FAST ROWBOAT, 17' X 3.5',
100 POUNDS EMPTY
Don't remember where I read this but
100 years ago rowing was all the rage, the sort of thing
you did on for fun. They said its popularity dropped and
died after the invention of the modern "safety"
bicycle which replaced it for athletic recreation. The
Herreshoffs in Rhode Island had a historic boat business
going at that time making everything from huge racing
yachts to dinks to torpedo boats. L. Francis Herreshoff
carried on the tradition in the 1900's being a great designer,
artist and writer and educator. I suspect anything he
wrote is worth seeking out. I have a copy of his book
SENSIBLE CRUISING DESIGNS which I think is a compilation
of articles he wrote for THE RUDDER magazine about 50
years ago. Lots of really good stuff in there. Among it
is a discussion of good rowing boats with a "cartoon"
presentation of a 17' rowing boat that would be fast and
able but also simple and comfortable and not extreme.
John Gardiner, another legend in small boats whose writings
you should seek out, elaborated on that LFH cartoon and
presented offsets for his idea of that boat in his BUILDING
SMALL CLASSIC CRAFT, VOLUME 2. Both L. Francis and Gardner
were used to traditional lapstake construction and thought
nothing of presenting such a design. But the special lumber
and tools needed for lapstrake are not common at least
where I live. So I got an order for the LFH design redone
for taped seam plywood. Thus the design I call the LFH17.
As with L. Francis' original the LHF17 has a narrow flat
bottom making it a dory of sorts and is identical bow
This boat will be a bit more complicated
to build that most "instant" boats, I'm quite
sure. For one thing it has three panels on each side to
keep track of. And since they are long narrow pieces,
all with a lot of flare, I doubt that it will jig itself
like boats with wide plumb sides. So even though I show
the expanded shapes of the individual planks I've also
shown it made on a backbone or ladder frame so that it
can be kept in proper alignment as it goes together. And,
as with the original which probably had six or so strakes
to each side instead of the three I show, the bottom bilge
panel or garboard twists about fifty degrees in its journey
from mid boat to stem and I would expect a fair amount
of pushing and shoving required.
LFH17 needs four sheets of 1/4"
plywood with taped seam construction.