I really like double ended boats, they have a grace and beauty that the blunt ended craft don’t have, but I wanted one that would meet a particular set of needs.
I row. A lot, about 3 or 4 hours a week. In a good boat its very nice easy exercise that doesn’t stress my aging knees, gets me out on the river with the dog in the sternsheets, and keeps me reasonably fit. On the other hand I wanted to be able to sail the 8 miles or so out to where my friend lives on an island near here, and get back even if the weather is less than clement, so she not only needed to row but also sail fast and dry.
Stability was also needed, scrambling in and out from a high sea wall can lead to a swim if one is not careful or the boat is a bit tippy, and my wife is not as agile as she was but loves to come out on the water with me so a steady boat was critical.
I’d been looking through a catalogue of a museum in Hardangerfjord in southern Norway, and found pics of a lovely litle boat that
reminded me strongly of the Viking heritage of that area, it was ideal for conversion to a modern construction method, double ended, three planks a side on a narrow flat bottom panel, about the right size, so beginning with that vision I drew SEI, named after the small and fast whale species that in historical times was hunted in that part of the world.
In order to gain the stability I needed she’s wider, with flared sides that reduce her heeling under sail, shes wider aft so the crew weight is better supported, and fine forward so she’ll punch through waves without pitching and slowing down.
The flaring sides also mean that the water line beam is relatively modest so she rows well and her aft shape is such that even when there is a passenger in the sternsheets she still rows well.
The big lugsail really gets her along, she’s close winded, will move well even when the wind is so light that the smoke from the campfire ashore is going straight up, and is a real eye opener in a breeze, seriously good fun.
Built from plywood with only a little solid wood here and there, shes an easy build suitable for a first timer with modest tool skills, I’d expect her to take perhaps 150 hours to complete to a “tidy workboat” standard. There is nothing complicated here. The rig is a simple one, and the plans include a complete list of fittings that can be bought as a single purchase, including the RSS sail which is shown as an alternative to having one custom made, and there is a comprehensive step by step building guide to take the builder through the project.
Kitsets for SEI are avaialble from John Owen, J.O.Woodworks, contact him via his website.