fishing offshore in a rowboat.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by coopscraft, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. MoePorter
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    MoePorter Junior Member

    PAR makes a good suggestion - the Pea Pod type was developed around the compromises between rowing ease, seaworthiness & enough stability to haul lobster pots. Those qualities would fit your needs nicely. Compare these two examples - notice the mid section of the peapod is flatter - very roughly speaking that's what makes the pod stable enough to pull lobster pots - or lean over the side to net or release fish.

    I just pulled these examples off google to illustrate initial stability basics...

    These types can be built traditional, glued lapstrake, cold molded or as a stripper canoe would be built. I'm sure they've been adapted for ply stitch & glue construction plus some others I can't think of now...personally speaking cold molded would be the least fun - traditional the most (I'd get to steam bend oak...) but given $$$, time, weight & low maintenance I'd build it as a stripper or glued lapstrake.

    I can't think of a another type of boat that's more enjoyable to build - the shapes are deeply seductive...To narrow down your choices maybe pick a construction type, max length & launch method. The launch method brings up weight & keel issues so that's important.
    More pulling boats designs have been ruined by the desire to end up with a smart sailor than anything else...but a simple reaching/downwind sail can work well with any pulling boat with more than average stability.Moe
  2. Jacques B.
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    Jacques B. Junior Member

    I've never actually gone fishing myself, much less off-shore fishing in a rowboat, but my impression was that it was usually done solo or in pairs, in relatively calm waters, and with the sole goal of replacing the spent beer cans in the cooler by an equal amount of dead fish.

    Granted, you might have to deal with your occasional 4-5' beach wave to get out there, but that, your average rubber ducky can do.

    The only time I ever saw 4 people fishing out of the same rowboat was in an old Hitchcock movie, and believe me, they didn't look like they were having all that much fun...

    So, why 4 rowers, and why 8' seas?
  3. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    A 4-5' beach wave is a frightening and powerful thing, and will overwhelm any small boat, given half a chance.
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    I did a comparative study of 15 peapods and presented some of the results at the Penobscot Marine Museum's History Conference in 2011. A video of the presentation is available at If anyone would like a copy of the slides send me an email or message with your email address.
  5. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member


    Mate, stay home when it's 8'..... or fish the river that day.

  6. motorbike
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    motorbike Senior Member

    Stay home, good advice. 8 foot means about a 16-18 foot face from trough to crest depending on the bottom slope and structure

    Generally speaking you could get out on a day like that but you would need a lot of skill to time the sets and then you would need a boat like this which is going out on about a 3-4 foot break.


    Seriously, this is not doable as a practical fishing boat
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  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Look folks, I think it's been established that 8' seas in an open row boat is challenging for surf rescue craft and four 22 year old professionals. I also think it's obvious the original poster hasn't seen these conditions, but was hoping to have an envisioned level of security.

    Is this type of boat possible, yep, sure is, but it's not practical, nor easy for solo operation in calmer conditions. So, it's time to move onto the reality of a 4 man pulling craft, that can be used solo and with low power. I'm still stuck on the Pea Pod, maybe because I stretched one for a client a few years ago and like the qualities of the type, but also because I think it hits all the categories that Coopscraft has hoped for, including rough water efforts. Naturally, having a short boat in tall breakers is just not a desirable thing, but a skilled crew could survive, wet, bailing their brains out, but again if well handled, they could land her on a beach with fresh puke swirling in the bilge.

    My stretched pod used a plank keel and was a stripper, because the builder preferred this method, being almost 19' between perpendiculars.

    David, please send me the slide show.
  8. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Although those surf racing craft sometimes come up cheap like 3-600 bucks, seen a couple set up for low power(like 9.9 4/) operation with a nice cuddy or bimini shade, pretty cheap boating, one had outriggers.

    Sometimes 8' face is referred to as an 8' wave, biggest I've ever surfed was at A bay Noosa breaking about 12-14, only went out 'cos I was young & overloaded on BS & testosterone...... we mostly survive our youth............did ride some of those but came home bleeding...... talked it up like all get out back at the pub
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    If its going to have a motor , a self bailing boat like a Boston Whaler can be had in no time.

    They suck to row , but thats what the motor is for.

    O\If it flips in 8 ft surf , at least it should wash ashore in one piece.
  10. erik818
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    erik818 Senior Member

    The rowing boats we had in Southern Lapland when I grew up were designed for two rowers in tandem, but often you would row them alone. We were often 4-5 persons in them with a total weight of maybe 300 kgs. The number of males with modern american size guts would be somewhat less.

    When I grew up, all rapids were replaced with hydroelectric power plants, but the generation before me used to navigate rapids in these type of boats. They are stable and easy to row. The original type was of course made from local wood, which means pine or spruce. They were double enders, but when outboards became available the aft was cut off and a transom installed for hanging the outboard on. At the waterline they still are double enders. A 2 Hp outboard would be suitable; 4 hp will just cause it to dig down the aft.

    The type is still very popular in northern rivers and lakes, but nowadays they are made in GRP.

    You could sit two abreast at each rowing station, but then the oar locks would be too close in. Maybe you can invent foldable outriggers for the oar locks if you need the option ot have two rowers abreast at the rowing stations?


    Attached Files:

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  11. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    In order for it to be big enough for 4 people. it will be to big for 1 person. Wood composite would be to heavy IMO , and foam core would be the way to go. I would also want a rudder of some kind. A peapod, as suggested would be a good shape to start with. I think a 6hp 4 stroke motor painted the same color as the boat, and no one would know the hp. An old wind surfer rig would be a cheap sail arrangement.
  12. MoePorter
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    MoePorter Junior Member

    PAR -
    Sounds interesting - any other info/photos/build weight on this project? I don't know if the OP wants to beach launch but the plank keel would make sense.Moe
  13. luigisir
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    luigisir New Member

    Hello, I am the brother younger of the OP, and as he is on the road for work he has asked me to inquire about a few things. Firstly, he would like to confirm that he absolutely does not intend to be out in inclement weather on purpose, be that as it may, a healthy respect for the mid-Oregon coastline has encouraged him to plan a bit ahead as far as seaworthiness is concerned.

    He does like beach launching but it is absolutely not a necessity of design.

    He did ask me to find out if that peapod that was stretched was stretched amidships, simply scaled, or if the stations were spaced apart evenly. Any reports about its behavior in inclement weather are appreciated.

    He and I both wonder about the apparent lack of historical ash breezers for fishing along the Oregon coast. The only one we can think of is the very long and heavy dugout used by the natives in days gone by, regrettably, like the various Viking craft, requires a private militia for a days jaunt. Does anyone have any insight about this?

    We also wonder about the swampscott dory as a base to modify for the Pacific coast, perhaps with some removable ballast. what would you recommend?

    I personally like the Laplander rowboat and the flashboats, that and the drekar comment made me google a bit and I saw a picture of a "faering" and what was called a "handliner" fishing boat (named Brightsides), that was apparently used in semi-sheltered waters between British Columbia and Vancouver Island for salmon. Thoughts?
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Much of the problem here is a lack of understanding about the types suggested and the unnecessary burdening of a craft for perceived issues, where none exist (seaworthyness, for example).

    If you want a well founded, ultimately seaworthy craft, you need a surf lifeboat, which will be all but imposable to solo, especially from a beach. This is because the boat will be heavy for it's size, very buoyant and these elements require a lot of power to operate, so if rowed, a real problem if under crewed. As has been suggested previously, seaworthness, though tangible in design terms, is more a function of skipper and crew, assuming a well thought out design. A boat like this is great, but (again) you're carrying around a bunch of design features, you'll never need, but you'll have to drag them along with you on every outing. Requests like this are common of inexperienced skippers. Simply put, there's some intrinsic risk when venturing farther from shore, than you can swim back to. You can't design for every eventuality, but you can over design for things that will never occur, which is costly, mostly irrelevant in use and burdens the craft, making propulsion more difficult - all for a false sense of security.

    Another issue is bantering around hull forms, particularly antique types or inappropriate forms. These old fishing boats where maned, before the age of engines and designed to hold a lot of fish. They were operated by very skilled crews and many where still lost (50%+ with some types), yet they still have a reputation for seaworthiness. For the most part, the hull forms that haven't received modern updating to accommodate new methods and materials should be avoided. They haven't received modern attention for good reason, mostly because they suck as a modern craft or drowned a lot of crews. Many of the dories are like this, even though they have a good reputation. Some dories rep is deserved, but we're forgetting they earned this rep with a 1,500 pound load of cod in it's belly, so unless you want to place 3/4's of a ton of ballast in it's bilge, just to make it a good "sea boat", then it's unsuited. Of course, some dories (and other types) have received modern treatments, which reduce hull volume and make the boat more reasonable, without the fish smell too.

    Lastly some of the designs mentioned are protected waters boats. You just don't want to be in deep blue water in these, without a very experienced crew. They're not designed or usually prepared properly for this type of work, so skip over these designs.

    The criteria for this rowboat is sufficiently unique enough, where a stock design isn't going to work well. My PeaPod design, mentioned previously is a typical approach. An older design, modernized for it's intended use. I selected a low volume pod (a model known as the Split), because it didn't need to have 8 or 9 lobster pot aboard, like it's antique brother did. I choose this model for several reasons, but also wanted to improve it, so a single garboard was added, some rocker applied as well as other subtle changes, to address design attributes I wanted in the revised model.

    It's this sort of thought that needs to be applied to this 4 man, surf pulling boat. There's just not going to be a reasonable stock or antique design that will hit enough of the design criteria as desired, so a custom or semi custom design will be necessary.

  15. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Dam Well stated ---
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