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Thread: Rowing dories !!??

  1. #1
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    Smile Rowing dories !!??

    Hi folks,
    Still craving for new designs to build. But now I need something to row, easy and not too expensive to build and able to make me workout and stay fit (51 years old). I like the dory look, but I have seen many plans on the net and need some pieces of advice.
    Here is a list of models : Gloucesterman (Spira), Gloucester Gull (Payson/Bolger), Row dory (butler projects), Light dory MK II (Welsford) and the free South Haven dory.
    So you know why I am confused...

    Happy Christmas and happy New Year and Happy boating to all in the forum.
    PS : South haven dory is free plan, is she stretchable ?

  2. #2
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    I have not built one, but the Gloucester Gull is a joy to row and can handle any conditions that an even somewhat insane individual might choose to row in.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  3. #3
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    If fitness is your goal, rowing a non-sliding seat boat is not a very effective way to reach it. Most of your effort will be expended by your arms, with only a bit by your back and abdomen. To get or stay fit, you'd need to row a sliding seat boat.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  4. #4
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    I think RB gave you some good info on fitness rowing.
    Since you are 51, I am 52 and can say that there is nothing worse then a lousy rowboat to row, while a well designed one is a pleasure to row, and a very enjoyable boat to own and use.
    Remember, you are the motor.
    These so called small dory rowboats around 14 ft. long with a 4ft. wide beam are not well designed rowboats.
    The beam is too small for a balanced set of oars, and the sides are too high, which means the oars are at a high angle and you are pulling the oars toward your shoulders, which is very uncomfrotable, instead of pulling the oars at a heigth a lot closer towards your belly button, much more comfortable and a lot more power and control can be applied to the oars.
    You want around a 5 ft. beam and about 16in. heigth on the sides for a balanced rowboat.Approximately. Even skinny rowing shells have outriggers for the oarlocks, which create a artifically wider beam, so the oars are balanced as to the inboard length and the outboard length on the oars.The height of the sides of the boat as well as the beam width dictates oar length and the angle at which the oars are rowed. There are magical formulas that work for the human body. Outside this formula and you have a poorly designed and setup rowboat that isn't much fun to row.
    There are far too many poorly designed rowboat blueprints on the internet, and a few well designed ones.
    Think about what you really want as to size and weight as well as purpose and spend your money and effort on a better design.

    http://www.shawandtenney.com/wooden-rowing-oars.htm

    http://www.boat-links.com/Atkinco/Oar/index.html
    Last edited by RonW; 12-21-2006 at 11:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    Second the Gloucester Gull for a fixed seat single. It'll carry two, or even three in a pinch, but not very well. And while it's true that a sliding seat boat will give you a fuller workout, fixed seat rowing is a pleasurable bit of exercise too.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Erik,
    The best hull for a rowing workout is not, necessarily, the best rowboat. The benefits of cardio exercise come from taking on a training load that is a smidgen more than you would like. You do not need a hull that is eye candy. You need a hull that will only move with strenuous urging.
    A good training boat would be an old fashioned flat bottomed rowing skiff with a cross planked bottom. Build it out of 3/4" white oak and make sure the transom is always down in the water. Keep the waterline short and, mount a set of oars that are, at least , a foot longer than is ideal.
    You can build a Scilly gig or somesuch for the day when you want to show off your new found abilities to the pansies at the yacht club.
    Look at "White Duck" @ http://www.svensons.com/boat/
    It will do nicely if the weight ends up at over 200 lb.
    Good luck with your "new body".
    Last edited by Cuyahoga Chuck; 12-21-2006 at 09:43 PM.

  7. #7
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    Spew.

    The best rowboat for fitness is the one that actually gets used.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  8. #8
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    Im gonna have to say Im biased against a dory for exercise. Great boat for hauling a load, easy to row, seaworthy, yes. Enjoyable? eh....

    My money says go the whitehall/wherry route. They are fun to row, track like a freight train, dont drag any sort of square transom, keep their buoyancy where they need it, but dont require big windage for reserve. Rowing boats need to be fast for exercise use. Not so much for the exercise, but to make it fun. Shells are fast but tippy, dories arent terribly fast but safe. A wherry is fast and safe, low on windage but strong on seaworthiness.

    Not to mention, they go together in ply rather quickly, with a limited amount of framing, if you dont mind a little fiberglass work.

    E

  9. #9
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    Then there is the Adirondack Guide Boat, simple to construct, light, seaworthy, fast, you can drop a sliding rowing rig into it if you choose...and it is total eye candy on top of it all

  10. #10
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    Default Precision

    Hi,
    Thanks for your replies. The reason I am interesting in rowing dory is just because I like that kind of boat and also that rowing would add a plus to keep myself in shape : Boat first and rowing for simple pleasure...

  11. #11
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    Build a peapod. A wonderful boat to row. Handsome. Seaworthy.
    "If a man speaks at sea where no woman can hear, is he still wrong?"

  12. #12
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    I am going to have to respectfully disagree with RonW.

    I have always enjoyed rowing most on long narrow boats, my dory is 42" at the midships rowing station.



    It is a dory, though there is some whitehall in the woodpile.

    Before I got this one I rowed a gull regularly, which also has a narrow beam, but is shorter and not as fast.

    I cross my oars, I have 2 sets, 9' dory oars and 8' Shaw and Tenny spoons. Before anyone tells you that you cannot get excercise rowing fixed seat ask them if they can get this boat round Cape Ann in 4 hours. For those from away, that is 20+ miles.

    Sliding seat does give better all round excercise, but if you make the boat go fast you will get a nice workout. They key is pushing your heart rate up.

    A long, narrow, fast boat will be more rewarding for the effort than a sea pig, and the dories on your list are all good. I would also look at the plans for a strech gull. The Adarondak is faster than any of them, unless you have a fair wind and big enough waves to surf, then the tombstone stern will really get you going and you'll catch the Adarondack guys every time. Don't broach though, and the really honking big oars are a help because once your forearms get sufficiently gorilla like you'll be able to yank your boat back on track with a single pull.

    TomF is on to something, get a boat you like and will use. The rest has a way of sorting itself out.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  13. #13
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    Has anyone used a sliding rig in a dory? "Outriggers" for the oar locks could solve the narrow beam issue. I am also interested in a rowing boat for fitness, but I would prefer a sliding rig and need the seaworthy character of a dory for when things get rough.

  14. #14
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    Would be no problem dropping a set of riggers and a slide into most dories that are traditionally built that is use sawn frames and removable seats.

    A Piscataqua River wherry or some of the derivatives built in plywood would work just fine. And in addition would make good double if you have a partner. The modified L. Francis Herreshoff rowboat that John G. drew up also rates well here. Both of these are round sided dory types, more complicated than the Gloucester Gull type, and a goodly bit faster. Both are built with non structural aka removable thwarts. Have spent lots of time in both rowing double and without working real hard you can stay at 4 knots all day. Both are capable of rowing in Maine in the winter.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  15. #15
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    You might want to also consider the Devlin "Oarling". Will take a sliding seat. http://www.devlinboat.com/dcoarling.htm

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    May I suggest the Black Skiff? A description and free plans may be found at the link below.

    http://www.markwallaceshipwright.com/plans.html

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonW
    These so called small dory rowboats around 14 ft. long with a 4ft. wide beam are not well designed rowboats.
    The beam is too small for a balanced set of oars ...
    Sorry, but I have to disagree that a beam of 48 inches is too small. A good Adirondack guideboat is the fastest fixed-seat rowboat you can find -- they usually win tough races like the Blackburn challenge. I used to own one of Steve Kaulback's 15-foot kevlar boats, an absolute joy to row. The beam of that boat was 38 inches. Even allowing for the cross-handed grip and overlap of the oars, it's comparable to a beam of less than 48 inches.

    Another example: the L Francis Herreshoff rowboat mentioned by Ben Fuller (which doesn't use cross-handed oars) is a very fine rowboat and has a beam of only 42 inches. (Gardner also draw a revised version with a slightly wider beam, 44 inches I think).

    Incidentally, Jim Michalak has plans for a stitch-and-glue version of the LFH rowboat:
    http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/jim/lhf17/index.htm

    Faster and easier to build than the original if you don't mind the glass tape and epoxy.
    Last edited by Steve Paskey; 12-22-2006 at 06:53 AM.

  18. #18
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    Ahh - It would seem that we may have the beginning of a good rowing thread.
    So on the slimmer boats, who is using outrigger oarlocks?

    On a larger and very capable boat, has anyone paid attention to Atkin's calypso?

    http://www.boat-links.com/Atkinco/Oar/Calypso.html

  19. #19
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    On three of my rowing partners boats, a whitehall type the slim Donoghue (18' x 3'9") Mystic #98.34 plans from Anne Baker, his modified L F Herreshoff built by Bill Cannell ( unfortunately cut away and let drift out of Camden Harbor and his latest beamier whitehall he has used folding outriggers to let the oars get to 8'6" or so. You can get them from Shaw and Tenny, copies of ones in the Mystic collection. They are expensive but they always were: historically 5 bucks a pair on a 100 dollar boat. Gives you 200 or more today. Worth it.

    The LFH boat at Mystic had marvelous oars, designed by Andy Steever. They had a square section inboard of the locks, with teflon 'leathers" and leather buttons. In addition we balanced them using lead in holes drilled into the handle. Any one serious about fixed seat rowing should have his Oars for Pleasure Rowing.

    Depending on the station chosen you did need to cross them but not much. I usally set up a fixed seat boat so I cross handle to handle. Lets me get six inch longer oars.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  20. #20
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    Ouch, the Cannell LFH boat went missing??

    I second "Oars for Pleasure Rowing". Available through Mystic Seaport: http://tinyurl.com/yklbkr
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  21. #21
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    Erik, the thread originator, has mentioned several times that he likes the look of a dory, he wants to build a dory, and he wants to get into dory rowing. Excellent choice Erik... simple boats to build, very seaworthy, and you CAN get a great workout without a silly sliding seat if your feet are properly braced. The Gull or stretched Gull will serve you well for your stated goals. Anything over about 15' will carry itself well.

    Erik wants a dory garshdangit not a wherry or an Adirondack boat. And maybe he wants to wear jeans and a flannel shirt and row from a fixed thwart while puffing on a pipe. Personally I would rather look out and see this on the water instead of yet another Lycra-clothed sliding seat fitness zombie. Good luck with your dory Erik.

  22. #22
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    Thanks to Bill Childs. You understand the way I think : I am pleasure minded, simple pure pleasure of enjoying a simple day on the water in a simple boat that I proudly built. Anyway I don't fit in the lycra stuff...
    Life is good...
    Happy Holidays, Joyeuses fêtes

  23. #23
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    Erik: I would look closely at the waterline length of the dories you are considering. For a low powered boat like a rowboat, a long waterline is the key to speed. Of the designs you mentioned, I am fairly familiar with the Gloucester Gull. If you decide to go this route, I would strongly consider the stretched version. It has a wl length of around 15' and will row circles around the standard version. Someone gave me this same advice when I built one and I am glad I took it.

    If you would rather row than build, the stretched light dory is my recommendation.

    If you would rather build........ I think the Herreshoff/Gardner 17' is really sweet. If I ever get around to it, I will build one myself.

    good luck and happy rowing.
    Andy
    A. Hall

  24. #24
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    Eric: Andy's comment about length is good advice, but you should ask whether you're willing to carry your dory on a trailer. At 19', the stretched Gloucester Gull is an awfully long boat to cartop.

    Unless you have a reason to do otherwise, I'd go with John Welsford's boat. John's a serious rower himself -- as far as I know, the other designers aren't -- and he looked at other designs (including the Gloucester Gull) when designing his boat. Plus, John is a great guy; you can get support from the designer if needed; there's an active Yahoo! group devoted to John's designs; and, unlike some of the other boats, John's design has built-in flotation, an important plus.

  25. #25
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    I'll agree with the Welsford recommendation --

    He has plans for both flat-sided and round-sided dorys, check 'em out here -

    http://www.duckflatwoodenboats.com/m...gallery?KID=67

    Here is his Joansa dory -

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  26. #26

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    The Spira Glousterman has been fitted with a sliding seat and reports are that it's a joy to row.



    - Jeff

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    O.K. I am going to be a little critical. The picture that Jeff posted above on the narrow beamed dory, is a excellent picture that shows the problem with a narrow beamed boat being set up as a rowboat.
    That boat has blocks to mount the oarlocks further out in the effort to get a bigger beam and consequently more oar inboard so as to try and somewhat get a better balance on the oars as well as longer oars with which to get a better sweep on the water.
    It also reflects the angle at which the oars are rowed at, which comes closer to being pulled at your shoulders whether then being pulled in at your belly button level. You get much more power in the oars by pulling at a lower angle, not to metion a whole lot less strenious workout. More comfortable along with more power with longer and lower angled oars.
    Then you also have the matter of balancing the inboard weight of the oar with the outboard weight, by either drilling the oar and adding lead, or counter balance weight to the handles.
    As we take the old dory and reduce the dimensions of the boat down dramatically, we also loose the balance of the boat and consequently we end up with too small of a beam .
    It would be much easier to get a better balanced dory in a knuckled sided swampscott dory in a shorter length to maintain a wider beam, so as to be able to carry a proper length of oars then reducing a dory in length and width and becoming unbalanced.
    If you look at good narrow beamed rowboats like the adirondack guideboat, with a beam around 42 inches, they also had outriggers on the oarlocks to artifically increase the beam, as well as square loomed oars from the oarlocks inboard so as to better balance.
    It really isn't that easy in setting up a good well balanced rowboat.

    Jeff- your 24 ft. carolina dory is very well balanced and a wonderfull design, you pegged that one perfectly. But it took 24 ft. to balance the beam with the length. Welcome to the forum.Everyone is wanting to take these old designs and reduce them into shorter boats, that they can build in their garage, and the boats are becoming unbalanced.


  29. #29
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    Say what you will, but ...

    John Welsford is pretty serious about fixed-seat rowing and is very happy with the boat he designed. He can comfortably row it all day at 3-1/2 knots; has sometimes covered 25 miles in 6 hours with tidal assistance; and once took it on a multi-day beach-camping trip that totalled 70 miles.

    I can't speak for John, but I dare say that he would not consider his boat to be "unbalanced."

    (Incidentally, John's particular about oars, so I'd follow his advice in that department as well.)

  30. #30

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    You're absolutely right Ron. Many of these boat designs are too small to be balanced The Glousterman was designed to be extremely light - only - not to be any kind of optimum rowing boat. It doesn't row nearly as well as a sculling boat designed specifically to go fast while rowing and put the maximum amount of the rower's movements into powering the boat. You also wouldnt want to take a scull a mile or so offshore to fish a reef, that this builder in Austrailia built it for. Truth is not everyone needs an ideal hull for each condition, because most people use their boats in a variety of ways. You read it here all the time. I want to go fast but track well trolling or rowing. I want to use it in the flats but sometimes venture offshore. I want to power and sometimes sail. I like this hull, but my garage will only hold a 16 footer. Everything ends up being a compromise - unless you're talking about a single purpose design - like a racing scull, or class racing sailboat - only then can every detail be oriented to that single purpose. Most builders, though don't have that narrow a purpose in-mind.

    Not everyone wants to be an olympic athlete either, and those of us over 50 can get plenty of exercise rowing a plastic fold-a-boat. To many, it's not abut winning races or conquering the inside passage to Alaska, as much as it is about getting out in the fresh air getting some exercise while enjoying the scenery.

    And thanks for the welcome.

    Jeff

  31. #31
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    To correct Ron W.
    "Adirondack Guideboats also had outriggers on the oarlocks to artifically increase the beam, as well as square loomed oars from the oarlocks inboard so as to better balance."

    I must have seen scores of guideboats and I have never seen one with outriggers. They do have their oarlock sockets mounted on the outside of the gunwhales.

    I have also seen a number of old traditional rowing boats in the under 4' beam class with outriggers and have spent time in rowing three or four. All the outrigger does is allow you to pull a longer oar, so if you start with a 4 foot beam boat you can get 9 footers easily. Have nothing at all to do with the boats hull shape.

    Fast in any rowing boat is a function of length, weight and wetted surface. Longer, narrower and less wetted surface is better, but too long is counter productive. Single sculls have optimized this for narrow outrigged boats.For fixed seat no outrigger boats something like a guideboat seems about right. I suspect for a pair a two person Thames skiff will take all the power that you can put out.

    My 15 foot Delaware ducker will not go any faster except perhaps in a sprint with a sliding seat. Speed is limited to the nature of the boat, 14 and a half on the water with a beam a little under 4 and a weight of 150.

    Anything over about 70 pounds will want a trailer or some really well engineered beach and rack moving gear. I can solo an 18 foot wood canvas canoe onto a roof rack, but that is because of a portage yoke. Anything bigger wants two people to get up or a light trailer.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  32. #32

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    great thread boys.... I have plans for the Gloucester Gull, just because, but I agree that the whitehall style is a nicer boat to row. The dory is a utility boat, and for ease of build you must admit it's hard to beat.
    Wooden boats are like shingles, recurring, and often painful.

  33. #33
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    Have a look at Sam Devlin's "Oarling" http://www.devlinboat.com/dcoarling.htm

    Oarling Rowing Dory LENGTH 17' 2" BEAM 3' 8" DRAFT 5 1/2" POWER 7' Oars for fixed seat SAIL AREA 8' 6" Oars for sliding seat WEIGHT 95 LBS MAX. LOAD 420 LBS



    The plans are $65


    Pericles

  34. #34
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    Ken Bassett's Firefly is an 18' hard-chine pulling boat.
    Construction is conventional hard-chine plywood. Quite sumple.
    The actual boat is even prettier than the drawings.



    It'll accept a drop-in rowing rig .

    Plans are sold by our sponsor
    http://www.woodenboatstore.com/prodi...number=400-121

  35. #35
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    Default Question - Ideal Length

    The weather is keeping us inside in front of the PC screen today!

    Whenever we have a post that discusses "rowing dories" and/or pulling boats, the discussion eventually centers around a preferred boat with a hull length of around 17-18' and a narrow beam.

    Can someone provide the rationalization for this in a mathematical sense?

    The boat shown below was stretched from 15' to a bit less than 17' because of advice I received a few years ago although I never substantiated it. It displaces 110 lbs, has a waterline of 16 1/2 ', beam of 46", transom is 100% above the water surface and with 8' spoon blade oars(not shown) it is a joy to row. Proof that heresy can be fact.




    A cedar strip built Rangeley.

    Recently saw a nice new version of the Rangeley for sale built with marine ply laps.

    Happy New Year

    abe

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