In search of warm water.

Enough of this cold weather, Sage Marine is heading to “The Cedar key Small Boat Rally” in Cedar Key Florida may 4th-6th! We will be bringing our pre-production SageSport160, A power canoe designed by the late Robb White. Robb spent many years refining the design in the very waters around Cedar key. It feels like taking our newest version of the design back home. Grab your small boat and join us there!Cedar-Key-Sunset-020413-1

The NEW SageSport 160

Good afternoon from the Sage boat shop,

As some of you know we have been working on a new project for the last six months or so. Some of this we have already publicized, but here it is from the beginning so far. We started out with a list of wants from Sal. Me being a long time boat geek looked through my personal files and came up with the Robb White designed sport boat. Sal also thought this would fit the bill, so I managed to track Robb’s family down and get a set of plans. If any of you are followers of Robb White you might know that of all his boats, the sport boat was the only design he ever wrote down. Those plans consisted of a couple pages of notes, a single page of hand drawn form lines, and some color copy’s of Polaroid pictures. Not to much to go on.


This design goes back before Robb White though. He took inspiration from the wildly popular aluminum Grumman Sport boat of the 1950s. They were shorter, heavier, and very utilitarian. And long Before the Grumman’s there was a style of boat known as a Grand laker (still popular today). These were usually wood and canvas freight canoes from the Maine and U.P. areas. Never built to a single design, they suited the builder and user with different lenths, withs, and hull shapes. They were all based in canoe styles of the time, but broader and outboard ready. Many were used as guide boats to to take “Sports” into the back country to hunt and fish, or to move cargo. From this history Robb refined his design over the course of forty years. Being able to keep this process and history going by introducing modern materials and composite techniques sure makes this boat builder feel good.


From all that, in the spare time from building the Sage sailboats, I put together the molds and modified the instruction to build a cedar strip version with more traditional methods. She came in at 16′ LOA with a 43″ beam and a bottom profile more like a touring SUP board. The very narrow cut water and hollow entry complimented the hulls dramatic tumble home in the rear. This prototype was a proof of concept to see if the boat could perform as well as we hoped, and something shiny to bring to shows before we had a production model.

As far as performance goes, we took her on a maiden voyage last fall at the high altitude Lake Dillon (9,017ft) just as winter stuck around for the season. The weather was not all we could have hopped for with 30+ mph winds, temps in the 40s, and 3 ft swells out in the open. Getting off the dock had a bit of pucker factor to it but the boat handled it better that I could have expected. At displacement speeds she handled the tall short spaced swells fine, and with out pounding at all. With plenty of stability and much less dread than when we started we motored along to the lee side of the lake. When the swells dropped by half we powered up the 6hp outboard and easily planed out onto the wave tops heading into even calmer waters. Once on the flat and glassy we were able to test performance. The SageSport160 tends to reach plane before hull speed, and with no bow wave to climb she just scoots forward onto plane around 4 mph (properly trimmed). Since we were still breaking in the new outboard we could only give about 1/2 throttle, but even that took us easily to 12-14 mph. Heading back to the dock gave us a diagonal following sea. While under power we had plenty of directional stability and she never tried to broach or pearl. Once the boat was back on the trailer it began to snow sideways and ended our testing for the season.


All in all we were happy enough with the performance to look at making a plug and molds for a production composite version. The building of the plug started quickly since I already had the original molds set up. I again used cedar strip for making the hull shape. This went faster since i did not have to leave a varnish ready surface. With the structure roughly faired, glassed, and reinforced with the now permanent molds, I added a flange for the final molding process. Next came multiple layers of gel kote with days of sanding and fairing in between each. When we finally had a smooth shape we liked, we sprayed one more coat with a harder “part” gelkote. This surface alone took two weeks of sanding and buffing to give us a mirror finish to the plug.


The amount of tumble home in the hull shape requires the boat to be molded in a two part mold. For this reason I made a temporary divider of the plug shape. Basically a mohawk down the center of the plug with plywood and gelkote. This allowed us to spay and lay up fiberglass for the first half of the hull shape, then remove the mohawk, and spray and lay up the second half of the mold directly to the first half. Once they both cured we were able to pop to two apart and off the plug very easily.


The molds needed some fine polishing and surfacing before we made a part in them, but that only took a few days. During this final sanding we began to do some test layups with some of the new materials that we will be using in the SageSport160. Different weaves of carbon fiber, kevlar, and various core materials and thicknesses all need to be tested before we put them in a boat. The transom layup was especially tested to make sure it would stiffly support the 55lb 6hp outboard and all its thrust. On an 18″ panel with 12mm of core we achieved a deflection of less than 1/8″ at 225lbs of weight. Along with motor cheeks, this is plenty strong for the rated outboard size.


Skipping ahead, we are now in the hull testing stage. We have made a lightweight hull with exotic fibers and one with more run of the mill fiberglass. These boats had standard non structural canoe style seats. In testing we found both to be more flexible than we would have liked in the overall hull shape and the tendency for the bottom to oilcan. Production versions will have a molded front and rear seat with greater contact area for stiffness. We will also be laying up and testing other versions soon with more and lighter weight core material to improve stiffness while keeping the overall weight low. The combination of more core and structural interior components will yield a stronger over all hull form that will preform better under power and still hit our cost and weight goals.


The final design of the boat will include two longitudinal supports through the middle six feet of the boat at seat height. Attached to these we are going to install a pin rail system for modular accessories. Such as a cooler mount, sliding seat rowing adapter, fishing insert, or a third seat. We are definitely open to ideas about what these accessories could be. Please let us know if there are any accessories you would like to see available. There is even talk of a sailing kit down the road. While we are still testing and planing, we are hopeful that we will have production versions available by late spring.

for now it is back to the shop and more testing. stay tuned.

All the sanding pays off! Its time for some Layup testing.

The pair of split molds for the SageSport160 are all wrapped up. We spent a couple of weeks laying up lots of glass on both sides and giving them a balsa core for stiffness.



Once both sides were done and cured, we were overjoyed to find that they both easily popped off the plug when we wanted them too. Note the orientation blocks, this makes the molds much easier to line back up when the time comes. IMG_3256

Once the plugs were removed we once again had some sanding ahead of us to make sure the surface was good.


The finer the sanding, the better they looked. Then we buffed and waxed them….now they look really good!


With the spray booth cleaned up and the molds waiting, we will be laying up the first composite prototype in the next week or so. But before that, we need to test our materials and layups.

With careful study, we have laid up some test panels including the Carbon fiber, Kevlar, and core materials we will be using throughout the SageSport160. Below is a 18″ wide Transom section test, that’s 7/16 thick with 225lbs of lead on it and almost no deflection. A step in the right direction.


Testing continues to find optimal materials and layout. Stay tuned…

Sanding … sanding … and when you think you have done enough SAND SOME MORE!

The plug for the SageSport 160 is now nice and shiny and we have begun the process of making the mold!

shiny plug

Shinny plug that is ready for gel coat!

gel coat

Spraying gel coat – this will be the surface of the mold.

Here the first of many layers of fiberglass are layed over the gel coat – skin coat of gel coat

Balsa is added create a strong and stable mold. NOTE: the hull of the SageSport 160 WILL NOT be cored with balsa!!!!  This photo is of the hull mold NOT a boat.

mold balsa core

And more glass is put over the balsa –
and more glass

Here is a link to more pictures of the hull mold being made: –>CLICK HERE<–

Next the second half of the mold will be made and then the first fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber SageSport 160 hull will be made!

SageSport 160 hull mold update!

This is the second post about the building of the SageSport 160 hull mold.  To view the first post on the process <CLICK HERE>

After cedar slats were covered with fiberglass the plug was flipped over to install the outwales –


Again the plug was flipped so a flange could be installed –


The flange is needed for the vacuum infusion process that will be used in building these composite boats. Here is a link that discusses the infusion process used on the Sage 15 boats – … -infusion/.

The plug was sprayed with Duratec, a mold surfacing and shaping product –

first layer duratec

Lots sanding was done to get the perfect shape –


The keels were installed –


and, you guessed it, the plug is again sprayed with Duratec followed by more sanding!

more duratec


And here is an ACTION video of more sanding –


More updates to come!

We had a plan … then things happened.

In mid-2016 one of the rare Jerry Montgomery Panthers became available and we jumped on the chance to own a piece of Montgomery Marine Products history. The Panther is a pure racing boat designed by Ron Holder. Jerry Montgomery only built about a dozen. The boat will plane in winds over about 12 knots. She has an unballasted centerboard so the crew is hiking out to keep the boat upright in anything over a light breeze. She is a fractional sloop with a HUGE main and TALL rotating mast. Jerry only built a few as his distributors were marketing the boat as a family daysailor because of the large open deck and cockpit. As she is a race boat she is a bit ‘twitchy’ and is not appropriate for casual family outings.

When we got her to the boat shop she needed a few fixes: repair the transom as the backing for the rudder gudgeons was rotten, retune the rig and fix a broken frame. Otherwise she needed some cosmetic work and the boat would be ready to sail.


Well. A strong storm came through Golden, Colorado, with 100+ miles per hour winds. The boat and trailer were picked up, meaning they flew through the air, and the boat came to a sudden crashing stop. The mast and boom are bent. The centerboard was broken. A chainplate pulled out taking part of the deck with it. One of the trailer tires came off the rim. Yeah it was one hell of a blow!.

after the windstorm

So the Panther is now available to someone willing to take on the project. All the running, standing and miscellaneous parts are present though severely damaged … and some in better condition than others (see above). She is a project. First person that takes her gets the boat! Cost – FREE!