Whitehall 16'9" at Mystic Seaport

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Hi all, I am contemplating building a Whitehall and have purchased the plans of the 16'9" Whitehall at Mystic Seaport. I plan to do most of my rowing on fairly protected bays and esturies and will be rowing one up and sometimes two up . before going ahead and starting I was wondering if anyone has had knowledge of this particular boat . Beam is a bit narrower tahn usual at 44 inch but the lines are very sweet. the original built some time mid 1870's had a sliding seat for single rowing and is referred to in john gardners book on small boats. a realy good looking boat Kind regards to all Mike

-- Mike Henry (mike@jaywalk.com), April 25, 2003


I like that Whitehall too, and purchased the plans from Mystic Seaport myself. Then I bought the Whitehall plans from Glen-L in search of a bigger ocean going boat. Possibly expanding the plans by 115%. The traditional lapstrake hull from Mystic is really nice looking but the plans are not as specific as the bead and cove construction from Glen-L which could be expanded a little without too much distortion for a bigger boat. Does anyone know where I can get good plans for a BIG, 19'-20' Whitehall?

-- Steve Griggs (SCanyon998@hotmail.com), December 29, 2003.

Dear Mike,

There are a number of copies of the Bailley Whitehall around. While it's dimensions may seem extreme compared to a typical working Whitehall they're not extreme compared to many of the better openwater cruising boats around. It should be drier and more stable than, say, an Adirondack Guideboat of similar length. This boat, built using a lighter, smoother contruction method, like strip- building, should be capable of competitive times on the openwater racing circuit. I Have read about some impressive trips taken in the design that you are considering. Resist any attempt to try to boost the over the bottom performance of this design by lengthening it. John Gardner, in his excellent book Building Classic Small Craft, cautioned that shortening the Whitehall too much would blunt the good characteristics of the type. I'd like to add that stretching the Whitehall beyond 17 or 18 feet accentuates its faults. Whitehalls, with their long straight keels, are notoriously stiff tracking. Even a 15 footer is cumbersome in tight spaces. They're definitely not the best choice for touring a crowded anchorage to look at all the pretty boats. Unlike ultralight, low-profile, decked racing shells, undecked openwater boats don't benefit from extreme waterline length. Stretching classical, oar-on-gunwale boats too much yields excessive weight, wetted surface, and most important, excessive windage. With a single rower, a 14' to 17' Whitehall will outperform a longer one in just about any conditions. If it's really breezing up a 20 footer might not be safe to take out. If you stick pretty close to the original lines and you aren't given to exploring narrow, twisting tidal creeks, you should be pretty satisfied with the Bailey Whitehall. Good luck.


Andre de Bardelaben

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), January 03, 2004.

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