Chris Atwood - Zip (cont'd)

The Chine and Sheer are made from Mexican Purple Heart, its more flexible than Mahogany but heavier and denser which makes it more difficult to sand/plane/screw but it worked well for bending. The frames are all ¾" African mahogany. The side planking is ¼" Mahogany veneered plywood.

I used the Glen-L Poxy-Grip for all structural gluing and the Poxy-Shield for fiber-glassing and encapsulating. I really liked these products, they cure faster than some others which saves a lot of time.

The bottom fiberglass is 7oz cloth and the sides are 4oz.

I painted the Zip with SuperMarine primer, paints and clears but I wish I just stuck with the tried and true brands of paint and varnish instead of this new age one part stuff, it's not as durable as the two part systems."

I decided against any dash instruments to try and keep costs down. The dash only has switches for running lights and a bilge pump. (But the boat has never leaked a drop of water, even overnight, which I attribute to not having any holes below the water line, not even a drain plug.)

The sole (floor) is ¾" Ash Planking, which is a detour from the plans' plywood floor. The decking cover-boards and planks are also African mahogany that is 3/8" thick. All of which I had my local hardwood supplier re-saw and plane from three 14"x22'x1"' pieces of African mahogany stock. The decking lies over a ¼" marine plywood sub-deck. The thin, light colored strips of wood in the deck are Basswood that my friend cut to size on his table saw for me.

All of the deck cleats, step-pads and lights were found on eBay. The bow handle was found at the local boat junkyard and re-chromed. The windshield brackets are cast aluminum from Lakeshore Casting which I had chrome plated then simply cut out Lexan inserts for. The polished stainless steel transom bands, bow cutwater and upholstery are the only things I did not do myself although I did the design work for each.

The motor is a 1975 Mercury 402 40hp which I bought in the condition it is in from a fellow on It took 6 months of constant internet searching to find a good motor. The 40 hp motor runs the Zip perfectly. You can expect around 35 mph with two adults on board and it can easily pull a 180# skier with this motor.

We just made the deadline we were shooting for by launching our boat which we named "First Born" a week before the 4th annual Glen-L Gathering in September 2010. We had a great time giving rides to all the other builders at the Gathering in TN as promised. I really surprised myself, it came out nicer than any of my r/c models ever have and is one of my greatest achievements.

We only had the boat out about 6 times before winter but it has proven to be perfect for us, it can pull a skier and two people have plenty of room to fish from it but we really just like Zzzzipping along on a warm summer day then stopping in a shady spot for a picnic lunch in the boat. It handles other boat wakes and moderate lake chop just fine. We slow down for the bigger wakes and don't even get wet with wakes slightly higher than the bow. A bass boat or ski boat wake it just skips over smoothly at speed.

In the garage, on the road and in the water the Zip always draws plenty of looks and comments, people want to know what year it is and are amazed when I tell them "It's a 2010, my wife and I just built it in our garage!"

The build took 733 hours over a 16 month period. The total cost of the boat, motor and trailer and all supplies was just over $9,000. The build was challenging enough to be fun without being overly difficult. The Boatbuilding with Plywood Book by Glen-L Witt and the online builder forum are all the resources one needs and were instrumental to my success. I'm confident that anyone that can change a flat tire on a car can build one of these boats. All you really need is the will to see it through.