Woody Boating – Latvia Style

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TODAY WE HAVE A GREAT STORY from Fellow Woody Boater Olegs Gladcenko in Riga, Latvia in eastern Europe. Olegs shares his passion for wooden boats, history, boat design, and construction of his own creation. – Texx

Hello, Woody Boater community. I went to your site to look at beautiful boats and be inspired by the works of people I don’t know, but who are close to me in spirit. And at some point, I decided to write to you and share my story. More precisely, the results of the construction of my wooden boat.

I built the boat with beautiful old school lines to be a pleasure to look at and ride. I rummaged through the entire Internet in search of ready-made free drawings of the boats of the 1920s and 30s that I loved so much. And what I found for myself. This is a 1941 boat called the Dragonfly, designed and built by engineer William Jack.

This is a 3m seaplane with an oval nose and vintage lines at the back, it has two floats, apparently for easier access to the glider, but taking the general concept of the boat, I redid the back, removing these floats and making a solid bottom, as the boat will not have an outboard motor, and my paramotor with an air propeller and therefore had to be redone .

The result was a beautiful Streamlined boat in its modification – the front motor and the pulling propeller – turned out to be as close as possible in design and spirit to what I was trying to express in this product. The enclosed cockpit and propeller surface perfectly complement the sleek lines of a late 1930s hydroplane.

The driving experience is simply delightful. And the appearance does not allow you to look away. I was inspired by the hydroplane raced in the Pavia Venezia race in Italy in the 1930s, and the flying boats raced in the Schneider Trophy. In particular, the Macchi M.33 aircraft. The golden era of air and water racing. Great streamlined design.

This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do, not really copying anyone, just based on the location of the engine above the pilot and the general dieselpunk atmosphere.

What I ended up with is a wonderful little boat, balanced in composition, which gives an amazing feeling of uniqueness from owning it. I am very pleased to share my joy with people. As a designer and artist, I can say that the boat is finished and does not need any modifications or improvements.

This body was originally planned to be made with a motor at the rear and with a beautiful aluminum plumage and a motor at the front and a closed cabin. Having driven both options and evaluating their appearance, I can say that the crazier the better, and aesthetically and romantically, the front-engine layout wins 100 percent, but is slightly inferior in inconvenience.

A slight inconvenience is associated only with a strong stream of wind in the face, it is weakly deflected by a small windshield. However, I think that this is more a plus than a minus because this fact almost physically takes you back to those distant times when the pilots of boats and airplanes sat in half-open cockpits, open to all winds.

All in all, a great boat. Please enjoy the photos of the latest modification and watch the video of the trip. –  Olegs Gladcenko in Riga, Latvia.

Special thanks to Olegs for sharing his story with us here today. – Texx

34 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Where’s the video? I want to see that bad boy running!
    Great story Texx.

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Intriguing design. Not sure I’d be comfortable with my face so close to the propeller and must be windy as heck. That said I applaude his effort and I too would love to see the video.

  3. Oleg G
    Oleg G says:

    Hello. This boat is my work. I sent a link to the video but it was not attached to this article, I don’t know why, maybe this is the policy of this site. So I suggest you find the video on YouTube by writing in a search engine.The Red Baron goes hunting.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    wow, Oleg write better English than most of us…or….one of us in particular….Great Story.

    John in Va.

  5. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Beautifully made & very cool! I found the video on YouTube. Looks fun, but not an easy boat to run, with neither idle nor reverse. The leather flyer’s cap & goggles really complete the look. I imagine they also add to the feel of the experience, as well as being essential with the propeller ahead of the cockpit. Thank you for sharing your creation with us here in WoodyBoaterville.

    • Oleg G
      Oleg G says:

      It’s good that I managed to find a video on YouTube, I thought there might be difficulties with this. And yes, in this boat you need to ride in just such a helmet and glasses. Thanks for the comment

  6. Dana from Tower MN
    Dana from Tower MN says:

    Great story today, watched the utube video, it must really be a great experience piloting the Sreamlined Beauty. Thanks Oleg for sharing.

  7. Bill & Linda
    Bill & Linda says:

    Love It !

    We can predict what’s next; the “Mark 2” stretched version. About 5 feet longer….a seat for Mrs. Oleg….and a little more horsepower….a small block Chevy maybe…..

  8. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    OK, I think that’s officially the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on Woody Boater. Well done, Oleg! The boat is so beautiful that the only thing it needs is a more elegant windshield. Take a look at Kevin Fitzke’s “Bugbite” for inspiration.

    • Oleg G
      Oleg G says:

      Yes, you are right about the glass. I already made another, but temporarily put it on another boat for the duration of the test. Kevin Fitzke’s “Bugbite” boat is simply beautiful. For me, she is a style icon. Like Baby Bootlegger and MISS CANADA IV and many others.

  9. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Amazing bit of engineering to adapt an outboard hydro to basically an airboat configuration but with a “puller” and get it properly balanced. You certainly look the part of a 1920’s daredevil pilot. And a great photographic presentation, editing and video production as well. Your woodworking skills are to be complemented as well. Thanks for sharing your passion.

  10. Oleg G
    Oleg G says:

    I want to say at once to everyone who wrote comments, thank you. Thank you very much. You have no idea how important this is to me. In the places where I come from, everything I do, at best, makes people confused and stupid questions – Why? And I have never received so many kind words at once, thank you. I am glad that I can share my work with you on this beautiful site.

  11. RivaDella
    RivaDella says:

    Way to go Oleg! For sure the style reminds one of the racing boats and planes of the 20’s and 30’s, the Macchi and the Supermarine. And on top of that you gave me a new term: “dieselpunk”. Love it! Next boat needs more cylinders tho…..

    • Oleg G
      Oleg G says:

      Dieselpunk is the era between the two world wars, the golden era of motors, racing boats, aircraft, cars, and streamlined design. And boats of this type, like mine, were used in the famous PAVIA-VENEZIA race in Europe. 280 miles along the river and sea. In the 1930s, powerful aircraft engines were used, which were placed on different hulls. These are real dieselpunk boats that look absolutely crazy / Here is a link to an article about these boats if you are interested. https://oldmachinepress.com/2016/01/24/idroscivolanti-and-the-raid-pavia-venezia/

    • Oleg G
      Oleg G says:

      Dieselpunk is the era between the two world wars, the golden era of motors, racing boats, aircraft, cars, and streamlined design. Boats in the craziest dieselpunk style took part in the famous PAVIA-VENICE race in Europe in the 1930s. 280 miles by river and sea. They used powerful aircraft engines, which were placed on different buildings. If you are interested in learning more about this, you just need to write in the Google search engine – The Pavia-Venice Raid Airboat. And you will see many beautiful photos of interesting boats with aircraft engines.

  12. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Really Cool! I had a little experience with a forward propeller watercraft back in 1992 when my friend Al Packard and I bought an hovercraft to run in what used to be an annual event here in the PNW. It was breezy, wet and I found out the hard way that the manual was correct when it warned about attempting to turn at speed… He sent me this several years ago –
    https://youtu.be/Fk3HsljEKVE A different take on the idea, probably inspired by the post-war events!

    • Oleg G
      Oleg G says:

      Thank you. The video is interesting, the boat is beautifully made very high quality, but the centering is wrong and the engine needs to be placed higher, like in flying boats, otherwise splashes are inevitable and the propeller can be damaged. I did a lot of experiments with various types of ships, and hovercraft and built an ekranoplan. Almost all of them were with a motor in front, so I got maximum traction, and part of the power was directed under the bottom. You can go to my channel when watching a video on YouTube, then click on my icon below and you will be taken to the channel where there are a lot of my experiments with water transport and not only.

      • Dick Dow
        Dick Dow says:

        Oleg, Your boat, the engineering and craftmanship that went into it are amazing! On top of that, the photography is impeccable – you are truly an artist in every sense. I had to laugh at the craft in the video I sent – beautifully built, but doomed to failure with the small propeller, large hull/wetted area and other factors you mention above. They certainly gave it a go!

        • Dick Dow
          Dick Dow says:

          Found a picture of the Hovercraft that Al and I had. About an hour after this – I flipped it trying to make a turn at speed. The propeller provided lift and forward thrust – steering was provided by the vertical vanes at the back. It worked pretty good on land, not so much on the water… 🙂

          • Oleg G
            Oleg G says:

            Interesting hovercraft. This winter I built a hovercraft, and it is almost the same as yours, but more primitive, and worked well in the snow. Later I replaced the engine and redid the cockpit, now I’m going to take this boat to the water. And I hope she’s doing well.

  13. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Does it make a difference if you are in front of a fan blowing air at you at 60 mph or in a boat moving you at 60 mph into wind?

  14. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    That was sooooooooo cool!!! What can I say that has not been already said, but Damn! Loved the video, loved the construction, engine, and propeller. Quality workmanship everywhere. Definitely a unique design. Thanks for brighting my Monday Oleg.

  15. River Rat
    River Rat says:

    Now that is a person who does not paint within the lines. Oleg knows how to hit the launch button. Total repect.

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