Let me introduce myself. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, the kind that is constantly visualizing new designs in my mind, and thinking of ways to do things better. I've been doodling boat designs for the past several years, using some of the boat design software available on the web. I don't think that I could build a boat to a standard plan without modifying it in some way (see example below).
My first home was in Swampscott, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. I a child, I remember seeing Swampscott dories along the beach, and visiting the Eastern and Corinthian Yacht clubs in Marblehead, home to some of the most beautiful sailing craft to be found. My interest in boat building began when I was thirteen years old. In shop class, a friend of mine started building the Minimax hydroplane from plans he obtained from Science and Mechanics magazine, so I decided I would build one, too. It took the whole year, and it still wasn't painted when I took it home. I powered it with a Mercury Hurricane 10 hp. motor, and had a ball with it.
I built a slightly larger hydroplane of my own design two years later, and a couple of stitch and glue kayaks five years ago. The experience of building the kayaks influenced the choice of building method for the canoe, since it must be finished in 3 months, and I'll go with what I know.
The kayak shown is a Selway-Fisher Seafox that I modified by designing a curved deck to replace the original two-piece beveled deck. Construction is 4 mm Okoume plywood covered with 6 oz. glass cloth. A very stable recreational kayak, and a good introduction to stitch-and-glue construction techniques.
Last fall, my youngest son took a new job near Cleveland. He asked me if I would build him a car-top-able boat that he could sail and paddle, would hold two, and be usable on Lake Erie. Oh, and it couldn't look "Bo-bo", which, since he is an industrial designer, I took to mean he better not be embarrassed to be seen in it. That was the design brief. It sounded like what he wanted was a sailing canoe.