A wooden racing boat for six-oared rowing that is quick to build and as elegantly proportioned as the traditional Cornish Pilot Gig hulls.
After their success racing their Northeaster Dory, the Whitby Fisherman's Amateur Rowing Club approached us to provide a kit for a stitch-and-glue rendition of a traditional Cornish pilot gig. We asked Chesapeake Light Craft to design the boat using their LapStitch™ system for quick and strong clinker-style boat construction.
The rowing club will be racing the six-oared boat against traditional pilot gigs. The design of these fast rowing boats dates well back into the 19th century; the Whitby pilot gig is based on the lines of Treffry, built in 1838 and used as the standard measurement for traditional construction of new racing gigs.
No one had ever tried to make a stitch-and-glue Cornish pilot gig before and at 32 feet long it's certainly among the largest quick-assembly stitch-and-glue projects out there. Very little in the way of a mould is needed, just a few female cradles during the hull assembly operation. Ten structural bulkheads add great stiffness to the hull and support a variety of fixed rowing seat geometries, depending on the racing ambitions of the crew.
The first hull went together very quickly and without difficulty. Starting from our CNC-cut wooden kit, initial hull assembly takes as little as three days.
The kit was very good, fitted together with no alterations. Stability was very good. The speeds vary depending on [seating] position, in some positions achieving 10 knots.
Whitby Fisherman's Amateur Rowing Club
In June 2015, the Whitby club won the twenty-mile New Waterloo Dispatch Race, which celebrated the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo and the journey to deliver the news to London. After their own victory, the winning team from Whitby had the honour of recreating the landing of Major Harry Percy as he carried the news of Wellington's victory. Percy's ship was becalmed in the English Channel so he travelled twenty miles aboard a similar rowing gig to land in Kent.
Monarch was the third pilot gig out of 43 to finish the Great River Race in 2016.
Assembly of the Whitby Pilot Gig kit is quick and precise, with every plywood part pre-cut and drilled. The planks are easily joined to full length with puzzle joints and the resulting strakes are stitched together in a simple building cradle for convenience and to ensure accuracy of the dimensions of the finished pilot gig hull. The LapStitch™ joints are bonded with epoxy and the hull is reinforced with fibreglass fabric below the waterline. Laminated rails are added to complete the lightweight, rigid and durable clinker structure.
Because the Whitby Pilot Gig is a big project, we don't recommend it for first-time builders. Also, traditional boat-building techniques will not be of much use for building this boat, so we recommend building at least one stitch-and-glue boat before starting this project.
The boat is designed to use 12′6″ sweeps set in traditional thole pins or Concept II rowlocks.
The kit includes:
Please note that there is no instruction manual specific to the Whitby Pilot Gig, though the building notes and technical support should be enough for anyone who has built a stitch-and-glue boat before. Instead, the kit includes an instruction manual for the Northeaster Dory, which is built in a similar way. The manual describes all of the techniques that will be used during the build.
This kit comes without seats or rowlocks, so that it can be fitted out as preferred by the crew.