by Gavin Atkin
Length - 15' 4" Beam - 4'
It's cheeky, really, to call this a
trow. Along the South Coast of England, a trow is either a heavy barge, or
a heavily-built rocker-less flat-bottomed rowing boat traditionally used
on the Fleet, the protected stretch of water behind Chesil bank.
This lightly-built rowing/sailing skiff is not very much like either of
these, but its shape does owe something to the Fleet trow. Drawings
of the traditional Fleet trow seen in the classic text 'Working Boats of
England' by Eric McKee provided the inspiration for a craft formed of flat
panel materials that would be almost double-ended, but for a small
triangular-shaped transom, as seen in some trows.
The intention here is a light and elegant rowing craft with the advantages
of a fairly long and narrow waterline. However, the hull flares to the
knuckle sufficiently to allow it to stand up to a small sail, albeit at a
fairly steep heel.
The lower part of the hull is designed to be built in the same way as a
conventional flat-bottomed; builders might even consider external chine
logs, but the upper part is intended to be assembled by tack and tape. I
haven't seen this composite approach anywhere else, but I can't see much
Another fairly novel idea is that extra removable thwarts may be used for
camping purposes. The principle is that the thwarts are stowed in
the bilges and held in place using elastic cords. Incidentally, the
thwarts are intended to be supported by an inwale fastened to the upper
edge of the lower chine and planed flat to accommodate them before the
upper chine is assembled into place.
At least two versions are envisaged: an open rowing skiff, and a
half-decked version for sailing, much like a sailing canoe. I'm also
contemplating drawing up a smaller version for people with small areas for
boat building, such as the typical British garage.
A free a zip file containing all the drawings and a table of offsets can
be found here additionally, there is a zipped file
of sailing rig details here. I should
warn potential builders that, although I forsee no particular difficulties
in building this boat, to my knowledge no-one has built it yet. If any of
you do build it, however, do please let me know how you got on with it and
send me a picture!
I'm happy to discuss the design. My email address is
Gavin Atkin, Tunbridge Wells, England, September, 2000