17' PULLING BOAT :
ATHELAS
81 pounds
45" wide
12" at side


ATHELAS is an eye pleasing, open water recreational rowing, or pulling boat.

She is patterned after the famous N. G. Herreshoff's 1947 lines drawn for an article in The Rudder. His sketch has inspired many other designers and builders, including two of John Gardner's favorite double-ended peapod versions (See Chapter I of Gardner's book "More Building Classic Small Craft" for a lot more info).

At 17'-2", her water-line length is 16'-4", yielding an easy 5 miles an hour rowing speed that can be kept up for a few miles as a single. With two, she steams.


oar section
Her narrow 3'-6" beam yields perfect oar length ratios for 7-1/2' oars rowed with hands overlapped, and the location of maximum waterline beam, and LCB are carefully placed to minimize wave-making resistance at that speed. Once she's up to speed, just slide the oars out a few inches for a bigger bite.

Athelas  sheer plan
One fixed thwart and one moveable thwart allow one or two rowers to drive this boat on an even keel. A narrow transom stern will accommodate a trolling motor for fishing as well. Since the boat was first patterned after the Adirondack and Rangeley Guide boats, you ought to be able to fish from it!

Glued lapstrake construction with a minimum of transverse framing produces a boat lighter than all previous versions, and Herreshoff's almost trade-mark flat bottom will take the beach for decades to come. ATHELAS can be planked up with 1/4 inch fir or 6mm ocume plywood, and her bottom from 1/2 inch fir or 9 mm apitong or sepele ply. 4 x 10 foot lengths of fir plywood are available on the east coast, and 5 x 10 ocume on the west coast.

This Tom Hill "Ultra-light Construction" style boat weighed in at only 81 pounds. This is a car-top-able design that one person can get on and off, and to the water with one set of kayak or canoe wheels. You can make your own oars, or order spruce oars from www.barkleysoundoar.com, or your favorite supplier. A set of spruce oars with leathers is about 8 pounds.

There are plenty of designs and kits available for sliding seat boats with a narrower hull and outriggers, but no other plans for this "common sense" boat. Plans cost $75. Materials cost about $415. Labor is about 60 hours for the mold and 160 hours to build and finish the boat. Custom built, about $2000.

If you want a slightly faster boat for two people, the design can simply be stretched to 18 feet by adding an inch to each station on the mold. If you want a lighter boat, see ATHEY.

Calculated RESISTANCE in POUNDS in calm water
KNOTS 3 4 5 6
1 170# rower = 260# 2.2 3.9 7.9 14.4
2 170# rowers = 430# 2.7 4.8 9.3 17.3

rower molds







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