Sunday, October 11, 2015

SEI, afloat.

Left to right. Blair, Paul and I about to pick her up and drop her in the water.  The designer is always a bit nervous on launching day. Float would be good, up the right way even better. 

It was a cool, grey and windy day, but the estuary is sheltered so there was not much in the way of waves when Blair, Paul and I walked the little boat down the ramp and into the water. She’s quite light at 76 kg, I can lift her on my own,  there would need to be a darn good reason for me to do that though but it does mean that handling her on the ground is easy, to pick one end up and drag her, or lift her around is easy.

I name this ship SEI.  May good luck  go with her and all who sail in her.

There are strong tidal currents here so we’d chosen to launch at slack water. We slid her into the water just before high tide, I shipped the oars climbed aboard and away.  She’s stable, steady enough to stand up and move about in, rows very easily leaving a particularly flat wake, and seems well balanced in a cross wind.

I'll get more pics when there is some light to show her off. In the meantime, check out the video on the link below.

I’d chosen 2.4m oars (8 footers) rather than the theoretical best length at 2.65m (8 ft 10in) so they’d stow easily out of the way of all the activity when sailing, SEI is after all primarily a sailing boat and when sailing the oars at this length will be stowed blade forward into the bow, with the handles out at the ends of the center thwart.  Out of the way, easy to access, and secure.

She is wider than most pure rowing boats, even with the oarlocks fitted inboard as far as possible on the gunwales, shes wide, that’s where the stability for sailing comes from, that and the fact that she’s wider in the bottom aft at the crew position than is usual in a double ender.  This is a “sailing” shape rather than a “rowing” shape.
She's also workboat style, slightly chunky rather than graceful although she looks very nice from most angles.  I wanted her to have much more stability than other double enders of this general configuration,  that will help her sailing ability plus the seat and gunwale height is right for rowing.

She’s nice to handle under oars, tracks well, turns easily and is not sensitive to trim.  Even with a passenger aft she does not drag a wake behind, Denny and I want for a row up the river the following morning, she’d not been up there before and we covered about 4 miles out and back within an hour (the tide was helping, I was not out to break records).  Watched the sun come up, marvelled over the birdlife and the scenery up there.

Success, now I have to rig her for sail, that’s no big deal but I just couldn’t wait to get her afloat.
Thanks Emma, Blair,  Paul and Denny for the support at her launching.

Paul Mullings has kindly put together a video on YouTube that shows the action, Thanks Paul.

 Now I'm having an acute attack of "empty workshop syndrome". Ah well, there is only one cure for that.


  1. Take a liberal amount of seasoned wood, add an assortment of fasteners, arrange same with the help from common hand tools, abate symptoms, and await the next bout of illness

  2. Looks really great John - you have done an excellent job with this one. Having a chuckle - no room for an eggbeater!
    What is the beam? Looks great carrying capacity down aft.

    1. Thanks Don, she's quite a bit finer forward, my intention is to sail her sitting in the gap between the center thwart and the aft seat with legs across. I've a small beanbag style dogs bed that will become the comfort cushion and the padding in the lifejacket makes the gunwale ok as a backrest.

  3. SHe looks great John, some of these double enders look a bit too Viking like for my taste but you have SEI just right.

    I've always liked the Drascombe Scafie apart from the weight (200KG)

    Looking forward to seeing her out sailing

  4. Nice work all round John! Congratulations.
    Owen Sinclair

  5. To Burseldon Blogger. Rather than the very fine "Viking" style, I used some pics I found of a "Hardangerbot" as the basis for the styling. I gather that there are still some in service, and as boats used for long line and net fishing along a lee shore they're a bit more stable and have more freeboard which fitted the sailing and family use I have in mind. I like the look of the Scaffie too, but its weight and cost are both more than I think ideal.

  6. Good to hear from you Owen, I hope all is well with you and yours.
    Summer is close, will you be out there in Tusk again?

    1. I will be out there in Tusk again. I missed last summer due to moving house,establishing a new garage/workshop etc, but some of the projects are almost at an end and I should be on the water soon.

      I have been out in the dory: through the Lower Buller Gorge about one month ago.

      Is the raid following or close to the Mahurangi Regatta going ahead?



  7. Looks great John. This may be just the boat I am looking for! I look forward to your report on her sailing performance. Are the plans available? Any change SEI will be available as a CNC cut out kit?
    Vancouver, Canada