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How to Build a Wooden Boat — AROHA, Part 1 – A Close Look at the Original Boat WHIO, a New Zealand Weekend Cruiser

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December 19, 2019

When WHIO hove into view across our camera lenses, the entire OCH crew found a new boat to fall in love with. As easy on the gas as she is on the eyes, classic yet at the same time contemporary, and above all, remarkably seaworthy in a variety of conditions, we all started dreaming of how we might one day build one. Enjoy the view and tune in to the plans, kit and how-to-build video series that are now being offered by Off Center Harbor to make this remarkable boat available so fellow dreamers might become fellow skippers.

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Plans and kits for this design are available now from Off Center Harbor! You can CLICK HERE to learn more and purchase plans and full size mylar patterns and/or a kit.


Length - 29 1/2 feet
Beam - 7 feet 0 inches
Displacement - 1250 KG or 2755 Lbs

WHIO's Fuel Consumption

Knots Per Hour

Liters Per Hour

Gallons Per hour

7.5 knots 1 LPH .26 GPH
12.5 knots 2.5 LPH .66 GPH
15 knots 5 LPH 1.32 GPH
17.5 knots 8 LPH 2.11 GPH


You can view many detailed photos of WHIO here.

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

94 Responses So Far to “How to Build a Wooden Boat — AROHA, Part 1 – A Close Look at the Original Boat WHIO, a New Zealand Weekend Cruiser”:

  1. Avatar richard pezzoli says:

    thanks Bro for the interesting videos on a late night, early morning stay up. I’m inspired by your energy and enthusiasm. Ricardo. From NY

  2. Avatar Ed LaFontaine says:

    I would like to begin collecting raw material for building from plans. Get it stickered for drying. What thickness in sawmill lumber is needed? Would someone venture to assign proper locations for the use of white oak and cypress? This would be for navigating coastal Georgia waters. Thanks

  3. Avatar Bob Wallace says:

    Very nice job, Guys. And Maynard, I see it as a Rozinante motor boat. Cheers/ Bob Wallace

  4. Avatar Peter Willcox says:

    I do not see a masthead (forward 225 degrees) light, something that will be required for operation here (and I suspect in New Zealand). It needs to be a meter above the side lights, so it could sit on a little mast (on hinges?) on the aft of the house.

  5. Avatar Ronald Perkins says:

    This looks like a design for cold climates. I would use it in tropical waters and have to adapt better ventilation for wheel house and cabin…maybe operable windows or cabin hatch. Any thoughts about that?

    • Avatar Daniel Hicks says:

      The north of New Zealand in summer isn’t cold, we can have 27 degree C days regularly. The lack of bulkheads in the cabin, and the large open cockpit means she doesn’t get overly hot onboard. I suspect a handily placed ventilator forward, to give a draft through the boat while at anchor may be advantageous in very hot climates, but it certainly has never been an issue here.

  6. Avatar JOHN HUNSUCKER says:

    Where do you go to find plans/kit, pricing etc.?

  7. Avatar David Badion says:

    I just purchased both Mylar sets…the journey begins.

  8. Avatar Jeff Patrick says:

    I am quite intrigued by this boat but I wonder about it’s sea handling characteristics. You state above: “above all, remarkably seaworthy in a variety of conditions.” Can you elaborate on exactly what variety of conditions you refer to? The boat is quite lean in comparison to it’s length. This allows for smallish motors and generous hull speed, but at what cost? Certainly she must be a bit tender in some situations. She certainly looks placid enough in the video but what happens in a bit of a blow with some real waves. I’m not referring to an ocean storm, but to conditions we find here in Puget Sound with a wind of 30 knots.

    • Avatar Peter Sewell says:

      We have been in rough conditions in Whio many times in trips up and down the coast and she has always handled the conditions very well.
      Often coming back from Great Barrier, a 30 mile strech of open water, with a 30kn head wind, we have a chuckle as we are in a comfortable seat while a fizzy following in the smooth water of our wake. They are invariably standing up as there boat is still getting thrown around.

      In Whio the most noticeable thing in a strong head wind is that with the lagre amount of thrust from the prop the speed hardly drops. This is very noticeable in a 20ft swell say, as surfing down the front the speed is held in check very well, no tendency to run away and broach.

    • Avatar Tony Verga says:

      On this same note, I do not see scuppers, is the cockpit not self bailing?

      • Avatar Tony Verga says:

        Also WHIO has a 50HP and a tuned prop, you are calling for a 38HP motor on AROHA, that is 25% less hp with a inefficient propeller. That is going to make a difference in a seaway…

        • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

          Hi Tony. Good eye. A couple things: Peter says in the video that he never uses more than 30 to 35 hp of his engine even at top speed, so the 50hp has a lot of extra capacity in it. The designers did a lot of calculations in specifying the engine and the prop and matching it to the performance specifications you see in the specs/plans for AROHA. A prop like Pete’s will be available as an option and have a bit better/different performance, but designer Will Sturdy spec’d an off the shelf prop so that anyone could get the performance spec’d with an easy-to-get off-the-shelf propeller option anywhere in the world.

          • Avatar Tony Verga says:

            Still on the power plant…

            WHIO has it’s transmission mounted separate to the motor, this helps transfer the torque of the huge prop to the boat instead of the motor mounts. A much stronger layout than what we think of as conventional with the transmission being mounted to the motor. Is this the same in the new version?

            • Avatar Paul Briggs says:

              Anyone could put in a small thrust bearing just ahead of the shaft seal and a short shaft between the bearing and the normal gearbox bolted to the engine arrangement, and you would have the same effect. If a flexible coupling were substituted for the typical iron shaft coupling to bolt to the gearbox flange, it would be better still.

              • Avatar Peter Sewell says:

                This is very similar to the arrangement I have with the electric motor in use at the moment.

                About to change to a different electric motor, one I have had for a while
                That will be mounted just as described above. A couple of bronze flanges with a rubber element in the middle.

  9. Avatar Gregg Schenker says:

    Elegant, thoughtful, efficient and purposeful. She appears to be at ease and complimentary to the natural environment at all times.The length at the water line is wonderful and well conceived. A dream boat. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Avatar William English says:

    It’s such a joy to take even a video ride on such art and perfection. Thanks for another great video! Much in the fashion of Ole Nate. Narrow beam, sleek lines,great efficiency and sea kindly. Wonderful.

  11. Avatar Rob Hoffman says:

    Great classy boat and video Steve. It’s amazing how far you guys go to capture these wonderful boats.

  12. Avatar Paul Joske says:

    So elegant, clean and simple. An inspiration.
    I was impressed by the curves and softness of the timber fitout, and the patina of the natural timber colour.
    I have a questioin, for Peter I guess, “what did you finish/coat natual timber with and how do you maintain it?
    Anyone know what issue of WoodenBoat mag it was featured in?
    Best wishes from an Aussie

    • Avatar David Badion says:

      WHIO was the cover story in issue #190, May/June 2006. You can still get copies from WBM.

    • Avatar Peter Sewell says:

      The birght work on Whio is Sikens Filter 7, Light Oak.
      Very happy with it, easy to touch up, and recoat.

      One of my other boats that mostly is under a cover outside has only had another coat applied twice in 12 years.

  13. Avatar Anthony Patch says:

    What is the beam? Determining building location in my 2-story barn. We live a couple of hours from Brooklin Boat Yard. Will drop by to purchase CNC kit.
    Beautiful boat.
    Excellent video (my 101th viewing).

  14. Avatar Loren 'ODEN' Odenwad says:

    Fabulous, any idea of what the cost would be to complete this boat.

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Hi Loren. Is your question referring to building this boat yourself or having a boat yard build one?

      • Avatar Juan Corradi says:

        I also would like to estimate the cost of having a proper yard build her from the kit. I suppose the best way is to estimate the number of man hours from assembling the kit to finish, with and/or without engine installation.

  15. Avatar Hans Berends van Loenen says:

    Seems to be ideal for electric propulsion

  16. Avatar Mike Zani says:

    When he says “it is just perfect”… you know he speaks the truth. It was fun to see his vision come true.

  17. Avatar David Tew says:

    Interesting name and pronunciation (Fee’-oh). Any background on it?

  18. Avatar John Swansey says:

    Supremely elegant design. I have fantasized and sketched a narrow semi-displacement boat for minimal cruising and travel down the ICW, based on the boats used by rowing coaches in Boston This one is beyond my imagination for beauty and efficiency. Bravo!

  19. Avatar Jim Gosciniak says:

    What is the loading capacity, and how does that affect performance? Would the boat be appropriate for day trips for a family of 5 or 6?

    • Avatar Daniel Hicks says:

      The loading of a number of people doesn’t seem to badly affect performance. 5 or 6 people is fine on board on a nice day utilising the double helm seat and cockpit seating. Great for day trips with the advantage of speed to get to places.

  20. Avatar Walter Ohrnell says:

    What is the beam and draft?

  21. Avatar John Anderson says:

    when available would like to purchase the plans for WHIO
    John Anderson
    [email protected]

  22. Avatar Lewis Sherman says:

    Just beautiful. Please discuss the engine: u said “car”? 2or 4 cylinder? How many hrs on this original? engine. THANKS.

  23. Avatar jack frake says:

    Yes…very nice. Let us know about future construction plans.

  24. Avatar Scott Huff says:

    Such a lovely boat. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  25. Avatar Doug Marsden and Nikki Porteous says:

    I just love this boat! It is so well thought out. I especially like the fact that she can be towed making NZ lakes and all it seaways accessible. Nikki

  26. Avatar Brent Williams says:

    What a beautiful boat, thank you for the video.

  27. Avatar Don Fuller says:


  28. Avatar George Hilbish says:

    I am coming to New Zealand to go hunting on the South Island. I am so excited and watching this video just adds to the excitement. As a photog I hope to get wonderful photos and hopefully get close to the sea while there. So much to do, so little time. Absolutely beautiful boat.

    George H.
    NC/ USA

  29. Avatar Reagan Tucker says:

    Can you provide the name of the sailing dinghy design please? Are there washboards to close up the cabin? Thanks for showing your outstanding pocket cruising boat.

  30. Avatar Nat Bray says:

    Such a sweet looking boat!

  31. Avatar David Seastrom says:

    Absolutely lovely! Have you considered an electric version? Can’t wait to see the plans.

  32. Avatar Mike Wright says:

    Really great, what grace.

  33. Avatar Robert Hadley says:

    I would love to build one!!!
    As a woodworker, I would love a set of plans!!
    Let me know when they are available.

  34. Avatar Jim Kingsbury says:

    Glad I didn’t give up my dream of building this beauty. Went from soonest to soon to black hole to YAHOO- its happening !!! Thank you so much for all that are making this happen.

  35. Avatar Nicholas Louis says:

    Thats a lovely little boat , as a designer builder of many vessels in my working life I could see this vessel as a fully moulded grp hull deck with timber fitout or exterior mouldings . The outboard option could be important with inboard petrol an issue for many owners and insurance . A composite construction ideal for weight and off course the no maintenance factor . Happy to discuss with anyone a construction of this , subject to the design and approval rights .

  36. Avatar David Tew says:

    I hope the plans will include the davit details. We need to build one on our motor boat for MOB/storm anchor retrieval and dinghy lifting/chocking in rough seas.

  37. Avatar Frank Burns says:

    One question can boat be changed to outboard power?

  38. Avatar Steve Marschman says:

    What a great boat! I wonder how it would do with a small diesel? With all the sailboats being scrapped these days, a small Yanmar might be fun.

  39. Avatar Aren Carpenter says:

    Now that would be the perfect boat for me here in gloucester. With the tide out and the flat bottom she would rest like my skiff. Have to address the prop sticking down though. I need this boat!

  40. Avatar Kamin Lambertson says:

    watching this once a day for a week.. It either means I need to go to New Zealand or start building some reasonable proximity of this wonderful boat? I might start by adding a (removable) similar cabin to my current boat, a 23′ Panga.

  41. Avatar John Supan says:

    Drop dead gorgeous!

    Some men lust for other men’s wives. I lust for their boats.

  42. Avatar Daniel Hicks says:

    Knowing how much else was filmed, maybe we could have a part 2 sometime….

  43. Avatar Daniel Hicks says:

    Having spent much time on Whio, I can attest to her usability and performance. For those asking about the head, there isn’t one, but with slight modifications one could be fitted ahead of the sleeping area, provided you were prepared to put in a hatch for your head to stick out (there isn’t sitting up headroom at the front of the cabin). As a cruising boat for a couple of people, or just a day boat for a group of friends Whio is superb. The steam version of Whio is eagerly awaited too….

  44. Avatar Eric J Nelson says:

    I could probably talk the wife into something so elegant. With kit, is that frames, building jig? What will she be planked with? I don’t see plywood taking on such a beautiful shape?? So intrigued..

  45. Avatar Patrick MacQueen says:

    I don’t usually look much at motor boats, let alone yachts or double-enders. But I have just started a double-ender (Caledonia Yawl) and that WHIO has now got me wanting to build one of those beauties. I would ask for the plans now, but it might reduce my energy on the CY. Beautiful Inspiration though!

  46. Avatar Rick Lapp says:

    Really pretty boat. I remember the WB article when we were building our BJ 28. It’s a motor version of Rozinante! And yes, where IS the head.

  47. Avatar David Rawls says:

    Typical of the Kiwis and Aussie; no nonsense practical and durable. Traits once abundant in America, but dwindling rapidly in our digital generations. Thanks so very much for the information and entertainment.

  48. Avatar David Badion says:

    At last, some real progress in bringing WHIO to the faithful. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her here. Absolutely perfect for the kind of cruising and boat RVing I have in mind, and I finally have the resources to build her. Hopefully info on the systems and prop will be available too. Bring on the plans and kit, can’t wait to get started…

  49. Avatar Julian Kuffler says:

    Thanks, Great video! I too have been dreaming about this boat since it was featured in WB. My concern is when heading west across Jericho bay in late afternoon with an ebbing tide and a stiff SW wind. There is little chance of avoiding all of the lobster floats and and toggles. That beautiful efficient prop will collect pot warp with great efficiency. If you folks can think of a cage design that will not adversely affect efficiency, please send me study plans when available.

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Julian the plan modifications in mind tweak the bottom of the boat and prop a bit to protect the prop within just enough skeg/deadwood in the arrangement (much like our local lobster boats) so the prop is not exposed to snatch pot warps.

      • Avatar Kit Laughlin says:

        That sounds very practical. What kind of a prop is that, Steve—I have never seen anything like that before. And what is the engine (like one poster above, all I head was “car”). And a small diesel would be my preference, like many others have noted. too.

    • Avatar Bernard “BG” Sykes says:

      Please consider an engine compartment modification that would allow a comparable small diesel.

      BG SYKES

  50. Avatar Ben Tombs says:

    Living here in the Bay of Islands, we see here occasionally. Almost as exciting as seeing a pod of dolphins

  51. Avatar Fred Green says:

    Beautiful and super efficient vessel. I was wondering if the owner would be kind enough to share the operation of the refrigeration onboard, that runs on one third the power/electricity of a conventional refrigeration unit.
    Very kind of the owner to share his time with OCH and their followers.
    Merry Christmas and all the Best in the coming years.

    • Avatar Peter Sewell says:

      Hi Fred,
      About the fridge.
      I removed the air radiating coils on the back and made up a tightly coiled copper tube spiral. This is bolted to a copper plate about 12″ in diameter that is on the outside of the hull.
      So rather than dumping the heat to the air, the water takes the heat away, so the compressed gas going to the evaporator is way cooler.
      As a side not when I took it to the refrigeration guy to re gas, he said ” I guess I put the coil in a bucket of water”. ” yes” was my reply.
      When I went to pick it up he had already converted his camper van fridge, he was so impressed.

  52. Avatar William Schroder says:

    Beautiful! Send plans. Where’s the head???

  53. Avatar Ron Letourneau says:

    Wow, a real beauty!
    Can someone explain the refrigeration system using sea water to cool? A pump and heat exchanger?

  54. Avatar Jerry Coleman says:

    Love the boat. Would love to have one but too old to start now. Thanks for the tour.

  55. Avatar Doug Day says:

    Pure inspiration. Love the comments about “when there’s not much, there’s not much to go wrong.”

  56. Avatar Tim Smith says:

    Just about perfect

  57. Avatar Bruce Schwab says:

    Wow. I’m in love.

  58. Avatar Bill Kenneke says:

    I’ve been dreaming about that boat since it was on the cover of WB. I’m glad y’all are featuring her and Peter lately. So many innovations, just wonderful.

  59. Avatar stephen santoro says:

    Absolutely beautiful boat! I would love to get a ride and build one some day

  60. Avatar Philip Myer says:

    What a beautiful and slippery boat Maynard- looks like you were enjoying your self- Merry Christmas.

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