Clare de Lune - prototype of the 9 ft clinker plywood rowing dinghy designed for the Nottage Boat Building Class - design FB; (code name HBN9)

Some notes on building Clare de Lune - launched 2022


- a light rowing boat suitable for use as a towing yacht tender or stand-alone rowing boat for one person - capacity 3/4 adults


- 6mm gaboon glued-clinker marine ply planking with a traditional style fit out to emulate a traditional dinghy. Weight approx 55 kgs.


- Hull length 9ft 0 ins; Beam 4' 2 ins; high freeboard, hull depth amidships about 18 ins.


In general (this is quoted from my description of building TEAL on another page of this site) ""I do not approve of steamed frames in a clinker ply boat for several reasons: with wide thin planks the frames will not lie well; the copper nailing will leave the ply around the fastenings vulnerable to water penetration; we create spaces behind the frames which cannot be easily coated or maintained; finally, light steamed frames are poor anchors for a sound interior, buoyancy compartments, and so on." Well, this is all true; but, for the sake of making a traditional-looking boat, a traditional fit-out within a ply shell has often been done, and circumstances have finally led me straight down this path! As I am keeping this prototype for my own use I will be able to observe how durable the scheme is.

Design and Purpose

For many years we've had a single stock design for a minimal traditional sailing boat for the Nottage boat building class. This also makes a good rowing boat. But there are three main issues which have grown in importance over recent years: the first is that it takes many hours to make, and it seems most students have less spare time; secondly the timber materials for a traditional boat are getting noticeably more difficult, and expensive, to source; thirdly, being a traditional boat it is (deliberately) quite heavy - around 100 kgs, which introduces further expense in the form of trailers, and also affects the ease with which the boat can be used: quite often the builder is getting too aged and feeble to easily launch and recover the boat by the time it's been built! This design addresses these problems directly in the following ways: it is a rowing boat, and not a sailing boat, which saves a lot by omitting all those extra bits with the extra expense of the rig, centreboard and case, rudder, and so on; all the same, the construction has all the elements of a traditional boat; - but with many fewer pieces - fewer planks, fewer ribs, a simpler centreline, simple floors, floorboards, rowlocks, and so on. This all saves time. Further, the length is chosen so that planks can come from large format plywood (3150mm x 1500) which is available (eg from Robbins Timber of Bristol)in the desired 6mm thickness so planks can be made in single lengths without scarfing. (In fact as a glued hull you can do a "modern" fit-out without ribs and so on if wished). Finally the boat is a lot lighter, easier to transport and store, and so on. At 9 ft, it makes a reasonable rowing boat, and a good yacht tender.

The fit-out is fairly simple....

......with this boat. There is a steamed rib at each station which finishes on the centreline. These can be copper nailed with roves or clenched (without roves). Floors are fixed with screws on top of these ribs across the centreline - they can be made by doubling up the frames with the same material or shaping bits of the same siding as the ribs. The thwart riser is screwed in place. There is no inwale; the external gunwale is made from 2 or more laminates for stiffness. there are two possible thwart layouts: one with, and one without, a central thwart - the latter has a longitudinal midships bench or else a space for a stool; the longitudinal bench works best but in rough water the rower has a job staying on it (so there is room for development here). Sole boards fix down on the floors in normal fashion

Buoyancy provision

with a traditional fit out inflatable bags can be used. Reinforcement pads are added to the ribs as appropriate to take straps from the thwart riser.

The outcome is a satisfying little boat - light, but forgiving and seaworthy........


Plans consist of 3 sheets, lines plan and offsets, construction plan, and full size drawings of stations transom and stem. Price £55. of construction, afloat, and details.... below.....