Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Cruising Rowing Boat

Paul Fisher has sent me a design he has had on his drawing board for a while, from one of those projects that starts with enthusiasm and then goes quiet. It is a rather nice skiff based on the American Whitehall, with smooth lines, a transom small enough to stay out of the water most of the time but to support the weight of the larger passenger or cox when necessary. She also has enough freeboard to cope with Chichester Harbour and the Solent.
Paul has added side buoyancy tanks that support the rowing thwarts while enabling them to be adjusted as necessary and to be easily removed to release lots of space for camping.
Now, the only thing missing to make it a nice vessel for joining DCA events is a sailing rig to allow the rower to take a break when the wind is on the beam or abaft.
The famous St Lawrence River Skiff has a spritsail but no rudder, being steered by adjusting the sail and your position, like a windsurfer. This appeals very much to my minimalist instincts. Clint Chase in the US builds a lovely kit for his skiff Bobby - how does she perform, Clint? Does sailing such a long, thin boat involve much involuntary swimming?
Would mounting a windsurfer rig in the bow work? I have a sneaking suspicion this is much more complex than it seems. Getting a windsurfer sail mounted and dismounted appears to involve massive amounts of faffing about on large areas of lawn. And the foot of the sail wouldn't clear the gunwale unless the mast was stepped on a thwart.
What do you all think - would a simple rig mounted forward like a catboat provide enough propulsion to be worthwhile? Would it improve matters to use an oar to steer with?

7 comments:

Chris C said...

If you just want a downwind / broad reaching rig then one of the large 'pacific action' kayak sails might be just the ticket. It should tuck nicely under the gunwale when not in use.

Keith Webster said...

A large fishing umbrella makes a good downwind sail for a rowboat!

Simon F said...

A middling size lugsail - say around 35sqft?
Doesn't want to be right up in the bows - say about a third of the lenght from them, then it should broad reach without too many problems. Paul will know what to do though!

Simon F said...

A small lugsail perhaps - say around 35sqft?
If not too far forward, then it should square reach OK.

Clint Chase Boatbuilder said...

This looks like a nice boat. I would fly either a spritsail or squgsail. The squgsail is an invention of Todd Bradshow who worked with me to find the ideal downwind sail for my Drake Rowboat, open water cruising design.

http://www.clintchaseboatbuilder.blogspot.com/p/rowboats.html

The sail I am using in the photo is actually my old Shellback dinghy lugsail. That proved to me that the best rig for this downwind work is the lugsail. It can be dropped in a heartbeat. The spritsail is OK; it can be brailed quickly. But there is still a package up there putting weight aloft in a skinny boat. The squgsail is a low aspect lugsail that almost looks like a squaresail. I have not launched my own Bobby yet...when I do I will likely use the spritsail to stay consistent with tradition.

Clint Chase Boatbuilder said...

This looks like a nice boat. I would fly either a spritsail or squgsail. The squgsail is an invention of Todd Bradshow who worked with me to find the ideal downwind sail for my Drake Rowboat, open water cruising design.

http://www.clintchaseboatbuilder.blogspot.com/p/rowboats.html

The sail I am using in the photo is actually my old Shellback dinghy lugsail. That proved to me that the best rig for this downwind work is the lugsail. It can be dropped in a heartbeat. The spritsail is OK; it can be brailed quickly. But there is still a package up there putting weight aloft in a skinny boat. The squgsail is a low aspect lugsail that almost looks like a squaresail. I have not launched my own Bobby yet...when I do I will likely use the spritsail to stay consistent with tradition.

Clint Chase Boatbuilder said...

This looks like a nice boat. I would fly either a spritsail or squgsail. The squgsail is an invention of Todd Bradshow who worked with me to find the ideal downwind sail for my Drake Rowboat, open water cruising design.

http://www.clintchaseboatbuilder.blogspot.com/p/rowboats.html