by Paul Butler
Above: The Maxi-Mac is a 14′ river dory designed and built by Paul Butler.
This new river dory, the Maxi-Mac, is an enlarged version of the 90 lb Mini-Mac. It’s double the volume of the smaller boat but lightweight versions of the Maxi-Mac still weigh as little as 125 pounds. LIghter weigh provides capacity for additional payload and easy of handling for getting the boat on and off the water.
No building base, temporary frames or traditional ribs are necessary as the hull is reinforced with interior compartments held in place and made watertight with epoxy fillets. The large front and rear compartments provide seating, dry storage and bracing while standing, plus the safety factor of sealed emergency flotation.
The sheer is stiffened with a laminated gunnel structure, which absorbs the stresses of hard rowing, and multiple oarlock pin locations can be installed as needed. Drifting downstream, the boat can be rowed facing forward or aft for conventional rowing by simply turning around on the console seat.
Epoxy glued butt-blocks reinforce seams and effectively strengthen the hull in critical areas. The bottom is coated with a slippery epoxy/graphite coating allowing the lightweight hull to be dragged over gravel and launch ramps.
The full-length center “console” provides adjustable seating and rowing stations and structural hull bracing, plus an ideal location for an outboard motor well. It locates the motor efficiently in the center of the hull and also prevents “hobby-horsing” in rough water, and the motor can pivot so the prop may be lifted clear of the bottom while drifting through shallows. Even the smallest gas or electric motors will move the boat briskly, and the remaining console compartments can isolate fuel tanks, organize gear or may be insulated with foam to function as ice chests.
Detailed, illustrated, step-by-step building plans that discuss options and material sources are available, as well as pre-cut kits Maxi-Mac kits.
Paul Butler is a renowned boat builder, designer, and author, familiar to readers of Small Boat Journal, WoodenBoat, Sail, Outdoor Life, and other publications.