Many of the reades of this magazine will probably have heard of Off Centre Harbour, but for those who haven't, Off Centre Harbour is best described as an American membership website covering any and all topics of interest to boaters.
Off Centre Harbour was founded almost 10 years ago in Maine by five highly respected boating enthusiasts including former WoodenBoat magazine technical editor Maynard Bray, WoodenBoat School instructor Eric Blake, maritime photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz, as well as writer Bill Mayher and documentary filmmaker Steve Stone.
Their website contains over 700 videos and 500 articles on boat handling, repairs, maintenance, boat building, dream boats and more from a veritable who’s who of famous sailors, builders designers and adventurers of all types.
Aroha building frame.
Although I was well aware of the range of articles and videos available on the Off Centre Harbour website I only recently learned about the kit boats they provide.
Late last year I was asked by a sailor I know to look at a design he was thinking of building, the design was called Aroha and looked very familiar. I quickly realised that Aroha was a new version of a boat called Whio that I had seen featured in Woodenboat magazine many years ago. It turns out that Aroha is in fact an updated version of Whio re-designed for CNC cutting.\\
She rows easily despite her size.
The original Whio was designed by New Zealander Peter Sewell as a lightweight and economical cruiser that would also be very seaworthy.
With her specially designed propeller she was reputed to go up to 20kts.
The good people at Off Centre Harbour got together with Will Sturdy at Brooklin Boat Yard to make a new version of Whio which could be built as a kit using cnc cut parts.
Will has vast experience producing the highly efficient and user-friendly setups and components used by the boatbuilders at Brooklyn Boat Yard.
The Aroha version uses the same leading-edge stringer-frame construction used at Brooklyn Boat Yard. The strongback and other components all fit together with interlocking tabs thus helping to reduce construction time (the holy grail of cnc boatbuilding) whilst ensuring that accuracy is maintained (the main advantage of cnc cutting).
The cnc cut kit consists of most of the structural sheet members to build the boat, bulkheads, seats, sole boards as well as the building frame. Plywood for cold moulding the hull is available separately and can be cut into strips on a standard table saw.
Aroha is 9m long, 2.13m wide but draws just 60cm and displaces a mere 1660kg, so she is a boat that can still be trailed and launched by her owner(s) without too much difficulty whilst retaining her excellent seakeeping abilities. I think readers will agree she is an elegant boat and hopefully we will be seeing a new version gracing the Swan river here in Perth in the not too distant future.
Another new and interesting design from the folks at Off Centre Harbour is Oonagh, a boat I was recently asked to cut for a builder in Victoria.
Oonagh was designed by Doug Hylan as an alternative to the ubiquitous RIB dinghy, being both seaworthy and stable and capable of carrying an outboard but also a boat that can be rowed and sailed too.
Oonagh’s transom stem may look unfamiliar to some but the shape does have some distinct advantages. Firstly it is significantly easier to plank with no need for rebates or extra twisting at the plank ends. This alone would make Oonagh an enticing prospect for home builders. On an even more practical level this type of design has all the volume and carrying capacity of a boat several feet longer because the pointy ends of a boat contain very little volume or storage space, but on Oonagh the shortened length allowing for easier storage if garage space is restricted.
Oonagh also has several decent sized lockers giving her ample storage space, there is one large locker under the after seat, a couple midships and two in the foredeck making her ideal for use as a fishing skiff as well as sailing rowing and any other work the owner needs doing.
I cut the first kit for Oonagh last week and I am looking forward to seeing her come together. Doug Hylan reckons she can be built in about 300 hours by anyone with reasonable woodworking tools and skills.
DRAFT 12cm board up
WEIGHT Approximately 77kg
SAIL AREA 6.3sqm
A series of videos detailing the construction of Oonagh is also available at OCH.