Re: Lots of plans
I think from a practical standpoint, the reality of speed, time to launch, time to recover, storing the boat at work, storing the boat at home, having to be "dressed" for work, weather, time schedules, etc., the idea is one that won't really work, sail or oar, because you are just talking about too much time. You may sail faster, but then you have to fuss with all the rigging and sails. It sure is a nice idea though and perhaps heart-gladening enough to set out hours early for work just so you can row there. Having said that, there's just no beating a skin-on-frame boat for lifting and handling the boat out of the water. Dave Gentry's Ruth (as you mentioned) and Shenandoah Whitehall come to mind. The other way to keep it light, slippery, and perhaps better for narrow waterways is a kayak/ canoe type by someone like Iain Oughtred or Tom Hill. I am currently in the beginning stages of building a Tom Hill Champlain which is kind of like an Adirondack Guideboat in that it can be rowed or paddled.
I live quite close to a tidal river and my son goes to school several miles down the river and I have often thought of taking him to school or picking him up by boat, but the reality is that it would be a several hour affair when taking into account launching, retrieving, flushing the motor etc.. I could probably walk there as fast, but the boat sure sounds like more fun.
If you had dockage at both ends, maybe a small, easily driven, super slippery powerboat design with a 2 hp motor. Less romantic, but maybe a possibility.
"A man builds the best of himself into a boat- builds many of the memories of his ancestors." -Steinbeck