View Full Version : Prout Folding Tender

Foster Price
10-25-2000, 05:08 AM
Does anyone remember the Prout (English boatbuilders well known in the 60's - 70's for their Cats) Folding Tender well enough to describe/draw it so I can figure out how it worked. As I recall it was called a "Seabird".

Was it similar to the "Seahopper" designs?

Anyone recall how effective it was?

Thanks - Foster

J. Dillon
10-25-2000, 07:57 AM
I had one aboard my cutter for years. It was very effective if you understood it's limitations. It could take two people if they board very carefully. It was only 6' long. As I recall it was all canvas with wooden sides. It folded flat sandwich style. When opened up, you would insert one expadable prop, sissors style, to spred it apart. Then the floor board would come on top of the prop. To hold it down a third prop would swing into place and lock into a pair of stops screwed into the sides. You would row it sitting on the floor boards. It was very easy to set up and much admired by other cruisers. So much so it was stolen on me while in Bermuda.

10-28-2000, 02:21 AM
Now there's a funny thing. I had two - the 6ft size and, later on, the larger (7ft9"?) size, back in the late 60's early 70's and they were BOTH stolen!

Someone somewhere is hoarding Prout folding dinghies!

Plywood sides, and a centreline structure with keel stem and stern post. Two cross members which were, as J. Dillon says, scissors type, and which locked down and in place with wooden turnbuttons, then the botton boards (on which you sat) went in.

Easy, quick, and remarkably safe and easy to row. Wish I had one now.

The Sea Hopper does look similar, but not quite the same. It has more rocker to the keel, I think.

10-28-2000, 04:21 AM
Sounds like an interesting design. How thick was the plywood? How was water kept out at the stem and sternpost 'hinges'?

Foster Price
10-28-2000, 05:37 AM
Thanks very much Guys

Could one of you have another go at describing it as I'm not getting the bits about how the props and floorboards fit. I can see the two sides with "canvas" bottom and ?? transom?, and a wooden stem and centreline frame (sort of like a keelson).

My friend Jack saw one (and didn't swipe it in case you think we "colonials" have em all) when he was in the UK in the 60's on a circunavigation and we want to build one.

Thanks very much

Southland, New Zealand

10-28-2000, 10:16 AM
Is anyone selling folding 6 footers in the US ?

Charlie J
10-28-2000, 10:24 PM
Portabote sells a folding 8 footer, along with the 10 and 12. Those are the only ones I know about personally. Very functional boat but not real pretty.

[This message has been edited by c e jones (edited 10-28-2000).]

10-29-2000, 04:42 AM
Hi Foster, My friends got one and uses it on his 20' New Blossom. From memory, as it is lay-up time here now in Essex; just as well as 90 knots forecast this pm!) construction is;-
8mm ply sides, pram bow and transom. All inside a blue plasic coated canvas (like a tarp) with stitched and glued seams - the canvas that is. Floor in strips holds the sides apart as does the thwarts. Folds up into a package the size of the side panels.
Works well, ok for Essex mud, not for rocks!

10-29-2000, 09:17 PM
Hmm, wonder who he bought it from! My 6 footer was stolen from the roof of Ben Clarke's old shed in City Road, Mersea....

Only joking!

The struts are in two pieces hinged on a through bolt. They fit into chocks on the sides; you push down to flatten them and a wooden turnbutton then holds them flat.

The struts pass over the keel; like floors, as it were.

The one that my father had in the 1950's used painted canvas; the thick blue plastic coated cloth came later. The painted canvas leaked and often needed "repainting".

If Prout still made them I'd buy another. But the Sea Hopper is pretty close.

[This message has been edited by ACB (edited 10-29-2000).]

Foster Price
10-30-2000, 02:29 AM
Hello ACB & Smacksman

Thanks very much for the info, the picture is becoming clearer now.

My plan is to build one of these for the rare occasions when we race so we don't have to tow a big dinghy.

I recently fitted a boom for the jib so the old 7' pram no longer will fit on the foredeck. Anyway it was a treacherous beast for the unwary (it tipped my father-in-law in the tide one day!!) so is to be retired in favour or a big pram (probably a Herreschoff "Marco-Polo" model)

At 23' on deck even the 7' pram won't fit anywhere else so something folding that would go below is my solution.

Thanks again - Foster

Jamie Hascall
10-30-2000, 02:44 PM
There is an interesting one written up in WB 123 (April '95). with good instructions on the principles and enough particualrs that you should be able to design one that meets your own requirements. I've thought a number of times of building one.

Good Luck