Welcome! Here in the Pacific Northwest, Autumn is here! Cooler weather makes for more comfortable afternoon rowing, right?

We have a lot of news for you, and hope you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting it together.


Dave had some fun playing with the laws of physics in one of our 9.5′ Captain’s Gigs.

People ask how fast a small boat can go with an outboard motor, and our answer is often perceived as overly-detailed. That’s because traditional small craft usually are limited by their calculated theoretical hull speed, which is how fast the laws of physics will allow a solid object to move through water. Sure, you can put lots of power on the back of any type of boat and it will move, but often that comes at the expense of gracefulness, safety and / or efficiency.

The type of boats we build have very little resistance (low drag coefficient) so they require little power. Even our biggest boat, the 17′ Jersey Skiff, will go through the water at speeds approaching hull speed with just the power of one person on the oars. A typical human generates about 1/16th of a horsepower. That’s why we recommend small, light motors! If you use a heavy motor to propel a boat quickly, a displacement (non-planing) hull — the type of hull we build for all but one of our models — creates a hole in the water, and the stern of the boat falls in the hole.

Recently, Dave and Janet went crabbing and used their little 9.5 Gig with a 2 hp motor. Calculated hull speed for this boat is about 3.8 knots. Now, check out how the 2 hp motor pushed the boat at 7.3 knots, almost TWICE hull speed. The trick here is that Dave used a tiller extension so he could have his weight centered and keep the boat level in the water, keeping the stern out of the “hole.” Thus endeth today’s hydrodynamics lesson.




Frequently, customers ask us about boats to take on their RV, and the most vexing situations we run across concern owners of 5th wheel trailers. 5th wheels tow great and have lots of space, but you can’t tow a boat behind one. What’s more, the part of the 5th wheel trailer that extends over the pickup bed makes it impossible to carry a boat in the truck, either. So, when Dave and Jan recently bought a 5th wheel trailer, they started drawing on napkins and doin’ some good, old-fashioned head scratchin’. (What’s the point of having a recreation vehicle if you don’t have a boat, right?)

The result is a simple adaptation of the hinged davit arrangement usually used to carry dinghies on the back of yachts. A 9.5′ Captain’s Gig was constructed with a reinforced transom, and the dinghy davit heads were installed on the transom instead of the gunwale. Fabricated steel receptacles were then bolted to the bumper of the trailer, and a pulley mechanism attached to the rail on top of the trailer.

One person can roll the dinghy to position behind the trailer and hoist it vertical with the pulley, whereupon it is secured for travel. To use the boat, just lower it onto the collapsible beach dolly and roll it to the beach.




Good ideas seem to propagate…..

The very first time Dave and Jan took their dinghy-equipped RV to a state park, people were coming up asking about where they could get one, too.

A week later, we received an order for an RV-mounted dinghy from a couple in Nevada who’d heard about it through the RV’ers grapevine. Here, the happy motorhome owners are hooking up their new dinghy at the shop. They are ‘full timers’ and got the dinghy wet the first time in the Great Lakes 5 days later.





We received the following email from Hans, who received his Whitehall in Virginia not long ago. We’re waiting with bated breath for Hans to send us some pics of his new baby underway!

Good morning Dave, well, it’s happened! And of course you are right: well worth waiting for. Genetti arrived finally Friday night, we had the boat in the water at 9:30. She looks beautiful!..Next day I rowed it and enjoyed the comfort and ease, not to mention how easily she moves! Then it rained a couple of days and yesterday the sun was out – but also a very frivolous and shifty wind and I raised the sail and got a lot of excercise, as in our lake with its arms and tall trees the gusts shifted some 180 degrees and their intensity changed from second to second. And then I realized that there was a lot of water in the boat–the plug had fallen out…No problem! The few brief moments, really just seconds, that the wind was steady from one direction she sailed beautifully on a reach or downwind. No heading possible without knowing where the wind was coming from..But again. beautiful. And the boat-cover, very very clever and perfect. The beautiful wooden mast and oars. gorgeous.

I’m looking forward to getting to know my cute Melonseed ever better.

Best regards, Hans


We received this email from an 81-years-young rower in Lake Chelan, WA.

Dear Dave: Just some notes about my new Whitehall. Finest boat I’ve ever had. Lovely – classical to look at – and just pure adrenaline to row. As you know I’m an ex-sculler moving from a 24′ racing shell. But at 81 my balance isn’t what it used to be, especially in the summer time rolling water of Lake Chelan. But the Whitehall, with sliding seat (unique design that works perfectly), long oars and the fine entry I get the same effect as with the shell but all the stability I couldn’t achieve in the skinny boat. And, I swear I’m going through the water just as fast.

I congratulate you on the great design, super-duper options and the patience to put up with my never ending requests. I love the “Miss Daisy”. Couple of photos follow.

Many thanks – Nat




Mike out on Shaw Island sent us this great photo of him rowing across Harney Channel on the north end of Shaw Island.

Hi Dave, My wife and I just got home after a six week stay at our cabin on Shaw Island in the San Juan Islands. I thought I’d forward this photo to you take about two weeks ago. I was out for one of my many 1-2 hour rows in Wasp Pass/Harney Channel on the north end of Shaw.

This boat delivers! It is, if anything, even nicer to row than I presumed it would be. It tracks arrow straight & moves along nicely with little effort. The area pictured isn’t always so benign looking, as you probably know; winds, wakes and tides can make for some very challenging small boat handling. None of these caused me any problems. And, as you said would happen, we got a lot of compliments from fellow islanders, some of whom are also rowers, on the boat’s lines and traditional “look.” “Simplicity”, as we have unofficially named her, is a hit.

Thanks to you and your fellow craftsmen for a fine job.



Anchorage, Alaska & Shaw Island, Washington



We received the following brief email from Charlie in Florida, after he fitted out his boat with our Forward Facing Rowing System.


I ordered your forward facing rowing system with pre-cut oars last year. I installed it on the 16’ Gloucester Gull Rowing Dory that I had just built with your system in mind. The boat is approximately 50” outside to outside of gunwale at the rowlocks. I rigged it with a sliding seat, and installed the oars without cutting them, such that there is approximately 4” of overlap on the handles.

These oars work great. It feels just like rowing with conventional oars, except possibly smoother, but to me it’s a lot safer and more enjoyable facing forward. The 15% gear up is nice, too, because the oars can be slightly shorter, which is handy in tight quarters such as under bridges.


North Palm Beach, FL


Bob on Whidbey Island dropped us a line to let us know his Whitehall has gone back to its roots as a work boat.

Hi Dave, When I first ordered my Whitehall I was only looking for a sailboat, then you talked me into a sliding seat and that became its primary purpose. Then Judy talked me into getting an electric motor and it became our tender. Lately it has gone back to its roots and become a work boat.

You can find it off Lagoon Point most mornings at sunrise lately if the weather and tides cooperate. My neighbors tell me it’s the prettiest fishing boat around and of course that is true but I appreciate the way it just bobs up and down in the swells while their “more stable” boats roll around like beer cans on the floor. As you can see from the attached photo, I have installed a more comfortable seat and the lines on the floor are my foot steering system. The photo was taken this morning just after low slack. Just another typical day at Lagoon Point this year. Tomorrow there will be Dungeness crab in addition to the salmon. That reminds me that I am also looking forward to the arrival of my pot-puller.


Note Bob’s “captain’s chair,” as well as the foot steering system for his electric motor. Also, the coffee cup and use of the mast step as a rod holder! Bob is a true seaman!


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.