Ocean Explorer – a micro cruising sailboat for inland waters from Perttu Korhonen

Quote from Perrtu … Owning “yacht” – you don´t have to be rich – only little playfully attitude.

This is the story of an actual three day trip of Perttu and his nephew in Finland.

Plans $40 from Duckworks and is complete with all details from making the hull to making the sail from a polytarp. I wonder if it qualifies as a tiny house. Maybe a tiny house … boat.

Perttu in Finland built one of my OZ PDRacers (now OZRacer) last year as well as building a Quick Canoe that he built in the snow during the last winter and used for camping and daytrips.

He is an adventurin’ sort of guy.

During this last winter he had a secret project.  Most of the Duck community fell over with surprise when he introduced his really nicely resolved Ocean Explorer – an 8ft long cabin boat.

It uses the sail, foils and spars from his OzRacer/OZPDRacer.

It makes a lot of sense for colder climates where it can be hard to find a warm and windless place to sleep.

micro cruising sailboat - cheap diy project

He’s had it away on a couple of trips – he made this neat video of one of the trips.

I couldn’t decide if it was the most crazy thing or most wonderful thing I had ever seen – but was sure it was great!

Ocean Explorer.

He used the spars, sail and foils from my OzRacer.

So we got together via the net and worked it all out to produce a really good set of plans.

About 80 pages.  It includes all the methods to build the hull, centreboard and rudder, make the polytarp sail (though you can use regular sailcloth if you like) and make the spars.

A low cost professionally made dacron/polyester sail designed by Michael Storer is available from Duckworks.  It is labelled as the Oz Sail.

Perttu spent hours doing really cool perspective drawings of the construction, I fiddled through my Oz stuff to grab what was needed for his plan. He made some suggestions for the Oz stuff and I made some suggestions for his hull – it is really very simply constructed for a boat with so much surface area.

A nice collaboration despite being about 10,000miles apart. The new shape of the world – or size – or something.

Perttu headed off on the boat for several days with a compact crewmember.

Looking aft in the cabin – adult legs go under the cockpit seats.

There are two very important things with this boat.

One is that the boat is designed to be sailed with the hatch SHUT in all but the best weathers.

Also to make progress upwind in choppy water it is important to the weight of loose gear next to the centrecase in the middle of the boat to help keep the boat on its lines.

Perttu on the building

Last winter was quite busy for me. I lost my sense of realism when my girlfriend was going to Africa for four weeks. I had bought plans for two kayaks and I was focused of building them for both of us. Then Mik´s Quick canoe came on marked and I could not resist buying plans and building one. And then I get the idea of Ocean Explorer and I started to draw sketch of it. I liked it immediately and when Hanna left to Africa I started to build it in our living room – ( I forgot to tell her – now we are repairing our living room… ).
oh1 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Idea was to make small, cheap and light “yacht looking boat” with good performance. It´s cheap to build, light and sails good – the look of boat is little odd on front view, but I still like it.
loma3 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

In end of last summer I made three days exploring trip with it. Maybe I have lively imagination, but I felt like real sailor- sleeping inside cabin – on boat which I have build by myself – feeling how waves moves the boat…
loma2 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Scotty on my forum

Scotty went ahead and did some great google sketchup drawings of the boat and some of the parts on my forum.

google sketchup of cheap plywood microcruiser

bow transom drawn in Google sketchup for microcruiser

Perttu’s Cruise in Finland

Yes a real multiday cruise in a tiny and cheap boat.  I Launched my boat in Porosalmi Harbour.


I had three days to explore Linnansaari National Park in lake Saimaa Finland. The harbour was in sheltered bay and the wind was behind me. When I sailed on a reach, open lake area winds picked me up and I reefed the sail one step down. It was fun sailing.

I was moving windward and the waves started to grow bigger and bigger. My boat name is iSo (big), but she started to feel small. It was a little scary and exiting at the same time. I started to look for shelter behind the islands and soon I reached a sheltered bay on one small island. I was so focused on sailing and taking photos, that I wasn´t sure in which island it was. I don’t have GPS– with maps there is always possibility to get lost!

In the evening the winds are usually gentler. I had time to make coffee and refit the wind indicator, which had dropped into the cockpit. The bay was only 50m wide and it was a little battle to sail out to open lake.

In the evening the winds were nicer and the sun was shining – not a trouble in the whole world.

On one island there were 15 canoes and a group of young germans singing Kumbaya my Lord – I thought I must sailed too far south.

The first night inside the cabin. The boat moves little with waves. I was reading a book and listening to the radio. Nice feeling – dawn comes and I fall into sleep.
12.8. 07:00 – Holiday – Why wake up at 7 o’clock?

09:30 – Stuck in calm. I miss yesterday´s winds and surfs. History knows greater sailors and explorers than me, maybe we still share something common – moments like this? That spirits up my mind and I start reading and let the sail up.

My boat carries Michael Storer’s lugsail and it picks up even the littlest whisper of wind. I am actually moving slowly. My destination is Linnansaari Island´s north edge. The map says it has a dock for small boats. My boat has berth´s for two – is that dock going to be too small?

11:00 – Water supply showing alarming low. Sun is burning hot. In these latitudes the sun can be an enemy – am I gonna survive?

11:50 – A bird. Sign of land, binoculars! coconuts – whiskey for all!

12:00 – Back to reality (at least half of reality) – no whiskey for sailors! – Maybe a little in the evening? It´s time for lunch break. Tuna and pasta. (I caught the tuna earlier this morning.) When I moored, the winds started to blow. Luckily they died as soon as they appeared – I had time to eat in peace and take a small nap.

14:15 – In Linnansaari Island small boat’s dock.

My fear was unnecessary. The boat just fit the dock.

I hiked to a cliff which gave a great view of the lake.

16:00 – Nice steady winds – not big, but keeps us moving.

17:00 – Moored to rocky island. Coffee break and swimming – feeling free. You don’t have to be rich, (with money) to complete your dreams!

20:45 – Found nice place between two small islands. I took a couple of photos, set up the boom tent and slid into my sleeping bag. Later I watched the sunset through the cabin window.

13:08 – Friday the 13th. Beautiful morning, no clouds and the sun warms nicely. After breakfast I headed back to the harbour where I started. This trip is going to end soon. It´s time to start planning the next one.

Plans for this baby are available from Duckworks or BoatCraft Pacific and soon all storerboats agents.

Plans are $40 and include Perttu’s hull and Michael Storer´s Lug rig, spars, sail design for home sailmaking,  and foil shapes.

Any questions or comments:


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27 thoughts on “Ocean Explorer – a micro cruising sailboat for inland waters from Perttu Korhonen

  1. I’m quite taken with your Ocean Explorer. My only problem is my wife always comes sailing with me, so the boat would have to sleep 2 adults. I’m 5’10” and my weight is 210 pounds; my wife is 5’3″ and her weight is 110 pounds. Could you design a larger Ocean Explorer that would sleep my wife and I? I sure hope so. We tent camp in a two person pack tent that weights 6 pounds. Good protection with a bit of comfort would be fine for us. Thanks so much for your help. We hope you have a great year.

    Bud Will

    • Howdy Bud,

      Perttu and I are working on a 12ft version. It is a lot of work so it might take some time to get it ready.

      One of the best ways to monitor what is happening is to join my forum as well as this website.

      Best wishes

      • auch ich denke übereine 10 ft version nach- gegebenenfalls 12 ft-,auf keinen fall größer oder schwerer. habe großes interesse an neuesten informationen.

      • Thankyou Roland,

        I work slowly when creating new plans. But I will write something here when it is ready.

        12ft is a good choice. 10ft makes it difficult to get good performance when there are two people on the boat.

        Best wishes

  2. Byron LaMastus says:

    I’m loving this design. I really think there is genius in it. Great collaboration.
    I don’t think I can resist building one…I’ll send pictures


  3. This is fantastic!

    My wife (Finnish, coincidentally!) and I currently enjoy infrequent weekends doing minimalist canoe camping in the hidden lakes of the Canadian Shield (we’re not much for crowds). Our children are very near the age where they can be left on their own, so for over a year I have been conspiring to build a PD Goose for “luxury” camp cruising. My new home with double garage was completed over the winter and I came back to this page to visit the Goose plans when I saw this!

    I intend to check back frequently and be one of the first in line when the 12ft plans are ready.

    All the best from Canada,


    • Guess what Darren,

      We finished the plans yesterday. Plans are for sale now!

      Ooze Gooze plans on Duckworks

      micro cruising sailboat

      Sailing Micro Cruiser by Perttu Korhonen.  Ooze Gooze a PDGoose variant

      More pics of the Ooze Goose sailing micro cruiser will go up here as we get them together.

      Another variation of the PDGoose by Perttu Korhonen assisted by Michael Storer

      Perttu’s computer drawings are a wonder.


      • Wow!…..How exciting!

        Not only am I enticed about about this microcruiser’s sailing performance, but I am already being flooded with dreams of my sweetie and I on ultra-romantic wekkend and long-weekend getaways….I can picture us anchored up in some of our favourite private gunkholes – her stretched out sunbathing in the cockpit; me sitting on the bow catching supper; swimming; an ice chest full of cold ones; and the best part – no hauling camping gear ashore and back again!

        Is this plan set also going to come with all the extra goodies – boom tent, curtains, blocks, etc?

      • Hi Darren,

        The plans come with some of those accessories drawn up just like the smaller version. I will dig up Perttu for comments about what is there exactly – he will reply here and the reply should be forwarded to you automatically.

        We are really interested in the performance too and how it handles different conditions. It is not really an “open water” boat, I would probably think of it like an open boat in terms of seaworthiness. If you keep that in mind and gradually extend what you do I think it will be very good fun.

        Best wishes

  4. Hi

    I didn´t draw boom tent for this boat, same type boom tent like Ocean Explorer can´t be use, because cockpit
    is longer than boom. Boom tent is so nice equipment, that I would miss it, so that may come in future
    as add on – and curtains for sure – ha!

    Now there is optional plans for outboard mount and some another small things, but that boom tent needs some thinking —


  5. This is exactly what I am looking for! When do you think these plans will be available?

  6. Bill MacPherson says:

    Excellent pictures, and funny story of the holiday trip. I especially like the shots on flicker of your living room co nstruction. If my wife was away, I would likely do the same if I had to, knowing she would HIGHLY disapprove. I love the final product, and am considering making one when I get home from West Africa rotational work.

    I surfed the web and love the videos of your boat under sail. Post more to Youtube if you have any. I just restored an 18ft 1972 Folbot sailing kayak and had a blast learning to sail it last month while at home on days off. My wife said not to come home with another project that kept me up all hours of the night in the garage …… I think I will be in hot water when I pull in the drive way with the plywood in my truck 🙂

    Bill, Surette’s Island, Nova Scotia

  7. Hello everybody,
    this boat is wonderful :-).

    I have some question: is the ocean explorer a good boat for two persons?

    What do you think to use that in the mediterranean sea? Do you think that the ocean explorer can works well in the normal waves of that sea?

    Thank you very much

    Paolo, Italy

    • Sorry, I forgot one thing.

      The “Stitch and glue” is the construction tecnique?



    • Hi Paolo,

      I would not recommend the Ocean Explorer for the Meditteranean. If you know it already, you know there are many beautiful sailing days when you could sail any boat, but then the screaming strong winds come from the mountains or the deserts. I don’t think it would be safe. It really is a boat for rivers and lakes with good sailing conditions because it is such a tiny boat.

      As far as two people … It depends on the two people. I have slept in a very small tent with another person and it had been fine. I have slept in a much bigger tent with one person and they found it difficult. It is a small space with a small vertical dimension.

      Not everyone will like it, but some who have the spirit of adventure will think it is cute and fun.

      Best wishes

  8. What is the approximate dry weight of the OE with and without sails/rigging? I’m wondering if the boat is (at least in theory) car-toppable.


    • Howdy,

      I will forward this to Perttu and ask him for an approximate figure. It will vary a lot depending on the plywood and timber selected.

      One thing to be aware of is that BULK can be as big a problem as weight when roofracking.

      Best wishes

    • Hi Rob

      I calculated the approximately weight for hull and it shoud be around 45 -55 kg ( birch plywood ) Approx 130 lbs.
      and 5.5 kg for spars ( pine )

      (Comment from Michael … the hull weight looks about what I would expect but would depend on the timber. The whole rig for the OzRacer (the first two Oz PDRacers we built) was about 18 to 20 lbs (7kg) for the sail, rig and the few fittings and ropes).

      • Perttu and Michael, thanks for the response! That’s certainly an impressive weight and well within the 75kg limit of my roof rack (all bulk concerns aside …). I think it may be doable with speed restrictions and short trips.



  9. the 8″ is too short for me (space), the 12″ is too long (car).
    i guess i’ll have to “stitch” the 8″ read to the 12″ front.
    otherwise i can’t roofrack that one on my compact car…
    (volkswagen rabbit, roughly 10″ long)
    also i need less height than the 12″ one…

    what do you think – could be done in glass fibre with no wood for 30 kilograms ?
    (building a outer form, laminating in carbon or metal struts and using baloon pressure lamination techniques)

    what about a 5hp suzuki engine (we have very few wind) ?

    • Hi Steve,

      It is a common misconception, but modern wood construction is much lighter than fibreglass. Even with carbon you would find it difficult to get close to the weights of the same structure in premium plywood such as the gaboon species. Sometimes called Okoume. Still much cheaper than Carbon particularly when considering the cost of moulds and materials that won’t go into the boat

      Fibreglass will be about 60 to 100% HEAVIER than wood.
      Glass specific density – 2.5gm/cm^3
      Resin specific density – 1gm/cm^3
      Okoume wood specific density – 0.35gm/cm^3

      About 3hp would be more than enough for little boats like this. More will just make the boat stand up with its nose high in the air. Sensible speed is about 5knots (nautical miles per hour)

      Best wishes

  10. Eddy Vergara says:

    Hi….Michael…the new SkechUp for the 12ft design .is i think the very practical One….love that it has mor space..and payload.. hope to see that…i was playing micro sail boat for quit some times…..!!!have tons of adventure ..on that type


  11. Wood Sailboat Plans Free - D.I.Y Woodworking Web says:

    […] Ocean Explorer – a micro cruising sailboat for inland waters from Perttu Korhonen […]

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