The start of the Toledo Rowing Club (maybe)
Feb 11, 2012

After the ROUSING success of the Family Boat Build, we took the month of January off to rest up a bit and figure out what we are going to do next. The Depoe Bay Wooden Boat Show is coming up in April, and we want to have something to show. Plus, we want to get started on a rowing club, so we might as well get started on building rowboats, innut?

Our eventual goal is to compete in the Scottish Coastal Rowing program (PDF file of the prospectus) The boat required for that is a St. Ayles Skiff, and that's a lot of boat - especially when we don't know if anyone is even interested in competitive rowing.

We chose the following criteria:

  • Must have at least two rowing stations, yet be able to be used for solo rowing.
  • Must be light so we can move 'em around when not in use
  • Can't be too hard to build - we don't mind stretching our talents, though
  • and the cherry on top: If it could also handle a motor, then we might be able to sell it if we didn't like it as a rower.

This was a shockingly difficult order to fill - especially the "Two rowing stations" part. In the end, I went to New Zealand's John Welsford Small Craft Design. I have conversed with John several times and know he rows for both fun and sport. He suggested his Mollyhawk design, a stretched version of his Seagull

This is the overview of the Seagull. For a Mollyhawk, you extend it by 115% so it ends up being over 17' long and just over 4' wide.

As near as I can guess, the Bill of Materials (per boat) for this project will be

  • Plywood: 5+ sheets of 1/4" Occume (5+ being more than 5, but significantly less than 6)
  • Framing and gunnels: 50' of 1x2 (3/4 x 1 1/2)
  • Inwales and cleats: 60' of 1x1 (3/4 x 3/4)
  • Blocking for inwales: 20' of 3/4 x 1
  • 30 yards of 6oz fiberglass tape
  • 6 yards 3.5oz fiberglass cloth for sheathing the bottom
  • 1 1/2 gal epoxy
  • 8oz silica thickener for the fillets
  • 1 lbs graphite powder for the bottom (I don't really know how much of this I will need - it's sold in 1 lbs units)
  • 2 pair oarlocks.
  • 2 pair oars

and, of course, what ever the final cost, add 10% for things I forgot.

I don't know from no 115%, so I futzed around and made a model. The boat is long, lean, and elegant. My only complaint is that it is too easy to build. But making the boat 115% longer doesn't tell you where to put the seats . . .

From the stern, I have the stern seat frame and rower station frame placed just as they are on the seagull. The forward rowing frame is the same distance from the aft rowing frame as the aft rowing frame is from the stern seat frame. The cups of water are to represent the weight of rowers, but by now we have realized there is no scale and having a model is pretty stupid.

That doesn't stop us from trying, anyhow. Bad science has to be better than no science, doesn't it? (hint: No - bad science is bad.)

Bad science or not, the model gave us something to go on. We decided since it floated, we'd go ahead and make the boat. Rick, Curt and I are lining out templates. You only make templates if you are going to make more than one of something, so you have guessed correctly, we are going to make at least 2 (can't have a race with less than 2 boats.)

Loft a bit, cut a bit. I caught Bud by surprise in this pic.

More lofting . . . (ain't it pretty when you buy safety equipment, get the guys to put it on, and they still don't use it correctly?)

. . . and more. lofting. We are making the templates of 1/8" ply. The bottom is exactly 16' long but the sides are ~ 18ft long. We are going to use Payson Butt-Joints to tie the panels together so we have nice, smooth joins inside and out.

Next week: Cutting the bits and maybe going 3D.