Saturday, July 2, 2016

Meanwhile, Back in the Boatyard

Cruising verses Working. Which would you choose? Stupid question, Doryman! But there are still boats to be rescued and that is what we do around here during shore leave.

You already had a glimpse of the Old Town canoe - this one has all the characteristics of that timeless double-ender and much more. It's an Oselvarfaering from Norway. Not your common plywood replica, but handsomely built of larch planks carved and riveted. She is reported to be a racing Oselvar. Apparently the slatted seats are the deciding feature, a rowing Oselvar would have cross-thwarts at the frame sections. This also means she likely had a marconi rig. She is of a venerable age and shows it. But, she's in good hands now and will soon show her inherent lively spirit.

Twenty-two feet in length, with a maximum beam of five and a half feet, her heritage shows in how lightly she's built. Three people loaded her on the trailer, so I'm guessing her weight to be around 300 pounds. The proven seaworthiness of this design is it's ability to float high and efficiently, as one with the sea. The Norwegians liked these boats to be flexible...they should swim like a fish. Thus the minimal framing.

Check out those robust grown frames, shaped by nature herself!

And what do we have here?

On the other end of traditional boat design in this lovely little cat boat. My very good friend, Doug Follett was given this work-boat legend by an ancient mariner, now retired from the sea. She's built of plywood, on oak frames, with mahogany trim. A very stout vessel reminiscent of the days of working sail. At a mere fifteen feet she is, of course, too small for much more than sport fishing, but would stand up to a pounding much longer than her skipper could take it.

I fell for this quaint little cat immediately and repairs have already begun. She will be back on the water in all her former glory later this summer.

Please stay tuned...

If anyone has clues to what design this might be, I'd like to know.


doryman said...

We have a winner:
Wittholz 14' 11'' Catboat
V-bottomed seaworthy pocket daysailer/cruiser designed for plywood construction. Construction: Plywood planking over sawn frames.
Charles Wittholz
14' 11"
7' 4 1/2"
(cb up) - 1' 4" (cb down) - 3' 8"
1,400 lbs.
sails, oars, engine
Skill Level to Build:

doryman said...

Charles Wittholz
Charles Wittholz designed hundreds of sail and power boats during his 50 year career. He studied naval architecture at University of Michigan and MIT.
He first went to work at the office of John Alden and then Philip Rhodes.
Some of his designs went into production for builders such as Chrysler and Cheoy Lee. Many others were custom. Known especially for his catboats and power trawlers.

Unknown said...

Iv'e been looking for one of these for years. Was hoping to buy one , but I might have to build one. there's not a lot of these out there. These 14 foot Wittholz cat boats called CORVUS. are you going to keep har or sell her. thanks, Dave

doryman said...

Sorry David, this project is for a client. The cat boat is not for sale. When it is, I'll let you know....

Unknown said...

I agree. It looks very much like a Corvus. There is one near me. That one looks decidedly homemade. This one does not. I'm told it's a very good little catboat.

doryman said...

David Satter,
Unfortunately I have no way to reach you. Doug has decided to sell his Wittholz catboat.
If you're still out there, please contact me: mbogoger(at)gmail

Paolo said...

Dear all,

I have found a Corvus on a Lake in the north of Italy, do you know when Wittholz design this boat?
I would see photographs other Corvus to complete my restoration. You can see my work on Facebook page: or contact me at paolosive(at)

Thank you in advance for your help