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Thread: Rowboat design for family of 5

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    in small boating it's said the smaller the boat the more it gets used.. and.. Kids don't always want to do what the parents have in mind for the family. Hope you find your craft. I was thinking Whitehall also
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I'm aware that many worthwhile designs have been introduced here, but I would second Reuel Parker's sharpie designs. His Sharpie Book, mentioned above, shows basic lines drawings of most of his sharpies, which are drawn with plywood construction in mind. These may be some of the simplest boats to build - attach two ply sides to a stem, bend to a transom, then tack on a bottom. Reasonably minor interior fitting out. Reportedly quite stable even standing on the gunwale, and low freeboard (may be a benefit and a liability - wetter ride, easy to recover overboard family). Apparently rows well, but sails even better when you decide to try a rig on.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Have you seen this thread? flo-mo's flywood family(LINK)

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    “What use is a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”


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  4. #39
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I did see that flo-mo thread and it is really quite impressive how he designs his boats and what he gets out of a few sheets of plywood.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    A bit of an update on my process...

    In addition to contacting IO, I also contacted Arch Davis. He stated that despite being bigger on paper, the Laughing Gull is not a huge boat and really meant for no more than two small people. The Penobscots are more what I need, and the 14 is probably the best suited but would get crowded before too long when sailing, although not when rowing. However, the then made a recommendation, which was quite surprising to me, to build the Penobscot 13. Not at all what I expected. His reasoning on the 13 over the 14 or 17 was the the simplicity and signifcantly shorter build time. He thought it would be big enough to get everyone on for at least awhile, and then go from there and build another, bigger Penobscot if all are enjoying and outgrowing the 13. Then, as he said, we can have our own regatta, hah. Based on information he shared, the build times for the 14 and 17 are roughly 2x and 3x the time. After thinking about it, his recommendation does make sense (as, of course, it should since he knows a lot more than I!). Why spend twice as long building the 14 only to outgrow it in not much longer than the 13. If the 13 goes well and all are happy, at least I would know what I am in for to tackle a 17 or another boat, like an Oughtred.

    IO's final thoughts for me steered in the direction of the Wemyss. He stated 1.5-2x as long to build, probably closer to 2x, but a much more substantial and safer boat in the end compared to the Skerrieskiff.

    I am still noodling this over, but based on the input I have received and my own eye for aesthetics which has to be satisfied by whatever I build, I am settling on one of the following:

    Penobscot 13
    Wemyss Skiff
    Gentry's SOF Chamberlain Gunning Dory
    Gentry's SOF Shenandoah Whitehall
    CLC Northeaster Dory
    Last edited by PapaRoo; 06-15-2017 at 12:34 PM.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaRoo View Post
    I am still noodling this over, but based on the input I have received and my own eye for aesthetics which has to be satisfied by whatever I build, I am settling on one of the following:

    Penobscot 13
    Wemyss Skiff
    Gentry's SOF Chamberlain Gunning Dory
    Gentry's SOF Shenandoah Whitehall
    CLC Northeaster Dory
    Thanks for your interest! Of all of these boats, the Shenandoah Whitehall will be - by far - the quickest, easiest and least expensive to build. One to three weeks of part time puttering, and $250-$500 in materials is all it takes to build one, even for a novice. She does have enough room for your family (as is - but a number of builders have successfully stretched her), though I probably wouldn't want to go camping out of her if you take everyone along.
    The Gunning Dory will take more time and money, of course, but she is very big and very capable. She will still be quicker and less expensive to build than the thee other boats on your list.
    Dave

    Of those three others, I'd probably choose the Northeaster Dory, simply because she is bigger, but won't take more time to build - she comes as a (fairly expensive) kit.
    Last edited by DGentry; 06-15-2017 at 05:39 PM.

  8. #43

    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    May I toss in one more: Seil 18 by Francois Vivier. It seems to fit your requirements: big enough for your family as they grow, fits in your garage, rows well, no boom to hit heads with, seems to sail well and it looks good (IMHO). This is a classic Norwegian Pram hull. The bow transom is small and well out of the water. If you look at videos of traditional boat raids events in France (Morbihan) and the Netherlands (also Raid Caledonia), you will usually see one or more of these. They were briefly made in fiberglass and have a following as a family row and sail boat. I think they were offered as a CNC kit here in the states. Plans are pricey, though, especially if you include the full-size patterns.

    http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/vi...l_18/index.htm

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Seil 18 is a great boat. I'd camp cruise that design. Probably a somewhat complex build, unless you could get a kit.

    I still like the SOF options.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    do yourself a huge favour and pick up John Gardners "The Dory Book" from our Host WB or at your local library, it is chock full of small boats capable of carrying 5 adults and gear, as well as chapters on all aspects of small open boat building with generous and beautifull illustrations by Sam Manning a traditional boat expert.


    and here's one o the many boats built directly from it's pages.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Well with 24hrs to ponder Dave's response and a discussion with the wife last night, a Shenandoah Whitehall it will be! I've been prodding her towards a boat but when I mentioned last night I wanted to build it she got one of those looks. But upon showing her some pictures and explaining the design. she was more accepting. The lightness will also allow us to access are closest water, a river about 10 minutes from the house with a few flat water areas that stretch 2-4 miles but no boat ramp access, so anything must be carried to the water.

    If all goes to plan, everyone will have a great time and the kids will start asking about those other boats on the lake with the sails and I can start finding a second build with more time on my side. Of course, it is probably a bit early to start thinking about a second boat before I have bought the plans for the first, but that sort of thing seems to happen around here...

    Thanks to everyone for your advice and suggestions. You have given me many boats to think about that were not on my list, and I will keep many of them on that second boat list where growing room is going to be a bigger consideration than this initial effort.

    Even though Dave said these can be done quickly, I am a pretty busy guy with other projects I have to complete as well so I will be taking my time and making it is a purdy as my limited skills allow. I will post a build thread once I get started, although not sure when that will be, have to get the garage cleaned out to make room, buy plans, materials, etc.

    Brian and Yeadon - That Seil 18 is a pretty boat and one of a couple Vivier designs I have already bookmarked. I have several I am now putting in a folder for that potential second build that will be more 50/50 sail/oar or even more sail than oar.

    Daniel - thank you for the tip. I have a stack of books waiting to be read on boat-building including that one. Probably another good reason to tackle the SW first while I read up on the other methods.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaRoo View Post
    Well with 24hrs to ponder Dave's response and a discussion with the wife last night, a Shenandoah Whitehall it will be!.
    I've always admired Dave's boats. Looking forward to some build pics.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5


  14. #49
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I would imagine getting three youngsters to stay still for long will be a challenge while rowing. A big flat iron skiff as proposed by Ben would help a lot with stability with kids. An 18' Culler skiff built in glued lap ply would be easy to build and a lot lighter than the original. We have an 18' Culler skiff at our museum and it is heavy. I would post a pic but photobucket is being photobucket so not possible at this time.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I highly recommend building from a kit. Also look at some of Clint Chase's designs. Drake is a fantastic rower but his Calendar Islands yawl might work, too. I'd ask him what he'd recommend.

    http://www.chase-small-craft.com/

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I am glad that you have chosen, and will build. I think you will find that launching your own boat is an exceptional experience. And you will continue to feel the reward every time you use it.

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    PapaRoo, I'm glad you've seen your way to a decision. You've had some great advice from our sages like Ben Fuller (and Yeadon, who is always right). I second the push toward longer boats 16-18' and those you can build quickly and have fun in the water this year. And being just off a really nice day rowing my Gentry whitehall at Heron Lake in the high, dry Southwest, I'll add my vote that it's a very capable boat, tougher than it seems.

    Not wanting to second-guess a good decision, I can't resist a couple of comments, having (over)thought on this boat and how to use it....

    I'd *highly recommend adding a foot or a foot and a half. I considered a stretch myself and if I had it to do over would add a foot for general roominess.

    With your size crew, I honestly don't think there's any downside, and there is serious upside, such as:

    1. A stretch would give more room between the existing three thwarts, especially the middle and aft ones, which are honestly crowded with the rower's legs braced against the frame and the aft passenger's...somewhere, usually in between.

    2. With an 18" stretch I'm thinking there would be room for another thwart forward, and maybe a second rowing station one frame forward of amidships, which would do a lot to balance adult weight in the stern.

    3. Adding to the waterline increases the hull speed, which might not seem important, but if you're rowing a 500 lb load I bet it would help smooth out your rowing stroke.

    As for construction, this stretch is as straightforward as adding a few inches between each frame and the same at the stem and transom. All the patterns Dave G. sends would stay the same, and after setting up the frames on the strong back, you'd still work through Dave's instruction manual almost to the word.

    James McMullen might have a thought or two on a stretched Shenandoah whitehall with kids, since he built one at least 16' long. You could give him a private honk, he might be off playing his ukulele.

    Cheers, Dan

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by snaildrake View Post
    PapaRoo, I'm glad you've seen your way to a decision. You've had some great advice from our sages like Ben Fuller (and Yeadon, who is always right). I second the push toward longer boats 16-18' and those you can build quickly and have fun in the water this year. And being just off a really nice day rowing my Gentry whitehall at Heron Lake in the high, dry Southwest, I'll add my vote that it's a very capable boat, tougher than it seems.

    Not wanting to second-guess a good decision, I can't resist a couple of comments, having (over)thought on this boat and how to use it....

    I'd *highly recommend adding a foot or a foot and a half. I considered a stretch myself and if I had it to do over would add a foot for general roominess.

    With your size crew, I honestly don't think there's any downside, and there is serious upside, such as:

    1. A stretch would give more room between the existing three thwarts, especially the middle and aft ones, which are honestly crowded with the rower's legs braced against the frame and the aft passenger's...somewhere, usually in between.

    2. With an 18" stretch I'm thinking there would be room for another thwart forward, and maybe a second rowing station one frame forward of amidships, which would do a lot to balance adult weight in the stern.

    3. Adding to the waterline increases the hull speed, which might not seem important, but if you're rowing a 500 lb load I bet it would help smooth out your rowing stroke.

    As for construction, this stretch is as straightforward as adding a few inches between each frame and the same at the stem and transom. All the patterns Dave G. sends would stay the same, and after setting up the frames on the strong back, you'd still work through Dave's instruction manual almost to the word.

    James McMullen might have a thought or two on a stretched Shenandoah whitehall with kids, since he built one at least 16' long. You could give him a private honk, he might be off playing his ukulele.

    Cheers, Dan
    sorry if i'm coming in a little late on the discussion, how long is the White Hall? I would want something in the 19-22' range min for 5 people, the sailing dory I posted is 21' and she is comfortably crowded with 4 aboard and at her limit with 5.

    a 20' banks dory could hold 8 people but a white hall is going to be little larger than a canoe of similar size... how large a canoe would you want for 5 people? then maybe go a foot or so shorter.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Thanks for dropping by Dan. Your threads on the Whitehall helped me with my decision.

    Dave also recommended I stretch the Whitehall at least a foot. As you noted, it is an easy thing to do and only requires increasing the spacing. I will PM James as you suggest and see if he has any thoughts on taking it out a bit further. Dave mentioned that James added a few ribs to his build, although they were more because he wanted to and not because they were necessary.

    Got half the garage cleaned out this weekend so making my way to having a space to build!

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Daniel - the Whitehall measures at 13'6" standard and Dave has recommended taking it out a foot and Dan recommended maybe even 18". This is not a long-term solution for my family of 5, it is mainly to build a beautiful boat in a short time frame and get them all out there. I am sure it could not hold 5 adults well but my children are quite young, 7, 5 and 2. After getting advice from a few designers, including Dave and Arch Davis, the sensible thing for my needs seems to be to build a smaller boat first and then go from there. I agree something bigger will be needed long term, but this will allow me to get an idea of how much each person enjoys being out there - and I do want to push towards at least a 50/50 sail and oar design eventually, but wanted this first boat to be mostly a rowboat.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaRoo View Post
    Thanks for dropping by Dan. Your threads on the Whitehall helped me with my decision.

    Dave also recommended I stretch the Whitehall at least a foot. As you noted, it is an easy thing to do and only requires increasing the spacing. I will PM James as you suggest and see if he has any thoughts on taking it out a bit further. Dave mentioned that James added a few ribs to his build, although they were more because he wanted to and not because they were necessary.

    Got half the garage cleaned out this weekend so making my way to having a space to build!
    My recollection is that the extra frames were necessary. McMullen's boat had too much "wag" without them. He took his out to 15' and it seem plenty stable. I have my doubts about extending it clear out to 18'.

    I've built and rowed the standard-sized 13'6 Shenandoah. It pulled really well. I tend to think that even a Shenandoah Whitehall stretched out to 15' will be a bit small for your use. Maybe fine, though. You could get three people in there comfortably, I bet. Still, if you find that you enjoyed building the Shenandoah you can always go and build something else. No one should build just one boat.

    I ended up selling my whitehall to a neighbor who would put his 5 year old daughter in it for rowing along the ship canal. He also took the boat on a somewhat epic run in the San Juan Island. It's a pretty capable design. I'm curious how much weight (designed displacement) it could handle, though.

    Below, my 13' whitehall is in the background. McMullen's 15' is in the foreground.








    I'd be game to build another Gentry SOF design sometime soon. Maybe a Ruth. It's a very enjoyable type of boatbuilding.
    Last edited by Yeadon; 06-19-2017 at 09:55 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    My recollection is that the extra frames were necessary. McMullen's boat had too much "wag" without them. He took his out to 15' and it seem plenty stable. I have my doubts about extending it clear out to 18'.

    I've built and rowed the standard-sized 13'6 Shenandoah. It pulled really well. I tend to think that even a Shenandoah Whitehall stretched out to 15' will be a bit small for your use. Maybe fine, though. You could get three people in there comfortably, I bet. Still, if you find that you enjoyed building the Shenandoah you can always go and build something else. No one should build just one boat.
    PapaRoo, you have done a great job of absorbing the factors involved in defining your needs, narrowing your choices and considering modifications, which bodes well for getting a boat that will work for you. I think you're spot on realizing that the first boat won't not be all things you ever wanted in a boat, and that's just fine if you have fun sooner than later.

    Hearing what Tim wrote about McMullen's stretch Shenandoah needing another frame, here's an elegant approach you might run by Dave Gentry: add one complete bay to the middle of the boat, that would be 27". The advantage gets back to my earlier comment about needing another forward rowing station with a wider beam than at the bow seat. If you add a frame, it's likely you could duplicate the middle one, which would keep the change pretty simple.

    The key benefit to adding a bay/frame like this is you'd be able to use the extra frame for a footbrace. With this design there's no ready spot to push against except the next frame back from the thwart. Rowing is ineffective without some kind of brace or rest to push again, because your legs provide so much more power than arms/shoulders. The 27" frame/station layout of the whitehall gives a good footrest for the 5'10"-6' tall crowd, shorter folks need a block or two in front of the frame (I just made one for my 5'4" wife).

    If this seems too complicated, you'll be sitting pretty with whatever method Dave Gentry suggested to add length. You'll learn that on this forum tinkering with an already nice design gets most everybody excited. Have fun!

    Cheers, Dan

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    My recollection is that the extra frames were necessary. McMullen's boat had too much "wag" without them. He took his out to 15' and it seem plenty stable. I have my doubts about extending it clear out to 18'.
    Just a clarification - James' boat was 16' . . .
    James: Well, here are a couple more Gentry Shenandoah's in progress. Started 'em last weekend, and we're almost ready for skinning here at the end of the second. This is kind of an experiment: One of them is built to the standard 13'-6" length, and the second one, using the exact same stations, stretched out to 16'. We'll have 'em side by side at the Anacortes Messabout for comparison testing.

    Can't think of a much quicker or more economical way to build a sexy little rowboat. Skin-on-frame rocks!
    The 15' boats seem to do fine.

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaRoo View Post
    Daniel - the Whitehall measures at 13'6" standard and Dave has recommended taking it out a foot and Dan recommended maybe even 18". This is not a long-term solution for my family of 5, it is mainly to build a beautiful boat in a short time frame and get them all out there. I am sure it could not hold 5 adults well but my children are quite young, 7, 5 and 2. After getting advice from a few designers, including Dave and Arch Davis, the sensible thing for my needs seems to be to build a smaller boat first and then go from there. I agree something bigger will be needed long term, but this will allow me to get an idea of how much each person enjoys being out there - and I do want to push towards at least a 50/50 sail and oar design eventually, but wanted this first boat to be mostly a rowboat.
    sounds like a plan, just wanted to be sure you were not thinking a 13' whitehall could row 4-5 people.

    about the minimum for that would be a little gig, like Lafayette or this beautiful craft, Island Star.


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    Default Re: Rowboat design for family of 5

    I hesitate to even say anything, because I think you're wise to pick a design and start building. These decisions have a way of holding people up. But maybe two smaller, simpler boats would fit the bill well. Something like a dory or a flattie skiff would would stack on a trailer. As the kids grow up, they may not be so interested in cramming into a small boat with their parents and siblings. But if they can race, I bet they'll find boating a whole lot more interesting. I think building two plywood skiffs would be just as quick or quicker than building a single larger, more shapely boat. Maybe something to consider down the road.

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