Eclectic electric by John Brada
The Night Owl is a lapstrake canoe, modeled along the lines of the W.P. Stephens canoes from the turn of the century. John Brada originally built her for row and sail, but has subsequently converted her to run on a small electric motor. The workmanship is quite lovely, right down to the hand-carved, figured maple night owl which graces her bow.
Rusalka (named for an opera by Dvorak) is a fantail launch of John Brada's own design. She is cedar strip built on mahogany, powered by a 1 hp. electric inboard. Not only the design of the boat, but the propulsion system, steering system and virtually everything else was conceived and built by John. He found that people who saw him out in Rusalka expected to hear a steam whistle. This is hard to accomplish without a steam engine, so Rusalka incorporates a compressed air tank and a pair of tuned copper whistles (made by John from copper pipe) mounted on the foredeck which give a very authentic facsimile.
Above: Rusalka's helm
Above left and left: Designer/builder John Brada