Sailing to Desolation Sound is a great experience. The trip we took involved a full range of conditions and challenges. But the area has it's limitations for a keel boat. We saw many kayaks, often lurking in the lee, watching for a weather opening.
Some coves and inlets were very deep - too deep for safe anchorage. Signs were evident that previous visitors had stern-tied to a rock or tree, since the cove might not have enough room to swing on the scope necessary for a single anchor.
Being avid rowers, we often discussed the possibility (probability?) of making a similar voyage in a rowboat designed for use at sea.
Back in Port Townsend, with Belle Starr at anchor (she makes a wonderful condo), I had the opportunity to assist (compulsive boatbuilder) Marty Loken, in the construction of the new Angus Cruising Rowboat, from Julie and Colin Angus. Plans for this boat were completed at the end of last year. A prototype was built for a client, who took off for places unknown and hasn't been heard from since...
So, Marty's RowCruiser is the first boat of this design, made from a kit. He is working under a schedule, with the intention of having the boat ready to display at the upcoming Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, the first weekend in September.
Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I have never built a boat from a kit. This was my first go. A neighbor of Marty's had been by the day before to help stitch the planks and bulkheads together. Our task on the second day was to true-up the hull shape, taking out any twist or lack of symmetry. It was a pleasure to see how well the planks fit and how simple it was to see a truly beautiful design emerge. The boat is essentially a
canoe, with an efficient double-ended waterline.
For a burdensome 18.5 foot boat, this is going to be a fast, quick, rowing machine. The Angus Cruising Rowboat is designed for an owner-built sliding seat, though it would be easy and effective to simply use a fixed seat.
Marty has initiated a website for this design, which will feature his own experience building the Cruiser. There will be a workshop in February of 2015, for those interested in building this boat, with coaching from the Angus team. You can visit his new site at RowCruiser!
While working, Marty and I daydreamed about the potential of gunkholing with a flotilla of RowCruisers next summer. And there is a good chance for a Desolation Sound rowing voyage. The British Columbia Kayak Parks found on the Sunshine Coast are wonderful, but imagine being able to anchor in a remote cove, with not another soul and sleep comfortably aboard your own rowboat.
Length: 18'-8.5" (570 cm)
Beam: 46" (117cm)
Waterline: 17'-9" (541 cm)
WL Beam: 33.4" (85 cm)
Draft: 3.6" (9.1 cm)
Weight: 148# (67 kg)
Volume:147.6 cu ft (4.2 cu m.)