Wanigan (Free plans)

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As old as boating in America is the garvey design It's no wonder. These shoal-draft work horses combine super-simplicity with rugged carrying ability

These plans are free to download.


This utility garvey was designed to fill a need for a simple work scow anyone can build to use in a summer camp. You can haul rocks with her, fish out of her, beach her easily. The garvey is a gussied-up scow. The name is a local one, in use on the Jersey marsh reaches, where the water is thin, money sometimes thinner, and where the scow type of hull has for generations blossomed forth as the “garvey”—plebeian, often homely, always plain, but what a work horse!

But even in this simple design there were some problems. I knew she’d have to be trailable, whereas the true garvey is heavy. She’d have to be fine-lined enough to move with from 3 to 7 hp kickers, and she’d have to have the carrying power of a north woods wanigan—a lumberjack’s store boat—to lug the camping stuff Joe Doakes would.

How to meet these conflicting requirements may not loom large now, but. they did at first. I was sitting on a cedar stump in my yard after supper, when the answer came to me. There, before me, bottom up on the muskeg, was a boat I have loved for 46 years— Badger, about which I wrote and the design for which I presented in the 1956 boatbuilding annual.

Badger had the feel I wanted this new garvey to have. Here was a boat sized by some ancient master in the old Toppan Dory shops. I’d cruised her into every pothole from Duluth to Rossport, and loved her. Notwithstanding some purely dory traits, such as crankiness until loaded, she has given more pleasure to several owners than any other boat I can recall offhand.

Right there in the cool shadows of the forest I flopped her right side up, stood in her, and my feet felt all the old quirks she had. So I took a Swede saw, knocked off her top strakes for firewood—they were punky and she had to go sometime— and stuck laths in the muskeg to give enlarged beam to the floor area between chines, tilted the lath to proper angles for stiffening the hull up under burden, and, transferring the resulting measurements to my notebook, sketched the profile and deck plan of the boat presented in the plans.

She’s thus part dory, part garvey. and part north woods wanigan. Tbe combination of work-horse pedigrees back of her should produce a fine boat.

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