Puddle Duck Racer

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Puddle Duck Racer
Current Specifications
Crew 1-2
Type Monohull (Scow)
LOA 8 ft (2.4 m)
RYA PN 140.0
Designer David "Shorty" Routh (PDRacer.com rules)

A Puddle Duck Racer or PD Racer is an 8 foot (2.44 m) long, spec series, racing sailboat or day sailer. It is a one design hull shape with wide options in other areas. Billed as "the easiest sailboat in the world to build", the scow hull is a simple box, usually built of plywood. A sideview of the hull dimensions can be seen to the right. PD Racers have a Portsmouth Handicap rating of 140.0 and their USSA code is PDR.[1][2]

History and scope

The PD Racer was designed by David "Shorty" Routh, and was influenced by the Phil Bolger "Brick" design. While the hull designs look very similar, the PD Racer addressed some performance issues in the original Brick, with a significantly different rocker curve and a sloped bow plate.[3] The first PD Racer hull was built in January 2004. Despite the design's young age,as of February 2010 there are over 410 PD Racers registered globally, primarily in the United States, but with growing fleets in other countries also, such as Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, and South Africa on a total of five continents with a scattering of other locations such as Hong Kong, Switzerland and Africa. To register a hull and receive a hull number, the basic hull must be assembled (called "going 3D" by the builders). With two world championships under its belt, and many regional competitions, the series looks to continue growing at a steady rate.[4]

Puddle Duck Hatch

During the weekend of April 28 - April 30, 2006, there was a "Puddle Duck Hatch" held in Summerland, British Columbia. Organized by PD Racer enthusiast Gordon Seiter, the event, gathered various groups from the area to build PD Racers on Friday and Saturday, and then race them on Sunday. The build was sponsored by various local merchants. 10 boats were built at the hatch, which brougnt the number of registered hulls to 99, and hulls 100 and 101 "went 3D" during the same time in other locations, bringing the hull count to 101.

In May 2007 a second Hatch was held and five boats were built. 2008 saw the name of the event changed to the Summerland TimberMart Hatch and saw five more boats built.


The original PDRacer.com sanctioned dimensions to which a PD Racer must conform; the lower 10 inches (25.4 cm) of the hull, not counting foils, must match the given dimensions.

With a focus on a simplistic design that uses low cost materials, PD Racers are meant to be accessible to as wide a variety of people as possible. All the materials needed to build the boat can be found at a well stocked hardware store. While the boats are required to conform to a specific shape for use in class racing, the hull can also be used for recreational sailing, paddling, and motoring.[1]

The PD Racer is unique in several aspects; its lack of sailing rig specification allows for any design of mast or sail, allowing builders a unique ability to express themselves through the rig they design and build. Additionally, PDRacer hulls are numbered after photographic proof is given that that hull has been completed rather than assigned by the plan number a builder is given. Since many people may order plans and never build the boat, photographic evidence gives a much more accurate estimate of boat numbers.[1][4]

Class rules

The full set of class rules (along with an FAQ) can be found at PDRacer.com.

Popular Configurations

The most popular version of the PDRacer is the "End Airbox" design. Free plans on the PDRacer.com website can be used to build that version. The second most popular version is the "Full Length Side Airboxes". As simple as making 4 side panels and attaching a bottom. Michael Storer created a set of plans called the OZ Mk-II, selling them for $20 each. The plans were in metric, and instructed builders to make a boat which tried to exploit the original 1" tolerance, but because Storer made a mistake reading the rules, the OZ boats were not within the tolerance. The OZ Mk-II plans have since been discontinued. Two other professional boat designers made plans: Jim Michalak created the "Cat Box", which is a variation of the full length side airbox, and John Welsford created the Kiwi PD, which is a variation of the end airbox. Both of those plans use the defined hull shape from the class rules page. The Kiwi originally tried to exploit the tolerance and made the same mistake that Storer did, however those plans were changed and the currently available plans use the defined hull shape.


  • Gavin Atkins (2007). Ultrasimple Boatbuilding. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press. ISBN 0071477926.  Contains a PD Racer legal boat

External links