Friday, February 25, 2011

Questions from Victor and an Offer to Followers

Here's a shot of Ravn's bow before I turned her over. Notice the hollow entry and flare in the bow. When I was lofting the O station I almost messed this up. But I caught the mistake in time.

I started to answer a question from a reader and got a little long, so I decided to make a post of it. Victor writes:

I am seriously considering building a Valgerda. I think this boat is one of the most beautiful and authentic looking faerings around, (apart from the traditionally built ones of course!). Unfortunately building one (traditionally) with solid lumber is not an option for me.

I am a bit apprehensive about all that lofting. Which reminds me, both you and Rick Nardone mention an error with Mr Atkin's offsets , can you elaborate on this please? Did you find that the offsets given were relatively close after fairing the lines?

Is this boat "a handful" to row?


Dear Victor,

I hope you do build a Valgerda. They are wonderful boats and rowing one is almost a religous experience.

While I don't consider myself an expert rower, I have rowed a lot of different boats and Ravn is far and away my favorite. She is a big boat, but far from being a handful to row, she is very well behaved. One person can row her with no problem. She tracks like she's on rails and has the good sense to punch through the small waves and ride over the big ones. I built her so she could cross the shallow river bars we have on the Oregon coast and she does that like a pro.

She does not handle like a light, flat-bottomed boat -- don't expect to do a 360 in her length -- but you also won't get dumped off a breaking wave and broach like happened to me in my little dory.

Both Rick Nardone and I built the keel different from the plans. My keel is 6 1/2-inches deep, which makes my boat draw about 12 inches. Rick's is about four inches, with a total draft of about 10 inches. The keel Mr. Atkin drew is more than 18 inches, which would pose a problem launching and recovering her from a trailer. I find Ravn to be very handy in that respect. She isn't much more difficult to launch and recover than my little 13-foot, 150-pound Chamberlain dory.

Now about the lofting: Rick said the lofting was easy and a good project for a beginner. He's a professional boat builder and knows what he's doing. This is the first and only boat I've ever lofted so it was a bit of a challenge for me, but only because I'm not good at all with numbers. I found Mr. Atkin's table of offsets to be right on the money as far as I could tell.

The mistake I made was by not following exactly the lofting of the 0 and 12 station (the first and last ones). It didn't look right to me because it tucked in more than I thought it should so I modified it. Once I set up the stations I saw my mistake and corrected it with no harm done. Had I not fixed the mistake, Ravn wouldn't have the beautiful hollow entry she has.

The Offer
I found it was easier for me to make up my own table and translate the traditional feet-inches-and eighths into exactly what that looks like on a tape measure. I know, it's kindergarten stuff, but, like I said, I'm not a numbers guy. I have that as a doc. file and would be happy to sent it to any of those who follow this blog if they can prove they have already purchased the plans from Mrs. Atkin. The plans are a beautiful piece of art. If you are building this boat you need to have them. Besides, I wouldn't want to cheat Mrs. Atkin. At $50 the plans for Valgerda are a bargain. She is providing a great service making the Atkin plan catalog available to boat builders.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tim Mooney's experience with Valgerda

There is a great post from the archives of the Wooden Boat Forum, Sept. 21, 2004, by Tim Mooney . He talks about the Valgerda that he built:

"Well, here's what I think. I built one of these Valgerda boats, and sailed it from Mystic to Annisquam, MA; up the coast of Maine and in the Great Lakes. I lived aboard for up to six weeks at a time and I think the boat is great. The rig is great. and the ballast is great. No you don't row this boat to windward. No you don't want to sail her unballasted (flotation is a good idea).
This is the driest small boat I've ever been on. I know why the Norwegians use the verb swims, as in "she swims well," to describe their craft; if you get wet sailing to windward in under 15 knots of wind in open water it is because of gross inattention misdirecting the tiller. Normally she seems to try to attack waves like she knows where she wants to go and the spray stays down low. The rig may not look like much to you, but sailing I liked it. I added 8" to both luff and leach and had two deep reefs; wouldn't change anything else. I wouldn't want a less high aspect sail, since I like getting to weather.

"Since there is a keel and the center thwart is not structural, I'd take it out, stick it in the back with the furled rig, the oar that wasn't holding up my tent and live with a big comfortable space. I could go on. I love this boat. I had the most fun of my life with her."

April 1, 2011
I did ask Mr. Mooney if I could post this before I actually posted it, no foolin'. The thing is, I didn't hear back from him for some weeks, so I went ahead and posted it anyway.

Lucky for me that I received the gracious email a couple of days ago: "No problem using my old forum post. I sometimes think of writing more about the boat. -- Tim Mooney"

I immediately wrote back thanking him and asking for more recollections of his Valgerda and photos. Here's hoping!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Other Valgerdas

Doryman's Valgerda at the Toledo Wooden Boat Show last August.

I correspond regularly with two other Valgerda owners - Doryman, who lives just down the coast, and Rick, who lives on the other coast - and I'd like to add to the list.

There must be more; the design has been around since 1952. John Kohnen snapped a few pictures of two different Valgerdas at recent Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festivals. I also saw one for sale on the East Coast a few years ago. It would be nice to have a list of builders, owners or former owners.

Heck, I'd even like to talk to folks who have just sailed or rowed one. Or even people who are thinking of building one.

I'd also like to talk to owners and builders of Kari 2, the Selway-Fisher faering of about the same size and style. I own a set of plans for this boat and almost built it, but the Atkin plan won out.

So, if you fit any of the above categories please let me know through the comment section of this blog. I would like this to be a place where we can share stories and ideas about this great design.

Rick's Valgerda