Little Bitts Notes 'n Stuff

This page is one that I found from the old Little Bitts Website, done by Alan Locke. I can't figure out exactly what year this was, but I am assuming that it was around 1999 or so! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. The Little Bitts group originally had a newsletter published by Mike Twohig and sent to the membership. These are snippets from those old newsletters. The address and contact information in these is old, so please assume that you may no longer contact these individuals at the email addresses listed. Enjoy!

Minitug "Mini Facts"

Info taken from previous newsletters and other sources

Construction tips, observations and notes:

  • A couple of minitug builders have had rot problems in the caprail. They both indicate that the caprail must be well fiberglassed along with the plywood stringer that supports the caprail to avoid this problem. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • A couple of minitug builders have had water leaking into the hollow main keel. There are a few opinions as to the cause of the problem, but there seems to be a consensus that the hollow keel should be filled with foam during construction. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Doug Crocker tells us that he used a Rule two part primer over the bare fiberglass of his Candu-ez minitug and two coats of Brightside primer over the Rule primer. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling writes that he has used a 2 inch diameter pre-made exhaust tube rather than the homebuilt shaft tube specified in the Candu-ez plan set. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling reports a poor experience using the Lastdrop Gen II shaft seals due to manufacturing defects in the seal. He recommends a lip seal type from Glen-L that only costs about $20. Stuffing box part number 90-234. It is necessary to "bush up" the seals 1 ¾" OD to match the shaft tube. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Doug Crocker tells us that he built his Candu-ez hull upside down rather than rightside up as indicated in the plan set. He used a swivel chair and good lighting under the hull. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling indicates that 1 inch by 4 inch scuppers should be installed just forward of the cabin main bulkhead and just above the deck. They were inadvertently left out of the plan set on the Candu-ez. The scuppers are used to drain water overboard off the forward deck to keep it out of the cockpit area. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis notes that he will permanently bond and seal his battery boxes to the cabin deck to keep out water, dirt and insects. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis has fabricated lift handles for the batteries in his electric powered Candu-ez. They are fabricated from ¾" mahogany stock and screw onto the battery posts. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis has found that ¼" by ¾" drain holes are needed in the bonnet of his Candu-ez minitug. This drains rainwater from the sides of the roof. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis says that he has installed a small bilge pump in the cockpit area just adjacent to the electric motor. It is powered by a separate 12 volt gel cell battery. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling tells us that he had a leak in the rudder shaft when underway on his Candu-ez. He solved the problem by installing a couple of rubber O-rings on the rudder shaft between the top of the rudder and the bottom of the boat. He then used a hole saw to make a counterbore in the top of the rudder tube. The rubber O rings in the resulting counterbore and a liberal coating of waterproof grease on the shaft solved the leak. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Bryon Kass, who installed a Perkins 4-108 gasoline inboard engine in his Candu-ez NAUSEA, tells us that the minitug needs to have its keel enlarged to accommodate the engine as low as possible to keep the center of gravity in the correct position for added stability. (From X/96 email)

  • Roger Balling writes that he wound up building the trailer for his Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG. It has an extendable tongue which seems to work great. He built it out of rectangular tubing instead of channel iron. (From 12/22/96 email)

  • Roger Balling tells us not to try to make the front deck flat on the Candu-ez, reminding us that it is supposed to tilt up toward the center by about 1 1/2 inch. He also reminds us that the cabin side wall is not parallel to the centerline, and to be sure not to loose the 32 3/16 inch dimension. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling notes that the 7/8 inch dimension at the top left corner of page 35 of the Candu-ez plan set should be 1 1/8 inch to ensure the side plates clear the bearing mount block. Roger also suggests using carriage bolts instead of machine screws up through the bearing mount block. The bearing has slots in it for adjustment and you can’t get to the heads to hold them after the block is bolted to the floor. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling notes the you might want to consider making the rear window considerably larger as he did on his Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG. He also suggests moving the door 1/2 inch toward the center line to make clearance between the door trim and battery box cover. He also feels that the door is too narrow. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis suggests fiberglassing the back of the Candu-ez visor material before bending so that it doesn’t break on bending. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis notes that he will move the trailer wheels back 6 inches to get more weight on the trailer tongue. The weight of the six batteries, located somewhat aft on his Candu-ez TUG-A-LUG, made the tongue weight too low. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis reports that he used 5 gallon buckets to hold his minitug off the floor during construction. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis reports that he used 1/4 inch laminated glass for the windshield center pane on his Candu-ez and the round window of the cabin door. For the other windows of his boat he is using 3/16 plexiglass. The plexiglass came to $58. (From 7/19 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jordon Vosh tells us that he found that the Candu-ez required over 375 feet of red 16 AWG wire and a little less for the ground wire. He has 28 separate lights and six major appliances wire into the electrical panel with eight separate breakers on his boat. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Alan Locke tells us that he used Okoume plywood for his Candu-ez version and scarfed the bottom and side panels of the boat. He also made the stem wider at the bottom for added strength and replaced the specified quarter round with larger wedge shaped pieces to provide a larger landing area for the hull panels. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)


  • Mike Twohig tells us that this Candu-ez minitug is powered by a four cylinder marine engine and has 300 lbs of ballast giving it a low center of gravity. He says it weighs over 3000 lbs. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Bob Champlain, of Golden Era Boats, writes that he built a Candu-ez version that was extended by three feet in length. The minitug was powered using a 25hp outboard which which was considered to be overpowered at the time. When run at full tilt (25 mph) however the boat didn’t even stuff the bow into a wave. He tells us that the little boat excites all that see and try her. He wants to try her with a 45hp outboard next. Bob continues that the Coast Guard came to his shop and he was told that the extended boat is really rated for 60hp. (From 2/97 email)

  • Jim Ttuchscherer’s EDNA is powered by a 6hp Johnson outboard motor. He tells us that he would like to quiet the motor with a cowl. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling writes that his Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG uses an electric motor and controller from KTA Services Inc., 944 West 21st Street, Upland CA 91784. (909) 949-7914. The company specializes in equipment for the electric cars. He uses an Advanced DC #A89-4001 Motor, 6HP/36-72VDC and a Curtis-PMC #1205-201 Motor Controller, 36-48VDC/350A. He tells us that the cost was less and the power and efficiency better than the motor specified in the Berkeley plan set. He uses eight US Battery 125's (Green Top) each rated @230 amp hours. (From 12/8/96 email)

  • Roger Balling notes that you might consider making the Candu-ez rudder longer. Berkeley Eastman had cut it down on the plans because of some problem in full speed reverse. (From 12/22/96 email)

  • Mike Hulbert’s L-Gato is 10 foot long with a 5 foot beam and 18 inch draft. She’s an inboard with an 8 hp air cooled vertical shaft engine with electric start. She has full nav lights, am radio, horn and cabin light. He bolted and glassed a used 18 hp outboard lower unit to the bottom and keel. He then joined it together with a lovejoy connector between the motor and lower unit. This gives him power and shifting. The boat does about 5 knots. He built the boat from a combination of the 9 foot microtug 9 and the 14 foot Candu-ez plans. (From Winter 96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jim Tuchscherer says that his Microtug9 EDNA uses a 6 hp outboard which pushes the boat at 10 mph with just the driver onboard out in Lake Winnebago. He says that those making a Microtug9 for flat water might want to consider 10-15 hp. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter).

  • Bryon Kass writes that he has been contemplating air cooled engines for launches for years. He spoke to Berk Eastman regarding installing one in a Candu-ez. He feels that they are OK if you can get enough air to them and can stand the noise. He has a better alternative of an air over water cooled horizontal diesel, ie, the Kubota ZB600C or the Yanmar TS155, 12 and 15.5hp respectively. The other problem is a transmission hookup. The stub shaft drive of most aircooled engines is capable of belt or coupling drive. He thought of setting up a fixture that would attach the transmission to the engine like you would attach a hydraulic pump, or mounting the whole thing to a fixture where the transmission is basically detached. (From 4/29/96 email)

  • Bryon Kass tells us that his version of the Candu-ez named NAUSEA is powered by a 50hp Perkins 4-108 gasoline inboard. His finished minitug weighs 2500 lbs. It has radar, loran, VHF, dig depth, knot log, and an air horn 2 foot long that runs off the main. (From 2/10/96 email)

Performance notes:

  • Doug Crocker reports that his Candu-ez CHUG-A-DOUG can jump up on a plane and has been clocked at 15 knots using a GPS. He indicates that it is a bumpy ride in short chop and he may increase the boat weight to smooth the ride out. Low speed performance of his minitug is fine. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling writes that his electric powered version Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG weighing 2060 lbs was clocked at a steady 5.5 mph with one peak at 6 mph. (From 2/17/97 email)

  • Roger Balling tells us that he used a 48 volt electric motor and controller with eight 6-volt 230 amphour deep cycle golf cart batteries. He says that he installed an E-meter which shows that at a 30 amp draw he can motor 5 hours and still have a 20% reserve. He reports that using this setup his power usage is as follows: (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

    Ampere drawKnotsMPH

  • Roger Balling writes that, with 6 adults on board his Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG, his "e-meter" showed 80 amps draw at 45 volts under full power which figures to be about 4.8 HP input. (From 12/22/96 email)

  • Mike Twohig reports that his Candu-ez DRUMMER HOFF is powered by a 4 cylinder 30hp Universal Atomic IV. The drive train and ballast brings the boat weight to over 3000 lbs. In calm water he can cruise at 4.4 knots at half throttle. The engine will redline at less than 3/4 throttle at about 5 knots with 3 adults onboard. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Alan Locke says that he calculated the hull speed of the Candu-ez at a theoretical 5.7 mph at a required shaft horsepower of 3.6 hp. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

Design changes and enhancements:

  • Doug Crocker’s Candu-ez CHUG-A-DOUG is powered by a 15hp Suzuki 4 cycle outboard. He says that he wishes that he had made the motor well 6 inches wider and had installed a keel even with the outboard since the tug is light and losses directional stability when not under power. (10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling has modified his Candu-ez boat trailer with an extendible tongue. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Wayne Harvey reports that he will building from metal and will be enclosing the cabin and adding a little V-berth to his Candu-Jr. He will be extending the cabin sides about 5 inches aft and putting a bulkhead across the back with a Dutch Door in the center. The seat boxes will be raised a bit and the forward shelf lowered and made horizontal. He will eliminate the hatch structure and custom seats will be made with removable backs to fill the gaps between the seats and the shelf. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Wayne Harvey tells us in a later newsletter that he will be building his Candu-ez minitug hull from steel and will build the cabin and various brightwork from wood. The metal hull will be powdercoated. He tells us that powdercoating is a metal finishing process in which the object is given a high voltage static charge. A fine polyester powder which is oppositely charged is then blown over the object which is then baked at high temperature. He says the process is commonly used on oilfield equipment which will subjected to a harse environment and various fumes. (From 1/98 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Douglas Gould ( writes that he is building a Candu-Jr modified with a kort nozzle on the motor and a steerable bow thruster. (From 4/7/97 email)

  • Bob Champlain, of Golden Era Boats, says he plans on building a 15 to 16 foot version of the Candu-ez with removable V-berth, possibly powered by Volvo IO to keep the engine profile in the boat. He says "All I need is a buyer!!!". (From 2/97 email)

  • Tony Bingelis has installed scuppers on each side of the hull where the deck meets the aft cabin. They are 7/8" by 1 ¼" oval cut outs reinforced with ½" nylon overlays. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Mike Twohig tells us that he installed a steam whistle on his Candu-ez DRUMMER HOFF. He removed his fuel tank on his Atomic 4 version tug making room for a 10 gallon air tank and a 12 volt compressor. He used 3/8 inch copper tubing to carry air pressure through an outdoor shower head valve which is connected to a pull cord leading to the wheelhouse. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Berkeley Eastman tells us that in one of the Candu-ez tugs he built he installed a 18" by 18" half inch thick clear lexan sheet in the bottom of the hull just forward of the cabin bulkhead on the port side, one inch to the left of the keel. The lexan sheet is embedded in 5200 sealing compound flush with the bottom and a wooden frame is constructed to hold it firm on the inside of the boat. He says that it’s great for underwater viewing. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jordon Vosh says that his Candu-ez was made with custom curved windows and welded stainless steel gunwale holes. He used interior clear LP coating on the inside of the cabin and has a tandem axle trailer for the boat. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jordon Vosh reports that he hand laid Merbau decking on his Candu-ez with cauking in the seams. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jim Stehling tells us that his Microtug 9 Goliath XII is fully wainscoated on the interior with dark oak stain. He added a couple of steam gauges, thermometer, CB radio and large thermo-pressure switch. His boat is powered by a 1975 vintage Evinrude 6hp Fisherman outboard. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Andy Stiffler tells us that he will be making a section of the bottom of his hull out of clear lexan for underwater viewing. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

Commercial builders, other plan sets and other groups:

  • Elsworth Williams reports that a commercial shop, Golden Era Boats, in Noank CT is building a 16 foot minitug. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Berkeley Eastman has a 14 foot Candu-ez for sale at $22,750. (From 10/97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Ken Cartier, who built the Zimmerman’s boat, is building a 16 foot stretch version of the Candu-ez that will be powered by a jet ski motor and pump. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jay Jones ( writes that he owns a non-Berkeley Engineering 18 foot tugboat LITTLE TOOT. (From 2/27/97 email - didn’t provide additional details)

  • John Benthien ( writes that he is writing a pictorial history the mikimiki class tugboats from WWII. (From 2/27/97 email)

  • Ken Hankenson Associates offers a line of 5 minitugs from 14 feet to 26 feet long. (From Spring 97 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • The Zimmerman’s minitug SAUG-A-TUG was built by Kenny Cartier and launched July 25, 1996. (From X/97 email)

  • Berkeley Eastman says he came across a couple of tug enthusiast societies. The Tugboat Enthusiast Society, 308 Quince Street, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 803-881-1173, headed by chairman and editor of the newsletter TUG BITTS, Joseph DeMuccio. The other society is the World Ship Society, PO box 72, Watertown, MA 02172. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Elsworth Williams Candu-ez FROLIC was built at Bob Champlains Golden Era Boatbuilding. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)


  • Roger Balling has had his boat lettering made by Marine Graphics, Inc., The World's First Web-based Sign Shop,,, (800) 694-2628, 1333 N. Northlake Ste. K Seattle, WA 98103 (From 3/16/97 email)

  • Roger Balling writes that he uses an E-Meter from Cruising Equipment Company at 6315 Seaview Ave. NW Seattle, 206 782-8100. He tells us that one 2 inch meter tells you more than you could ever use about your battery condition. (From 12/8/96 email)

  • Alan Locke indicates that a traditional ships wheel can be constructed from an article in WoodenBoat magazine issue #107.

  • Berkeley Eastman tells us that he has had a local boat canvas shop make covers for his minitugs. The covers snap on under the aft overhang of the cabin top, down the cabin sides to the deck, out over the gunwale and about 3 inches down, snapping around the fantail. They are completely waterproof and the boats can be trailered with them installed. They are made of Cadet gray sunbrella canvas and cost between $200 and $400. (From 12/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tom Thomas reports that rope boat fenders can be homemade using the directions in a Wooden Boat article appearing in the Nov/Dec issue number 109. Back issues can be ordered from the publisher at 1-800-225-5205. (From 9/95 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Berkeley Eastman tells us that he has installed a " fire pump " on one of his minitugs, for use in parades and the like. He installed a 2 inch PVC standpipe through the hull bottom near the aft end of the cockpit offset somewhat from the boat centerline. To the standpipe he attached a 8400 GPH waterpump (A Northern #10996, $180) with PVC fittings. A 2 inch dicharge pipe from the pump connects through a ball valve to a 1 inch PVC pipe which forms the " fire nozzle ". (From 1/98 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Jim Tuchscherer writes that he contacted Ratheon, makers of those spining radar systems used on large boats. He convinced them to send him a motorized, but otherwise non-functional, radome to mount on top of this Perfect10 minitug for free (the radome is the part that spins). Ratheon thought it would be a great bit of humorous advertising for them. Jim says although its non-functional as a radar, " it does spin around most nobly and nautically". (From 1/98 LittleBitts newsletter)

Construction time and cost info:

  • Mike Twohigs Candu-ez DRUMMER HOFF took over 2000 hours to complete and was launched June 1993. (From Winter/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Roger Balling writes that his Candu-ez TOOT-N-TUG and its trailer took 1400 hours of his time over 6 months (From 12/22/96 email).

  • Tony Bingelis reports that he has had his Candu-ez boat trailer made to the plan set by the Magnum Company in Austin, Texas for a cost of $1300 which included the registration fee and delivery. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Alan Locke tells us that his electric motor, motor controller, relays, wire and connectors as specified in the Candu-ez plan set costs him $1821 in early 1995.

  • Alan Locke reports that his Teleflex steering cable system cost about $160 in early 1995.

  • Alan Locke tells us that his Aquamet 19 prop shaft with machining cost $255 in late 1997. His propeller, a Michigan Wheel Corp Dyna-Jet Bronze #311060 14R11, cost $245. His shaft seal, a PYI# 223950, cost $160.

  • Berkeley Eastman tells us that he sold a 14 foot Candu-ez BRUTUS to Charlie Williams of Fort Worth Texas which Charlie used on Eagle Mountain Lake. Charlie is now reselling the boat for $11,500. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Tony Bingelis tells us that his electric power for the Candu-ez costs roughly $2000 for the motor, controller, charger, minor electrical items and connectors, the prop, prop shaft and rudder shaft. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Berkeley Eastman is offering several prototype tugs for sale. A Microtug9 with 6hp Evinrude and trailer for $3850. A Microtug9 with 3 hp Evinrude and trailer for $2950. A Microtug9 with 3 hp Evinrude with tailer and removable mast for $3250. A 10’ Microtug with 28 hp Evinrude on trailer with many accessories for $6750. A 14’ Candu-ez with single electric screw and trailer for $22750. A 16’ extended Candu-ez with twin electric screws on tandem wheeled trailer for $17,500. (From 7/96 LittleBitts newsletter)

  • Bob Champlain's Golden Era Boats shop builds minitugs commercially. He tells us that his modified 13 foot version (TUGLET) takes about three months to complete at his business and cost about $10,000 without power. (From Jan 1998 Soundings magazine article)

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