Jon Aborn rowing his Monument River Wherry #3 at the Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous , 2015.  Barry Donahue photo.

This page will be dedicated to rowing for pleasure. I will be sharing knowledge, speculation, photos, and whatever comes to mind on the subject

10/31/19- Here’s a photo of Jon Aborn’s new boat. (That’s Jon in the photo at the top of the page). He has been working on his design for a one person rowing boat for many years, and has built at least 3 or 4 different models- I built the first one. We sold the last one this spring, and this is the replacement. I rowed this boat at the last Rendezvous, Sept 21. 2019, and I think it is his best one, having rowed all of them. It has a nice blend of stability and speed, very comfortable to row. If you are looking for a great one person boat, this is high on the list. Contact me, and either Jon or I will be happy to build one for you.

Jon Aborn’s latest design- notice the plywood end decks, grab handles, Gaco oarlocks, open rails, rowing compass, spoon blade oars, whistle…


I have added a dedicated Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous page here. It will contain information on the Rendezvous.


THEY DID IT!! Team Backwards AF finished the R2K yesterday, the only totally human powered vessel left in the race!

Here’s the link to the latest post, lots on the Facebook page

6/5/19 - The modified Savo 650 I built this spring is in Victoria,BC, Canada, waiting for the start of the second leg of the R2AK. Named Mursu, which is Finnish for Walrus, the owners are on a great adventure! Here is a link to their latest post. Stage 2 of the Race starts June 6, 12 noon.


The Row on Saturday was great- great weather, great boats, great people. I posted some photos on the home page, and on the Facebook page - take a look.


I was catching up on my “Messing About In Boats” subscription the other day, and came upon an interesting article in the July 2018 issue. It was an article published 25 years ago, written by Andre deBardalaben, reprinted in the magazine. It was an opinion by Andre, who has a lot of interesting thoughts on rowing. You can read more of his ideas on his web site, Middle Path Boats. Although the article itself was interesting, he began with a quote from the Master, L.Francis Herreshoff. I was intrigued by the quote, so I got a copy of “The Common Sense of Yacht Design” from the library and looked it up. It was in the “Small Boats” chapter. I scanned the relevant pages, and here they are. Some interesting thoughts, still appropriate today. Also included are the lines for his idea of an interesting rowing boat, which have been expanded on recently. One interesting offshoot is the Atlantic 17 Dory, a cross between LFH’s idea and John Gardner’s Gunning Dory. ( I would love to build the Atlantic 17 some day). Enough words, here are the scans…

lfh-row 2.jpg
lfh-row 3e.jpg


Next boat will be an expedition version of the Savo 650D that I built in 2013. See the home page for more info…


New Boat for Sale!

Jon Aborn’s Monument River Wherry is for sale. I think this is the 3rd or 4th version of his fast wherry series, built by Jon in 2014. Looks very similar to the boat above. He wants to build another one, it will be interesting to see how he modifies this design.


Here’s belated congratulations to Dameon and Leigh for their excellent showing in the recent Head of the Weir-first in class, 3rd overall!



Here’s a short video shot by Deb Giza at the recent WRR#6, She was aboard the Interceptor, a 32’ Cornish Pilot Gig. The gig was brought to the Rendezvous by Massachusetts Bay Open Water Rowing, Inc. . Thanks to Bob Fuller of South Shore Boatworks and the Team Saquish crew.


Some photos from the Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous #5, last year…


Announcing the 6th Annual 

Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous


Noon to 4PM

Mayo Beach, Wellfleet, MA 02667


We are proud to announce the Sixth Annual Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous, to be held Saturday, September 29, 2018, at Mayo Beach, Wellfleet, Noon to 4PM. The purpose of this free event is to promote rowing, and to be able to try and compare different boats . We will have  boats to row, and you are invited to bring your boat for others to row. Last year we had 19 different boats. Boats can be launched for free from trailers at the boat ramp at the Wellfleet Marina, next to the beach, or hand launched at the Town landing right next to the commercial pier. Please bring PFD’s and an anchor for your boat. This event is free, but please register via email or phone  if you are planning to attend. More details will be available as we get closer to the event.

Register at :         Phone- 508-349-2383                      

                                                       Hope to see you there !


Here's a scan of the photo and thanks published in the Provincetown Banner last week... 

That's Ann Freyss and her daughter Skye rowing a Stretched Light Dory ...

That's Ann Freyss and her daughter Skye rowing a Stretched Light Dory ...

The 5th Annual Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous was a great success, with 15 boats and about 50-60 people attending and rowing. Here's  one comment:"Walter,  Just wanted to thank you for hosting the glorious event last Saturday. We had a great time and look forward to attending this rendezvous in the future. " Weather was foggy and misty, but that did not affect the rowing. Here's a small gallery of photos I took, there are a lot more on the Facebook page...



Here's a link to a short photo album of the Spring Rowing Rendezvous put on by the Caps Cod Chapter of the TSCA, mentioned below. It was a beautiful day, about 10 boats were there, I rowed most of them. Nice job, Bill Stirling and the boys.

The Banks Dory...

The Banks Dory...


The Cape Cod Chapter of the TSCA is holding a Spring Rowing Rendezvous in Hyannis. I will be there with the Pat Brown Adirondack Guide Boat I have for sale. Come on down and take it for a row!

A great boat- full length red cedar strip planked, glassed and varnished inside and out.

A great boat- full length red cedar strip planked, glassed and varnished inside and out.


Finally a little something new on this page-! Here's a photo of my Gloucester Gull getting some paint prep. Weather went to crap after this photo was taken, so no progress due to a  couple of weeks rain...

The Gull, sanded, bottom painted, spot primed...

The Gull, sanded, bottom painted, spot primed...


Every year I get a calendar of photographs of commercial fishing in New England from C.E. Beckman Co. These photos are mostly from about 100 years ago up to recently. The cover of the 2017 calendar shows a working Swampscott dory that I thought would be fun to post.

A working Swampscott Dory


Here is a short slide show of the Savo 575 that I built recently - see it at the 11th Annual Cape Cod Boat Builder's Show next February!


I am proud to announce that the 4th Annual Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous will be held on September 24, 2016, Mayo Beach, Wellfleet MA 02667, from 2 to 5 pm. Bring a boat to row, or just come on down and enjoy an afternoon on the water, "messing about in boats". This event is free.


Here's a beautiful photo of a Natant Dory I built for Lee Scarborough in 2005. The dory lives in Nova Scotia, where this photo was taken. Lee rows with his wife,  and sails the boat also. Here's a comment from Lee -

"....she has been an incredibly successful boat for us - my wife is handicapped now but fine from the waist up, and she loves to row around the many islands and slate outcroppings in our area with me. (the boat is named Duet for that reason).  I sail her also, and with her deep centerboard, narrow beam, and generous rig she sails extremely well.  I sail her like a dingy, hiking out in the Atlantica half mile from our float, and surfing the waves back into harbor in a strong SW wind.  "

Thanks for this great photo, Lee.


Here are a couple of photos of the Bevin's Skiff that I built for the Wellfleet Historical Society last fall. They are going to raffle off the skiff this summer. The skiff is set up for rowing and sailing, and comes with 7'6" Shaw & Tenney oars and the full sail rig including all spars, sail, running rigging, etc. Contact me if you want tickets, $10.00 each, 5 for $40.00. 


Here's a link to a very interesting rowing site from Australia - Gaco Oarlocks . I will be trying out his oarlocks sometime this summer. His oar design also looks very interesting.


This video is about the Sinne 610 Sea Trial

Here's a short report on the sea trials  (actually a pond trial...) of the Sinne 610 I built this past winter. We launched the boat into Gull Pond, Wellfleet on a beautiful Saturday morning, 4/9/16, and rowed both single and double. The 8' oars fit in the stern great, I would definitely use 8's in the stern, flat blades. I had a pair of 7'6'' for the bow, they overlapped about 6'', a hand's width. I prefer not to overlap, so 7' oars would work great in the bow. With 2 old guys rowing, we hit 4 knots easily. With some practice I think you could hit 5 kts no problem, and row at 3-3 1/2 kts all day. The boat is very steady. It is a bit heavier than the racing boats, right at 200 lbs (100 kilos or so), so it takes a couple of strokes to get moving, but when you get up to speed, it feels like it can go forever . It carries way between strokes very well, and I think that when it's loaded with gear it will have good momentum. One person rowing from the stern is very comfortable and feels well balanced. Rowing facing forward I got an easy 2 knots, and pulling 3 knots was an easy pace. Photos are below.

Here's a link to a very interesting rowing blog - Oar Cruising . Info on long distance rowing, gear, boats, etc.

My current fall/winter 2015/16 build is the Siine 610, another design by Ruud Van Veelen.This is an expedition/camping cruiser, pretty big and beamy with lots of storage space and plenty of stability. We are not using the wheels, nor the tent. Check out the build photos on my Facebook page.

Sinne 610 hull

Here is a drawing of the Atlantic 17, a very nice rowing boat designed by Jon Persson. I rowed this boat at the last Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous, and liked it very much. It is a combination of L. Francis Herreshoff's  Row Boat and the Chamberlain Gunning Dory. It can be rowed by one or two persons, has adjustable thwarts , and can slide on or off a beach with the narrow flat bottom. I am seriously considering this boat for my next rowing craft. Give me a call or send an email if you would like to have one built.Click on the Atlantic 17 link above to go to the designer's web site for some more photos and information.