Will ash plume lead to resurgence of Commuter boats?

With this weeks ongoing flying ban over most of Europe I was wondering if people were beginning to contemplate having their own means of travelling from Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe. Something along the lines of the commuter yachts that were used in the USA at the turn of the twentieth century. Something along the lines of the boat below.

Just the thing for popping across to France of England for business and if you’re worried about getting a touch of Mal de mer there are no gyroscopic stabilisers available which greatly reduced roll and pitching.

The boat above is“Rosamund” designed by John Alden in 1926 is the quintessential commuter yacht. These yachts were moderately fast motor boats that were quite spartan to begin with but later developed into luxurious yachts. Seven months a year wealthy New York industrialists were able to leave for work in their dressing gowns and have breakfast and dress on the way. With today’s communications technology it would be quite possible to work while underway turning your luxurious yacht into a mobile office. Built to the highest standards by Roeboats there is no reason why a modern or classic commuter yacht wouldn’t make the perfect antidote to air travel which will become more and more expensive and which has proven to be vulnerable to disruptions, think of 9/11 and now volcanic ash.

M/Y Vidar a C. G. Petersson design

Or how about a Swedish commuter yacht, this one M/Y Vidar was designed by C. G. Petersson the famed Swedish naval architect, who I’m currently researching. His boats are drop dead gorgeous and of course seaworthy and fuel efficient.

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:roeboats@ymail.com


Birthday for Roeboats

Starting a business in the middle of a recession is not easy but people will still want to enjoy the unique unparalleled freedom offered by being captain of your own boat. Yes it has been difficult but I’ve wanted to be a boat builder since I was thirteen when I started maintaining and repairing racing dinghies. After nearly 25 years of learning and honing the skills needed I finally decided to start Roeboats and follow that dream. So far I have been successful and I’m hoping that clients will recognise the value and beauty of the boats that Roeboats build. I’m building boats that were designed during the golden age of yachting and building them using eco-friendly and low maintenance techniques so clients can have beautiful classic boats without the headaches of traditional construction and benefit from their sea-kindly and fuel efficient hull forms.” It all started with the building of an optimist dinghy with my father see the picture below.

wooden optimist dinghy

Mo Bháidín (My little boat) 1983

To celebrate Roeboats first anniversary in business I’m offering a free tender with every boat ordered over 20’ before the end of April 2010. Launched with the commencement of the building of hull number one a John Atkin designed 22’ eco-friendly fuel efficient powerboat Roeboats have not only survived the recent economic maelstrom but are implementing plans to grow the business in the coming years. I’m currently discussing custom built boat projects, both power and sail, with prospective owners both here in Ireland and abroad. We’ve teamed up with two boat dealerships in Ireland, I’ll be announcing details soon, and I’m also beginning to target the UK and northern Europe. Initial contacts with specialist brokers have been very positive.
Official celebrations are being postponed slightly to coincide with the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival at the end of May where Roeboats first boat will be making it’s debut where clients can get a chance to see the fine craftsmanship and excellent sea keeping of the Ninigret. So if you’d like to have a look at what Roeboats are up to why not head to Baltimore for the 28-30th. of May

Progress continues on Ninigret 22′ power boat

Well progress has been continuing apace on fitting out the hull of Ninigret and while a lot of work has been done I’m afraid there’s very little to show you. Most of the cabin fit out is complete and is currently being painted before installation. So that’s just a pile of wood and an empty space in the hull. The bilge has been painted and shouldn’t need to be redone for a very long time. The two part epoxy paint I used is rated for use in chemical tankers so it’s pretty tough stuff and boy is it hard to sand. The cockpit floor is in and all of the parts for the motor well are fabricated and being painted. This week I’ve started on the deck ( you can see the first of the deck beams in the right hand side of the photo ) and hopefully soon enough it will start to look like I’ve been doing something.

parts painted and awaiting installation

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:roeboats@ymail.com


Why use wood to build boats?


Photo by rick rowland via Flickr Creative Commons

Where lightweight and strength are needed wood is the best material to use.

Wood is stronger than than steel, most fiberglass and aluminium pound for pound.

Wood is stiffer than all fiberglass, kevlar and steel.

Wood absorbs vibrations and this includes sound, so wooden boats are quieter.

Wood does not fatigue with repeated loading,

Wood is a renewable resource and the growing of wood removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Wood is eco friendly in that it can be recycled, fiberglass cannot.

Wood looks good.

Wood allows economical, in both materials and cost, custom production of boats.

Wooden boats require similar maintenance to fiberglass boats. Gel coat is not the wonder material it was thought to be

So why are most boats for sale today made of fiberglass?

There is one reason most boats are built from fiberglass; that is cheap labour.

It requires skilled craftspeople to build a wooden boat, whereas semi-skilled and unskilled operatives with proper supervision can manufacture a fiberglass boat.

Fiberglass is not renewable and non-recyclable,

Fiberglass requires similar maintenance to a wooden boat. Gel coat is not the wonder material it was thought to be.

Update: 2-May-2010

I came across this article by Lawence W. Cheek in the Seattle Times today and he says exactly what I want to, but better.

“We willingly pour the considerable labor and love into building, maintaining and restoring wooden boats because they lead us to participating in something greater than ourselves. I have nothing against fiberglass, but a boat made of synthetic material simply reflects human culture back at us. It is purely a product of technology. A wooden boat is a partnership. It’s not literally a living thing, not quite, but it evinces respect for the life that exists outside the clubby circle of human intelligence.”

Photo by Botheredbybees

Photo by Botheredbybees via Flickr Creative Commons

Restoration of National 18

I bought this National 18 from a friend of mine. Some friend you might say. It was to replace an old plywood wayfarer that had finally disintegrated ( I could push my finger through the bottom.) after more than 30 years or so. As you can see in the pictures it was in pretty rag order.

liamodonovanofficesuite0033All of the decking had delaminated after being left out uncovered for a good few years and the boat needed a full fitting out.


Well it was early June and I wanted to go sailing a soon as possible before the summer ended. So I set to and two weeks later it looked like this.

18boatI redecked the boat, recyled some of the seats from the wayfarer and built new ones. They gave me some very funny looks when I bought a plank of iroko that looked like a boomerang but it was perfect for the rubrail at the gunwale. I was able to use the wayfarer rig, which was a little smaller than the National 18; because I would be single handing a lot. Repainted and varnished the whole lot. I filled in the transom hole as I wanted to keep my feet dry. I’ve been using the boat for 3 summers now and it has performed much better than the wyfarer the extra length and beam make it a lot sturdier and roomy. The design is a 1968 Ian Proctor design that replaced the sleek 1930’s Uffa Fox design of the National 18 which is very nice too. I apologise for the quaity of the photos when I took them I hadn’t intended to put them in blog.

Tús maith, leath na h-oibre

A good start is half the work. Well let’s hope this old saying or seanfhocail holds true. I thought I might start at the beginning and show you some views of where Roeboats is located. We’re located just off the N71 in the leam a mhádra (dog’s leap) valley overlooking Roaringwater bay and the Fastnet_Rock. I’ve been living in this area for almost ten years and as you can see it’s an easy place to stay in.sunnyhouse1

I moved to West cork to build boats but got a little sidetracked and have been making fine wooden funiture for the last ten years instead. Check out my furniture at Tiernan Roe Fine Woodworking, as you can see I’m a big fan of blogs. However I aim to update this blog a lot more frequently.sunnydrive1

Previous to moving to West Cork I worked in Berlin and Dublin as a special effects model maker making tings like rubber armour and 9metre 35′ statues of liberty for the top of Checkpoint Charlie on the old Berlin wall. Which was very interesting and used a lot of the skills needed in boatbuilding like mold making, fibreglass fabrication and some complex wood work; one project recreated the art nouveau interior of Maxim’s restaurant in Paris.

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:roeboats@ymail.com