About the builder amd the project

Doug McKenzie, designer
and builder of Little Leon

This is an amateur boat-building project that Doug McKenzie started in August of 2005 in New Jersey USA as a hobby, for the love of sailing ships, boat building and sailing. Funding for the project came from family savings.

“Little Leon” is a 16’ sailing model of the 120’ brigantine “ Leon,” built in Norway in 1880. Her hull is constructed using the strip plank method and fiberglassed inside and out. “

She is the result of Doug building a number of wooden ship models and often having the thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to build a model big enough that I could actually sail in it!”

Doug conceived of this project, designed the plans, and built Little Leon. He made modifications so that this ship is not a "real" scale model of Leon - but she looks a lot like the Leon now that she’s done!

The boat was built in a one-car garage in a residential area, and it was stored alongside the driveway when it was finished. The masts pivot down to make storage and trailering possible.

If you click on the other links you will see a comprehensive, pictorial history of Little Leon construction.

Construction began in September 2005. The hull was finished in October 2006. Designing and creating the spars, rigging and all but one sail were finished in the first half of 2008.

In 2009, we sailed Little Leon in the Delaware River at the Ben Franklin Bridge, and in Swartswood Lake, Newton, NJ. We took Little Leon to the Chesapeake in Maryland in October.

We sailed Little Leon for the next few years, a few trips each season. In 2012 Doug realized it was time for Little Leon to move to a new chapter. John Lumley from Kansas found this site on the internet and was interested in Little Leon. In John, Doug found someone who could care for and enjoy this unique craft. John bought Little Leon in October 2012 and he and his wife took it to Kansas.

The adventure continues at http://www.littleleon.net