Instant Cruisung Sailing Rowboat. Any for semi-protected water?
- A good "instant" sailing rowboat for touring and semi-protected
waters? Mainly solo, quick to launch, easy to transport, some
overnighting. "Sweet Pea", or "Gypsy"?
Looking at designs for construction methods similar to those offered
by H H Payson, Bolger says the Light Dory is outright dangerous if
arranged for sail. The "Featherwind" is a sailing version of the
Light Dory Type. The "Featherwind" is designed to sail, but at 43.5
inches Bolger says "she's too wide on the bottom to be a really good
row boat". "Pirate Racer" at 39 inches on the bottom is mostly for
sailing. Some narrower on the bottom include instant
boats "Teal", "Surf", and "Zephyr", and these may be reasonable row
boats, I dunno. "Thomaston Galley" and "June Bug" like the others
may do, though only for protected water. "CSD Skiff" (aka "Perfect")
is mainly a sailer.
"Sweet Pea" may suit. She should be okay on semi-protected water.
There are various ways camping may be arranged. Bolger says he
didn't totally spoil her for rowing when fitting a sailing rig, as
"Gypsy" is for protected water and not easily camped in. However,
she is a rowboat that sails well and I can't help thinking that with
a few tweaks here and there, well, maybe...
When Milton I Patrie of Louisville, Kentucky, wrote to Small Boat
Journal (#64 December/January 1989) requesting a 14' planing cat or
sloop for someone past 60, that might even form the basis for a
small racing class, Bolger responded with Cartoon 40.
Among Milton's requirements were: planing, centre board in
preference to daggerboard, deep cockpit and wide side decks as
opposed to Sunfish types; and a moored boat that's easier rigged
than erecting and dismantling a sleeved rig for each sail, which
really gives the game away. He was looking for a "Laser"
alternative. I think this is what Bolger understood too. Bolger
thought first of 14' 11 1/2" Gypsy, "an open boat designed with a
heavy emphasis on rowing", as Milton wanted oar auxilliary, and Dan
Segal had been at him to design a decked version since demonstrating
under sail Gypsy would plane spectacularly. Dan wanted only narrow
side decks for more comfortable hiking. However, Milton wanted a
boat with enough fore, aft, and wide side decking not only for
comfort, but with a tarp over the boom to keep rainwater out of a
boat left moored.
Bolger tried to adapt Gypsy to have large rain-shedding decks to
suit Milton in various ways. He found it would not work. He tried
double angled rudders and bilgeboards (retracting), and a Cartopper
type small centreboard forward with large rudder. In the end he
reappraised the request, and designeed "Cartoon 40".
First up, in addittion to modifying Gypsy to have wide rainshedding
Decks he had also wanted to make the cockpit so narrow that Gypsy
would float on her side when capsised, and looked first at the
layout with this in mind. (I have it in mind that Bolger was
thinking of the side decked daysailers of yester-year rather than
the decks being the top of sealed side bouyancy chambers.) He found
that a centreboard made the narrow cockpit impractical, and if
offset its emergence through the bilge panel caused excessive drag.
Unlike a centreboard it would appear that the daggerboard, even
offset more to one side, would not be an impediment to having wide
decks. (Pictures available of versions of Gypsy with added side
decks show mostly only narrow ones. This is what Bolger advised in
reply to an enquiry in Small Boat Journal #67 June/July 1989 . He
said 6 to 8 inches; though it seems here he was thinking of sealed
bouyancy below the deck of a dry sailer and not a moored rain
shedder. ) If the cockpit were just wide enough to sit in it ought
provide a snug space in which to camp also. Dan Segal observed that
sidedecks would "make the boat rigid enough to eliminate all the
irritating structure that cluttered up the inside". If intended for
solo use the cockpit could be so shortened as to allow a hard hatch
cover which would be stored on the after deck after the fashion of
some touring sneak-boxes of yester-year, like Nathaniel Bishop's
If Milton had of been happy with a daggerboard I wonder if Cartoon
40 would ever have eventuated? I wonder more though how Bolger would
have re-drawn Gypsy?
Are there any other good "instant" Bolger sailing rowboats for
touring and semi-protected waters? Mainly solo, quick to launch,
easy to transport, some overnighting?
- I agree with Harry. Twenty years ago, I also had a Gloucester Gull. I also had a high stress job and I would row the Gull the 7 mile length of a lake a friend lived on, as a stress reliever. The windier the better. Sometimes 25 to 30 MPH. The lake ran north/south and when the wind was out of the north and fast I'd row to the upper end of the lake and just about fly back. ( For the Minnesotans this was lake Carlos outside Alexandria.)
Waves were choppy and with the seven mile fetch they were occassionally two feet plus at the south end. The Gull was just fine in the chop. Except that at times when on top of a wave if the wind and waves weren't aligned right the boat would weathervane. That can be an interesting thing in a boat that sits so high in the water and doesn't have much initial bouyancy. I fastened a centered skeg ( a 2" x 2" ripped from treated yellow pine) to the bottom of the hull and the boat tracked much better after that.
----- Original Message -----
From: Harry James
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2006 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: [bolger] dories, not necessarily 100% on bolger topic
Dories are rowboats not sailboats, have had real good luck with the
Gloucester Gull. Wind is more of an issue than wave height because of
windage. You can pack a huge amount of camping gear compared to a kayak
and go about as fast.
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