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Thread: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

  1. #1
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    Default A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I would like to build another rowboat. I'm a vey tall and heavy guy, 6"5" 300 pounds, and will be rowing on the Great Lakes. So I might get caught in some rough going. Years ago I built Bolgers Light Dory and I now row Welsford's Molleyhawk. I found the Light Dory fast but tender and the Molleyhawk stable but a little slow. I have some boat building experience, but don't want to spent years building a boat (I want to row).

    I've kind of narowed the choices down to a Stectched Light Dory or the CLC Northwester Dory. Anyone have any opinions on these two boats. How do they compare? I am very open to other choices.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    The CLC boat is a different animal than the Bolger Dory. It's got a much wider bottom and rounded sides - which is how the dory evolved to become better suited for sailing. So, it'd be more stable, but likely much more work to row. The Light Dory, and the stretched version, were optimized for rowing, only.

    I have zero experience in one, but it's likely that the extra length would make the stretched dory a bit less tender than the original.

    My predilictions are, as usual, for the Bolger boat, but there are a whole lot of other options. Both forumite Clint Chase, and Joel White, have nice double ended pulling boat designs - the Drake and the Shearwater, respectively. Clint's can be had as a kit, I believe.
    I daresay Ian Oughtred has a few good designs, too, including his Elf, and his Acorns. Both are beautiful. My personal finding was that Bolger's Light Dory was much more responsive and easier to row than Oughtred's Elf - but not nearly as stable. It's a trade off.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    When you say "rough going" -- can we assume you need some flotation and most likely bow & stern decks, plus probably small side decks to keep the boat safe?

    There will be a direct conflict between 'safe in rough water' and 'fast rowing' -- from what I understand (not a NA by any stretch) the design elements are nearly opposite. Rough water / surf boats usually have a fair amount of rocker, are not overly long, and will take the weight of partial decking. Fast rowing boats are usually designed for flat water, little or no rocker, and as narrow, long and light as possible. But you can add partial decking to the latter and get a reasonably fast / reasonably safe rough water boat...

    Art Parker up in the PNW sent me these photos of his Herreshoff Rowboat, a good example of partial decking on a design usually rowed on flat water -



    Last edited by Thorne; 02-18-2011 at 12:23 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Multiply all of the offsets times 1.1666 and this one will be 21' x 56''. Keep the scantlings the same. Plans are posted large size for easy reading. Experiment with seat placement, and you will want to add a post under the center of the seat to accomodate more weight.

    Edited to add....Thorne's idea of side and fore and aft decks and some (inflatable) flotation bags is excellent.







    Last edited by gibetheridge; 02-23-2011 at 02:52 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I'd say that a Caledonia Yawl would be too hard/slow to row, but something nearly that length and a bit narrower might do really well. For rough water the decks and flotation would be advised. James McMullen's Rowan springs to mind, can't imagine why....



    Or for something a tiny bit smaller the Artic Tern, this one built by Denny Wolfe -

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ighlight=rowan
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I built and rowed a Bolger Long Light Dory. It was a bit tiddly the first time I got in, but rowed like a dream. I could see it being a good fit for someone of your size.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I'm also 6'5", though lighter (not light). Most of my rowing has been in harbors, in tenders limited by the requirement of pulling them up a beach. I did once borrow a Hylan Beach Pea, it rowed fast easily by my standards. Peapods are legendary seakeepers. There is no doubt that the stretched light dory would be easier to build and faster, but the pod is probably more stable.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    How about this:



    Bolger's Sweet Pea, from http://www.oldwharf.com/possibilities/blog.pl Sort of a combination peapod/dory

    John Gardner has a lovely 16' rowing peapod in Building Classic Small Craft that I've been trying to persuade (other) people to build, since it looks like it would be beautiful but doesn't fit what I myself need in a boat.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    i like christophers dory- stretch it, add some decks etc- she will be sweeeet!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Hoss, what you need is length, water line length, lots of it. Go for something about 18 / 19 ft on the water line, as light in weight as possible with as little wetted area as consistent with having enough stability to cope with the conditions in the area where you row.
    For your build I'd say about 4 ft 4in minimum across the rowlocks for comfort on a long row, minimum seat height 8in above your heels, and height from that to the throat of the rowlock 9 1/2 in.

    Whatever you choose, it should conform to those specs, if it doesnt, dont do it.
    You might talk to Chase Kenyon, if you can get him away from big engines in cars he has some good ideas around rowing boats that might work for you.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I've rowed the light dory, the stretch dory, and many other designs.

    Go for the stretch dory. You already have building experience with the type, that will speed up the build. It's a good design and they go well, including in rough weather.

    Every high performance row boat I've been in has been a bit tender. I gather high performance airplanes have the same issues, and maybe high performance cars too.

    Thorne's suggestion on floatation is a good one, as usual. Though I'll admit that I don't follow it.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    If you want very fast and somewhat seaworthy you might consider a good Rangley Lakes boat. Most of the published plans are shorter and narrower at the rail than the real-deal. The originals looked fat in the ends from above but were very slim on the waterline and had a lot of buoyancy in the ends for going upwind or downwind. I wouldn't take them on the open great lakes, esp if there was the possibility of a beam sea, unless I was 20 minutes from a soft beach. The traditional construction was tricky double-beveled lap-strake, but would lend itself to strip-composite, I think.
    If you don't need so much 'fast', I remember regular dories working the great lakes with gill-nets when I was a kid (50's) and they went out in nearly anything. They were heavily built: 5/4 or larger planks.
    You could also consider the herring boats of Lake Superior, These were less than 20', very flat and double-ended and I can't figure out how the old guys kept from swamping them in a steep sea, but they clearly did. Photos in "A Good Boat Speaks For Itself" Front cover photo on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ima...283155&s=books

    Good luck,

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Thanks for all the information people. Where would I be able to get more information on Christophers dory, it looks interesting.

    Thanks John, it's great when a designer takes the time to answer questions, would it be possible to stretch one of your designs to fit my needs, I enjoyed building the Molleyhawk? (I will be keeping the Molleyhawk for all round use).

    Please keep the ideas coming, thanks again. Ted

  14. #14
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Along the lines of John's suggestion, would this boat be more (in construction time and complexity) than you'd want to undertake? http://www.brooksboatsdesigns.com/Br...13/page13.html
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  15. #15
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    What do you want to know, Hoss? It's all there. You can PM me if you like.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Some of the open water rowing skifs at the Hobart WB show (see People and Places) use plug floatation and lace on waterproof canvas decking fore and aft when neeeded. They regularly row in the open ocean off the southern coast af Tasmania. A design to look at is the Derwent Skiff though it may be a bit small for your weight.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I've not got anything that would be a complete fit for your needs, but a couple of people have built Walkabout at plus 10% stretch as pure rowing boats and report that they move very well and one owner reports that it easily outruns his Seagull.

    JohnW

    Quote Originally Posted by hoss View Post
    Thanks for all the information people. Where would I be able to get more information on Christophers dory, it looks interesting.

    Thanks John, it's great when a designer takes the time to answer questions, would it be possible to stretch one of your designs to fit my needs, I enjoyed building the Molleyhawk? (I will be keeping the Molleyhawk for all round use).

    Please keep the ideas coming, thanks again. Ted
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    The Peregrine 18 is a beauty. You might also consider Ross Lillistone's FLINT. At 15 ft she might be a bit small but I've heard she rows well.
    “Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily" Johann Von Schiller

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Hoss, what you need is length, water line length, lots of it. Go for something about 18 / 19 ft on the water line, as light in weight as possible with as little wetted area as consistent with having enough stability to cope with the conditions in the area where you row.
    For your build I'd say about 4 ft 4in minimum across the rowlocks for comfort on a long row, minimum seat height 8in above your heels, and height from that to the throat of the rowlock 9 1/2 in.

    Whatever you choose, it should conform to those specs, if it doesnt, dont do it.
    You might talk to Chase Kenyon, if you can get him away from big engines in cars he has some good ideas around rowing boats that might work for you.

    John Welsford
    John, do you come up with 9.5 inches because of this man's size? If measured from the top of the thwart to the top of the oarlock socket this height sounds excessive. I have rowed in a wide variety of conditions with 8' oars on 4.5 ' beam, app 6.5 inches thwart to socket height, 16 foot boat. Because I both row and sail the oar length is a compromise. I am only 5'9" tall give or take. I can imagine a big fella might want more height. Rough water, longer oars - greater height.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Ted--

    I am 6'1", (was 265 lbs) and row a Jim Michalak "Sport Dory" stretched to 16'. I have had a family of four in it, rowed on Long Island sound with my daughter (equal to 320 lbs) in 2-3 seas and not a drop over the side. The boat'll average 5 knots all day, 6 for bursts. Highly recommend it. Built it from house grade materials, $300, and it's 7 years old and I can't seem to wear it out. Love this boat for big guys. Oh, by the way, 90 lbs, car top everywhere....

  21. #21
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    John, do you come up with 9.5 inches because of this man's size? If measured from the top of the thwart to the top of the oarlock socket this height sounds excessive. I have rowed in a wide variety of conditions with 8' oars on 4.5 ' beam, app 6.5 inches thwart to socket height, 16 foot boat. Because I both row and sail the oar length is a compromise. I am only 5'9" tall give or take. I can imagine a big fella might want more height. Rough water, longer oars - greater height.
    Yes, big guy, wider beamacross the rowlocks, much longer oars, needs a bit more height in the rowlock to be comfortable. I use 8 1/2 in on a 15 footer, 46 in across the rowlocks, and 8ft 9in oars. Note that if the seat were higher in relation to the height of the foot stretcher the rowlock can be a fraction lower. Every element relates to all the others.
    JohnW
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Sounds like you're looking for something more along the lines of this:



  23. #23
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Thank you sailor, that was indeed helpful.

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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Thanks John.
    I have stuck with only 8' oars as they seem to work adequately in all conditions with my geometry, and they are not too much of a handful to stow. 8.5's would be nice on flat water. I tend to purchase Barkley Sound oars at Fisheries Supply. The 8's obviously are not an overlapping grip. I counterwieght the handles just a little bit for good balance.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Quote Originally Posted by gibetheridge View Post
    Multiply all of the offsets times 1.1666 and this one will be 21" x 56'.
    Nice boat but 56 feet sounds like a lot of wetted surface.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Fixed it. Thanks Osborne.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I am tinkering on a new design based on my Big Guide design(http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?118605-Another-two-sheet-rowboat-design-quot-Big-Guide-quot&highlight=). It is still a work in progress. For the new design I am extending the two sheet concept to three sheets of plywood and the result should be a boat with more stability and a lot of capacity (up to 900lbs, 19'6" x 4'2").







  28. #28
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Stephan I really like this design. It seems it would very much fit my needs. Ted

  29. #29

    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    About oarlock placement. As John Welsford mentioned, everything is inter related. It is all about personal geometry. I don't try to pre-guess at any of it. Thwart placement is done with the boat in the water and a box to sit on. when she trims out the way I like ( pretty much neutral) then I make a rough set up to clamp to the gunnels to hold the oarlocks. Then I adjust back and forth until I can get the stroke right: far enough back to get a good catch and far enough foreward to get the finish I want. Here the oar length is important. Too short and you row like a windmill and too long and you strain to pull them. Last it seat to oarlock height. I need to get my tired old bones off the floor a bit more than some, so sometimes I need to make pads to raise the locks an inch or so. I like to row with my hands overlapped with the oars horizontal and pull high enough to finish about mid chest high. Some boats with inadequate seat to lock height force you to row with the oar handles scraping the top of your thighs. It's all personal geometry and to row really hard and effectivley, you've got to personalize it to yourself

  30. #30
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    I built a first rough small-scale papermodel and took pictures. Although paper is patient the design seems to be promising so far.










  31. #31
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    Quote Originally Posted by nordvindcrew View Post
    Thwart placement is done with the boat in the water and a box to sit on.
    The height of the thwart off the bottom of the boat can be important also. I don't care for having my legs straight out from my body at a sharp angle when rowing, unless it's a sliding seat rig. I prefer to keep my knees quite bent, so a higher thwart is what I like. That pretty much cuts out low sided rowing boats for me.
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  32. #32
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    Default Re: A Pulling Boat for a Large Rower

    The lines on that little paper table top boat are really nice.

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