Rowing a PassageMaker

We are looking to build a dinghy to carry on our bigger boat that is a reasonably efficient rower. We are fit (we cross country ski, hike, bike, and paddle our sea kayaks).

How well does the PassageMaker pram row? Could you comfortably row it for 5 miles? How would it compare to some of the other CLC rowing options? In other words, compared to something like the Chester Yawl is horribly less efficient, somewhat less, efficient, a reasonable alternative for a 5 mile row in calm conditions?



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RE: Rowing a PassageMaker

We have a take-apart, lug-rigged Passagemaker built in 2014-2015.  We intended to use her primarily as a rowboat, to be an overlarge dinghy and playmate for our Menger 19 catboat, ferrying grandchildren about, etc.  (Jolly good fun, it was.)  The sailing was to be more as an auxiliary to the rowing, so the lug rig made more sense, being easier to change between rowing and sailing and back to rowing than the gunter sloop.  Plus, which, I'm a fan of the balanced lug rig.

She rows quite well, especially considering she's such a curvey thing.  I find her a more than "reasonably efficient rower".  She's responsive, tracks well, tolerates a good load without becoming over fussy about trim, and is an all around joy to row.  I have rowed her in a leisurely manner all day several times, covering 5-10 miles around our local lakes to sneak up on birds with a camera, and never felt like I was getting too tired to continue, even if the last stretch was a few miles back across the open lake back to the take out.  She gets up to 3+ knots quite easily, a pace I can maintain for a long time.  If I'm on my game and have had my Wheaties, she'll touch 4 knots on the GPS, though I'm not sure how long I could keep that up.

As a rowboat, she has exceeded our expectations.  As a sailboat, she has exceeded our wildest dreams.  She is weatherly, responsive, and way faster than I'd ever thought possible.  Doug Fowler's Egyptian cotton lug sail pulls like an American Cream draft mule, if properly set and trimmed.  Honestly, I've tracked her with the GPS making a steady 4-1/2 knots in a good breeze (just short of needing a reef), hard on the wind, heading where she was pointed in a spirited fashion.  With the wind free, I was getting 5 to 5-1/2 knots, taking things in easy stride.

Mind you, as a rowing boat, she won't be in the same class as a straight up pulling boat like the Chester Yawl.  I've never rowed one of those, but I have rowed similar boats, and it's obvious that you won't get that sort of rowing performance out of a Passagemaker.  However "horribly less efficient" as compared to a Chester Yawl?  Mercy, no!  Just...different...and not as fast.


RE: Rowing a PassageMaker

I dropped my PM at the boat ramp and rowed over to my friends house on Lake Roesigner a couple of years ago for 4th of July.  It was at least a couple of miles.  I'm not a rower, so I was pretty wiped out when I got there, but it tracked pretty well for my lack of experience.  

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