Buoyancy in the Chester Yawl

A recent post got me thinking about buoyancy in the Chester Yawl. It does not have the thwarts of the Northeaster that can accommodate foam boards. It does have relatively large fore and aft compartments that can serve as seats for a passenger. These get sealed off with fillets. 

I am just getting to the installation of those seats/sealing off those compartments with fillets.

- Anything that I should pay particular attention to as I do this part of the build?

- How much buoyancy do these compartments provide?

- Should drainage plugs be installed before sealing up the compartments?

- My presumption is that foam boards or some other type of flotation is not necessary or recommended here, correct? (I recall an earlier post on this topic but a quick search did not turn it up.)

Thanks for the input!



3 replies:

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RE: Buoyancy in the Chester Yawl

   Hi all. Seeking input on the questions about buoyancy in a Chester Yawl. If the boat does go over, how much buoyancy do the bow a stern seat tanks provide? Is there any point in considering any added flotation? If so, what would that look like?



RE: Buoyancy in the Chester Yawl


Hi DaveJ,

soon-to-be Chester Yawl builder here.

Arwen Marine (CLC's French retailer) has a image of a buoyancy test online:


Here are some images how one guy from Switzerland added additional buoyancy, I think those are air bags (see towards the bottom of the page):


I guess whatever one chooses (like solid form rolls) would be placed in a similar fashion. Whatever it is, it should be low in the boat. Easier recovery & less water to remove would be the benefits.

A super-rough calculation tells me the forward compartment alone has more than twice the reserve buoyancy to keep floating the hull weight. Looking at the picture in the first link I posted, I'd say the CY has good reserve buoyancy for a rowing boat. 

On a personal side note: I'll only use my CY on sheltered waters (smaller lakes, inland waterways) in foreseeable good conditions, I don't plan on adding buoyancy.

May I ask where you plan to use your boat?

RE: Buoyancy in the Chester Yawl

It looks to me to have plenty of flotation from the two compartments; it wouldn't take much with a wooden boat. I've seen an aluminum canoe with less.

I'd leave the compartments empty, with a drain plug in the stern compartment for ventilation. The best I can determine is that USCG requirements don't apply to non-powered boats, which is strange. (Common sense or the fear of a lawsuit must be the reason you don't see them without.)


Otherwise you need to provide foam flotation or air bag I suppose inside any flotation tank that has a penetration. Or so I've been told.


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