The challenge with the Annapolis Wherry Tandem was to retain the essential qualities of its famous predecessor, the Annapolis Wherry. Known all over the world for its perfect, quiet elegance, the Annapolis Wherry is one of the most popular sliding seat wherries of all time. Much of its success is a result of what it DOESN'T have: a lot of extra bulk. That means it doesn't have much payload, either: about 325 pounds. That's not enough for two adult rowers.
We wanted to do more than just make the Annapolis Wherry a little longer and cram in two sliding seats. So we have created a tandem wherry that is extremely fast with two strong rowers, fast enough to win races like the smaller single Wherry does. It also functions as a single with room for an adult passenger. And of course you can row it all day as a single if you don't have a skilled sliding seat mate.
Switching between tandem rowing, passenger, and single rowing modes takes just moments: wing nuts hold the sliding seat rigs in place. An optional cane seat drops into place in seconds for a passenger sitting astern: parasol and picnic basket also optional.
Annapolis Wherry Tandem builders will fall into a couple of categories. Obviously, many strong two-person teams will seek it out for exercise and racing. (The stability of the wherry type makes it perfect for rowers new to the sliding seat.) Many builders will mainly use it as a single, but with a passenger aboard. The 650-pound payload (including sliding seat units) means that any combination of adult or kid passengers will be comfortable. A third category will be rowers who need a lot of payload, but with the speed of a long-and-narrow wherry type. You'll find those builders "beach cruising" along rivers and bays in their Annapolis Wherry Tandem, their gear packed in dry bags strapped to the frames.
Performance matches the original Annapolis Wherry, though of course the scale has changed as the length has been stretched two feet (beam and depth remain the same). With two rowers aboard, top speeds are definitely in the "racing" category. And in skilled hands, that speed can be maintained in rough chop or swells, making this a great open water racer. The bow has enough volume to get up and over waves, and the lapstrake planking helps knock down spray. The Wherry has a very dry ride. (Other than a little drip off the oars, I've yet to take on any spray in the boat, at all. ---JCH) Tracking is very strong in all conditions, light or heavy. We wondered about installing a rudder, but tests in wind and wave found that small, occasional corrections by the stroke oarsman are all that are needed to keep going straight. A rudder would be extra weight, drag, and bother.
The Annapolis Wherry Tandem is designed around the excellent Piantedosi sliding seat units, which, after a change of ownership, are now less expensive and available without a wait. You'll need 9'6" sculling oars with this boat.
As a single, you definitely notice the extra weight compared to the stock Annapolis Wherry. The Tandem is still fast and fun, but all things being equal, the small single Wherry is faster with anyone who weighs less than about 210 pounds. Especially in windy conditions, where the additional two feet of length make themselves known. Thus, if you will almost always row single and without a passenger or heavy gear, build the single.
The Annapolis Wherry Tandem is intended for first-time boatbuilders. Despite the beautiful and sophisticated shape, we have gone to tremendous trouble to make the boat easy to build. The computer-cut okoume planks are assembled to length using "puzzle joints," which ensure fast and accurate alignment. The computer also drills all of the holes for the copper wire "stitches" that hold the planks together temporarily, saving hours and increasing precision in the assembly. The frames drop into mortises we've cut for you in the bottom panel, so you really don't need to own a tape measure to build this boat! The planks are drawn up to a beautiful and traditional "wineglass" transom. Fiberglass reinforces the bottom panels inside and out, and epoxy saturates the entire structure for longevity and low maintenance. This is the exclusive CLC LapStitch™ technology that has launched thousands of boats.
Build this boat if:
- You're looking for a fast, comfortable sliding seat boat for two.
- You will occasionally row with a passenger.
- You need more payload than is available in the single Annapolis Wherry.
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