of

sail area. Smaller control surfaces create less drag but provide less

control at slow speeds. Longer, skinnier control surfaces allow you to

go to windward better than shorter, wider control surfaces.


For excellent, professionally made rudders and leeboards, consider



Where can I get all the bits and parts I need (pintles, gugeons, blocks,

sheeves, epoxy, etc etc.)? You can get most parts and pieces from any

home building supply store. If you want real parts Duckworks Magazine,

the on-line boat building magazine, is your best bet:


Building the first OZ PDR

OZ PDR forum TOC

Michael Storer PDR home page

OZ PDR home page

Sorer Boat Design

OZ Blog

PDR rigging pics

Waders PDR club

Texas 200 PDR group

Texas 200 Race


PDR Ranger

PDR with side airbox construction photos


I’m passing the Ducks one by one, which makes things less lonely. They wave and shout at me. I wave back and pretend to hear what they’re saying. Nice guys. I’m beginning to think their hard-man reputation may have been exaggerated, though. Back rests. Solar panels. Cabins with actual portholes. Stereos, even! Those Duck skippers look obscenely comfortable, lounging around in their little boxes. The bastards. At least I’m passing them. -- Tom Pamperin

Come sail away video


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