The Tandem Wherry is a traditional looking clinker style rowing boat with thoroughbred performance. It is designed for two rowers using sliding seats, but it can also be rowed solo, with or without a passenger.
The challenge with the Tandem Wherry was to retain the essential qualities of its well known predecessor, the CLC Wherry. Known all over the world for its perfect, quiet elegance, the Wherry is one of the most popular sliding seat wherries of all time. Much of its success is a result of what it doesn't have: a lot of extra bulk. That means it doesn't have much payload, either: about 350 pounds. That's not enough for two adult rowers.
We wanted to do more than just make the Wherry a little longer and cram in two sliding seats. So we have created a tandem wherry that is extremely fast with two strong rowers, fast enough to win races like the smaller single Wherry does. It also functions as a single with room for an adult passenger. And of course you can row it solo all day if you don't have a skilled sliding seat mate.
Switching between tandem rowing, passenger and solo rowing modes takes just moments: wing nuts hold the sliding seat rigs in place. An optional cane seat drops into place in seconds for a passenger sitting astern: parasol and picnic basket also optional.
Tandem Wherry builders will fall into a couple of categories. Obviously, many strong two-person teams will seek it out for exercise and racing. The stability of the wherry type makes it perfect for rowers new to the sliding seat. Other builders will mainly use it as a single but with a passenger aboard. The 650-pound payload (including sliding seat units) means that any combination of adult or child passengers should be comfortable. A possible third category will be rowers who need a large payload but with the speed of a long-and-narrow wherry type. They will row along rivers and bays in their Wherry Tandem with their cruising gear packed in dry bags strapped to the frames.
Performance matches the original Wherry, though of course the scale has changed as the length has been stretched two feet (beam and depth remain the same). With two rowers aboard, top speeds are definitely in the ‘racing’ category. And in skilled hands, that speed can be maintained in rough chop or swells, making this a great open water racer. The bow has enough volume to get up and over waves, and the clinker style planking helps knock down spray. The Wherry has a very dry ride. Tracking is very strong in all conditions, light or heavy. We wondered about installing a rudder, but tests in wind and wave found that small, occasional corrections by the stroke oarsman are all that are needed to keep going straight. A rudder would be extra weight, drag, and bother.
Other than a little drip off the oars, I've yet to take on any spray in the boat, at all.
John Harris, Tandem Wherry designer
The Wherry Tandem is designed to accept a drop-in sliding seat rowing unit, such as the Big River frame. You will need sculling oars of about 9′6″ with this boat.
As a solo rower, you will definitely notice the extra weight compared to the stock Wherry. The Tandem is still fast and fun, but all things being equal, the small single Wherry is faster with anyone who weighs less than about 15 stone. This is especially so in windy conditions where the additional length makes itself known. Thus, if you will almost always row solo without a passenger or heavy gear, you should build the solo Wherry.
The Tandem Wherry is intended for first-time boat builders. Despite the beautiful and sophisticated shape, we have gone to tremendous trouble to make the boat easy to build. The computer-cut okoume planks are assembled to length using ‘puzzle’ joints, which ensure fast and accurate alignment. The computer also drills all of the holes for the copper wire ‘stitches’ that hold the planks together temporarily, saving hours and increasing precision in the assembly. The frames drop into the mortises that have been cut for you in the bottom panel, so you really don't need to own a tape measure to build this boat! The planks are drawn up to a beautiful and traditional ‘wineglass’ transom. Glass fabric reinforces the bottom panels inside and out and epoxy saturates the entire structure for longevity and low maintenance. This is the exclusive CLC LapStitch™ technology that has launched thousands of boats.
The kit was excellent and the instructions easy to follow. Any help needed was willingly given and enhanced the end result.
The wherry has received much interest and admiring comment. She adds a gracefulness to the Hamble River, thank you.
The kit includes:
The Big River rowing frame and sculling oars are not included.
What is in a boat kit.
Broken inwales option
Broken inwales add elegance to any boat by mimicking the ends of the ribs in traditional frame-built boats. This option includes everything you need to install broken inwales in the Tandem Wherry:
- Pre-cut breasthook and quarter-knees
- Spacer block material
Some trimming and fitting will be necessary. Broken inwales take longer to install because each block has to be carefully positioned and glued in place. Sanding and varnishing are also made more complex. We recommend reading the installation instructions before deciding to install broken inwales.
Plans and manual
These include full-size plans for hull panels, bulkheads, thwarts and other parts for the Tandem Wherry. Bulkhead locations are marked on the panels and matching stitch holes are indicated. The 120 page manual is extravagantly detailed, with photographs or diagrams of every step.
The plans are for builders who will be building from scratch. Builders working from a kit do not need the plans.
Strongback plans supplement
There is also a supplemental set of plans for building the Tandem Wherry over a strongback (an internal mould), using strip-planking construction instead of the stitch-and-glue method. The manual does not include instructions for this type of construction, so this option is only for experienced builders with strip-planked boatbuilding skills.
This option includes a mould diagram and full-sized patterns for the forms, stem and transom. You will still need the standard plans for interior fit-out, proper bulkhead placement and other details.
Constructing the Tandem Wherry using the strip-planking method will require about 430 m of 6 × 19 mm bead-and-cove strips, plus some marine plywood for the bulkheads and transom.
This is intended for pre-build study or to help with the decision to purchase. Reading this manual will help you decide whether or not you can build the boat. It is the 120 page manual that accompanies the kits. It describes all the techniques that will be used during the building and also a step by step guide to construction. Scale drawings are used throughout as well as photographs of critical jobs.
If, later, you decide to purchase the kit the cost of this printed manual will be deducted from the kit price.
This manual does not contain the plans of the panels with the cutting instructions so it is not possible to build the boat from scratch using only this manual.
PDF study manual
The construction manual for the boat is also available as a PDF download. After credit card authorisation a download link will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
PDF study plans
These study plans are intended to give you an overview of the construction of the boat. They are in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. There are two pages and they measure 279 × 216 mm (11″ × 8½″). They can be printed for carrying around.
After credit card authorisation the plans will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
When you have studied the plans, your next step might be to order the printed instruction manual, which will walk you through the project step-by-step.