build a duck punt – the best fun an old man can have lying down

clearly canoe sailing is increasingly popular

but canoes are designed to paddle – not to sail

port meadow stills1236


now that I have owned and sailed a duck punt for a year I feel genuinely sorry for the canoe sailor who has to contrive leeboards and rudders

I have tested the purity of the hard chine and oar

I know what it is to gently heel the boat and feel it come up towards the wind

port meadow stills0691


steering the boat with the smallest movement of a leg

I have also experienced the pleasure of fine reaching in four inches of water

and felt the bow wave lift me over a sandy spit.

I have even enjoyed paddling occasionally

so lads….



Duck punting is the best fun an old bloke can have on his back

you can build a three 6mm sheet punt using 1×2 for all the other timbers for under $150

you can assemble one in 18 hours using cascamite and self driving screws

buy an opti training rig for $150

or borrow one

by next weekend you could be a duck punter

load it onto the roof of your car

become the envy of your friends

no-one has ever kicked sand in the face of a duck punter

but don’t take my word for it

believe this brilliant boat builders

believe these hard drinking East Coast sailors

believe bill

this boat designer

utterly free plans here

Here are some pdfs of the plans courtesy of the Duck Punters of West Mersea.


the Supreme Punter




tim marchetti 01 render punt

julian 12 IMAGE_00110






duck punt 02_103757

duck punt 02_103420



This is about Duck Punt films, Dylan Winter's Blog.

19 Responses to “build a duck punt – the best fun an old man can have lying down”

  1. 5 February, 2013 at 6:59 pmRusty Knorr says:

    Well, I got a pic in at least! My punt is done and I have had it on the water twice so far. Brilliant little boats! Build one folks, you won’t be sorry!!! -Rusty
    Builders blog (with crappy video) at

  2. 20 March, 2013 at 4:15 pmmichael greenwood says:

    can anyone sell me decent sized plans of the Mersey duck punt . have tried printing them off the screen but they are illegible. help will be very welcome as I am stuck. will reply with address and phone number

    • 20 March, 2013 at 4:23 pmdylan winter says:

      if you download the pdfs and take them into your local print shop they will run off A3 versions for you at a very low price

  3. 2 September, 2013 at 4:44 pmmike greenwood says:

    Thanks Dylan I got plans from that lovely man in the Shell Bungalow.Regads Mike

  4. 17 February, 2016 at 12:51 pmMarc Fovargue-Davies says:

    It’s finally dawned on me that I too, need to build a Duck Punt; be fore I do that though, I’d like to find out a bit more about them – and there seem to be few, if any, sources of information about the various boats from the past. Aside from estuaries on the east coast, I have in mind using mine to explore some of the fenland rivers around where I live, so ideally the boat I end up with would need to row or paddle reasonably well too. Any thoughts?

    • 17 February, 2016 at 1:49 pmdylan winter says:

      It does both brilliantly

      in west mersea they paddle two up in races

      However, I discovered that by turning the boat around- sitting on the mast step she paddles beautifully with the kayak paddle

      the fastest build was 18 hours

      v happy to help with info in anyway that I can

      they are bloody brilliant little boats


  5. 18 February, 2016 at 11:13 amMarc says:

    Well, that’s certainly one issue resolved; the rivers here range from narrow to absurdly narrow – which really means that rowing, paddling or poling is literally the only way forward – especially with a foul wind (not just that supplied by the dog…). The sprit rig might well help deal with the various low bridges round here, too.

    It won’t be all fen rivers though, as I’d like to explore some of my old haunts on the Deben, Orwell and Stour again. The Milgate shape looks a bit simpler at first glance than some of the Lucas boats I’ve seen in the past. Not only did they appear to have a bit of hollow in the bow, but they also had a bit of a curve in the bottom athwart ships – as well as a bit of rocker; I think I recall being told that this was to stop the hull sticking, when being slid over mud. There also seems to be some debate on the subject of de King and buoyancy tanks.

    Then of course, there’s the question of steering with a hick; aside from whether or not a thole pin is necessary, I’ve seen punts being raced at Stour SC – and have often wondered about how on earth you can sit out – and still reach the hick to leeward…? The boats appeared not to be crewed by gibbons, but it was blowing quite hard, and my International Canoe was getting distinctly frisky, so I never got the chance to look too closely!

    • 18 February, 2016 at 11:29 amdylan winter says:

      If you look at the films from west mersea punters they sail in really strong winds

      14 stone in the bottom of a 3 foot wide flat bottom boat and an optimist rig

      uber ballast

      because the mast is unstayed you can feather the sail right off the wind

      so just let the mainsheet go and all drive drops out of the sail

      it really is the most wonderful

      boat to sail

      my advice is to build it as light as you can

      4mm ply and 2 x 1

      exterior grade ply is fine


      PS – duck punts can handle any amount of wind but they do need flat water – they slam like a shed door in any sort of chop

  6. 19 May, 2016 at 2:23 pmJeff Haggerty says:

    Just got wind of these Punts. looks so much fun, as I have had knee probs and now back issues from dinghy sailing, I took to sailing an Illusion great boat and great racing but moving such a heavy boat has played havoc with my back. A W M Punt looks like I could cope with ashore and on the water movement. Is it about time that a Class association was formed, and organised some racing, that would really make me build one. Incidentally my Illusion is now up for sale and its called ‘Dylan.
    Keep up the good work

  7. 5 June, 2016 at 11:51 amMarc Fovargue-Davies says:

    By the way, I forgot to mention that I’m a fairly regular contributor to Water Craft, Classic Sailor and so on – and have received a commission to put something together on the Duck Punt for a US title; do you fancy getting involved with that?



    • 5 June, 2016 at 9:22 pmdylan winter says:

      v happy to chip in – feel free to lift any images from ktl or any words -v happy to knock out 400 on what I think of the little beauties

  8. 6 June, 2016 at 9:29 pmMarc Fovargue-Davies says:

    That’s great – do you have a direct email address, so that I can give you a bit more background about what they want for the magazine? It would also be really good if we could organise a photo shoot.



  9. 14 June, 2017 at 10:11 amGheorghe Tolan says:

    Being inspired by your experience I started to build a smaller (12 feet) version of this great boat. My progress is not so fast as yours (I am in the 6th week) but I hope to be soon on water. See a pictorial story of the build here:

  10. 22 June, 2018 at 2:12 amSteve Lines says:

    Hi Dylan,
    Just to let you know – I have at last completed my W.M Duck Punt (though still tinkering with rigging options etc).
    You may recall in the dim and distant past that you offered to lend me your punt to attempt my dream of being the first to navigate from Shefford (Bedfordshire) to Kings Lynn since the Ivel Navigation was abandoned on 13th July 1876?
    Stunning vessel – almost floats out of the water.
    Just wanted to say a big and sincere ‘thank you’ for promoting, and making available this amazing craft.
    This is my first ever boat build, so cock-ups a’plenty. But she looks pretty cool, and paddles and sails indecently well.
    You’re a star, thank you!


  11. 22 June, 2018 at 11:03 pmSteve Lines says:


    good to be talking again.

    I’m a bit puzzled as to why all the WMD punts I see on the net, although claiming to use Opti rigs appear to be rigged wrong (compared to the Optimist instruction manual) in many, many ways.

    Everyone I’ve seen sailing their WMDP do not use any sail ties at all on the foot of the sail, and I don’t see any boom or halyard preventers?

    Is there a WMDP rigging guide?

    The Opti rig, given that it’s designed to teach kids to sail, seems very ‘fiddly’.

    Lots of people sailing WMDPs hyper successfully, so I’m beginning to realise that slavishly following the Optimist rigging guide puts me on a hiding to nothing.

    Too much high priced stupidly thin bits of string (with impressively technical names).

    REAL duck punters appear to use fairly ‘ornery’ rope, way on the ‘thick side’, and lots of it!!!

    I’d appreciate your take on all this (strongly suspect I’m trying much too hard).

    Would appreciate a reality check!

    Steve Lines

    • 23 June, 2018 at 10:13 pmdylan says:

      yu re overthinking it

      the oppy sailors race in fleets of 100 boats where one per cent of drive is a massive amount, The kids weigh 6 stone in a tiny dinghy with foils. You are a 12 stone man in a wooden box. Think tiny barge sail rather than racing oppy.

  12. 22 June, 2018 at 11:21 pmSteve Lines says:

    Clearly, a duck punt is not an Optimist.
    So where do I draw the lines rigging-wise?

Leave a Reply