Light Trow Free Plans

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It's cheeky, really, to call this a trow. Along the South Coast of England, a trow is either a heavy barge, or a heavily-built rocker-less flat-bottomed rowing boat traditionally used on the Fleet, the protected stretch of water behind Chesil bank.

This lightly-built rowing/sailing skiff is not very much like either of these, but its shape does owe something to the Fleet trow. Drawings of the traditional Fleet trow seen in the classic text 'Working Boats of England' by Eric McKee provided the inspiration for a craft formed of flat panel materials that would be almost double-ended, but for a small triangular-shaped transom, as seen in some trows.

The intention here is a light and elegant rowing craft with the advantages of a fairly long and narrow waterline. However, the hull flares to the knuckle sufficiently to allow it to stand up to a small sail, albeit at a fairly steep heel.

The lower part of the hull is designed to be built in the same way as a conventional flat-bottomed; builders might even consider external chine logs, but the upper part is intended to be assembled by tack and tape. I haven't seen this composite approach anywhere else, but I can't see much against it.

Another fairly novel idea is that extra removable thwarts may be used for camping purposes. The principle is that the thwarts are stowed in the bilges and held in place using elastic cords. Incidentally, the thwarts are intended to be supported by an inwale fastened to the upper edge of the lower chine and planed flat to accommodate them before the upper chine is assembled into place.

At least two versions are envisaged: an open rowing skiff, and a half-decked version for sailing, much like a sailing canoe. I'm also contemplating drawing up a smaller version for people with small areas for boat building, such as the typical British garage.

A free a zip file containing all the drawings and a table of offsets can be found here additionally, there is a zipped file of sailing rig details here. I should warn potential builders that, although I forsee no particular difficulties in building this boat, to my knowledge no-one has built it yet. If any of you do build it, however, do please let me know how you got on with it and send me a picture!

I'm happy to discuss the design. My email address is

Gavin Atkin, Tunbridge Wells, England, September, 2000

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