Looking for plans for a 3 station pulling boat.

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My wife and I enjoy rowing together, but would like to include our grown children by having a 3-4 station fixed seat rowing boat.

-- Burt Knapp (bknapp01@Maine.RR.com), February 21, 2004


Hi Burt You have ambitions, so have I, this one is dormant at present. I have an unused set of plans for the "Floating the Apple" 4 person gig, lapstrake (I suppose they are for sale, I dont think I will get around to this one). This boat is at the heavy end of the scale and a full 4 rower boat, at the other end you might look at Phil Bolgers 24' plywood dory, for 3 occasional 4, light and very simple to build. In the middle, British designer, Selway-Fisher, offers plans for a 4 person boat desined for the open water rowing regattas held on the west coast of Ireland, strip construction, light and fast. Great idea Wayne Poulsen Fremantle West Australia

-- Wayne Poulsen (poulsens@bigpond.com), March 02, 2004.

Mystic Seaport has plans for an unusually long, slender Swampscott dory -- 21'4" long x 4'6". (Catalog no. Misc. 28). The original was built in 1915 by Chaisson and was found at a private boathouse in Maine. Ben Fuller wrote a bit about the boat in his book 87 BOAT DESIGNS, a catalog of small-craft plans at Mystic. The original had 4 rowing stations, but she could be set up with 3. More work to build than a large banks-style dory, but she'd be a very beautiful boat.

-- Stephen Paskey (paskey@earthlink.net), March 02, 2004.

One note, 21ft is not "unsual" for a Swampscott dory. The Alpha and Clipper versions were usually 21 ft. The narrow beam is so that it rows well. A wider beam would sail better but be somewhat harder to row. There is a great article on these Dories in Wooden Boat Magazine, (Sept/Oct 1980 No. 36). My only question is how often can you get your adult children to come out with you, and is that often enough to justify a big pulling boat. My vision of a "pulling boat" is that of a Gig, with 3 or 4 single oars and a helms person steering. Or are you thinking about 3 people with dual oars? In which case a large Whitehall or Jersey Skiff might be better. In part it depends on what kind of water you are going to be on, sheltered ocean or inland lake. Are you planning on beaching it etc.

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), March 02, 2004.

Thanks to all for responding. I've pasted in a response from the supervisor of the John Gardner Boat Shop, and my reply. Burt

Hello Burt, > > Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you - I had classes > going on. I might be able to help you more if you tell me more about what > you'd like to do with a boat. For example, are you interested in competing > in fixed-seat rowing events, just rowing for exercise, or for > camp-cruising? The 17' Herreshoff is a great boat, and I think it's long > enough for three rowing stations (maybe not enough for three large rowers > to "lay out" to their maximum extension, but enough to be comfortable for > most) The limiting factor for three stations in this boat would be the > sheer beam: the boat would be a bit narrower between the oarlocks for the > aftermost rower than amidships. I guess I'm saying that I think the hull > of John Gardner's "modified" (widened) Herreshoff rowboat would be fine for > three recreational rowers, but I would think about it more before building > her for competition, or before trying to camp-cruise with three in a boat > as small as she. John's ideas for making the thwarts hinged, so that one > end is the bow when rowing single and the other end is the bow for pulling > double - is a cleaver idea, but doesn't work well in practice. L. Francis > designed her with a distinct bow and stern, and it's better if you do too. > You could put a more conventional thwart arrangement for three stations and > a small skeg at the stern, and she would work better for one, two, or three > rowers. > > A little bigger boat, that would be more comfortable for three, > roomier for camping, vastly more seaworthy than the Herreshoff or American > Star, might actually be faster in a fixed-seat race with three rowers > because of her extra length and beam - and could also have a simple sail > rig might be the Chamberlain gunning dory. A version of this boat is in > John's Building Classic Small Craft Vol.I, but it is his shortened version. > The lines for the original Chamberlain gunning dory appear in The Dory > Book, and Wooden Boats to Build and Use - she's only about 6" wider than > the modified Herreshoff, but she's 19 1/2' long and is deeper with more > sheer. > > Of course, there are thousands of boats, so pointing to the > original William Chamberlain gunning dory shows my bias - I've long thought > she'd make a great boat for 1,2,or 3 rowers. If you had three rowing and a > fourth steering with a rudder or oar - switching off to rest - you could > cover an amazing distance. > > I love General Lafayette, John Gardner's copy of American Star too, > but she wouldn't make a very good boat for anything other than what she was > designed for - a race boat for a medium length straight course in flat > water against a similar boat. I have been her caretaker and coxswain for 8 > of her 29 years, so I know her as well as anyone around. She is the most > difficult to build small boat I've seen, she's fragile yet a handful for > less that about six people to move, she requires nothing less than absolute > precision to row, and is rendered useless by a 6" chop. Striking to look > at, though! ...and a kick in the right hands. > > Let me know a bit more about what you're after, and we'll work on > this. Thanks! > > -Wade Smith

Wade, Thanks so much for your thoughtful answer. Our use would be for recreational day rowing - two rowing often, and three rowing with one resting for longer trips. Our playground is the coast of Maine, mostly Casco Bay. I was concerned by John Gardner's comment that one should not try to place three rowing stations, and thought I might have to modify the plan to accomodate - ie.lengthen to 19 ft, and increase the beam to a full 48". Perhaps with all that in mind the Chamberlain Gunning Dory would be a better boat for our purposes. I have the Dory Book which gives fairly detailed plans for the 18' boat as modified for Rockefeller. Are more detailed plans available for either the 18' or the original 19.5' boat? Someone else has suggested I consider Mystic Seaport's plans for a Swampscott dory - 21'4", catalog no. Misc. 28. Thanks for your inciteful comments on the the American Star. Gratefully, Burt

-- Burt Knapp (bknapp01@Maine.RR.com), March 03, 2004.

streched my herreshoff to 18ft. have rowed it as a double

do have two rowing stations that i use all the time .

set up a third station for use with very short oars (with wide blades to increase the load)in the stern and myself and my kids (8&9 yrs old) went for a row once as a "trod" .... worked great but my kids strokes were so short that the rate went thru the roof... but it was fun. ( i bowed it...)

don't have pics of that but do have pics of them sweeping on the middle seat while i scull behind them... can email the photos to whoever is interested

definitely looking at building some kind of "trod"

my idea ... the stern of the boat is where the span gets to narrow and where you lose a lot of buoyancy with a double ender like my herreshoff... gonna go with a transom stern to maintain a wider span and the more buoyancy in the stern - been playing with the lines of the shell back dinghy to create a transom sterned 18fter with about a 46 in span... that's a little quicker to build than the herreshoff.

the wide blades work great - especially with the shorter oars in the stern rowing station but i've only rowed there once or twice.


-- mike reiner (reiners@silk.net), March 06, 2004.

I did roughly the same thing by mounting a set of oar locks way up in the bow and getting a set of short oars. It's mainly to keep the kids in motion not for any real gain in speed. It suffers from being high out of the water and a short stroke is all you have room for. (The boat is a 16 ft Swampscott Dory) With a fourth (or a non rowing third, I put them on the helm. I made a steering bar (like those on a canoe) and put a tiller extension on it. That way you can sit right in front of the rudder and steer with your left or right arm beside you. Works really well and again gives everyone something to do and the rowers don't have to be quite as exact about going in a straight line. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), March 07, 2004.

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