Australian designer Ross Lillistone calls this boat a beach cruiser. We’re shorter on beaches in this area so perhaps sail-and-oar is the best description. The idea is the same- a nimble small boat for one or two to enjoy on day sails or short cruises. While it is not aimed at the racing crowd all reviews say it can provide a satisfying challenge for experienced sailors and also behave in the hands of a novice. With a centerboard and kick-up rudder it can be brought into the shallows or pulled up on shore. When the wind falls or you need to navigate narrow channels it can be rowed comfortably. There is a self-bailing motor well for a very small (electric?) outboard if needed. The rig (mast, sail, and spars) is light and quick and easy to set up and take down. As the boat itself is quite light it could be trailered behind even many small cars, there isn’t a need to live on the water or join a yacht club.

Phoenix III is 15′-1″ long and 4′-9″ in breadth. It carries a balanced lug sail with an area of 76 sq. ft. Its draft is 6″ with the centerboard up. It weighs approximately 200 lbs. Designed for one or two to sail, it could carry more under the right circumstances. For safety it has flotation chambers bow and stern.

The hull is glued lapstrake using quality marine plywood. Solid wood trim is Douglas Fir and a little salvaged Makore for the mast partner and a few other highlights. All hardware and fasteners are either brass, bronze or stainless steel. The mast and spars are of Douglas Fir and the mast and yard are constructed to be hollow using the birdsmouth technique. This makes them lighter without weakening them and means they should float and prevent the boat “turtleing” should it capsize. The rudder kicks up and the centerboard is weighted, not locked in position to minimize accidental damage.

All wooden parts have been fully coated with marine epoxy for protection and then were painted or varnished . This combination of coatings should require much less maintenance than traditional wood boats needed. A layer of fibreglass has been added to the bottom of the hull, outside and in, to toughen it against abrasion and there are brass rub strips the length of the keel

The boat comes complete with a professionally made Dacron sail by Dabbler Sails. There are also custom made oars, some accessory mounts to hold the mast when trailering and another to hold the mast up as a ridgepole for a covering tarp.

The optional trailer is aluminum and so very light. The trailer and boat can be pulled by even some smaller vehicles. It is 4 years old and in very good condition. It is a Trailex model SUT-220-S.

Boat completed- Summer 2022. Located- Ottawa Ontario

Boat and accessories $8000 (Cdn) with trailer $9000

Half of the final sale price will be donated to the Ottawa Riverkeeper, a local environmental charity I support


The Phoenix III and how it handles has been written about in several places. It was a video that first caught my eye and convinced me to build my own: This is an abbreviated version of the 15 minute video. To see the full length one you can use the free trial offered by Off Center Harbor.

WoodenBoat Magazine ran a 3 part series on the building of Phoenix III in issues 236, 237, and 238. They also had a review article in their old “Small Boats” special magazine- 2013 issue.

Small Boats Monthly web magazine has several articles that relate sail cruise adventures in a Phoenix III.

There are also several YouTube videos by the designer- Ross Lillistone about different aspects of the boat. He has an archived blog with detailed articles about this boat and his other designs There are some references to a website he used to maintain but I believe that has been closed.