Heritage-23 A Modern Adaptation of the Mackinaw Boat

Promoting Community Boat Building,
Rowing &
Sailing on the Heritage
Coast of Michigan

We are an approved federal and state non profit "501(c)3"organization.

Heritage-23 rowing skiff design

For Information Contact

David Wentworth

Leo Chartier
989 460-2642

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Heritage-23 Mackinaw Modern Boat Specifications 

The Heritage 23 is a lugsail rigged, modernized Mackinaw boat.  Mackinaw boats are classified as schooners and also fit the historic definition of cutters.. They were developed in our region in the 1800's as fishing boats, cargo carriers and passenger haulers. Their size was typically bigger by about 1-1/2 times than the Heritage 23 displayed here and were normally gaff rigged..  A picture hanging in the Iosco County Building indicates that they were in common use on Tawas Bay.

Line Drawings Copyright of Alec Jordan

Mackinaw Typical Rigging

The specifications of the Heritage 23, a modernized Mackinaw boat, are summarized in the table below. Photos of the boat under sail and being rowed are also shown.
There are pdf downloads of the sailing and rowing versions.  There are a few YouTube videos of the early stages.

Heritage 23 Mackinaw Boat Under Sail Heritage 23 Mackinaw Boat First Launch Rowing Test

Heritage 23 Mackinaw Boat Data





 Length Over All

 23 feet

 Length at Water Line

 19 feet, 6 inches


5 feet, 6 inches

 Draft: (db/centerboard up)

 1 foot, 2 inches

 Draft: (db/centerboard down)

 3 feet, 0 inches

 Weight ( c )

 350 pounds

 Sail Area: Total

 233 square feet

 Sail Area: Main Sail

 100 square feet

 Sail Ares: Foresail

 100 square feet

 Sail Area: Jib

 33 square feet


 Richard F. Pierce, Isle if Luing, Scotland

 Kit Designer

 Alec Jordan, Jordan Boats, Fife, Scotland

 Kit Maker

 Hewes and Company, Blue Hill, Maine


 West System

 Mast, Yards, Booms

 Douglas Fir

 Hog, Keel, Stem, Sternpost, gunwale, tiller,


 White Oak



 Planking, Bulkheads, thwarts, Tanks

 Machine cut Okoume Marine Grade


 Sailing Crew (3, minimum; 5 max)

 (4) helmsman, main/centerboard trimmer,

 foresail trimmer, jib trimmer

  Rowing Crew

 four (4) sweep oar rowers and coxswain



Historic Design: 

Mackinaw boats are historic vessels developed in the upper Great Lakes region.  They were the pick-up trucks of the 1800’s and were used as fishing boats as well as for the short-haul transportation of freight and people.  Said to be the merger of Native American canoe building skill and European carpentry skill, the Mackinaw boat was an important aspect of the cultural and economic heritage of this area.  Looking for a classic regional boat,  the Mackinaw boat design was chosen by Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing. 

Recognizing the skill level of volunteer builders, the group commissioned design and construction updates in order to take advantage of modern methods of boat building using marine plywood and resins and to make building suitable for kit building.

A search for skilled individuals to generate safe updates that maintained authenticity lead to Hewes and Company of Maine and to Alec Jordan of Scotland and Richard Pierce of Scotland.  Computer designed sheet of kit parts.   The Mackinaw rowing version kit is sold by Hewes and Company (pdf price list).

Updated Version Designer:

Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce was selected to examine historic Mackinaw boats and update the design to take advantage of modern material and techniques.  

Richard was uniquely qualified to accomplish this because of his extensive background as a boat designer, a  boatbuilder, a builder of models for tank tests and as a skilled craftsman with Computer Assisted Design (CAD).  Richard’s firm, Franklin-Eldridge Boatbuilders in Windemere, England has built over 80 boats.

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