Robote: the maiden voyage


After losing my last rowboat in an unfortunate trailering accident, my new boat is finished. I started just over a month ago, on June 14, and finished exactly one month later, on July 14. I kept track of my time using the twitter tag #robote, and spent just under 40 hours completing the project. The design is Robote by Jim Michalak, and construction and performance were exactly as advertised. It went together quickly and easily. I haven’t weighed it, but I can carry it (short distances) and hoist it to the roof of the car single-handed, so it must be at or below the designer’s estimated weight of 60 lbs. It rows easily and tracks straight, and seems to be exactly what I wanted in a rowboat. The temporary thwart I cut from a 2×6 has me sitting a little high, so I’ll have to do a little adjustment when I cut the piece of oak 1×8 I bought for a permanent thwart.

I’m at the beach for a family trip, so I took it out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake (which are found only in north Florida, New Zealand, Australia, and MAdagascar), and had nice row of a little over 2 miles by GPS, with an average rowing speed of 3 mph. (I’d take those numbers with a grain of salt, given that it shows an elevation gain of 373 feet, which is pretty amazing for flat water in a state with a maximum elevation of 345 feet.)

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