Single scull "Boanne"

by Richard Van Voris
(Cape Cod MA USA)

The Celtic goddess of rivers and poets was Boanne.

The River Boyne in Ulster was named for her and I thought it was a good name for this single scull

I set out to build a single scull that drew from both the classic material of wood and the modern materials of epoxy and carbon fiber.

I also wanted it to be rigged with a modern wing rigger which would allow me to forego the internal ribs needed to support conventional side mounted riggers.

The body plan was drawn by Graham King a well known designer of racing sculls and I built her in my basement.

She is 1/8 inch red cedar strips laid up over a series of molds set 1/2 meter apart.

At 27' long all the strips had to be scarfed together using a 1to 12 scarf joint cut on a table saw.

To saturate the fabric after the strips were in place I covered the outside in one layer of 2 oz glass set in System three laminating epoxy.

I like the system 3 clear coat better than West epoxy because there is no amine blush and it is thinner to saturate the glass .

I reinforced the stress areas with another layer of 2 oz glass on the outside.

Inside I added diagional layups of carbon fiber tape set in epoxy vacumm bagged in place.

Prior to the deck and rigging the whole 27 ft boat weighed 17 pounds.

I decked her fore and aft with a laid up composite made of honeycomb nomax and 2 oz glass all set in epoxy and vacumm bagged.

The center cedar strip on the deck is the only bit of pure ornamentation I indulged myself in.

The boat is rigged with a Rowfit wing rigger, a wonderful company in Australia, the seat and slides are from Carl Douglas in England and the oarlocks and sculls are from Concept 2 in Vermont.

I could not have built this boat 20 years ago before the internet allowed people like me to source equipment and fittings from the whole globe rather than what was available locally.

I have owned her for about 8 years now and she goes out over about 80 times a year.

I have had to do some repairs and she is not as stiff as she was when I first launched her but she is a great boat.

When I get in her it is more like putting on a comfortable suit of clothes rather than getting into a boat.

On a really good row I feel that Boanne is an extension of my body or perhaps I am a part of her.

And that is the best reason for building your own boat in wood, by doing that you create something alive, for a wooden boat unlike a plastic one has a soul.

And if you can create something with a soul that is beautiful you are one with the gods.

Comments for Single scull "Boanne"

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Jan 29, 2024
interesting approach with the foam
by: Van Voris

This is Richard Van Voris I am the owner/builder of "Boanne" which is in my shop now for repairs and an overhaul.
Your background is very similar to my own.
I learned about rowing from the shop floor to the water and finally to the coach's launch.
Currently in my retirement I am working part time with Narragansett Boat Club in Providence RI, I am Masters Coach and boatman for the oldest continuing operating club in the US

I thought the approach of using foam strips was a creative solution
I assume you covered her with glass or carbon, Tell us how you did that.
and how did you rig the boat?
Many people have gone to bow mounted riggers but I am not wild for them personally.
Did you vacuum bag any of this ?

And finally could you post some pictures, we would love to see your boat

Jan 29, 2024
Strip foam racing1x
by: Ron

I built a strip foam boat with traditional rowing shell frame and keelson out of sugar pine .

Removable foam molds and using tooth picks to fasten the strips together while the glue set and holding the strips fair which made for a rapid build.

I got the strips out of sheet foam with a jig that held a razor knife blade at an inch and cut them as smooth and rapidly your hand could travel the 8' panel after fairing the hull with a flexible sanding board epoxied 2 oz cloth on the out and inside with additional reinforcement composite in the foot well state room areas on the inside and composite decks unrigged the hull weighed 13 lbs 25 lbs rigged shoes wing rigger tracks and seat.
And is a lumber yard shell any local lumber yard stocks most materials.

My journey in life seems to travel along the same course sculler since 14 coached collegiate masters repaired all types of shells and have Ph.D. Equivalency on what boat shapes move more rapidly with 50 yrs. experience

Jun 30, 2023
Information on how to get plans
by: Anonymous

I’m interested in purchasing plans for the Boanne, but couldn’t find any way of contacting Graeme King.
Can anyone share contact info or methods of getting in touch? Thanks

Dec 20, 2022
Sectional 1x racing shell
by: Bill B

Used Graeme's plans as well but built as a three-piece sectional.

The kit can be built in a 10' x 12' space.

Easy storage in any garage and transported in the back of a pickup truck or on a roof rack in three pieces.

Assembly and disassembly, takes about ten minutes.

That's when the crowds gather, what fun.

Cedar strip lay-up with curly maple and sapele accents.

It is a dream to row my hand-built shell with all the dimensions of a flat-water racer.

Dec 20, 2022
Built my own single as well, a 3-piece sectional
by: Bill Borresen

From Graeme King plans as well.

The kit I have designed is a 3-piece sectional buildable in a 10 x 12' space.

Hope to get it on the market in the spring of 2023.

It is wonderful to row your own shell.

It is much too easy to simply buy one.

Jan 27, 2017
by: Thomas Muhs

Is there any way to purchase a set of plans?

Thank you!

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