A Many Purpose Craft

This pulling boat was designed with a view to producing a useful craft for use at summer camps, fishing places, mountain lakes, rivers, and the great salt seas; any place where an easily rowed and burdensome small boat is needed for business or pleasure purposes. This latest of MoToR BoatinG's very large fleet of practical water craft was designed especially for rowing; but I will have no quarrel with those who wish to propel the boat with an outboard motor of modest horse power. However, do not use a big motor; three horse power is ample for speeds up to seven miles an hour. Above this the stern will settle badly, because it is sharp and the after buttock lines raise abruptly. The form is perfect for rowing and for speeds under seven miles an hour.


It will be especially noticed that the keel is straight for its entire length. Also that it projects below the garboard planks 1 inch. The purpose of the long straight keel is to keep the boat on a true course while under way under oars, and to prevent it from walking all over the place when at anchor. This is exactly the opposite performance one looks for in a small yacht tender or dinghy; which only goes to show that one type boat cannot serve every purpose. A boat like this Bruce Conklin will be difficult to tow because it will yaw badly and end up by capsizing if towed fast in rough water. And by the same token will be unhandy as a dinghy because it will not turn sharply and quickly.

Our design this month shows a boat that will be easily pulled by oars and easily kept on its course in smooth or rough water, with, across, or against the wind and sea. The body plan shows firm strong bilges along the middle sections, which means the boat will not flop this way and that when weights are shifted off the center line. The bow and stern sections are sharp and will take to the sea kindly. Coupled with the fact that the boat will be easily rowed by one man, she should be ideal for trolling for fish. This, in fact, is the first purpose I had in mind for the boat. During the time for many months past when it was impossible to use an outboard because of the gasoline situation, a boat like this 15 footer would have been worth its weight in gold, if this metal is worth anything these days. Rowing is dreadfully hard work in practically all the boats designed for propulsion with an out-board motor. As far as I have been able to see, amateur fishermen will find means to get on the water despite the scarcity of gasoline by the very honest means of rowing or sailing.


One of my best shipmates, and one of scores of years standing, is an amateur fisherman. He has that elusive sense that tells where the bass, weakfish, and bluefish are likely to be found; and usually finds them. All summer long after working hours my shipmate, with my son John and some other indispensible technical men, have been fishing the waters off Long Neck, the rocks off Pratt Island, and the place where the water rushes into the old Cove Mill Pond. It is a long row out to the haunts of the fish and so it was usually late before the boys returned. Striped bass bite best when it is dark. Unknown, they served the food production line well because many big fish set the tables of some of us, saving meat that is at a premium. Shouldn't there be some kind of honor for this? If there were a lot of boats like this one I have named Bruce Conklin; and a lot of Bruce Conklins; the OPA as it concerns meat, could close up and be forgotten. As a measure of appreciation of a good and true shipmate, then, you know why it is I've named this month's design, Bruce Conklin.

The boat is 15 feet 6 inches over all; 15 feet on the water line; slightly less than 3 feet 10 inches wide; and draws 6 inches of water. The freeboard at the bow is 1 foot 8 1/4 inches; and at the stern 1 foot 3 1/4 inches. The arrangement shows three thwarts without the usual stern sheets. For trolling fish with two, the man with the fish rod sits aft; the oarsman forward. With two fishing the third man sits amidships. Alone one rows from the center thwart. So the hull is always in good balance. Suitable foot braces are screwed to the foot boards and have adjustable cross members as shown. It is hard work rowing without a proper brace for the feet. It will be noticed that the thwarts are well below the gunwales; easier to row thus. Also that the oar lock sockets are just 9 inches abaft the after edges of the thwarts. These items make a big difference in the way a row boat handles. There should not be any paint or varnish on the foot boards. Left bare the wood will not be slippery, and this is an item that bears careful consideration. I would use ash or chestnut wood for the footboards, and screw these down with round head brass screws.


There are many, many types and varieties of oar locks and oars. Now-a-days these will be difficult to get hold of; but are obtainable if you shop around a little in small retail places of business. The best kind of oar lock sockets for this boat would be the type that has a hinged plate; the pin of the hinge being at the outer edge of the gunwale. The loose end of the hinge has a recess for oar lock and serves as an outrigger about 6 inches long. When not in use the hinge is folded inside the rail. Thus longer oars can be used and a better fulcrum secured. With oar locks as shown on the plans use 7-foot oars. With the outrigger type of oar lock, use 8-foot oars. In still water spruce oars are best; but in rough windy water ash oars are the better because they are not so easily thrown by the wind. Always have the oars leathered where they wear in the oar locks. Fish will hear noises; the leathers muffle the chunk of the oars, and save wear as well.


The things needed in a boat like this for use on open water are: a 10 pound kedge anchor of folding stock and fluke type; 100 feet of 1/2 inch diameter Manila rope neatly spliced to the anchor ring and securely fastened at the other end to the boat; a water jug, and a lantern. If full of water the boat will float high and so no great need for life preservers. This boat is no cockle shell and is able to take a beating if it gets rough before the weary fishermen start for home. I know people who will tell you that in addition to my three important pieces of equipment there should be a supply of invigorating liquid bait just in case it grows cold or rain comes on unexpected. This, however, is something that is, one might say, personal equipment for fortitude and not especially recommended by the W.C.T.U.

The construction is not especially light.