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Thread: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Default Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Hi all,

    Looking for some input on my next build. This go around, I'm going to follow the wise advice of building a boat suitable for the body of water closest to you. Right now, I live in Kansas City and don't really enjoy driving an hour to launch my skiff in a lake when it's 100 degrees. But I'm ten minutes from the Missouri or Kansas Rivers, so I'm thinking about a row design that I can get out on the water quickly, in the morning while it's still cool-ish, and get some exercise. The rivers are big. We also have some smaller lakes within 20-30 minutes. The lakes eliminate the need to stage a vehicle, so might be used often, but the notion of being on the river nearby is appealing.

    Here are some of the criteria I'd like the design to meet:
    -car-toppable, which obviously means light. With one trailer in my garage and no boats allowed in the driveway, I need to be able to manuever this boat out to store in the back yard. I think 85-90 pounds is about the most I want to wrangle. The boat would be going on a ladder rack on my Tundra, so not super close the the ground. I'm thinking I could prop the bow on the rack, then lift the stern and push it on the rack so it acts like a lever and I'm not actually lifting the full boat weight over my head. Anyone have experience doing this?
    -capacity: I'll probably be rowing alone a lot, but I'd like the option of taking a passenger
    -"seaworthy"; I'd like the boat to have enough freeboard to handle the chop if need be. Anyone heard of the MR 340 ? It's a 340 mile race from Kansas City to St. Louis, Missouri on the Missouri River. Honestly, I'm not sure that style of endurance trial is my cup of tea, but who knows? I'd like the freedom of having a boat that could do the MR 340 if I wanted to. More likely would be an "expedition" style camp trip.
    -And, of course, cheap and instant. Seriously though, I'd like to stay below 100 hours, and the less the better. I'm not looking to win "best in show," just a boat with a purpose--but I want it to look nice, not slap-dash. I have some marine ply, epoxy, fiberglass, paint, etc on hand so I'll use as much of that as possible to decrease cost.

    I've narrowed it down to a few designs:
    Welsford Joansa
    Welsford Seagull
    Gentry's skin on frame Ruth , with the fixed seat
    Gentry's Shenandoah Whitehall

    Opinions? Am I missing any great designs? (I lofted a couple of Dorys from Gardner, and I like the look, but building them light seems to worsen the initial stability, so it's unlikely I'll go in that direction. Thought about his "fat boat" too, but that's more sail than row). Lots of great designs out there, but the car toppable criteria strikes many from the list.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Bainbridge Island WA
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    2,585

    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    I have a couple of Pygmy kayaks that weigh in at 40ish pounds apiece. Getting them on top of my Vanagon camper is a pain, onto the Suburban slightly less so. A lot of it is the sheer length of the boats. I would go for one of the Gentry SOF boats, probably the shorter one though the Whitehall looks awfully sweet. I built one of his SUPs, it came together quickly and cheaply. It also worked really well until my wife drove the aforementioned Suburban over it one day...but that is another story.

    Those Pygmy kits come together pretty fast too if you spring for the kit. Kayaking out as a possibility?
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    North East England
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Responding to the opening paragraph. We have 3 boats at the club an hour away and river ten minutes away. I designed and built a 12 x 30 open canoe for the river and it gets lots of use. On a Saturday morning when the girls go horse riding I can be on the water at 8 and back for lunchtime and still go guilt free sailing at the club on Sunday. It also is very good for the odd evening paddle.

    So if I an offer anything it would be don’t delay and choose a design that is as light as you can. Getting the canoe from the rafters to the car roof effortlessly and quickly is the key to its success.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    508

    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Light is right. Build the lightest. And you want easy/low cost, that is SOF.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Maine / New Hampshire
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    70

    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    not sure id want to be a passenger in the gentry's, they look...not very comfortable. but I'm not sure that's much of a concern for you. you can be sure they'll be the easiest to load though. i like the looks of welsfords joansa personally.

    Jim michalak has a pretty neat stitch and glue version of a 17' herreshoff row boat, https://www.duckworksbbs.com/product-p/jm-lhf17.htm. probably 100+lbs though...

  6. #6
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    Jul 2015
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    Frenchman's Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    I have a skinny rowboat right now and I'm finding that I need to brace it against the shore with a paddle on entry; once I tipped it when I tried to get in without bracing. Once underway, it feels relatively secure even in some chop but I don't feel comfortable getting out of my seat and moving around in the boat at all, not even to turn around and kneel. It is 14' long, 3' wide, with quite a bit of deadrise. A canoe of the same dimensions would be more stable.

    It is 47 lbs with some floatation tied into it as well as the footrest, outrigger and seat. I can take all of these out to get it down to 42 lbs but it takes a time to assemble and I find I don't use it that often because of this. The outriggers especially are a pain to put in, so the boat I'm working on will be 4', wide enough to avoid outriggers and provide a bit more initial stability.

    For cartopping I put the boat on the ground to the side and rear of the van, with the bow close to the back wheel. I lift up the bow, and while lifting I turn it upside down, then I put the bow down on the roof rack with the stern still resting on the ground. Then I lift the back end and slide the boat forward on the roof rack on its gunwales. Wider boats need a roofrack extension out to the side.

    I'm trying to avoid oar lock risers so they don't snag on the roofrack, but that means that the seat has to go a bit lower in the boat.

    If I were choosing from the designs on your shortlist I would probably pick the Joansa. Not the lightest, but probably the most capable boat on your list. The Ruth would probably go to the bottom of the list; it is light but probably a pretty tippy boat and unless you use outriggers of some sort you'll be dealing with huge oar overlap.

    The Shenandoah Whitehall might be a nice choice too; very light, and if I recall correctly, some folks here on the forum have stretched the design to good effect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Kansas City, KS
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    ...
    Those Pygmy kits come together pretty fast too if you spring for the kit. Kayaking out as a possibility?
    Kayaking is cool, but I'm leaning toward a row set up for the exercise of it. Glad to know your Gentry boats went together easy.
    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2014
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Tink, thanks for your input. I think you're right, light is probably the key here for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Quote Originally Posted by BOI View Post
    I have a skinny rowboat right now and I'm finding that I need to brace it against the shore with a paddle on entry; once I tipped it when I tried to get in without bracing. Once underway, it feels relatively secure even in some chop but I don't feel comfortable getting out of my seat and moving around in the boat at all, not even to turn around and kneel. It is 14' long, 3' wide, with quite a bit of deadrise. A canoe of the same dimensions would be more stable.

    It is 47 lbs with some floatation tied into it as well as the footrest, outrigger and seat. I can take all of these out to get it down to 42 lbs but it takes a time to assemble and I find I don't use it that often because of this. The outriggers especially are a pain to put in, so the boat I'm working on will be 4', wide enough to avoid outriggers and provide a bit more initial stability.

    For cartopping I put the boat on the ground to the side and rear of the van, with the bow close to the back wheel. I lift up the bow, and while lifting I turn it upside down, then I put the bow down on the roof rack with the stern still resting on the ground. Then I lift the back end and slide the boat forward on the roof rack on its gunwales. Wider boats need a roofrack extension out to the side.

    I'm trying to avoid oar lock risers so they don't snag on the roofrack, but that means that the seat has to go a bit lower in the boat.

    If I were choosing from the designs on your shortlist I would probably pick the Joansa. Not the lightest, but probably the most capable boat on your list. The Ruth would probably go to the bottom of the list; it is light but probably a pretty tippy boat and unless you use outriggers of some sort you'll be dealing with huge oar overlap.

    The Shenandoah Whitehall might be a nice choice too; very light, and if I recall correctly, some folks here on the forum have stretched the design to good effect.
    Thanks, those are all good points for me to consider.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Charlottesville, Virginia - USA
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    2,034

    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Primary use is primary. Thomas Firth Jones wrote that, and I concur. How are you going to be using the boat most of the time?

    Considering the MR340, the Shenandoah Whitehall would be my choice over Ruth - Ruth is not as joyful to row in chop as she is on flatter waters. Otherwise both fit the bill.

    Of your four, Ruth is the boat that will very likely get the most use, though. The less hassle or effort involved, the more a boat will get used - and Ruth will be just easier to load and unload and carry down to the water. At 45ish lbs, I lift her up over my head and toss her on the roof rack. And when I get old(er) and feeble, she'll still be the easiest to load in other ways.

    Construction time for both of mine is about 40hrs, cost maybe $300-$450. But, you could certainly take longer and spend lots more if you tried.

    I like both of the Welsford boats, also, and I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices. You might also look at Clint Chase's Drake.

    Dave

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    did you have a look at Clint Chase's Drake designs? he has a couple variants of the successful original, ones more race oriented and I think he's got a expedition version. the original is a full on excellent row boat with the option of setting a tiny sail for taking a break down wind, this might be fun especially on an inland river.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    Primary use is primary. Thomas Firth Jones wrote that, and I concur. How are you going to be using the boat most of the time?

    Considering the MR340, the Shenandoah Whitehall would be my choice over Ruth - Ruth is not as joyful to row in chop as she is on flatter waters. Otherwise both fit the bill.

    Of your four, Ruth is the boat that will very likely get the most use, though. The less hassle or effort involved, the more a boat will get used - and Ruth will be just easier to load and unload and carry down to the water. At 45ish lbs, I lift her up over my head and toss her on the roof rack. And when I get old(er) and feeble, she'll still be the easiest to load in other ways.

    Construction time for both of mine is about 40hrs, cost maybe $300-$450. But, you could certainly take longer and spend lots more if you tried.

    I like both of the Welsford boats, also, and I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices. You might also look at Clint Chase's Drake.

    Dave
    I’ve never met Mr Gentry and unlikely to ever do so and while he quietly shares his work and passion for SOF he is will equally complement other designers / designs and suggest alternatives to SOF freely. Top bloke!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Firth of Forth, Scotland
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    did you have a look at Clint Chase's Drake designs? he has a couple variants of the successful original, ones more race oriented and I think he's got a expedition version. the original is a full on excellent row boat with the option of setting a tiny sail for taking a break down wind, this might be fun especially on an inland river.

    That’s my Drake. Wonderful boat. But I wouldn’t want to car top her. Possibly to take her away to distant waters for a long trip, without the hassle of a trailer, but not to nip down to the river!

    Can’t remember the weight.






    Walkabout & Drake
    Osbert
    -
    Scratch, a Welsford Walkabout, and Selkie, a Clint Chase Drake 17 rowboat

    http://forthsailoar.osbert.org

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Thumbs up Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    Primary use is primary. Thomas Firth Jones wrote that, and I concur. How are you going to be using the boat most of the time?
    Yes, I think this will be the deciding factor. My wife is voting for building a couple of SUP first, so that plan will probably win the day It will give me some time to decide.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Welsford's Joansa, or Gentry's Ruth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Osbert View Post
    That’s my Drake. Wonderful boat. But I wouldn’t want to car top her. Possibly to take her away to distant waters for a long trip, without the hassle of a trailer, but not to nip down to the river!

    Can’t remember the weight
    Beautiful boat! But, yeah, no way that's getting car topped--at least not be me, in any kind of quick fashion

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