The first example of my Oarmouse rowing skiff has been built and launched by Fred Rodger in the USA, and I’m very pleased to see that it seems to work as intended, and for that reason I hope Intheboatshed.net readers will forgive me for posting a cheapo stitch and glue plywood boat on this weblog.
There’s a short video here: Oarmouse in action
I designed the Oarmouse some ten years ago at a time when I was particularly interested in developing a series of small boats that would enable those without money (like me) to get on the water for only a small outlay in money and time. My aim in this case was to create a light and quick little skiff with a good waterline length and small waterline beam that could be built from just two sheets of ply.
The long chines are intended to provide a bit of confidence-inspiring stability for beginning rowers, by the way, though the square-headed bows say little about the boat’s underwater lines, which are nice and easy.
Fred seems very pleased with the result: ‘My first impression is that it is a good and easy rower, very fast and responsive – with someone who can row well of course.’ He also reports that it refuses to hobby-horse as he leans to-and-fro during rowing.
By the way, the paint job is intended to be like a ship’s commissioning pennant. Fred also says the hull shape seemed to him to have traditional quality that he decided emphasised with the scallop along the gunwale cap, the rope handles, and the look of the outriggers. ‘Along with that, the Stars and Stripes are quite late Baroque in design (thinking Betsy Ross),’ he says. ‘I thought that went well with the overall scheme of things. On the other hand it could all be given space age appeal with a nice early 1960’s sensiblities informed by, say the music of the Ventures.’
One thing I would say is that Oarmouse requires a skeg, and I’m pleased to report that Fred has already started work on adding it. I’m also not sure whether the oar length is right – Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure will likely have views on the matter.
This little boat won’t perform like the boats the professionals use to practise, but it can certainly be made very cheaply, and will be considerably quicker and lighter than a flattie skiff of the same length. Bags of fun, I say… Click on the image below to get the free boat plans.