11'-4" Dinghy

Design Number 194
1980

During the decade that I lived aboard Sunrise, a 34' square topsail ketch I'd designed, we tried several different sorts of boats as dinghies and shoreboats. Originally, we had a used, plywood Penguin and added padding around her sheerline to make it easier to lay her alongside our bright finished hull.

After the transom on the Penguin developed rot, we got an Avon 9' inflatable. This was a great success in not scratching the finish on Sunrise, and worked excellently as a painting float too. However, as a pulling boat it had the inflatable's usual shortcomings....

After putting up with the inflatable for a few years, I got to thinking more seriously about a good hard dinghy for the longer rowing runs to shore. About this time, a couple friends started building a few of Phil Bolger's Light Dories for sale. I'd always admired them, but felt that they were just too long to carry on the trunk cabin. I'd already decided that I did not want to tow a tender, particularly when I had this excellent place to carry one on the housetop.

So, I took what I thought was the philosophy of simplicity of the Light Dory and drew up this shorter, truncated boat which would just fit on Sunrise's housetop. I reckoned that 12' plywood would do for her sides and 10' for the bottom.

When it came time that spring to build her, I was faced with the decision of whether to spend the money on building the dinghy or using that same money to finance a longer summer cruising season. So, I had a nice long cruise that summer and never did get to try out the dinghy. The local builders got into something more profitable and I kept using the Avon....



David Mehlin's 11'-4" Dinghy.

Later, after publication of the first edition of Small Craft Plans, David Mehlin built one and remarks, "The boat was built according to your plans during the winter of '90-'91, and has been in constant summer use on Cape Cod since that time. You will be interested to know that its most ardent admirers are the local lobstermen and fishermen. I guess when they've seen one Boston Whaler, they've seen them all...."

Still later, Jim Shotwell built a series of these dinghies and taught boatbuilding at the WoodenBoat School using this design as the platform for learning. We used one of Jim's dinghies for several years on the last boat we lived aboard, enjoying it and using it for teaching the kids to row.

Particulars:ImperialMetric
Length overall11'-4"3.45 m
Length datum waterline10'-0 7/8"3.07 m
Beam4'-6"1.37 m
Draft0'-3"0.08 m
Freeboard:Forward1'-4"0.42 m
Least1'-10 1/8"0.26 m
Aft1'-00.30 m
Estimated structural weight80 lbs.36 kg.
Displacement, to DWL250 lbs.114 kg.
Displacement-length ratio112 
Prismatic coefficient.58 
Pounds per inch immersion109 
Entrance half-angle18 

Note: The displacement numbers are calculated to the arbitrarily chosen DWL.
The calculated ratios of displacement-length and sail area-displacement will vary widely depending on the loading of the vessel.


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