May / June 2022
Aside from her unusual rig and custom interior, ALKA B is in many ways the quintessential Paul Gartside design. Over the past 40 years, Gartside has made a name for himself designing a long line of small gaff cutters based on the lines of working boats from his native England. His design No. 101, on which ALKA B is based, is arguably his best yet: jaw-droppingly pretty, with perfectly balanced lines and a powerful, high-aspect gaff rig. As far as small gaff cutters go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
But, as Michael Higgins’s article in WB No. 230 demonstrated, there’s much more to Gartside than just gaff cutters. For one thing, Gartside is a keen rower. He’s also father to two adopted kids who he’d like to encourage to row, too. So, after moving from Nova Scotia to Long Island, New York, in 2016—the latest in a series of moves that saw him migrate from Cornwall in England to Canada, first to British Columbia and then to Nova Scotia—he promptly designed and built a pair of rowing dinghies for his kids, Nettie and Teddy.
Their rowing boat, design No. 211, is an 8' 2" double-ender intended for either carvel or strip-planking and sheathed inside and out with fiberglass and epoxy to survive knocks. It’s meant to be suitable for kids 5 to 10 years old. As Gartside says in his design notes, “While small in size, this is a proper little boat of sophisticated model, several notches above the kind of simple plywood types that kids are more commonly given to play in.” And indeed, with its elegant peapod shape and nicely flared topsides, it is also more difficult to build. Gartside finished his kids’ boats with nice rope fenders, some fancy bronze rowlocks, and their initials painted forward on the sheerstrakes, which no doubt increased their sense of ownership.
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