Video: Quick Canoe Electric flying with 2hp Honda outboard

He’s obviously a speed freak 🙂 Even with only 2hp!

Stephen Nestel in his Quick Canoe Electric version.

This is how a boat designed for a 34lb thrust electric trolling motor goes with a massive .. 2hp outboard. Quick Canoe Electric is light enough to carry on a car roof (much lighter than many similar size fibreglass canoes – 70lbs) is narrow and light.

Electric canoe rockets with a 2hp outboard - speed!

A snarlybeast honda 4 stroke 2 horsepower outboard. Here is the clip. He’s steering from the middle of the boat with a tiller extension to keep the fast moving boat in trim.

Here we go on the Petaluma River.

When the beast on the back snarls … the plywood boat rockets along … in the couple of the shots you can see the banks of the river flashing by at an impressive rate. Conditions are ideal .. the water glassy … a tiller extension is used to place weight where the boat will balance and Stephen is smart enough not to whip into a tight turn, because as this cargo canoe is overpowered and travellng faster than intended it will possibly flip.

But it does show how efficient the hullshape is and why you can get good speeds even with a cheap Minn Kota electric trolling motor. You can see the original electric quick canoe with a 28lb thrust Minn Kota on the back here.

Quick Canoe Electric . DIY plywood for for fishing and roofracking

There is no chance of flipping at the lower speeds provided by the smaller electric motor and with a 2hp you could always been disciplined and keep the speed down to match the conditions 🙂

Another video in a moment … but first let’s have a look at the correspondence with Stephen.


I have completed 99% of the quick Canoe and I am currently putting it through trials. It is a very beautiful design and I am quite pleased. I stuck with your suggestions to keep it light. I added flotation chambers in the bow and stern and built a removable seat midship for rowing. I mounted a Honda 2hp and it seems well powered. I definitely needed a four foot tiller extension so I could maintain proper trim. I will add a keel and two skid keels or bottom stiffeners.

I was concerned about the vibrations under power on the bottom panel from turbulence. The keel and bottom stiffeners should help.

Love the design. I will forward photographs to you soon. I am excited about your other designs and look forward to my next project.

Stephen Nestel

The vibrations etc were clearly resolved when the bottom stiffener went on. I don’t recommend fitting skid keels if not necessary … they do make tripping up more likely at speed and slightly more likely to catch a snag in the river.


That would be great (to get as much information about a mod to his next project – an Oughtred designed Whilly boat – I drew up a mizzen and sparring many years ago for Paul Atkins in Adelaide). I saw the youtube of a Whilly boat with your sail plan and it look very fast and lovely.

I did my best to show my actual speed while motoring down the river but the flat water and long vistas doesn’t provide much visual reference. There may be some out takes that I can put together for a better representation.

My boat has received many admirers. Fishermen especially, love the light weight and the classic look. It is so much easier to handle than a large skiff, drier than a kayak and more stable than an ordinary canoe.

Best, Stephen

Here is a second video where Stephen talks about the modifications including buoyancy tanks and central seating … and the importance of the tiller extension for higher speed shenanigans.

There is an important lesson here about boat design …

A diagram to start showing what happens with different bottom shapes at different speeds.

Designing different hulls for different speeds ... why not to put a big outboard on some boats

The top drawing shows boat designed for efficient running at lower speeds.  The ideal is  to set the boat up with the transom clear of the water – the bottom back corner end of the boat.  If it goes down into the water you will see lots of whorls and eddies in the water behind the boat … this is lost energy.  At lower speeds in a properly designed and trimmed boat the wake is clean and much smoother.  It is a good lesson for people who like to sit at the back of a small boat to steer.  You need to be more towards the middle or have a friend aboard or in the case of an electric canoe put the batteries where needed to make the boat trim.

If you go faster most boats designed for slower speeds will poke their noses in the air and not go that much faster.  The quick canoe electric will go faster (at some risk as mentioned above) because it is narrow, light and the bottom curve is gentle.  But it still has that bow up tendency.  This is not efficient either and double the power might only make you go 15% in most boats and it is awkward and uncomfortable.

Boats designed for higher speeds have straighter lines in the back half of the boat and put the transom well under water as in the third diagram.  But the deep transom creates a huge amount of drag, swirls and bubbles behind the boat making it very inefficient at low speed or with low power.  The slenderness and low weight of the Electric quick canoe reduce this problem but it is also the reason for the plastic tiller extension so Stephen can sit on the middle seat.

That’s why you really have to choose how fast you want to go before you get a boat and why sail and rowing  boats just do not respond well to excessive power.  Most dinghy sized sailboats will go well with a couple of horsepower, trailer sailers with accommodation maybe 4 or 6hp.

A secondary problem with adding more power is it pulls the stern of the boat down so the transom drags so outboards for lighter sailing and rowing boats should be lightweight.

Plans information on my boats.
More information on Electric Quick Canoe a lightweight easy build cargo canoe.


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[…] So to the Snohomish.  The Quick Canoe looks like this.  Its slenderness, light weight and carefully designed rocker give it efficient performance at design speeds of 5 to 9mph (though some go a little faster). […]