Clint Chase of Portland, Maine, is far from the first small-craft designer to find inspiration in the marvelous “faerings,” or four-oared boats, of Scandinavia, and he certainly won’t be the last. But with his Drake design of 2009 he seems to have captured the point of the ancient workboat type in a way that works especially well for a particular kind of recreational user today: the oarsman.He does so by making no pretense of trying to make the boat something that it is not. This boat isn’t going to sail well to weather. Period. The key to successful enjoyment of the type is to refrain from asking or demand- ing that it do so. Trying to graft a modern racing sloop capable of tacking through few compass degrees onto the historical roots of a faering has rarely worked well, and the attempt often merely corrupts the virtues that draw our attention to such fine craft in the first place. This design is for someone who is not at all afraid to break out the oars, since it is, first and foremost, a rowing boat.

DrakePhoto by Jake Chase/Jellyhawk Studios

Looking for a seaworthy boat suitable for fast solo or tandem rowing in open water, Clint Chase found his inspiration, as many small-craft designers do, in the faerings of Scandinavia. His lightly constructed plywood-epoxy Drake moves well under oars, but a small lugsail can be shipped for downwind sailing.

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