Welcome! Here in the Pacific Northwest, its been a great summer, and we have been keeping busy building boats for your fall fun! It’s been a little cooler than the typical Northwest giving us sweatshirt weather for our Labor day picnics. It’s not too late to get out and enjoy the last of the summer calender, so grab these nice days while you can! See you on the water!

As many of you know we rely mostly on word of mouth to sell our boats. There is only one magazine, Small Craft Advisor, devoted to small boats, and we’ve been in production way longer than they have. So when a famous yacht designer buys one of our boats and then posted a review, we were honored. Below you will find a reprint of Steve and Linda Dashew’s review of our 14′ Whitehall. The article is also available for viewing on their website, www.setsail.com.

Now we would like to alert those of you who are thinking about getting a boat for a winter cruise in the warm South Sea’s, or as a Christmas present under the tree; the construction line is is getting a bit shorter as we get into autumn, but the wait times will pick up the closer we get to Christmas. So if you are thinking ahead to the holidays for a gift for that someone special, now is the time to put your money down and secure your place in line. If you need us to hold your boat until that magic day in December, just let us know and we’ll work out the delivery schedule with you.

Heritage Row

Well, the Row was a carnival! We wanted to get T shirts for our entire team and a few others but there were so many entries they ran out of shirts. They will be making more so we’ll get ’em later.

Our good friend Greg Spooner from the Oar Northwest Row across the Atlantic team, rowed the Melonseed and smoked the course in 1 hour 19 minutes. Jordan and Falk rowed the Jersey Skiff tandem and finished about 2 minutes after Greg…. Which wasn’t too bad because Falk slept in or whatever and showed up about when the gun went off, so they started maybe 5 minutes late! Sheesh! But they flew past Dave in a Whitehall 14, with a rooster tail behind…and then rowed way wide of the course, maybe an extra 1/2 mile too far to the North.

Dave, well, he had a few troubles keeping up the race pace. Dave smoked the first quarter of the course but then his left hand really started to cramp and couldn’t keep the blade angle right so had to slow the stroke count. First time that ever happened to him he says, and it’s a pain because he claims to have had plenty of strength left in his shoulders. We don’t have Dave’s exact finishing time but it’s probably about 1 hr 45 minutes. Last time it was 1 hr 21 minutes. Heck, Dave even got beat by one of our customers in a 9 1/2 foot Captains Gig! Goes to show how fast even our smaller boats are. Dave is 59 though so we still consider his rowing effort to be pretty good, as the rest of the team is half his age.

Still it was a great day to be out on the water with all our friends. After the race we had a number of folks come by to look at our boats and talk shop. Dave’s hands are feeling fine now and he looks forward to a rematch next year, next time he wants the Melonseed and will put Falk in the Whitehall.

Whitehall Review from setsail.com

Gig Harbor Rowing Dinghy by Steve & Linda Dashew

We’ve carried a variation of the Catalina Wherry, a 14-foot (4.3m) rowing dinghy, on all our cruising boats going back 30 years. Even Wind Horse had a used version which we picked up in New Zealand prior to leaving. However, we’ve been hankering for something a little more sophisticated, and have been looking at rowing dinghies with sliding seats. A sliding seat allows the rower to use both arms and legs when working the oars.

After arriving in the Northwest we started seeing a lot of sliding seat dinghies built by Gig Harbor Yachts, of Gig Harbor, Washington. There were a number of things about their 14-foot model which appealed to us. Its sloop would fill the need to daysail. And it allows the sliding seat to be fixed in an aft position, and then rowed double. We contacted the factory in June and were told four months for delivery. That was too long as we’d be a 1000 miles south by then.

On our way back through Puget Sound we thought we’d try again. We were happy to learn they’d just taken in trade (on a longer design) a 1-year-old boat of the configuration we wanted. We bought it on the phone.

[All photos are courtesy of www.setsail.com]


The length of this boat is 6 inches (150mm) longer than our old Wherry. It is also 4 inches (100mm) wider.


The hull shape keeps the volume more centralized than our old dink. In technical terms this would be a lower prismatic, indicating better low-speed performance, with less top end. The boat is more stable than what we are used to, easy to board off the swim step from abeam or the bow. We expected that this lower prismatic hull shape and increased stability would be a little harder to row, but the boat feels very nice under way, so the penalty, if there is one, is small. Overall, this shape is a better compromise than our Wherry.

If you are really into hull shapes, check out the ends in the photo above. Notice how little boat is in the water, compared to the middle, where Steve is sitting. Keeping the volume in the middle gives more stability and less wetted surface.

Columbia_2_-005In this photo you can see the sliding seat, which rides on skateboard wheels, and the foot brace (removable) which has Velcro toe straps. We need to adjust it aft for Steve and forward for Linda – something that’s gone onto the “To Do” list for the winter. The aft set of row lock points on the gunnel are for when two are using oars.


We picked up a pair of spoonbill-type oars. This high aspect ratio spoon shape delivers power to the water more efficiently than straight-bladed oars. We’ve got a second set of heavier straight blade oars for use in the surf.

This new “rowing machine” is guaranteed to do wonders for waistlines, recreate our abs of old, and tone arm, leg, and shoulder muscles, all while providing an enjoyable time on the water. Time will tell…

If you would like to read more stuff by Steve and Linda, they have a regular website with lots of great information: Set Sail website


Well we have heard from Erden, who is now out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the reports are good. Erden called us to tell us how well the sliding seats are working. That the rollers are virtually silent and smooth as glass. Erden has over 2000nm on this rig and that is a lot of strokes!

As you read Erden’s logs you can see that he was very lucky to leave the California coast when he did. The three week head start he has on Roz Savage made all the difference in the weather that he has had to row in. We are grateful that the weather gods are smiling on his journey and look forward to hearing more from him. You can follow his trip here http://www.around-n-over.org


A man tied to his work!


Our seat rails being used to measure the day’s catch!


A happy fisherman at last! Note those carbon wrapped wood oars. This is one of the best ways to make an oar, the two materials work together to make a tough but flexible oar.

We are vicariously enjoying Erden’s trip and welcome his regular updates. If you enjoy them as much as we do, be sure to sign up for the notifications on his website.

We will continue to provide updates in our newsletters as we receive updates from Erden.

Roz Savage Rows the Pacific!

Well if you have been following the Roz Savage story on her website you already know what has happened. But if not, in brief, because of extreme weather conditions, Roz while sleeping was rolled 3 times in the course of two days. Someone following the web postings called the Coast Guard to check her well being out. Faced with being at the edge of the range for rescue Roz faced a difficult decision, to go on, knowing that further attempts at rescue would be relying on passing ships or abandon and try again later. Roz decided to abandon and we think that this was the smart choice and fully support her future attempts to row across the Pacific.

One thing we did hear from Roz was that the sliding seat and oars held up much better than the equipment she used on her Atlantic rowing trip. (brand X, not our stuff) And we are very glad our rowing rigs worked so well. We know we make great stuff but the ocean is a hard tester.

Roz’s blog, listen to day 11a for the radio response by Roz about being rolled in the night.

The video story of the events just before rescue. A passing boat threw a second sea anchor after several failed attempts as Roz struggles to continue the trip.

This is a YouTube video of her dramatic rescue by the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer.

This is a video of the conditions that led up to the boat rolling.

This is the video of Roz going back out to pick up her boat. Fortunately she had a tracking device on board so finding her wasn’t too difficult. Still the boat looks in reasonably good condition and should be ready for another attempt next year.

You can of course go directly to her website and sign up for updates. And as we hear from Roz we will add stuff to our newsletters. Roz Savage Rows the Pacific

From our Mailbag

Our Mailbag again has been overflowing this summer so We’re sure you will enjoy reading about these adventures as much as we have.

Jersey Skiff

Remember the Westwind? December 2006 Newsletter. The Westwind is the wonderfully restored 1924 wooden power yacht for which we built the custom Jersey skiff tender last year. Well, their dream trip is very definitely coming through! Check these photos form The Tuamotus and Marquesas Islands. Hugh included a short handwritten note saying how much they are enjoying the Jersey skiff and has given us permission to use these photos. He will send more photos as the trip progresses. Next stop is French Polynesia, Tahiti and the Society Islands. The Westwind made the trip from Mexico (Cabo) to Nuku Hiva in 16 days.


The Jersey Skiff on a nice broad reach. Anaho Bay, Nuka Hiva Island


Westwind anchored in Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva Island


Sailing in Hanavave Bay, Fatu Hiva Island


The whole family on the beach, next to our Jersey Beach Skiff


Sailing on an emerald sea, Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Islands


Ever see two happier people? Anaho Bay, Nuka Hiva Island

Boy are we envious of this trip! Check back in the future newsletters for more photos as they come to us.


Hi folks,

To compliment my first cruising powerboat (a 32-knot 1978 26′ Campion) I purchased my first eight-and-a-half-foot Gig Harbor Boat Works rowing dinghy many many years ago and sold it six years ago with that fiberglass boat because it fit the boat so well. My second cruising boat (a 14-knot 1940 39.5′ Matthews standard sedan) that I purchased six years ago already had an old wood Ranger rowing dinghy included. But the Ranger was old and beat up and too long from bow to stern to mount on the swim-platform on the transom so it lived on the roof of the boat and was WAY too heavy for me to get off by myself .. in an emergency, I would have simply have had to shove it off and hope it landed right side up! Yikes. So what did I do to solve this dilemna? Three-and-a-half years ago, I went back to my friends at Gig Harbor Boat Works and ordered and purchased another dinghy .. a sailing one this time .. and it’s perfect!

I ordered the varnished wood sheer trim to match my 1940 Matthews cruiser, the stainless steel keel strip for protection, the deluxe rowing oars for ease, and one side reinforced for strength for mounting on the swim-platform. This dinghy sails wonderfully, rows divinely, is perfectly stable when attached to the swim-platform, and I just couldn’t be happier.

Attached are some photos of the dinghy sailing and attached to the boat. Your boats are the best. I hope to own this 1940 Matthews “Pied Piper” and the dinghy (no name yet, what do I name her?) for a long, long time, but if I ever do buy another cruising boat, I’ll come straight to you folks for its dinghy.


Out for a nice sail.


A closeup of me sailing.


Sailing away on a warm summer breeze. Mount Rainier in the background.


The Navigator hooking up to the swim platform.


All the gear put away and ready to go!

Best regards, Ann H.

www.mvpiedpiper.com for more photos and stories.

So that’s all the news for now. We hope to hear from you soon. We’ll be busy working on our next newsletter as well as your boats. So if email is slow, please call.