Build Your Own Wherry

Location: Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend, Washington
Dates: Saturday, April 8, 2023 - Sunday, April 16, 2023

This Class in Port Townsend, WA, is offered by the Northwest Maritime Center; for registration and class inquiries, please call 360-385-3628 x300 or email

Instructor:  Joel Arrington & Sam Trocano

Register online through 
Northwest Maritime Center

For more information about this class, call or email:
360-385-3628 x300

Tuition & Materials:  

Other Considerations:

Expedition Wherry - Build Your Own Boat in One Week
Expedition Wherry - Build Your Own Boat
Expedition Wherry - Build Your Own Boat
Expedition Wherry
Annapolis Wherry - Build Your Own Boat in One Week
Annapolis Wherry - Build Your Own Boat
Annapolis Wherry
Chester Yawl
Chester Yawl
In this 9-day course, each student will build an Annapolis Wherry, Annapolis Wherry TandemExpedition Wherry, or Chester Yawl from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit. This fast, shapely wherry is intended for serious sliding-seat rowers who are looking for open-water ability and enough payload for camp-cruising. 

The Annapolis Wherry and her larger sister, the Tandem Wherry, are modeled after the graceful 19th century livery boats used on the River Thames. They are, however, lighter and slimmer, combining breathtaking grace with thoroughbred performance under oars. Solid stability, sea-kindly lines, a buoyant bow, and ample flare make the Wherry a natural choice for rowing in choppy water. While fixed seats are standard, the Annapolis Wherry is primarily a sliding-seat boat. With the Piantedosi Row Wing installed, cruising speeds easily reach 5 to 7 knots. The Annapolis Wherry may be unsurpassed as a rowing trainer, exercise boat, long-distance cruiser, or open-water racer.

The Chester Yawl is modeled on 19th Century "Whitehall" boats of New England. Elegant as well as efficient, her hull shape has a striking beauty with a plumb bow and "wineglass" transom, with glittering performance on the water.

Most of the Expedition Wherry is decked in, with only a small "sump" area beneath the oarsman's heels to gather bilge water. An optional Elvstrom-type bailer can dispose of any water that gathers there.  There are four separate watertight compartments, all accessible through hatches for gear storage.  The boat has enough stability, and the compartments provide enough buoyancy, that it's possible to climb back into the cockpit after a capsize, bail out, and continue on your way. Watch the video here.
The boats are made of 6mm okoume plywood with 9mm okoume plywood frames, thwarts and flotation tanks. Outwales, breasthook and quarter knees are solid mahogany.
The boats are built using the LapStitchTM construction technique. Traditional lapstrake boatbuilding employs molds over which planks are nailed or riveted together. By using precision-rabbeted, computer-cut plank shapes and frames which double as molds, a CLC LapStitch kit boat is wired together just like a stitch-and-glue kayak. When glued with small epoxy fillets, the planks create a stiff and strong hull that will last for fifty years.
The precut hull planks are scarfed together, and then connected to the frames and each other with copper wire stitches, then fixed in place with epoxy fillets. Next come thwarts, knees, wales, and air tanks. Fiberglass cloth on the bottom inside and out provides abrasion resistance.

What is it like to build an Expedition Wherry in one week?  

Check out the video:
Watch an Expedition Wherry timelapse

The instructor will discuss the proper way to sand and paint or varnish the boat. Sliding seat units may be purchased at Chesapeake Light Craft.
At the end of an absorbing week, students will have learned about stitch-and-glue basics, including epoxy work, fiberglassing, and laminating. Building a LapStitch boat is easy, but assembling an 18' boat in a week means a tight schedule, and you'll be spending plenty of time in the shop.
Note:  Boat kits for classes are ordered through the Northwest Maritime Center and are specially prepared at CLC and delivered directly to the classroom. These kits include essential supplies and may have certain parts pre-assembled.  Because of the particular nature of these kits, discounts and other promotions do not apply. Kit s