Welcome! This is our first web newsletter. Long-time customers will notice that we have made some improvements to our website. We have put up more information about our boats and the work we do to help folks decide what options will best suit their needs. We had considered an email format, but we get enough spam as it is and we sure don’t want to bug you with our version of it. Be sure to drop us a line and let us know if you find these newsletters helpful.
We intend for these newsletters to be informal. Our goal is to share our customers’ stories, and our own, if we think our friends and future customers would find them interesting. Plus, we may put advance notices about new and developing boats here as well.
First, we’d like to introduce the newest member of our fleet, The 17′ Melonseed! This boat has been a long time in planning. Last year we went looking for a boat that would handle the open water as well as our New England Dory, yet would sail more easily and be a little larger. As you all know, the result of that search was our wildly successful Jersey Skiff. The Jersey Skiff has proven to be a very popular boat for family cruising and extended voyaging. It rows very well, but we knew that, being a sailboat, some aspects of the skiff (full deck, high freeboard) made it less of an ultimate rowing machine.
This year we set out to fill the gap in our lineup. The 14’ft Whitehall has been a popular rowboat for exercise, but it was too short to install dual sliding seats. The Whitehall is fast with dual rowers, but we knew that a longer hull and waterline would improve the speed, and lower freeboard gives the oars a nice angle on the water. However, we didn’t want to go to the expense and cumbersomeness of building a permanent rowing rig.
We first considered building a longer Whitehall. They are nice boats: fast, pretty, and easy to row. But Whitehalls are narrow, and for speed with a sliding seat its really nice to use a longer set of oars, and to use longer oars a Whitehall needs a set of expensive and clumsy outriggers. A 17′ Whitehall with its full keel goes straight really well. The disadvantage is that if you are rowing it alone in a harbor, you have to pull hard on one oar to turn the boat to avoid mooring balls, other boats etc. When pulled up on a beach sitting on its keel, the boat tends to roll onto the hard chine rather than sit flat.
Dave discovered that there was a longer version of the Jersey Melonseed in a beautiful lap strake hull. The boat has the same stem, stern and box keel as the East Coast Melonseed, but had been stretched from 14′ to nearly 17′. And the deck had been removed to lighten the boat and allow us to put the oarlocks out at the gunnel. This longer hull gives us plenty of room to install a set of our own custom-designed tandem sliding seats. Infinitely adjustable seat positions and three oarlock positions allow different-sized rowers and even passengers while still maintaining correct fore and aft trim.
Of course once we got the hull ready we had to take it out on the water for photos (you can see the result on the boats page) Most importantly, was it fast and fun to row? You bet!
Next we did some stability tests so that folks could see that you can have a fast hull that isn’t tippy.
Here Falk is looking for crabs… The best way to pull a crab pot is over the stern.
And Wow! This boat is great!
Now, we are not dull folks who just build boats, we love to use them too. So when the Tall ships came to Tacoma, we had to go look for ourselves. Since we have plenty of friends whenever we go out on the water we took one of our Jersey Skiffs and you can see how much the sailors on the larger boats envied our crew!
So that’s all the news for now. We hope to see you out on the water this summer. Be safe! Wear your lifejacket, it does you no good in the bottom of the boat. And look for our up and coming newsletters!