For better or for worse, I decided I liked the cedar strip monocoque method. Engineering-wise it makes a lot of sense. Cedar/Fiberglass core-composite construction is strong, light and can produce virtually any boat shape. Hydrodynamically, the smooth hull wastes minimal energy generating turbulence and therefore minimizes skin friction. Lots of canoes are built this way but the method is perfectly sound for small row boats too. The popularity of core-composite construction means that information abounds on the internet and in published literature. Two references I used in my research:
Intended use for this boat will be as a yacht tender on Grand Lake in New Brunswick, and in Passamaquoddy Bay. The shorelines in both of these areas are rocky, which brings up another advantage of cedar-strip construction. Fiberglass is abrasion resistant, and I can easily customize the amount of fiberglass on the bottom during construction, or add additional layers down the road if I find the bottom of the boat isn't tough enough.
Figure 2: Cedar strip construction - finished product on a canoe. Purdy!
Living in the Atlantic region, it's also relatively easy to get cedar boards locally, which considerably reduces the cost compared to shipping wood (or pre-milled strips) to my location.