Email This Page to a FriendPreview: My Favorite Dinghy – Fatty Knees, by Lin Pardey
May 18, 2017
“She has to be able to carry a lot of cargo, row easily and be fun to sail, but still fit under the boom of our new boat. Maximum length, eight feet so she’ll fit between the mast and the companionway.” Those were the parameters we gave Lyle C. Hess when, during the final stage of designing our 29’9 cruising cutter, TALEISIN, he offered to include a new design for a tender. He would be killing two birds with one stone because another client had asked him to draw up a sailing dinghy to add to their lineup, which already included Hess’s 7-and 9-footers.
When Lyle showed us the plans for this new 8-footer, he explained, “I designed this dinghy along the lines of a Wherry – the little clinker boats that were used to carry passengers and cargo in the estuaries and rivers of England. They had to not only carry a good load but be stable so inexperienced passengers could easily step into them.”
Larry built the plug for this fiberglass clinker dinghy. In exchange for Larry’s labor, the Fatty Knees company gave us five bare hulls, one for our own use, one as a gift to my brother, the third to go into storage should we ever need to replace the first and the last two to fit out and sell.
It didn’t take us long to appreciate this sweet looking dinghy. Within a week of launcing TALEISIN, Larry rowed our Fatty Knees two miles to the head of Newport Bay then returned with 300 feet of new 3/8” diameter chain plus some groceries. With a 570 pound payload plus his own 180 pounds, the dinghy still had a safe amount of freeboard.