Wooden ships comments on this Oughtred Acorn rowing skiff
Ian Oughtred design rowing skiff, built by Julian Burn, boat-builder from Totnes in Devon for the present owner in 2004 but never launched.
The boat was commissioned as a tender to the owner’s yacht to be carried aboard on his round the world voyage. Sadly it was not finished in time so the owner sailed without it. On his return 2 years later he took delivery and the boat has sat on her trailer in a shed ever since, never been in the water.
Following a hip replacement, the owner has finally decided to part with her rather than just admire her.
There are a lot of boats out there on the water, up the creeks hidden in boatyards and garden sheds: many make you wonder why anyone ever paid good money for them, a few are really quite nice and a small handful are works of art. This is a work of art.
Ian Oughtred has produced a wide range of “modern” yacht and boat designs all taking their inspiration from traditional proven designs but with a modern twist. This boat takes it’s inspiration from the American Whitehall skiff and has all their sweetness of line and delicacy of form. She is of course ideal for quiet waters rowing on a summer evening although I am told that the designer rows his own Acorn skiff in the open waters of the Scottish west coast.
This boat is absolutely exquisite in her construction and her condition and there is as much pleasure to be had just in the ownership of a boat like this as in the use.
Construction. The plans used were for the Acorn 12’ skiff but the moulds were slightly spaced out in the construction to stretch the hull to 12’6” giving an even more elegant line.
Planked in clinker plywood, 7 strakes each side edge glued with epoxy resin glues and the whole structure sealed inside and out with epoxy resin.
The advantage is a monocoque hull which does not leak and will not suffer shrinkage usually associated with traditional clinker boat construction when left ashore.
It also means no frames thus saving a lot of weight.
The exterior is finished in a cream enamel above and below water.
The inside is all varnished.
As an indication of the quality of construction, each plank was cut from a pattern. Opposing planks were then clamped and glued as a sandwich with a 6mm mahogany board between.
The mahogany used was very old stock with a fine grain and colour.
The sandwich was then cut in half on the band saw so that the mahogany now exposed on the inside of the plank matched it’s opposing number on the other side of the boat both in grain and colour.
A short bilge keel at the maximum bilge point, capped with stainless steel runner spreads loads and takes friction if the boat is landed on a beach.
The keel is armed with a full length stainless steel protection which is carried right up to the stem-head. An eye bolt inside and out at the waterline allows for a tow rope attachment.
The teak gunnel formed with an inwale and an outwhale, left uncapped and slotted.
Armed on the outside with a rope fender.
A high level stringer strengthens the gunnel and carries the teak thwarts.
Stainless steel rowlocks set in pads on the gunnel. The pads are fitted with nylon bushes to reduce friction and remove that awful clanking noise of loose rowlocks as you row.
The transom cut with a sculling slot armed in leather.
Half-lapped teak knees to the thwarts. All thwarts secured with stainless steel bolts, the domed heads left visible as a feature on the surface
2 thwarts provide 2 rowing positions, a midships thwart for solo rowing and a forward thwart when a passenger is carried in the stern sheets. Both rowing positions have adjustable foot rests.
High, lift-out back rest to the stern sheets inscribed with the boat’s name.
Slatted pine sole boards.
Delightful teak grating sole board up forward.
Chromed fair leads provided on the gunnel forward and aft.
Wooden jamming cleats on the stringer forward take mooring lines.
Pair of light-weight, varnished spruce straight blade balanced oars secured in the boat by a padlocked strap through the thwart.
Galvanised road trailer with jockey wheel and winch.