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Thread: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

  1. #1
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    Default Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Hi Folks I'm Jon,

    Wood boat lover here, built an 18 foot ply and glass sailboat years ago but have nothing currently. I'm looking for a design that is kind of unique.

    Local "wisdom" is to use plastic kayaks, canoes, or inflatable rafts for the most part. The bottom here is stony. I prefer wood boats so you know I can't help feeling that one could do it if I had the right design. Prior to modernity they used wood boats on these rivers quite a bit.

    I'm in Harpers Ferry so the near water is the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Depth depends on season and rain, we've had a lot of snow and snow melt lately so it's fairly deep 6 to 10 feet and fast moving water right now. Lots of hidden hazards, boulders and fallen trees etc. Later in summer the water will be slow moving and down to wading level in most places. I've been rafting and tubing here a number of times and often you can just get out and walk or portage and the water is seldom deeper than chest level. Some small rapids in spots but nothing too technical.

    I've considered drift boats and in all likelihood that's the smartest design for conditions. Here is the difference. I want a boat I can row/drift down to Washington DC. Where the Potomac merges with the Anacostia River you have an environment favorable to sailing.

    The mission is to carry two people from Harpers Ferry to DC, spend a day or two sailing and then trailer home. It's a 60 to 70 mile river voyage so I figure it's a couple of interesting weeks on the water. The vessel should be light enough for two people to lift it over obstacles now and again. No long portages expected. The hull should be very shallow draft and sturdy enough to withstand a low speed impact with rocks from time to time.

    I'm looking at something like CLC Nesting Expedition Dinghy. I like that it uses water ballast. I can run these dry down the river then fill them when I get to the deeper portion of the trip. If I built the hull stronger like a drift boat it might work. I don't actually need the nesting portion of the design.

    I don't mind if it takes a pounding and get's cosmetic damage along the way. So long as we dont' take on water and the damage is reparable. Anyway, am I insane to consider a wood/glass boat for this mission? Any design suggestions?

    Oh and thanks for having me here.
    Last edited by JonF; 03-15-2019 at 03:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    An interesting challenge! You'll have enough gear that you shouldn't need ballast in most designs.

    It seems to me you've got three major requirements:

    1. Ability to portage short distances by hand, not via boat dolly wheels
    2. Ability to sail
    3. Ability to handle rough river use including hitting rocks and snags

    Probably one of the dory-based designs would handle the #3 requirement, possibly with a sheet of HDPE on the bottom (if you can handle the additional weight). A dory or dory skiff gives you enough rocker for river travel, but will still sail and portage. Drift boats are just dories with extreme rocker, more or less...

    So yes, a drift boat rigged to sail might be best overall, but would suffer from too much rocker under sail and would track poorly. Perhaps rigged with leeboards? Possibly a jonboat design with enough rocker, but I don't think I've seen one rigged for sail.

    Michalak's Piccup Pram might do it, as it has plenty of rocker and could be built light. It sails well as I can attest, and rigged with leeboards should handle the rocks and snags fairly well under oar.

    My late friend Tony built this Piccup Pram with a Dutch influence in rudder and leeboards. As you can see it has decent rocker


    Here's a shot of her on Tony's truck showing the rocker -
    Last edited by Thorne; 03-15-2019 at 01:12 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    The Pram could work Thorne. I'm not sure the benefit of a multichine v.s. simple dory hull for this mission. If we made the bottom HDPE it would add weight I would have to do some math with each design to know how much. HDPE is pretty tough though and would stand up to rocks better than glass. How does one combine it with wood glass construction?

    Sorry for the loss of your friend. He had good taste in boats!

    Something else to consider, I'll have to row forward facing to avoid obstacles. I've never rowed that way before and I'm not sure what design considerations would have to be made.

    A local friend (I'm new to the region) reminded me I'll have to deal with Great Falls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_...Potomac_River)

    Guess that will be a portage. I'll need to gain some experience with this river. Unfortunately no charts because it's not technically a navigable waterway for the bulk of the trip.
    Last edited by JonF; 03-15-2019 at 02:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Yes, you'll want to do your research to find out what can be navigated. Looks like part of it is serious whitewater.

    HDPE would be screwed to the bottom of the boat, not used as a bottom board on its own.

    https://forums.paddling.com/discussi...on-the-potomac
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Upon further study it looks like I can divert into the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal to paddle safely around Great Falls and then portage back to the Potomac once I'm on the other side of the falls.

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Great link this is just what I was looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Yes, you'll want to do your research to find out what can be navigated. Looks like part of it is serious whitewater.

    HDPE would be screwed to the bottom of the boat, not used as a bottom board on its own.

    https://forums.paddling.com/discussi...on-the-potomac

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    I think you'd probably do best not to build sail into this boat. If river travel is your objective, I think the river will have enough fall to keep the boat moving. A little assistance from oars is easy enough. Lots of people do the Snake River out west in drift boats with oars, even in the flat sections. Flat bottoms, single chine.

    I worked on the Snake River for a season. We could cover 75 miles on the river in five days when the river was flowing in a measured fashion. When the river was running dangerously high, we could do it in 2 1/2 days. So I think your idea of taking two weeks to cover the distance would be pretty leisurely, stopping at every tavern along the way.

    We used to float rafts down the river at a 45 degree angle, and sometimes perpendicular to the current, rolling through the rapids instead of trying to surf them. In canoes, we surfed them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Mirror 16, with leeboards.
    https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/m...-dinghy.12064/


    Desert Rat,
    "So I think your idea of taking two weeks to cover the distance would be pretty leisurely, stopping at every tavern along the way."

    What a good idea………..

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    I'm from the same area, and it seems like maybe your best bet is to talk to Dave gentry who also lives nearby and maybe consider a skin on frame boat.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Jon, it will be a great adventure. I lived in that area quite a few years ago and canoed much of your route. Where are you planning to launch at Harper's Ferry? The Park Service does not allow launching in the old "downtown" near the confluence of the two rivers. You may have to go upstream a couple miles, which means negotiating Class II-III rapids on either river. It's possible to launch on the Virginia side a little upstream of the Rt. 340 bridge over the Potomac, but that would involve carrying up and down a steep bluff. The nearest public boat ramp downstream is in Brunswick, MD.

    There is an old dam immediately above Great Falls. Hopefully there will be signs warning you to get off the river. Immediately below the Falls is Mather Gorge, which is noted for fast water and big whirlpools. Then you have several miles of intermittent Class II-III whitewater above the DC Beltway. A short distance below the Beltway you will find Brookmont Dam, a.k.a. "The Drowning Machine." Little Falls, Class IV-V whitewater, lies between Brookmont Dam and tidal water at Chain Bridge. You could be relying on 10 miles of canal to get around all these rough spots.

    Sometimes parts of the C&O Canal may be dry, for maintenance or other reasons. It would be worth a call to the Park Service to be sure there is water for your entire route. There are "Hiker-Biker" campsites at irregular intervals along the canal towpath. Some may be accessible from the river. Not all the campsites have water.

    Don't go just yet -- wait for warm weather with lower water.

    Oh yeah -- sometimes the Secret Service closes the Potomac adjacent to the Trump golf course, when our President is playing golf.
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Lots of great suggestions guys. I'm cogitating it all. If this is to work at all I would not only have to have the right design but also the right skills. In fairness I do not currently possess them. I think the best course of action for me currently is to scout the route with something small and able, a canoe maybe. This would also help me gain experience and confidence.

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    A canoe is really the best boat for your part of the Potomac. The Canoe Cruisers Association in DC used to offer basic whitewater classes for both solo and tandem canoes; I bet they still do.

    There is a nice afternoon novice trip below Seneca Creek in MD. Cross the river all the way to the Virginia side and you can go down the former Patowmack Canal (pre-C&O), Class I-II, for a couple miles. Then you can go back to the MD side, portage to the C&O Canal, and return to your starting point.

    Brunswick to Swain's Lock on the MD side would be a nice novice canoe camping trip.

    When you get to Washington, you could put a sailing rig on your canoe.
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    I think the design brief has drift boat written all over it -- but as suggested -- without the sail. You'll want the maneuverability of the drift boat to get down the fast part, and after that you may just as well row it. The river is tidal at Washington, so you'll be waiting for the turn and then getting a good boost from the combined ebb and river current. The sail rig would be of little use and it would compromise the design, not to mention be in the way most of the time.

    There is a privately owned launch pretty much under the bridge on the south side, just below the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah. There's an outfitter there that uses it to pull their rafts out, but I suspect for a few bucks they'd let you use it.

    Sounds like a great adventure. If you decide on a drift boat, get some serious instruction before you start and you'll be good to go. BTW, strong and puncture proof doesn't mean the boat has to be heavy. (Just more expensive to build!) Keep us posted.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Specializing the vessel and crew in rowing and whitewater techniques and eliminating the sailing bit altogether would simplify things. It would still be a great adventure. I'll have to think about it. I know canoe's and kayaks can be rigged with outriggers and sail so to my mind that is still on the table. I wouldn't necessarily have to carry the sailing gear as cargo but could have it waiting somewhere on the other side of the shallow water. The Canoes and Kayaks most suitable for sailing are probably the least suitable for the maneuverability required for rapids.

    While Dory's are often great sailors Drift Boats look wrong for it. I'm not a naval architect. Just a guy who likes wood boats and built one once. I suspect a Rapid Robert style boat might be adapted to sail and it might work okay.

    Also I haven't really considered the guide boats yet. They look great for big water but less so for rapids.

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    The Canoes and Kayaks most suitable for sailing are probably the least suitable for the maneuverability required for rapids.
    That's a pretty big understatement. I have both types of kayaks, and other than the fact they are both called kayaks, they have little else in common. And as you suspect, the same might be said for a dory made for whitewater and a dory made for sailing. If the majority of the trip is in shallow rocky water, then you really need to optimize for that.

    Another point: a whitewater boat in flat water is just slow and doesn't track well, but it is safe. (A skeg or rudder can make it track.) A flatwater boat in whitewater can kill.

    And a bit of thread drift: in Europe they maintain the oldest canals and you can travel almost anywhere on them. Here in northeast USA we have the remains of many miles of canal built in the 19th Century (yesterday by world standards), but at most you can paddle from ruined lock to ruined lock for a stretch here and there; they are far from the highways they used to be. That's a shame.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelirrojo View Post
    I'm from the same area, and it seems like maybe your best bet is to talk to Dave gentry who also lives nearby and maybe consider a skin on frame boat.
    A few years ago, Gentry posted photos of one of his SOF boats that was destroyed by hitting a rock in a reach that didn't qualify as a rapid. The thin coverings and light framing don't stand up well to impact.

    Driftboats are a specialized sort of dory— I've seen quite a few on western rivers. The east coast dories designed for beach launches and landings are similar, and some of them are built to take a rudder and sailing rig. A search should bring up quite a few photos. Here's a Melonseed with a centerboard:



    Seems like a daggerboard or a switchable leeboard might be best as far as weight for function. For ballast, you can fill drybags with water and strap them down.

    For serious whitewater, decked flotation might be good, or a bailing bucket and a mate with strong arms.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    A garvey? More room for given length, long history of seaworthy service in multiple roles in difficult conditions.

    http://traditionalsmallcraft.com/Garveys.html

    The Garvey is a small-craft type well known in working waterfronts all over the world. The type is a relative of the Scow, whose wide, flat bottoms made them excellent for carrying cargo and fish. Garveys evolved on the New Jersey coast perhaps more than in any other American locale—their shallow draft made them ideal for fishing the bays, creeks, rivers and estuaries of that state.
    Most early garveys were small—under twenty feet—and had flat bottoms with nearly vertical sterns and transom-hung rudders. The bows were simply a continuation of the cross-planked bottom, curving sharply upward to terminate at a short foredeck. These craft were used for everything from carrying cargo to several kinds of fishing, shellfish gathering, and duck hunting.
    While most of the river craft were rowed, many were fitted with centerboards and sailed surprisingly well on protected and semi-protected waters. Indeed, they sailed so well that many were raced—due to their flat bottoms and long runs, they tended to plane under a good press of canvas.

    Over many years of development throughout the 19th century, the flat bottomed garvey grew progressively larger, and evolved into a V-bottomed model around the turn of the century, which could sail in rougher water and perform better under sail. These big garveys generally had gaff-sloop sail plans, with plank bowsprits and jibs. These later garveys were often 25’ to 30’ long, had inboard rudders, strongly raked sterns and were generally decked fore & aft with wide washboards (side decks) and cockpit coamings.
    I grew up largely on the south shore of Long Island, N. Y., and saw many variations of the V-bottomed garvey on the Great South Bay. The type was ideally suited for clamming in the Bay’s extensive shallow waters. Of course, by the 1950’s these boats were all powered by engines—many of them gasoline automobile engines adapted for the scow hull.
    The V-bottomed models picked up the nick-name “chicken-breasted” because of the distinct appearance of their bows.

    "Two Nights on ZEPHYR." A Spring Solo Cruise in a Garvey Box (LINK)
    Last edited by sharpiefan; 03-17-2019 at 10:10 AM.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Quote Originally Posted by sharpiefan View Post
    A garvey? More room for given length, long history of seaworthy service in multiple roles in difficult conditions.

    http://traditionalsmallcraft.com/Garveys.html

    The Garvey is a small-craft type well known in working waterfronts all over the world. The type is a relative of the Scow, whose wide, flat bottoms made them excellent for carrying cargo and fish. Garveys evolved on the New Jersey coast perhaps more than in any other American locale—their shallow draft made them ideal for fishing the bays, creeks, rivers and estuaries of that state.
    Most early garveys were small—under twenty feet—and had flat bottoms with nearly vertical sterns and transom-hung rudders. The bows were simply a continuation of the cross-planked bottom, curving sharply upward to terminate at a short foredeck. These craft were used for everything from carrying cargo to several kinds of fishing, shellfish gathering, and duck hunting.
    While most of the river craft were rowed, many were fitted with centerboards and sailed surprisingly well on protected and semi-protected waters. Indeed, they sailed so well that many were raced—due to their flat bottoms and long runs, they tended to plane under a good press of canvas.

    Over many years of development throughout the 19th century, the flat bottomed garvey grew progressively larger, and evolved into a V-bottomed model around the turn of the century, which could sail in rougher water and perform better under sail. These big garveys generally had gaff-sloop sail plans, with plank bowsprits and jibs. These later garveys were often 25’ to 30’ long, had inboard rudders, strongly raked sterns and were generally decked fore & aft with wide washboards (side decks) and cockpit coamings.
    I grew up largely on the south shore of Long Island, N. Y., and saw many variations of the V-bottomed garvey on the Great South Bay. The type was ideally suited for clamming in the Bay’s extensive shallow waters. Of course, by the 1950’s these boats were all powered by engines—many of them gasoline automobile engines adapted for the scow hull.
    The V-bottomed models picked up the nick-name “chicken-breasted” because of the distinct appearance of their bows.

    "Two Nights on ZEPHYR." A Spring Solo Cruise in a Garvey Box (LINK)
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Multi-Role Shallow water row/sail intro thread

    Very cool stuff guys. You have all essentially answered my questions, much appreciated. I'm planning on building a quick and dirty ply and glass canoe using some tricks from the driftboat community to improve its toughness and maneuverability. Then testing it on the river. It should prove a good testing ground for the design and me. If one doesn't work out I'll scrap or tweak it till I get something that works. I've a modest sized lake nearby to play around with sailing rigs but priority will be given to handling in rapids and ability to withstand rocks. I'll keep you posted.

  20. #20
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    Default

    Late to the party 🤔Eastern rivers in general are just too shallow for drift boats they run them on the Delaware River, occasionally you see them, but you really are in canoe country, most of all the rivers, including the area are you are talking about.

    A wooden canoe, fiberglass strip or plywood, even my beloved wood canvas canoes come alive in moving water, and have the maneuverability. In rapids. However, you will need the skill set, hi brace, low brace, ferry, etc. Reading water; chutes, eddies, standing waves etc. The skill can usually be learned on a few outings. For the little bit of sailing you may do, could have a sail rig for a canoe.

    I've run most of the upper Delaware River in wooden canoes, even Pine Creek gorge with my son when we split my prospector down the middle. The Susquehanna and the Juniata Rivers are very Rocky,

    people are rarely talked out of an idea, but I would strongly suggest you run these areas with an outfitter or a group of friends first.

    Most any of us that have ever run Rivers know full well how much the plywood boat is going to get beat up, do you really want to do that?

    you can pick up a plastic canoe for a couple hundred dollars which is actually cheaper than building a plywood boat and you could beat the blankety-blank out of it and it'll come back for more.

    Save the wood for class 1or flat water.

    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  21. #21
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    Default

    In this video these kids and adults almost all make the same mistake do you know what it is?

    https://youtu.be/XtPAMXQlKKs
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  22. #22
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    I'm pretty sure this canoe trip is where you want to paddle, the canoe Cam and the people in that canoe really do know what they are doing.

    at 3.40 they they are parked in an Eddy watching the others come down the river, that's how you take a break and fast-moving water,
    https://youtu.be/reHMETStmZ8
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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