The Duck Hunting Sailboat

Small day-sailboats--particularly Sunfish models--make ideal duck-hunting layout boats. Lightweight and seaworthy, day sailors can easily be towed behind a primary skiff, and their slim profile means they're much simpler to maneuver at 3 A.M. than standard layouts. Check local classified ads and Internet listings for used boats. You might also want to check in with a nearby beach or country club. They occasionally retire their older models during the off-season, and you may be able to pick one up for short money. Once you do, here's how to customize it:

  1. [1] Paint the hull and boat according to your surroundings (sand-colored for beaches, hardwood patterns for oak stands). If you hunt a variety of different spots, you may want to cover the fiberglass with your favorite camo-cloth patterns. Paint the cockpit any generic camo color.

  2. [2] Build a backrest out of marine plywood. Mine is 4×3 feet. I rest it against the top of the cockpit, and it rides at a 45-degree angle.

  3. [3] Drill holes on the top of the boat and run bungee cords around the cockpit. Cut marsh grass or reeds and install them for natural stealth.

  4. [4] Add gun hooks on the inside of the cockpit for easy and safe gun handling. --TOM KEER