Jackrabbit - Houdini

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Jackrabbit, a little camp cruiser based on the Houdini design from the board of kiwi John Welsford, is the fourth boat I ever built. Building her was my solace during a very difficult time in my life when my first wife battled breast cancer (that was many years ago and she is now doing fine!).

This little boat got me out of keelboats and converted me into a devoted camp-cruiser. She's all of 13'6" LOA, with a 5'10" beam, and sports a very efficient standing lug sail. John Welsford has dubbed her "the biggest little cruiser". Her performance under sail was certainly not in keeping with her fat appearance: she pointed well and ran fast, and oh, man, could she reach! I believe this is in part due to her narrow waterline girth. But she didnt row worth a damn, though I creaked her along many miles of Lake Superior shoreline under oars.

An interesting design feature is a slightly off-center centerboard placed well forward (with a huge rudder to balance things out), leaving a large open area accommodating two sleepers on the cockpit sole. She is an eminently comfortable and secure boat to sail in just about any condition, in which even a big palooka like her builder could sit on the stern sheets and be up to his armpits in coamings. And if you sit on the sole on a chilly sunny Spring afternoon, surrounded by those high sides and shielded from the wind, well, you'd think you were luxuriating in a boat many times her size!

This little darling has taken me all over Prince Edward Bay on Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and even in the remotest reaches of Lake Superior.

Gosh, I miss her terribly. Can't remember now why I sold her (its part of that disease boat builders get, where they feel that compulsion to move on to the next project, I guess...

She's a beauty, i'nt she? But then, every parent thinks that of their child.

Burton Blais, 2011

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