Mark Smaalders Yacht Designs

Designs for seaworthy, affordable cruising boats, sail and power
Specializing in wood and wood/epoxy construction


Tropical Cruising Handbook

Going cruising? Look for my book - Tropical Cruising Handbook - published by International Marine, and available at bookstores and of course online

I've published articles on a number of topics that may be of interest either to those thinking about building a boat, or getting prepared to go cruising. They may be available at your local library, or in a back issue from the publisher (links provided where possible). Happy reading!


Wooden boat construction. Good Old Boat

Canoes, subsistence and conservation in the Louisiade Archipelago of Papua New Guinea (pdf)

Previously published articles

About my designs


  • Wynfall -- An Affordable Wooden Boat . WoodenBoat #102 (Sept./Oct. 1991), pp.56-60.
  • Designing Wynfall -- The Fine Art of Compromise. Classic Boat #71 (May 1994), pp.58-65.
  • (In Dutch) Wynfall -- Een Betaalbare Droom In Hout. Water Kampioen #20 (Oct. 1995), pp. 70-75.

Austral (these written by Penny Morton about "An Old Captivity", Austral hull #1)

  • From Captivity to Cruising. Australian Amateur Boatbuilder #27
  • An Old Captivity by Penny Morton. Water Craft #24 (Nov./Dec 2000) p. 29-32
  • Captivity Classic Boat (May/June 2000) p. 54-55

Wooden boat construction and repair

  • The Common Sense of Boat Repair. Water Craft #07 (Jan/Feb. 1998), pp. 32-38.
  • Wooden Work. Cruising Helmsman (July 1998), pp. 36-39
  • Less Work, More Boat. Water Craft #17 (Sept./Oct. 1999), pp.33-39.
  • Design and Construction Features that Simplify Maintenance and Promote Longevity. Water Craft #18 (Nov./Dec.1999).
  • We Wanted Wood. Good Old Boat May/June 2000
  • Checking Your Chainplates. Cruising Helmsman. (June 2002), pp. 28-32.
  • The Ultimate Boatshop. Water Craft (Jan./Feb. 2002), pp.59-63
  • Metal Corrosion, Parts I and II.  Good Old Boat (July/August and Sep./Oct. 2001)       

Cruising destinations and interesting craft

  • Island Paradise -- Palmyra Atoll. Cruising World (Sept.1998), pp.57-61.
  • The Sand Islands (of Australia). Cruising Helmsman (Nov. 1998), pp.36-42.
  • Sailing Australia's Great Sandy Strait. Blue Water Sailing (Jan. 1999), pp.22-26.
  • Seasonal Sync (Sailing the monsoon through Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea) Ocean Navigator (Nov./Dec.1999). p. 42-50
  • Cruising the South Lagoon (New Caledonia) Cruising World (Feb 2000) p. 61-64
  • Sailing the Wharram Way (about James Wharram and his seaworthy cruising multihulls) Cruising World (May 2000) p. 33-38
  • The Louisiade Archipelago: the canoe as essential tool. . WoodenBoat #156 (Sept/Oct 2000) p. 54-55
  • Here be dragons (Indonesia's Komodo Islands) Ocean Navigator (Jan./Feb. 2001)

Practical cruising topics

  • Sails: A to Z, parts I and II. Cruising Helmsman. (Oct and Nov.2002)
  • Install ratlines for better visibility. Ocean Navigator (Nov/Dec 1998) p. 82-85
  • It ain't that heavy being green (on environmentally responsible cruising). Blue Water Sailing (May 2000) p. 46-51
  • Expectation correction (or what to expect in the South Pacific) Ocean Navigator May/June 2000 p. 47-54

Where to go for more information on wooden boatbuilding

I'm often asked where one can learn more about wooden boatbuilding. Fortunately, there are some very good references out there. A few suggestions follow.

  • A good introductory book is "Boatbuilding Manual", by Robert Steward. He talks about lofting and different construction methods, so it's a good way of getting an idea of what you're getting into, and of how you might want to build your boat (traditional carvel planking, modern laminated wood and epoxy, etc). All of my designs can be carvel planked, strip planked or cold-molded; if you're not familiar with those various methods, Boatbuilding Manual will help.

Other books go into greater detail about particular methods, and will be of more use when actually building.

  • If you want to build traditionally, Howard Chapelle's "Boatbuilding" (published by W.W. Norton) is the classic reference work for wooden boat builders, and covers all traditional methods. If you are looking to build a cruising boat, "How to Build a Wooden Boat" by Bud McIntosh and Sam Manning (published by WoodenBoat Books), is both simple and clear. A fine book with superb illustrations.
  • If you're leaning to strip planking or cold molding (or a combination of the two), then the following book is indispensable and now available as a free download  "The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction". 
    "Cold-molded and Strip Planked Wood Boatbuilding" by Ian Nicholson (published by Sheridan House) is also valuable.

Other books are good for certain parts of the process:

  • On lofting, for example, refer to "Lofting", by Alan Vaitses, (published by WoodenBoat Books).
    For rigging, look to "The Complete Rigger's Apprentice" by Brion Toss (published by International Marine).

All of these books should be available online from; WoodenBoat sells them all as well.