I started Duckworks in 1999 as an example for our teenage kids
who did not seem to be taking the then blossoming internet seriously
enough. They still mostly ignore the old man, but the project
has grown into a home business for me and my wife, Sandra.
We set out to do an online version of Bob Hicks' excellent magazine
About in Boats". He has a great publication
which is almost entirely reader written. I figured that since
most magazines' subscription money only goes to pay printing and
postage costs, we could publish one for free if we could just
get the advertising money.
We have had some ups and downs in the last 8 years, but now find
ourselves rolling on a more or less even keel. Advertising (both
our own and from outside) is supporting us. The website is entirely
free. If you would like to support this effort, there are two
ways to do so. The obvious one would be to patronize our advertisers.
The other would be to submit articles for publication in these
pages. We are always looking for interesting stories about boat
building projects and adventures in boats, reports on messabouts
and boat shows, and links to interesting websites.
Just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
if you have a link to something that would be interesting to our
readers. If you want to write an article or report, read the essay
below to get an idea what we like in the way of submissions.
Fast forward to 2016 - we have agreed to sell the Duckworks empire to Josh Colvin of Small Craft Advisor Magazine fame. Josh has kept Sandra and I on as swabbies for an undetermined length of time.
If you are reading this, you probably had a few minutes to kill
and happened here by accident. Perhaps you have this site bookmarked
and check it regularly for new material. Maybe you’re sitting
at your desk taking a coffee break, or using your laptop at the
beach in front of a five star hotel with WIFI. If you are here,
you probably like reading about boats and boatbuilding. Where
do these articles come from?
There are literally thousands of people writing blogs. Who needs
more blather on some website? How much is there that can possible
be of interest to some boatbuilder? Admittedly, Duckworks does
post something new each day, but we’d be willing to bet
you would like to see more about the subject you are particularly
Which begs the question. Do you have an obligation or better
yet a desire to add your opinion or experience? As editor, I can
categorically tell you that if you take the time to put your thoughts
down, they will be appreciated. Not just by frustrated editors
like me, but also by all the other folks out there who are waiting
to read what you have to say.
Whether you want to write about one of Jim Michalak's boats or
some other boat design, you may be unsure how to proceed. Rule
one. Just get the words down. Type one word and then the next,
and keep right on going. What are some guidelines? I thought you’d
Your readers want to know how you did everything, especially
if you came up with a novel way of accomplishing some of the more
tedious parts of boat building. The process is always of interest.
Just this afternoon, I puzzled over the assembly sequence of the
boat I am building. The instructions given in the plans are not
always minute, and can sometimes be called obscure, so the voice
of experience (yours) is always appreciated. And if you’d
like to wax poetic, rant and rave, or better yet, insert some
humor, please feel free. Your voice is what makes what you write
If possible, include photos. This implies that you thought you
might want to write something before you started building or before
you took that cruise. We always carry a camera, except the one
time we didn’t even know it was still in the truck until
we were ten miles from out launch point. A digital camera is especially
nice for web articles, and also nice because you can take about
a million photos and never need to load new film. Let the editor
know where you would like each photo to be placed in the article
by numbering them and indicating where each should be simply make
an insertion note at the appropriate place in the text <**insert
boat01.jpg**> or let us do the picture placement. We're pretty
Digital photos are easy to enhance, easy to crop, easy to save
in a compressed format that web editors like. Most of us have
scanners and can also use regular photos as well. However if you
don't have a scanner, mail us your photos and we will scan them
and return the originals to you.
When you are done, ask a friend, your significant other, or the
guy sitting next to you to read it through. It is always hard
to critique your own work. Have them check for clarity first.
Does it make sense; does it read smoothly. If they have grammar
skills, take advantage of them. If you intended to be humorous,
it is good sign if they laugh out loud. If they ask you where
they can go to start boat building, you know you are on the right
track. If no friendly readers are available, at the very least,
RUN YOUR SPELLCHECK and read the piece out loud to yourself.
I will throw in a bit of grammar advice. Don’t use the
word ‘then’. (And then we did this, and then we did
that, and then she…..) Don’t start a sentence with
the word ‘and’ or ‘so’. Get rid of words
that don’t need to be there, especially if they repeat what
you just said. The words ‘very’ and ‘really’
can almost always be omitted.
Last but not least, a little abstract speculation about what
makes one article stand out from all the rest. The very best are
like the ones you hear when sitting around a fire at a messabout.
The fish tales, the shark tales, the alligator tales. The time
you fell in and the boat sailed off without you. Tell what really
happened—don’t pretty it up. We want to hear about
the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let your personality, your opinions,
your unique point of view loose in what you write. Your public
is out there waiting.
This website lives by submissions. We depend almost totally on
readers for content. I happen to think that this makes for honest
and real reading - the experiences of amateurs who get no pay
for their writing and no commissions for any products that they
Editors are pretty flexible, but we do have some druthers. We
like to have articles in some form of text format. You can copy
and paste the article into the body of an e-mail, or you can attach
just about any kind of word processor file to an e-mail instead.
A file on a floppy disk or CD mailed by regular snail mail will
work. I have even typed up hand written material, though that
is a bit of trouble. Pictures can be sent for scanning, and will
be returned promptly. If you have digital versions of the photos,
they can be e-mailed or sent on a disk. The best format is .jpg
without too much compression. Send as many as you need to illustrate
the article. We may cull a few.
Thanks for taking the time to write up the details of your project.
I assure you it will be of great interest to boat builders and
When will my article be published?
As you probably know, we publish a new article each day. We try
to have enough to occupy most of a coffee break and to maintain
that flow of interesting material, we have to operate with a backlog
of submissions. Sometimes we go a week or 10 days without a single
contribution and sometimes we get half a dozen in a single day.
So we have about a two or three month reserve or backlog of material
to keep the output steady.
For this reason, it may be a while before you see your article
in print. Please be patient. We try to publish all submissions
sooner or later.
Write me anytime at email@example.com
about anything having to do with the magazine or submissions.
I'm happy to answer all questions.
We currently have a pretty active Facebook Group and invite all who are active on FB to join us there - no politics and no religion allowed.
This really is a huge website for us to say grace over with
more than 100,000 files posted over the years. We work
hard to bring you a daily boat building fix and to fill your orders
for supplies. Please keep in mind that it is the sales of those
goods that almost exclusively support this endeavor, and we hope
you will buy from us when it makes sense to do so. We try to have
the best prices and to give the best service we can.
Chuck & Sandra Leinweber