Amanda in Barry Johnson's
Toto in South Carolina.
TOTO, DOUBLE PADDLE CANOE, 13' X 30",
45 POUNDS EMPTY
Toto has been my most successful design.
Initially she was an experiment to test a new bow shape
- a deep V bow that blends into a multichine well aft.
There's a twist in the bow bilge panels and at the time
I didn't know how to expand those panels on the drawing
board. So I built her without them and then sized them
by cut and fit. Then I recorded the shapes on the prints.
Nowadays this sort of twisted paned expansion is routine
on a computer to great accuracy (provided the input is
The boat is an easy prefab job from
two sheets of 5MM lauan underlayment, still very cheap
at maybe $12 a sheet from the lumberyard until the rain
forests are gone. Marc Smith came to the 1994 Midwest
Messabout with two of these Totos strapped to the roof
of his Birdwatcher. They were built by two twelve year
old girls under Marc's guidance. Marc said the girls did
all the work including using the power tools. And they
paddled around the Messabout in them.
It's fun to compare Toto with the typical
minimal dink because they usually come from the same pile
of stuff and labor. Toto covered the 6000 foot long dam
at Carlyle lake in 14 minutes with a moderate paddling
effort for 4-1/2 mph. She's more seaworthy but she's wetter
when pressed because of paddle splash. She has a buoyancy/storage
chamber aft. It will keep your shoes and stuff dry while
you splash around and I believe it has about 180 pounds
of buoyancy volume if the hatch cover stays watertight.
(But you can't "self rescue" in any boat like
this without very special training. It's best to stay
within a short swim or wade to shallow water.) The open
cockpit is large enough to allow sleeeping inside, as
I have done many times. She's shaped for easy cartopping.
In good conditions she'll paddle two adults. The long
lean bow seems to ignore an overload, unlike plumb bows
which can become cranky when immersed. She'll take you
through some very rough stuff if you are solo. But the
dinks have their place too. They can have sailing stability
and many will find their elevated seating more comfortable.
By the way, a boat like
Piragua with a simple wide flat bottom won't
be as fast or as seaworthy as Toto, but you might be able
to stand up in Piragua. Don't expect to do that in a boat
I've rounded up some more Toto photos.
Here are three by John Mulligan on Long Island. These
three and Raidna's look to me to be build per blueprint.
(I'd sit a little farther forward myself.)
Dale Dagger rides a wave in Nicaragua
in his Toto.
Here is Bob Hoffert's Toto in Ohio,
maybe the first boat after mine. Looks like he has added
a fore deck and put a big access hole in the aft bulkhead.
(Remember that the aft storage box is also supposed to
be an emergency buoyancy air box to help save your butt
in a capsize.)
Here is John Ellwood's Toto in Massachusetts.
Crowned fore and aft decks and another access hole in
the aft bulkhead, although this one appears to have a
Here is Garth Battista of
Breakaway Books with a small foredeck and some
Here is Don Duquet with good company
getting ready to watch a space shuttle launch:
Here is Bob Cole's delux Toto, totally
decked with watertight storage in both ends way up in
And the fanciest Toto ever by Dean Souza
in Washington, with watertight storage fore and aft, fancy
coamings, cleats and line chocks, even the national flag
flying on the stern!
Bob Hoyle in Florida:
And Al Fittipaldi (New
Jersey) made this Toto and got a picture of it in Woodenboat
And Bill Turnbull's Toto
on the Florida gulf coast:
And Stephen Dandridge's
Toto delux out in California:
And we think this is Terry
Lesh's Toto delux (seen at a boat show out West):
And here is one by Don
O'Hearn of St. Louis, photo from the 2002 Rend Lake Messabout:
And Al Straub's Toto in
and finally, the photo
below is from Tom Raidna.
Plans come with complete instructions
including the details of taped seam construction and a
drawing of a simple paddle that works. (Marc Smith's girls
used double paddles made from old vaulting poles with
plywood blades bolted on. I tried their boats and paddles
and they were quite good.) No jigs or lofting required.