Preview: The Three Boats I Lust After (and Why)

January 8, 2011

Ben Fuller

A winter boat: a boat for simple, rugged exercise that’s able to live with snow and ice inside and forgive the dents of the wooden snow shovel / bailer in getting it out. The Piscataqua River Wherry that I used to row with Bill Gribbel was about perfect. An easy 4-knot boat when two are rowing, with a center removable seat forrowing single. Finished in oil with substantial dory-type framing, you did not have to baby the interior. Those cleats and dory frames that cross the bottom gave you good traction even with snow aboard. Removable seats made it easy to swing the snow shovel.  Inside the harbor on a calm day after a nor’wester blew through. you could lean on the oars and make the boat fly. She was narrow enough to require good seamanship, but outside the sheltered harbor, she'd ride up and down the southern swells sweeping in up Penobscot Bay. A heavy sweater, lined boots, wool trousers, leather chopper mitts and a wind smock were what you needed on such a day when the glinting seawater froze on your oar looms.

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