Applegate Boatworks

Applegate Boatworks Zydeco pirogue

Zydeco Pirogue


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Length : 15' 3",     Beam : 34",     Hull Depth : 10",     Wt : 65 Lbs
     Capacity : Normal=450 lbs / Max=575 lbs. - 2 adults & day gear
Plans & Instructions : $35.00,     Study plans : $1     email us at

Enlarged photo of Zydeco   Photos & letters from customers

Online study plans:   Zydeco 16    Zydeco 14   Zydeco 16 metric

Zydeco is a classic Louisiana bayou pirogue (ryhmes with "sea rogue") modified to function as a two passenger canoe. The original pirogues were cypress dugout canoes carved by the Native Americans in the lower Mississippi Valley. The Cajun people adopted the pirogue when they came to Louisiana. The dugout canoes continued to be made into the 20th century. As time went on the boats were began to be made of cypress planks and ribs. When plywood became available, people started to use it to make the Pirogue that we see today. The original boats often had no seats to facilitate poling and were essentially one-man boats. In Applegate Boatworks' pirogues the rocker of the bottom has been reduced. This increases the tracking ability and makes the boats less sensitive to fore and aft weight shifts. We have also increased the beam slightly to give more stability. We have also added seats but there is still enough foot room to stand and pole. These pirogues will do well with one or two paddlers. Zydeco boats perform like any other canoe. They have slightly more stability and in shallow water they are faster than a round hulled canoe. These canoes are designed to have a moderately light weight and medium carrying capacity. You can use the Pirogue on any lake or flat water river. Like it's ancestor, Zydeco really shines in shallow creeks and marshes. One couldn't ask for a better craft for fishing, bird watching or simply relaxing in a quiet channel.

Our Pirogue is a simple wooden boat, built with the taped seam method. They require no jigs or building molds and have no complicated chine joints. The shapes of the hull panels have been computer generated. You lay out the measurements from the plans directly onto your plywood panels. The panels are "sewn" together with copper wire and bonded with fiberglass tape and epoxy resin. After the resin has cured you install the framing, seats and other lumber parts. The framing and seats only require simple woodworking. The boat plans include lines drawing, plank expansion and detail drawings, materials list and building instructions. Over twenty years of experience have gone into the development of this design.

The Zydeco Pirogue comes in three versions: the Zydeco 16', Zydeco 14' and the Zydeco 16' metric version

Zydeco 16'

Zydeco 16' is a modified classic pirogue for two persons (our best selling plan). This model has the longer flatter hull that works better on open lakes and rivers. It has more speed and is easier to hold on course.

The boat weighs 62 lbs to 65 lbs, depending on the materials used. The designed capacity at 4" draft is 390 lbs. The stability at 20° is 40 ft-lbs (This is an approximate number, use it to compare the two designs) Zydeco 16' requires two sheets of 4' by 8' by 1/4" marine plywood and about 14 board feet of lumber.

online study plan of Zydeco 16 (33k)

Zydeco 16' Metric Version

This version is for boat builders who prefer metric measurements (centimeters) instead of English units (inches).

online study plan of Zydeco metric (33k)

Zydeco 14'

Zydeco 14' is closer to the original pirogues of the Louisiana bayous. The bottom plank is slightly wider than in the old pirogues to give more stability. Zydeco 14' has more rocker in the bottom than our 16' pirogue. This and it's shorter length makes the 14' foot boat more maneuverable in tight quarters. The primary reason to build this model is to get a lighter boat. The boat weighs 54 lbs to 57 lbs, depending on the materials used. The designed capacity at 4" draft is 300 lbs. The stability at 20° is 30 ft-lbs (This is an approximate number, use it to compare the two designs) Zydeco 14' requires two sheets of 4' by 8' by 1/4" marine plywood and about 12 board feet of lumber.

online study plan of Zydeco 14 (33k)

Comparison Chart of Zydeco 16' & 14'





Normal Capacity

Max Capacity



Zydeco 16

15' 3"


64 lbs.

450 lbs

575 lbs

40 ft-lbs


Zydeco 14

13' 3"


55 lbs.

350 lbs

475 lbs

30 ft-lbs



- Hull Weights: The weights listed are for boats built with 1/4" plywood. You can build a pirogue that is 12 lbs lighter if you use 1/8" plywood for the sides. In that case, I recommend that both sides of the panels be fiberglassed.

- Capacity: at the standard 4' of draft, in safe waters the boats can carry 75 to 100 lbs more.

- Stability: this is a relative number to compare the two hulls. It is the calculated righting moment at 20° heel.

- Speed: this is purely a relative number to compare the hulls.


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© John McCallum 2001.