Wherry drop in rowing system


My first post to the forum. I just completed the week build of the Annapolis Wherry in Port Townsend, WA. Great program !!

Has anybody worked out any options to the Piantedosi drop in rig ?? I checked one out at the clinic and I'm looking for options that would get the job done and not add so much weight to the boat. My background is in sculling and rowing, not boat building. The Peinert uses a very nice rig for their boats, and the Little River Marine folks down in Florida use a side mounted oarlock support that actually pivots parallel to the boat for hauling.

Has any alternates been kicked around ??

Chuck Tasca, Coeur d'Alene, ID






7 replies:

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RE: Wherry drop in rowing system


I am also a sculler and have rowed both the CLC wherry and scull at Okumefest events.  I would build them both, if there was a lighter alternative to the 18 lb Piantadosi drop in.  The rig on my Little River Reggata weighs a fraction of that.  I have also been admiring the elegantly simple and light rigs on the sculls featured in a new book I obtained recently from Wooden Boat.  The alternative is to design a rig oneself, but there is a lot of engineering involved in getting the spread and angles exactly right to accept the Concept II oarlocks and maintain their full range of adjustability. 

What I would like to see happen is to have CLC contract with Piantadosi, or someone equivalent to design light rigs specifically for those boats.  According to the Alden site, Piantadosi now works for them and so may no longer have the flexibility of designing rigs for competitive boats, but he cannot be the only expert out there.  Perhaps Concept II would take on the project.  They are another great company like CLC and are very active in promoting the sport.     

Bob R.  

RE: Wherry drop in rowing system

I'll throw in what might be considered a defense of the Piantedosi rowing rig.  I have used one in my MC 16.5 for over two years and have been very satisfied with it.  As regards the weight, it certainly would be nice to have it a little lighter when lugging it around, but when compared to carrying the boat, it is no big deal.  Regarding the weight's impact on boat performance, I would defy you to tell the difference in the CLC boats.  If the unit weighs 18 lbs., and I have never weighed mine, add that to a 65 lb wherry (or Mill Creek), 4 lbs worth of oars and say a 180 lb rower.  If you were to cut the weight of the unit in half, you would only reduce the total weight by about 3%.  That reduction is about 4% for the Oxford Shell.  Wave-making resistance is a function of the boat's displacement/length ratio which is the weight divided by the cube of the waterline length with a factor thrown in.  That number will vary by the same percentage as the total weight so, again, the result with most likely be undetectable.  Also, consider how much actual rowing time you are going to spend at speeds sufficient to produce a noticeable wake,  So, if your goal is a light load between the car and the water's edge, keep looking for a lighter unit, but if you are hung up on the impact on boat performance, pick the boat you like, get a Piantedosi and go rowing.


Paul G.

RE: Wherry drop in rowing system



If you follow that reasoning, there would be no market for carbon fiber Vespolis or $8,000 racing bicycles and we could just as well be building our CLC craft out of half inch construction plywood and filet size be damned.  I have been paddling, sailing, bicycling and rowing for four decades and I can testify to the wonderfully gratifying sensation of responsiveness, acceleration and speed that comes from applying oneself  to a stiff, lightweight craft vs a clunker.  It is the difference between training being a joy and a chore. 


I think what is missing in your analysis is the difference between dead weight and live weight.  18 lbs is almost 30% of the weight of the wherry and almost ½ the weight of the Cambridge scull.  What is annoying is that it is completely unnecessary weight. 


For a beautifully rendered tribute to the sculler’s obsession with lightness I can recommend “Rowable Classics” by Darryl J. Strickler recently published by WoodenBoat Books, www.woodenboatbooks.com. 

Bob R.    

RE: Wherry drop in rowing system

Bob R. makes a good point. What I was trying to get at was that we go through the trouble to build as nice a boat as we can, and the only solution that the "market" give us to make a sculling boat out of it is a drop in rig that in my opinion, is a "kludge" solution. Besides, if Piantedosi goes T.U., there is no viable alternative.

The "world of sculling" offers a wide selection of seats, rails, foot stretchers, klogs, shoes, all the goodies needed to go rowing with. That wheel is invented, just go on line and pick what you like. I envision an annapolis wherry with the two center bulkheads relocated to carry the seat rails, complete with a hatch.. the rigger could bolt to the stern bulkhead (which could be a double bulkhead for stiffness). If I hadn't already glued in my buildheads at the clinic, I would be tempeted to do this. Maybe next boat. 

Not saying that the Piantedosi isn't a proven product and works very well, just saying that there are other ways to look at solving the problem. We are builders, right ??  


RE: Wherry drop in rowing system

As a Little River Heritage 15 owner I would tell you that their side mounted rigger system is terribly flawed.  The riggers are held in place by a binding clamp system that doesn't hold them tightly in position.  Further, the clamp itself breaks over time (mine both broke in about 6 months use) and fails completely.  Secondly, their system results in a hull that has no effective thwart and thus the gunwales flex in and out with each stroke.  It is a bad design.  A system akin to the Echo folding rigger or that of the Whitehall Spirit is a vastly superior design.  

The movable bench in the Heritage is also a fatally flawed design.  The supports for the bech fail rapidly, resulting in hull damage as the seat grinds into the hull liner.  

I will say that Little River has been very nice about replacing broken parts.

 I am contemplating putting a Piantedosi rig into the boat to solve its issues.

RE: Wherry drop in rowing system

I have had no problems with the rig on the Little River Regatta Scull.  It is light, stiff and easily removable, and has been trouble free, but then the Little River Literature of a few years ago credited Piantedosi as the supplier and presumably the designer.  I can no longer find that claim in the current literature from Little River.  The rig is, like the drop in, also constructed of black anodized welded aluminum but it is only the rigger.  It attaches to three metal plates, one on each gunnel and the foredeck.   It is light because the sliding seat and stretchers are separate and attach to the floor of the boat.  It is the standard sculling arrangement with minimalist carbon tracks and very light weight seat.  Seat and stretchers together can’t weigh more than a pound and a half together. 


It turns out that both Carl Douglas https://www.carldouglas.co.uk/index-shop.html  and Durham Boats http://www.durhamboat.com/rigging.php  custom build rowing rigs for sculls and shells other than their own designs for about the same price as the drop in.  Since the CLC boats do not have saxboards, the engineering is a little different but they may be able to offer something. 


Bob R.

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