I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Meet the Minto- Martha

It seems that each year I add a new boat to my growing fleet and 2017 is no exception. I am excited to announce the latest member of the fleet, a Minto that Alix has named Martha.

The Minto is a 9 foot (2.7 meters for my Canadian friend Robert) sailing/rowing dinghy. It was first produced in the 1960s by EDDON Boat Yard and is still in production today by Rich Passage. Over 1,000 Mintos have been built, making it one of the most populous dinghies in the Pacific Northwest. See more at Wikipedia.

I was first introduced to Mintos by dock mate Kemp. He has had several Mintos over the years. He had one he used as a row boat when we first met. He told me it could sail and several months later he got the sail rig out. The first time I saw the Minto under sail I was hooked! Any time Kemp went out after that I would sit on the end of the dock watching him zip around the lake with pure boat lust. I have a problem.

My wife already thinks I have some sort of boat hoarder dementia so in order to get Martha I got rid of an 11′ sailboat and a kayak.

Martha was built by the Ranger boat company and here is how I found her on Craiglist.

 

$600 for a Minto is a killer deal. The transom needed some work but it was a typical issue stemming from storing the boat upside down on the ground. Moisture from the grass is sucked up inside the wooden transom and since it is not a teak transom it rots out. The sail rig alone is worth $1,500!

I loaded the Minto on top of my wife’s Subaru Outback and away we went!

She had been sitting outside for a long time and needed quite the cleaning. She came out nicely though! After removing all the gunk Kemp said the hull was in far better shape than any Minto he had owned.

 

Rebuilding the transom was a relatively easy endeavor. Kemp has rebuilt Minto transoms on previous Mintos he has owned and guided the process. I scrapped the rotten wood from between the fiberglass, thoroughly dried the interior, applied System Three RotFix, and inserted some good new wood into the transom. My good buddy David free handed the transom cuts. The board had to be both cut to fit the sides and cut down the middle because it was too thick. David is a carpentry monster.

 

After the epoxy dried in the new transom David came over for the maiden voyage. David sailed Kemp’s Minto while I hopped out on Martha.

 

Alix and I have had a ton of fun with Martha this summer. She is tied onto the swim platform of our live aboard. We are able to quickly step into the boat and be off on an adventure!

Martha has joined S/V Billabong on longer sailing adventures as a ship-to-shore boat on several occasions.

And my buddy Robert (yes the Canadian mention previously….) even came down and raced Martha in the Duck Dodge. He did a pretty dang good job too!

 

This Minto may be the most fun boat I have owned to date. She rows like a champ, easily taking Alix, myself, and our two dogs miles with ease, and she sails beautifully. If you are looking for a rigid dinghy that can row, sail, and even handle a small outboard I highly recommend considering a Minto!

DISCLAIMER: I picked up Martha in April 2017. It took me till November 2017 to write this post! I was having too many adventures with Martha to have time to blog!

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17 Comments

  1. dan christensen

    I just purchased a Minto at a garage sale and need parts–the boom is gone, stuff like that. could you tell me how to get ahold of the Manufacture or the place you purchased parts? thank you. dan

  2. Robert

    Contact Whitehall Sailing and Rowing. Victoria, BC

  3. Picking one of these up tomorrow. Can’t wait! A fun and interesting little write up here…

    Many thanks,
    Travis

    • Hope you enjoy her! Let me know how it goes. If you are near Lake Union we should do a Minto regatta.

      • Mikkel Gredvig

        Hi
        I have Minto I’m rebuilding in the Okanogan
        Will bring it to the sound next year keep in touch
        Fairwinds
        Mikkel

        • Byron Robinson

          Hello Mikkel,
          I am also in the Okanagan and have one of these boats which I want to restore. I would be interested in talking with you about where you are finding parts and also what types of materials you are using. I would maybe be interested in seeing the boat that you have even.
          Let me know if you would like my phone number or email address maybe.
          Best of luck with the rebuild.
          Byron

        • Don kerr

          I have a min to in perfect shape my grandpa gave it to me when I was 8 ,52 now what are they worth in good shape?

  4. Byron Robinson

    Hello, I am also in the Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.
    I saw one of these boats listed on Castanet.net a couple of years ago and immediately became interested in it.
    I am originally from Newfoundland and grew up by the ocean and plenty of boats. My best buddy in high school had a dad who was always building something. He built a wooden strip plank open boat for himself and a small round bottom 13 foot long rowing boat for my friend. We had great times in that boat and glad to say my friend recently restored it for his son to use.
    So, I enjoy rowing and saw this Minto which closely resembles my friends row boat and it caught my attention right away. The man selling it was ex- Canadian Coast Guard. He gave me some history on the boat. Apparently, he bought it used from another guy who told him the boat came from Galliano Island. The Coast Guard guy was actually leaving the Okanagan and going to live on Galliano Island, but decided to sell the boat. The boat was still usable, but the wooden gunnels and transom area needed new wood and the boat needed a cleaning, some fibreglass touch ups and sanding and a painting. He sold me the boat, along with a set of oars, mast and sails, 2 rudders and 2 life jackets for $250.00 and delivered it to me. A fantastic deal. I usually work out of town all summer in northern Canada, but this year am mostly at home. I have been doing some online research about this boat, looking for parts, best type of paint to use, and have also been trying to find some suitable wood to use to do the wood repairs. I was thinking teak, but having trouble finding suitable supply and cost is high. I may use bending ash which is apparently used on some canoes for gunnels. It is much cheaper than teak and seems like it would be suitable.
    I have saws and equipment and hope to do the repairs myself. My retired neighbour also has a good set up in his garage since he likes to do wood working. He could maybe help me out if necessary.
    I look froward to hearing more about these boats.
    Mikkel, I would be interested in seeing your boat and talking with you about parts and how you are restoring the boat.
    Cheers!
    Byron

    • Mikkel Gredvig

      Hi Byron
      I live on the US side of the Okanogan
      Tonasket Wa
      mikkel @thesolarshop.net

  5. Ann Haynes

    I just bought one at an estate sale. I can’t figure out how to rig it. It came with 2 aluminum poles, one of which is the mast and a wooden boom with the sail attached. What is the other aluminum rod for? It’s been a long time since I’ve sailed and that was only a sunfish. The boat and trailer were a screaming good deal I could t pass up

  6. David Rynning

    Hi Ben, from your SBYC brother. I too have a Kent Ranger Minto, purchased around 2012 with the complete sail rig (aluminum 2-pc. mast, spruce boom, foils, main, and a spinnaker that the P.O. cautioned was “probably not legal” for racing).
    I made a dolly for “Trot” that allows me to (with a modicum of effort) load/unload the boat single-hand from my truck, and get it to launch water. Mostly Trot is a sailing tender for our sloop, which is capable of carrying her on the foredeck, or towing happily astern on a bridle.

    I have the same issue with some rot at the top of the transom core and am interested in learning how your carpentry monster friend Dave resolved that on Martha.

    Before Rich Passage Boats disappeared from the Web I saved their 16-slide presentation “Rigging The Minto” as a set of .pdf files, as well as a copy of the RPB Minto measured sail plan. I combined them into both Word and PowerPoint documents and can get them to you if you or your readers are interested (I’m not smart enough to know how to reduce the file size from about 19 MB!).

    Mintos are now being made by Whitehall Spirit in B.C. (https://www.whitehallrow.com/minto-9-rowing-tender/). They apparently do not offer a sail rig, and trust me, you probably do not want to know what the “base model” rowing boat costs now!

    With all these Minto owners around, a post-pandemic meet-up could be fun one day! Dinghy sailing is great on Liberty Bay, where we moor the mothership, VIXEN.

    Cheers!

  7. Mikkel Gredvig

    Hi Byron
    I live on the US side of the Okanogan
    Tonasket Wa
    mikkel @thesolarshop.net

  8. Jon Fayth/Tacoma

    I just bought a Ranger 11, a bigger brother of the Minto I already have, though without the beautiful “lapstrake” hull – it’s just smooth, but with wonderful lines. Came with the full sailing rig. Would like to find a source for a full cover for the R 11, as well as my Minto. Both dinghies also work well with a MinnKota on the back, when I want to take it easier.

    • Sailrite might have some info on sewing your own, if not, I have a buddy who we may be able to talk into it. I just put a sailboat in at Foss Harbor. Where are you?

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