There is a lot of mythology about what makes a good canoe. John Winters cut through the BS and actually studied canoe performance systematically and scientifically to learn what really made canoes and kayaks work. He spent a lifetime in, on and around boats of all types. His love of boats led to a career as a boat builder for some of the most prestigious names in the industry. He has firsthand experience in every aspect of the industry from production to research and development and, of course, design.
In 1975, he emigrated to Canada and, like so many before him, fell in love with the country. He retired from yacht building in 1982 to build a log home west of Algonquin Park, from which he could better explore this extraordinary country by canoe.
Unable to find a canoe that satisfied his needs, he began building canoes for himself and his friends. The success of these boats reinforced his belief that canoes could be further improved through the application of scientific principles, an approach almost completely ignored by the recreational canoe designers. He became a leader of a new wave of modern canoe designers using science and technology to improve every type of canoe from sprint racing to casual recreation.
Martin Step is a skilled boatbuilder who took John's design work and turned it into beautiful cedar strip canoes for himself and privileged clients. He also spent to time to draw up beautiful kayak and canoe plans from John's plans so that other people could also create their own versions of John's extraordinary boat designs.
I am very honored to be able add John and Martin's work to my offering of canoe plans. Over the past 20+ years I had admired John's designs and engaged in many interesting conversations with him about the science of small boat design. I have also learned a lot over the years observing Martin's innovation in wood-strip canoe building techniques. He was one of the first builders I saw using stain on strip-planked boats as well as having great ideas for staple-free cedar strip boat building.
I have started with a sampler of John and Martin's work by adding some their canoe plans to my catalog. I intend to keep on adding more plans in the future.