Build Your Own: 41′ Dragon Boat

Years ago — it must have been 2007 or thereabouts — I was looking for an ultimate boatbuilding and racing challenge.

Here’s what I found:

Dragon Boat2

(Photo courtesy Great White North, http://www.gwndragonboat.com.  The Dragon Boat pictured is not necessarily wooden.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.)

Here’s what I envisioned at that time:

Great White North then offered Dragon Boat kits in plywood (they still do — CN$7,000).  I was thinking what a great boatbuilding project this would be:  to get two of them, and open up the boatbuilding part to anyone who wanted to pitch in, a few days before the WoodenBoat Show.  And then race them in the Mystic River.  Although there were a few navigational issues.

After the show, I was imagining offering one finished boat to a group in Portland (ME) and another in Bangor (ME) and having races in Back Cove (Portland) and down the Penobscot River (Bangor).

Dragon Boat

(Rendering courtesy Great White North, http://www.gwndragonboat.com.  This, too, is not a wooden one.)

A crew of 20 + coxswain (helmsperson ) + drummer per boat.

Well, moments into my revery lo’ those many years ago, the economy crashed.  And so did this dream.

Talking with the nice people at Great White North this morning, I learned that they sell plans for plywood construction:  CN$2,500.  But you won’t find anything about the kit boats or plans on their website.  Here again is the link:

http://www.gwndragonboat.com

For more information, you can email:  info@gwndragonboat.com.

A little gooooogling yielded two other kit suppliers.  I have no idea if this information is still correct:

http://www.dagleysboats.com/dragon.html

and

http://www.woodenboatcentre.com.au/Shop/Shop_AustralianDragon.htm

And so I am passing the mantle to you, gentle readers.  Get your community involved and have some fun in the process.  And please let me know your progress?

What do you think?

Thanks, Carl

 

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“The Lark Scow — the Laser of the 1900′s”

(Tip o’ the hat to John Hanson, who reminded me about this post from July.  John’s been on the verge of building a Lark for quite a few years.)

This post is on one of my favorite blog sites, Earwigoagin —   http://earwigoagin.blogspot.com/2014_07_01_archive.html.

How_to_build_a_racer_rudder_v12

(All images courtesy Earwigoagin).  John’s wife Polly tracked down a copy of that book and gave it to him one Christmas.

Lark

And I quote:

“In the winter of 1897 – 1898, C.G. Davis designed and built a 16-foot chined scow for his own use. It was a simple build for that time, the hull featuring a shallow arc bottom like the Clapham designed Bouncer (a designer Davis highly respected). Davis claims he designed the Lark scow as a general daysailor but, in 1898, he raced his newly built scow in the fifteen-foot class in several Long Island regattas and won. Sensing a great deal of interest in his little scow, Davis, at the time the design editor of Rudder, printed the plans over three issues in the fall of 1898. The response was enormous and readership in Rudder exploded. When you tap into a successful market, you keep going and Rudder started a How-To series of cloth bound boat plans offering several different boats with the Lark advertised as “How to Build the Racer”.

In the early 1900′s the Lark scow was built everywhere, worldwide. Fifteen Larks were built at the Yokohama Y.C. Builders built to plans and those who couldn’t help themselves built smaller Larks, bigger Larks, Larks with counter sterns. By the 1920′s Lark fleets in the U.S. seemed to be concentrated around the Great Lakes. By the 1930′s the Lark was disappearing as Crosby, a later editor at Rudder, in 1928 introduced his own design, the home-build V-shaped centerboarder, the 15- foot Snipe. Rudder republished the plans for Lark in 1940 but by then, on the eve of World War II, the Lark was now in competition with several popular chined centerboarders available in the United States; the aforementioned Snipe,  as well as the Comet, Moth, and Lightning classes.”

According to Tweezerman (author of the Earwegoagin), there is only fleet currently operating in the world, at Rondeau Bay in Ontario, Canada.

But here’s an interesting point he mentions:

“In 1963 Bill Kerr produced plans to build the Lark in plywood and the current fleet in Erieau Y.C has a combination of some new builds as well as restorations. They still retain the traditional wooden spars and have made the rig a gunter rig compared to the original gaff rig.”  [Bolding by me.]

Interestingly, I erred last week in saying that Will Sturdy’s Moth at Polly’s Regatta was a Mistral design.  In reality, she’s a Tweezer, designed and build by our very own Tweezerman.

What do you think?  Has anyone built the plywood version?

Thanks, Carl

 

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