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.


  1. Hello Brandon.

    Quick response !

    I do believe you are fast convincing me to build this boat.

    Have spent some more time thinking about the lofting , and broken down into steps , it`s not really all that daunting.

    Things would be so much easier had our American friends adopted the metric measuring system like the European have , all those decades ago. Really.
    Nothing yet devised can compare to a system of measure based on simple units of ten.
    No silly "fractions "to contend with.Doubling halving , etc , of all numbers becomes a snap , faster and less error prone too.

    Anyway ,as I have the offsets here before me, and I`m thinking of cutting a nice model to admire and draw encouragement from....

    Thanks for the comments Brandon , they are indeed appreciated.

    Victor from "downunder ".

  2. I have to agree with you that a 10-based system makes sense. The big numbers, however, are sometimes daunting.

    If you have trouble finding a good, old-fashioned tape measurer, I'd be happy to send you one. I want to see another Valgerda built. In the information that Mrs. Atkin sent with my plans there are some pictures and a letter from a guy who built one in Australia.


  3. Brandon,

    Great post.

    The error I discovered was not in the table of offsets. it is a discrepancy between two views in the lines drawings. In the profile view, the forward perpendicular is drawn from stem head to baseline; in plan view, the FP crosses the centerline at the rabbet. This was a bit of a pain in the neck. I lofted her with the perpendicular at the rabbet. This discrepancy meant that I could not plot the height of the lap of the sheer/broad strakes on the first mold with any degree of certainty. Fortunately, these two planks come together there in such a way that the height of the lap can be adjusted on the set-up without affecting anything else.

    All in all, a very well-drawn set of plans, and very accurate offsets.

    I wish Victor well on his build.


  4. Thanks, Rick, for clearing that up. I had the same problem, but just figured it was my inexperience. A nice long batten helped me fudge it out.


  5. Hi Brandon,
    My name is Dan and have purchased and have seen and studied the Atkin PLans for Valgerda.

    I was wondering if you still have a copy of the doc with the lofting measurements you were offering, as i am struggling to deal with the measurements in the plans (due to me being in Australia and not dealing too well with imperial scaling in the first place. if needs be i can show you a photo of the plans or we could organize it some other way.
    Let me know,
    Dan Oliver
    If i can build my Valgerda half as beautiful as yours turned out, I'll be a happy man!