Q7 Rowboat

Boat has now been built
Please note that I now have built a newer pair of oars, with smaller diameter handrgrips, and large weights
made of wood inboard of the rowlocks for oar balance. This is a photo of my earlier pair of oars
Please note that this is the axle system I am using now, however I have upgraded to a solid steel 16mm diameter axle,
as the hollow aluminium axle was not strong enough. The axle stays on the boat at all times, in the water,
manhandling the boat around and whilst cartopping

Details of the New Boat as Built

  • The stem had more rake than expected, thus boat is now 13.5ft long, not 13ft
  • The boat weighs 51kg, a fraction heavy, but I can car-top it fairly easily (roof racks are rated to 75kg)
  • The floor was made with 9mm plywood, and sides 6mm marine ply, coated with epoxy resin
  • The wheels work well, I now have a fixed axle which I leave on all the time
  • Speed is a fraction slower than my first 18ft dory, but better when the wind blows up

  • The narrow transom allows me to use a 2hp outboard should I be so inclined - technical term is flexibility
  • Windage is much better than my first rowboat, though still a fraction too large
  • I painted the boat with red oil based paint on the outside, grey acrylic paint of the inside
  • The chine-logs work very well, I prefer these to epoxy fillets
  • To do it again I would use 4mm plywood on the sides, not 6mm, to save a little weight

    Car topping
  • I use a wooden rack, and it works well, boat slides on forward
  • I now have added rails on the side, meaning I have to worry less about boat sliding off the top
  • On all ropes I use a man-harness knot and a steel shackle, this increases rope tension
  • Time to put in on the car is about 20 minutes, over time I hope to make this faster
  • The wheels cost $20, work well, can can be removed by undoing four screws

    Doing it again - what I would change
  • I would reduce freeboard and hence windage by 2cm
  • I would more the thwart forward an inch
  • I would lower the thwarts by 2cm from the gunnel
  • I would increase the size of the skeg slightly

  • I would lower the forefoot by 4cm or so
  • I would build all the frames and stringers first, assemble that, then add plywood last
  • The extra 6cm of bottom panel width is worhtwhile, it lowers speed a small fraction
  • I would reduce the width of the bottom panel at the stern, making it a fraction more double ended
  • I would use wood for all the frames, not plywood

  • The boat has quite reasonable seaworthiness, not as good as a dory, but pretty good none the less
  • The extra 6cm of bottom panel width increases initial stability, better for those less agile, children etc
  • There is a lot of flare in the hull, this aids stability in rough weather
  • The large number and large size of buoyancy compartments mean that floatation is excellent
  • The stern is fairly narrow and inclined aft, this should reduce effects on any following sea
  • I always keep a bailer attached via a small lanyard to the boat

Overview of this boat
After quite a lot of time with this boat, I can say that I am very happy with it. If is fast through the water, very seaworthy, low windage and has good ergonomics. Possibly could do with a fraction more beam in the bottom panel (3cm or so), a bit lighter would be a plus too. A removable center thwart would be a plus, so I could sleep in it more easily, versus the fixed thwart I have now. All in all though it is a very very good boat.

Overview - old notes written before the boat was built

As of 27 November 2011, these are the new lines for my next boat. In short it is a 13ft x 4ft rowboat.

Note that I had worked on the lines for quite some time, making small changes here, small changed there. Based on my previous lines I have deepened the forefoot to a degree, made the bow more full to a degree, and also increased the beam

It is hard to know how these changes will work out in practice. A rowboat is compromise between many competing factors, for example a narrower beam might give better performance in very rough conditions, as happens with a dory, but at the expense of the boat being less welcoming for those less used to small boats. If the boat is too tender, then although the boat may have excellent rough water capabilities, if people are not confident in using it, then if will not be used.

A finer bow may create a faster boat, yet a more full bow will rise up into a heavy sea, and in so doing keep the water out. So the degree of fineness is a compromise between these two competing factors.

Main features of this boat when compared to my previous 18ft dory are

  • Greatly reduced windage
  • reduced weight
  • Easily car-toppable
  • Easy to build
  • Requires a small amount of materials
  • Has greater initial stability for those less agile and for children
  • Is optimised for one person, with ability to carry 2 at times
  • Long waterline length for good speed
  • Optimised for smooth water, with ability to survive moderate conditions if encountered

The older sketches of this rowboat can be seen HERE

Specifications for this boat are as follows

Length = 4.03m (approx 13ft)
Beam = 1.22m (approx 4ft)
waterline beam at 220kg = 0.87m
midsection freeboard = 0.244m

Note I have now written up a list of 500 different rowboats for those wanting to compare rowboats, see this LINK

Other boats that are very similar

Here are a few rowboats that are similar, note that there are a huge number of rowboats in existence, and I have listed just a few, these are

  • R13 rowboat from Bateau.com
  • Seagull rowboat from John Welsford
  • Joansa Rowboat from John Welsford
  • Sucher light dory rowboat
  • Deben 400 light skiff from Selway Fisher
  • QT Skiff by Jim Michalak
  • Whisp rowboat by Steve Redmond
  • Shenandoah Whitehall - skin on frame rowboat by Dave Gentry
  • Flint 14 Rowboat by Ross Lillistone
  • Weymiss Skiff by Ian Oughtred
  • Echo Bay Dory Skiff by Clinton Chase
  • Caravelle Skiff by Clinton Chase
Now each of the twelve rowboats above has their plusses and minusses, I might go into a little discussion about each of the above and why I chose not to build it.

  • R13 rowboat - a good boat, has buoyancy compartment, possibly a little too beamy for me, but a good boat nonetheless
  • Joansa Rowboat - an excellent design, possibly a bit long for me (too hard to cartop), possibly above my boat building skill
  • Seagull rowboat - another excellent design, probably should have built this one instead of doing my own thing
  • Deben 400 rowboat - possibly a bit too optimised for comfort in more protected waters
  • QT skiff - a very good design, lacks flare, thus has more initial stability, so is better for fishing and general rowing here and there, possibly not the ideal boat for rough open water though

  • Whisp rowboat - possibly my same thoughts as per QT skiff, the lack of flare means it is more optimised for protected waters
  • Sucher dory, a more forgiving rowboat than the Gloucheseter Light Gull by Phil Bolger, an excellent design, even more seaworthy than what I built
  • Shenandoah Whitehall - a much easier boat to cartop as it is way lighter, possibly not ideal for very rough weather, maybe I am just unduly cautious when it comes to skin on frame in open seas. A perfect boat for bays, lakes and rivers , wish I had one, fantastic boat!
  • Flint 14 - a good fast rowboat, the stern is a fraction low and wide for the open sea, possibly a hybrid motor/rowing boat

  • Weymiss Skiff - a fanstastic boat, possibly too heavy to cartop and beyond my boat building skill
  • Echo Bay Dory Skiff - an excellent small boat, can be sailed also, I really like this boat, downside is that it is a fraction short at 11.5ft, additionally although kits are available in the US (I am in Oz), plans are not available at the present moment
  • Caravelle Skiff at 14.0 x 4ft is only 6 inches longer than this one. Trouble was Caravelle was built after I built mine, of all the boats here Caravelle is by far the most similar, a very good boat indeed. More information here LINK

What these boats look like

QT Skiff

Whisp Rowboat

R13 Rowboat

Seagull Rowboat

Flint 14 Rowboat

Sucher dory - note transom is heavily sloped aft

Deben 400 Rowboat

Weymiss Skiff

Shenandoah Whitehall Rowboat

Joansa Rowboat

Echo Bay Dory Skiff

Below can be seen the excellent Spur II rowboat by Phil Bolger. An extremely capable boat, I have shown it as an example of how a rowboat that has rough water capabilities, has a bow that fills out very quickly