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Build Your Own Annapolis Wherry, Expedition Wherry, or Chester Yawl

Chesapeake Light Craft Build: Build Your Own Annapolis Wherry, Expedition Wherry, or Chester Yawl

April 8–16 last day to register is March 8
9 AM – 5 PM | Kit cost + $949 tuition

So, you want to be a contender in SEVENTY48? Then you’re gonna need a boat! There’s only one caveat—you have to build it first. Through this nine-day class you will have the option to build an Expedition Wherry, Annapolis Wherry, or Chester Yawl.

About the Expedition Wherry:

The Expedition Wherry came about as a solution for fitness-oriented rowers who want to go out in cold or rough water, perhaps with camping gear. Designer John C. Harris, who has been designing, building, and enjoying sliding-seat boats for 27 years, spent a lot of time tinkering with the hull lines to find the best compromise between speed, payload, and stability. Most of the boat is decked in, with only a small “sump” area beneath the oarsman’s heels to gather bilge water. An optional Elvstrom-type bailer can dispose of any water that gathers there. There are four separate watertight compartments, all accessible through hatches for gear storage. The boat has enough stability, and the compartments provide enough buoyancy, that it’s possible to climb back into the cockpit after a capsize, bail out, and continue on your way.

The official max payload is 423 pounds. Thus, a 200-pound oarsman could carry the equivalent of three infantry-sized backpacks worth of camping gear (of course, the lighter you pack, the faster the boat goes). The standard flush deck hatches are large enough for tents, sleeping bags, and kitchen sinks of modest size.

Learn more at

About the Annapolis Wherry Single or Tandem:

Solid stability, sea kindly lines, excellent tracking, a buoyant bow, and ample flare make the Wherry a natural choice for rowing in choppy conditions. The open design allows for plenty of sprawling and a picnic basket when beach cruising. Stability is strong for a performance rowing boat: you can step into the boat from a dock and even stand up. However, the narrow waterline means that the Annapolis Wherry is as fast as many “rec” shells, sprinting at 7 knots and cruising at 4-5 knots. At this speed you could cover 30 or 40 miles in a day. We hear of Wherries being used for camping and fishing expeditions.

The Annapolis Wherry is at its best with a sliding seat. From the beginning the interior was designed around a Piantedosi Row Wing, the nicest sliding seat unit on the market. Used with a sliding seat, the Wherry might be unsurpassed as a rowing trainer, exercise boat, long-distance cruiser, or even for open water racing.

Construction uses Chesapeake Light Craft’s exclusive LapStitch™ process. This results in a true lapstrake hull with long, elegant lines that is stiff and light. The doubling of plank thickness where each plank overlaps the next creates a longitudinal “stringer,” which is why CLC’s LapStitch™ boats don’t require as much messy fiberglass work as multi-chine hulls. The Wherry is built of 6mm okoume BS1088 plywood, epoxy encapsulated throughout. Fiberglass cloth is applied to the bottom panels inside and out for extra stiffness and to resist beach abrasion. 9mm okoume frames, thwarts, and flotation tanks ensure stiffness. The outwales, breasthook, and quarter knees are solid mahogany.

Learn more at or

About the Chester Yawl:

Boats like the Chester Yawl were used as working craft in 19th-century. Efficiency was critical in these human powered craft, so they evolved easily driven hull shapes. Working watermen weren’t immune to good looks, either, so these “livery boats” were often beautiful. The most famous of the type, the “Whitehall” boats of New England, are still considered a touchstone of small craft elegance. The Chester Yawl is based on the Whitehall and adopts its distinctive plumb bow and “wineglass” transom.

This LapStitch™ design’s long, graceful sweeps of plank achieve a hull shape of striking beauty, glittering performance. At 15’ long, the Chester Yawl is about the right size for easy trailering (or even cartopping), and the payload of 450 pounds means that two or three adults may safely set out for a picnic or even a camping trip. Although 30 inches shorter than our Annapolis Wherry, the Chester Yawl has nearly twice the volume and a lot more freeboard for handling waves. For casual single and tandem rowing, we do not believe there is a better build-your-own-boat kit than the Chester Yawl.

Learn more at


Register here.


Apr 08 - 16 2023


9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
  • Date: Apr 08 - 16 2023
  • Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


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