When my wife wrote “Love it!” on the study plans for Ken Bassett’s 18′ Firefly, a performance rowing boat, it seemed I had the green light to build it. My boats had already filled the garage, barn, crawl space, and shed, and my wife, being more reasonable than passionate about my boatbuilding, drew the line at eight boats. When she began to get interested in rowing and having a rowing boat for herself, it became my opportunity to build another boat.The Firefly, 18′ overall, has a waterline length of around 16′ for performance rowing. Its beam of 34″ means it can easily balance itself without the need for oars to be in the water. The low 7″ of freeboard would present a small profile to the wind, and the long chines and skeg would give it good directional stability. The Firefly has all the attributes for a fast boat appropriate for novices focusing on rowing for exercise or sport. The panel-on-frame construction lends itself to backyard boatbuilding, and the low count of individual parts signals a reasonably quick construction.I ordered the plans from The WoodenBoat Store. They consist of five sheets of drawings: profile and inboard arrangement; lines, offsets and construction, and rigger details; sliding-seat mechanism, full-sized mold patterns, stem and keel details; and transom pattern, construction sequence, transom dolly, and keel details.

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