How To Order

PLANS WILL BE SENT BY RETURN ON RECEIPT OF REMITTANCE (IN STERLING, PLEASE) Please make cheques out to J C Natzio.

To order plans, or for more details on any of the above, contact by fax, mail, or telephone:

Conrad Natzio,
15 Lanyard Place,
Woodbridge,
Suffolk,
IP12 1FE
United Kingdom

Telephone/fax: +44 (0) 1394 383491

Email:  conrad.natzio@firetrench.com

Shoveler

Shoveler

Shoveler (lug-rigged) – shows her paces

Shoveler – gets away from it all

Shoveler – and her sisters are easily launched

Shoveler – a home-built sailing off Antigua, photograph courtesy of Steve Mearns

The smallest boat in the fleet; a beamy but compact pram dinghy with a spacious interior, she offers overnight accommodation for the single-hander when a tent cover is fitted. Sails well with her twin bilge keels, rows well, and tows well.

Dimensions: 3.0m x 1.4m ( 9′ 9″ x 4′ 8″)
Hull weight: 47kg (103lbs) Sail area: 5.3 sq m (57 sq ft)
Plans: £25 post free (£27 outside Europe)

Shoveler is, like the duck for which she is named, most at home in lakes, ponds, rivers, and the upper reaches of tidal estuaries. She is a flat-bottomed pram dinghy with the unusual feature of twin bilge keels instead of daggerboard or centreplate, and this gives her a remarkably roomy interior for a boat of her compact overall dimensions. She is light enough to be carried on the roof of the average family car.

Shoveler has comfortable sprawling space for two adults, but if tented over makes a minimum cruiser for the single-hander. Her long bilge keels give her the feel of a much bigger boat; she tacks well under oars or sail, and goes to windward in very shallow water with her endplate rudder.

Construction is similar to other boats in the range –  (6mm) plywood is the hull material, and only three sheets are needed. Rigidity is provided by the solid gunwales and chines, with buoyancy built in fore and aft.

She can be easily rigged with a lugsail or spritsail, perhaps boomless for simplicity and to spare the crew? heads! A small outboard can be clamped to the transom.

“What could be simpler for a first boat – or a first boatbuilding project?”
Water Craft, March 1998

“A good boat for children to learn to sail in, or as a general-purpose tender & easy to use and practical both under sail and oar.”
Classic Boat, March 1997

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Spoonbill – is ideal for quiet relaxation

Spoonbill – prefabricated components laid out flat

Spoonbill – the bottom panel goes on in one piece

Spoonbill – can be rowed

Spoonbill – can be motored

Spoonbill – can be sailed

A simple but roomy scow hull, only weighing 111kg (244 lbs), gives a lot of boat in a compact space. Spoonbill can be sailed, or used with a small (electric or petrol) outboard motor as an open launch with loose chairs.

Dimensions: 4.8m x 1.5m (15′ 10″ x 5′ 0″)
Hull weight: 111kg (244lbs)
Sail area: 7.4 sq m (80 sq ft)
Plans: £45 post free (£48 outside Europe)

Spoonbill has a flat-bottomed scow hull (with a bow transom), with easy lines for good sailing and simple building with no hard bending – like her sisters, she is put together without any need for moulds, jig, or building frame, from pre-cut panels and prefabricated frames using readily-available materials. Five sheets of plywood, preferably marine, are needed for the basic hull structure – two of 3/8″ (9mm) and three of 1/4″ (6mm). Frames and longitudinals are made up from hardwood or softwood.

Spoonbill is intended as a dual-purpose vessel. She sails well with the recommended sprit-boom rig shown, but the transom will accept an outboard motor and her completely open interior can be fitted out with loose chairs as a river launch, ideal for sedate family outings or fishing trips. An electric outboard is the ideal means of propulsion. Under sail, her ability to go to windward comes from her two long 3″ (76mm) bilge keels, which also give her excellent directional stability.

With an overall tent cover, there is ample space for two people to sleep in comfort; being flat-bottomed, the boat can readily be run ashore for a peaceful night.

Buoyancy is built in beneath the bow and stern decks, and should enable Spoonbill (like her sisters in the range) to comply with the requirements of the EC Directive on Recreational Craft if necessary.

Illustrated instructions are keyed to the plans.

“… … handled well … … spacious and comfortable&an ideal craft to sail with friends for a picnic … ideal fishing boat, or river launch.”
Classic Boat, March 1998

“It’s a tempting proposition.”
Practical Boat Owner, May 1998

” … this remarkable craft … ”
Water Craft, March/April 1998

Little Grebe

A pure rowing version of the sailing skiff Sandpiper, Little Grebe follows the same style and methods of construction, with slightly reduced beam and freeboard: she is an elegant and stable boat for relaxed and enjoyable recreational rowing, or freshwater angling.

Dimensions: 4.06m x 1.22m (13’4″ x 4’0″)
Hull weight: 52kg (115lbs)

Plans: £30 post free (£32 outside Europe)

Little Grebe is (despite her handsome appearance) designed for exceptionally quick and economical building: apart from the solid timber needed for framing and longitudinals, all her hull components can be cut from three sheets of 3/4″ (6mm) plywood, though construction can be slightly simplified (and appearance enhanced) if transom and thwarts are made up from varnished hardwood. As with the other boats in the range, building requires no special equipment or skills and presents no problems to the single-hander.

There are two rowing positions, though with two people at the oars a passenger on the stern seat is desirable for good trim. A single rower will find Little Grebe fast and responsive, tracking well and with excellent stability thanks to her flat-bottomed design, which also makes her a good choice for the fisherman. Her shapely form will allow her to take her place among any group of craft at a Thames-side picnic on a fine summer’s afternoon.

Sandpiper

Sandpiper

Sandpiper in Mulroy Bay, Ireland - easy access to wild places

Sandpiper - beached for a run ashore

Sandpiper - first stages of construction: side panels bent around the midships frame

Sandpiper - shows the clean interior produced by this style of easy building

Sandpiper - performs well with her sprit rig

Sandpiper - was built in the four days of BOAT 99, and finished off at home, photograph courtesy of Martin Waide

Specially designed to be built by beginners over the four days of the BOATS 99 boat show, although Sandpiper reduces boatbuilding to its simplest elements she is a good-looking rowing and sailing skiff – her bilge keels give her a spacious and unobstructed interior.

Choice of rigs: spritsail sloop, as seen here, or standing lug.

Dimensions: 4.2m x 1.4m (13′ 9″ x 4′ 8″)
Hull weight: 60kg (132lbs)
Sail area (sloop): 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft)
Plans: £40 post free ( £42 outside Europe)

Sandpiper illustrates the principles of “handsome is as handsome does”, since the main considerations in her design were speed and ease of construction – but the outcome was a capable and attractive little boat. Her hull is formed simply by bending parallel-sided panels around prefabricated frames, and adding strength and stiffness with solid chines and gunwales. She is built from four sheets of 1/4″ (6mm) ply, with solid timber as required for framing and longitudinals.

Instead of the usual centre- or dagger-board, Sandpiper has twin long bilge keels which give her windward performance in very shallow water, as well as an unusual amount of space within the boat. Her light weight means she can very easily be trailed to the waters of your choice, and for the single-hander she makes a simple weekend cruiser if fitted with a tent cover. Two adults can comfortably spend the day aboard exploring out-of-the-way places generally accessible only to wildfowlers in long thigh boots.

Particularly full and detailed building instructions are accompanied and illustrated by copies of the article on Sandpiper from “Practical Woodworking”, the magazine sponsoring the event at Boats 99 where the first examples after the prototype were built.

“… an enjoyable and relaxing boat to sail … a great boat to learn about boatbuilding and sailing …”
Water Craft, September/October 1999

“… a handy little craft for use on sheltered waters for sailing, fishing, or just pottering …”
Practical Woodworking, Vol 34 no 4

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher - easy to beach

Oystercatcher - rigged for camping

Oystercatcher - on an Australian lake, photograph courtesy of David Barrott

Oystercatcher - clips along under her optional schooner rig

The pioneer of the fleet, derived from traditional New England shellfishing skiffs.

Various choices of rig, including schooner!

Dimensions: 4.7m x 1.5m (15′ 3″ x 5′ 0″)
Hull weight: 90kg (200lbs)
Sail area: 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft)
Plans: £45 post free (£47 outside Europe)

Like her working ancestors, Oystercatcher has a stiff and stable flat-bottomed hull with a jaunty sheerline and boldly-raked transom. She has the qualities which made a successful working boat, combined with the benefits of modern lightweight construction and easy maintenance.

Her lines give her good performance under sail or oars, and if necessary a small outboard motor can be mounted on the transom. The well-rockered bottom allows her to carry a heavy load and still tack quickly and cleanly. The pivoting centreplate is actually offset to port, giving maximum unobstructed interior space and simplifying construction: the endplate rudder enables her to sail in a few inches of water.

Hull construction is from two sheets of 3/8″ (9mm) and three sheets of 3/8″ (6mm) ply, with solid timber for framing, gunwales, etc.

“… we scooted along … a pleasant surprise”
Classic Boat, March 1998

” …the boat coped nicely with the wind against tide chop and seemed completely at home tacking within the confines of a narrow river … a flattie like Oystercatcher is perfect for exploring such area …”
Afloat! August 1995

“… surprisingly spacious accomodation with a tent covering the boat from end to end.”
Afloat! July 1994

Affordable Boating Around the World

Conrad Natzio has developed a family of designs for small easily built boats that are affordable and fun. He wanted a boat for himself that could be easily trailed and handled by one person, but large enough to sleep aboard and stable enough for fishing. From his first design, he has expanded the range to include smaller and larger boats, including an electric slipper launch. Marine ply sheets are the basis of construction, being easily worked and joined with modern adhesives and fixings. Very few tools are required and all would be found in a typical DIY toolkit. All of the designs can make use of electric power and they can all be rowed and carry sails. Conrad has established a range of designs that won’t break the bank. They have been built around the world, often by first time boat builders. Although many builders work a few hours at a time, over a period of weeks or months, it is possible to complete even the most complex design in a few days as a full-time activity during the build.