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Continuing the boat building dream #27…

Today’s interview is only one minute long and this craftsman is truly living his dream in the boat he built himself…


The Malahini is a 16′ Classic Runabout and one of our most popular designs. This is the largest of the “classic mahogany runabouts” designed for plywood construction and that utilizes an outboard. The next step up would be a cold-molded hull with inboard power which would be a more challenging build and costlier.

Malahini a classic mahogany runabot

Nice classic lines…

Sam Witherington of Georgia built his Malahini as the fulfillment of a dream. His father built a boat when Sam was born and he has fond memories of it. His Malahini is named “Time Well Wasted” by his daughter and is fashioned after the boat his dad built. He is truly living his dream…

Since Sam’s wife Brenda was sitting next to him, when asked how much it cost to build, he answered “about $1500″ and they both laughed their heads off! I don’t know what the real answer is, but from builder feedback we’ve received, it’s probably about $15,000 for everything including motor and trailer.

Not a lot of money to fulfill a dream and have a beautiful boat that makes people stop and look when you drive by. And, the cost can be spread throughout the build so you don’t have to shell out a lot of cash at once. Plus, the whole thing is brand spankin’ new even though you’ll get asked over and over “how old is it?” 

Many builders of our designs are motivated to build because of great memories of a boat someone they knew built. Boat building is truly a hobby that is passed down from one generation to the next.

The Malahini has a nice open cockpit and beautiful classic lines. The interior layout can be changed to suit your needs. She’ll do about 40mph with a 60 hp motor and can take up to 85 hp. Our Ski Tow design is a smaller version of the Malahini at 14′ 8″.

Sam did a beautiful job on his boat and has a few construction photos in the Customer Photos section of our website. His seats are really unique and add to the classic look he was going for. He chose to do a bright finished deck as many builders do and painted the hull.

So how long does it take to build a boat like the Malahini? Most build a boat in their spare time and usually can tell you how many months of part time work it took. Estimates for the Malahini are about 9 months and one builder even estimated about 1300 hours to build.

The plans come with full size patterns for the stem, breasthook, transom knee, chine blocking and half-section patterns for all of the frames and the transom. The instructions provide details on building the boat from start to finish.

We have put together a fastening kit for the Malahini that contains all the nails and screws needed to build. You’ll need about 8 carriage bolts in addition. We also have a Fiberglass Covering kit which is optional, but we do recommend it to protect the wood and make it easier to maintain.  All of the joints on the Malahini are fastened and glued and you’ll need about a gallon of our Poxy Grip or other epoxy adhesive.

You’ll need to get the wood locally if possible as that’s the most economical way to do it. You can use our List of Lumber Suppliers to find a local lumberyard. There is a bill of materials online that lists what you’ll need to build the hull.  You’ll also need a steering kit which you can find in our online store also. The rest of the fittings and deck hardware are left to your desires. Building it yourself enables you to customize your boat to fit your needs and wants. Have fun with it!

Didn’t mean to sound like a sales person, but so often people call and ask what we provide, so there you have it! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Sam & Brenda–thanks so much for the video interview. You are both awesome people and I hope to see you at the Gathering this year!

Malahini mahogany runabout

Sam’s Malahini–just like Dads!

Malahini mahogany runabout

Sam’s bright finished deck



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