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Coot - Dinghy


The “Coot” is a simple dinghy of the “Pram” style. A pram is not just a cute word for a baby carriage. It is a small rowing boat with squared off ends, or transoms at boat ends. Having a transom at both ends allows you to get a short boat that has a lot of capacity and stability. This makes for a very practical tender for a larger boat or yacht. Although I don’t get into it here, it can also be easily adapted for sailing and would make great first sailing boat for a child.

I designed this boat with a long bench that runs lengthwise instead of the more typical middle seat running across the boat. This long seat lets the rower shift his or her weight forward and back easily depending on how many people are sitting in the boat, or what gear is being carried. It also encloses a large volume for positive buoyancy should the boat become flooded. On a traditionally built boat, the center cross-wise seat acts as a thwart to reinforce the sides. In a strip-built boat, the fiberglass acts as a series of very small ribs. Combined with a beefy outwale (or gunwale on the outside) these little ribs end up creating a very stiff little boat.

The stripping of this type of boat is about as basic as it gets and thus makes a good Strip Building 101 project for anyone new to strip building. Because both ends are squared off, there is a minimum of tapering needed to fit against existing strips, most of strips just hang off the ends a bit and get cut off. It should be possible for a first time builder to completely strip this boat in a couple of days using cove and bead strips. Another benefit of the transoms is it allows a short, fat boat without radical curves. This also makes it easier to strip. Most of the strips follow a fairly straight run, bending the “easy” way.

There are a lot of beautiful boats designs that have a transom and this design will show one way of dealing with this type of end. This boat also incorporates plywood seats mounted directly to the hull. This is a solid and straightforward means of fitting out a boat.