For Sale: 16ft Adirondack Guide Boat-Inspired Boat (unfinished) - West Wind Hardwood
row boat for sale

The following is details from Marty about his 3rd 90% finished boat that he wants to sell to the right, inspired buyer. She is not pictured but is identical to the one in the photo.


To be perfectly honest, I have built two-point-nine of these boats.   The first and the second have been launched and do well.  The third one got to 90% finished and then I nearly got finished by a case of cancer.  I’m OK now but my cancer encounter has left me with somewhat shifted priorities, as has the passage of the years.  I am in my eighties now and I am not going to finish boat #3.  I  believe this situation is not uncommon among old boat builders.

So – I am hoping #3 will find a new home.  I am sorry that I cannot simply give her away to the first person who falls in love with her.  That’d be too easy and i can’t afford that.  So there is a price for her and I shall explain all that below.  I’m looking for a person with the skills and interest in the project and who respects the quality and value built in to her.   First, however, I would like to tell you about her.

She is a version of an Adirondack Guide Boat, built on the lines of a 1904 vessel.  Here are her raw details.

She is 16 feet long, 3 feet plus two inches in beam.   Frame is Sitka Spruce.  Planking is very close-grained, vertical-grain Yellow Cedar from a tree approx 1000 years old.  Decks are book-matched Elm as is most of the trim except for White Oak rub rail.  Seats and seat back are framed in Elm with caned seats (so you don’t sit in a puddle).   Fastenings are all silicon bronze and/or copper.  All joints are epoxy glued.  There is not a shred of fibreglass on her – just paint and Epifanes varnish.  She comes with a pair of beautiful 8-foot Doug Fir oars.  She can carry about 800 pounds, although I have heard higher figures suggested.  

I have departed from making a precise replica of her historical inspiration as follows.

Planking is 1/4 inch thick rather than ranging from 3/16” to 1/8”.  Planks are cove & bead edged rather than feather-edged flush lapstrake.  So she is heavier in weight than her 1904 ancestor .  Also, I have added a light clamp inboard of the gunwale for a bit more strength.  

In appearance she is identical to the vessel in the photo.  She is painted and varnished.   What is needed to finish her are as follows.   She needs brass stem bands at either end and brass wear strips applied to the bottom so you can haul her up on shore without damaging paint and keel.  She needs oarlocks for the two rowing positions and she wants floorboards.  I would suggest another couple of coats of paint and varnish.  

You might want to make a carrying yoke so you can turn her upside down and carry her over your shoulders on portage.  You might want to add footrests for the rower to push against.  

What else is included in the price:  I will include all the brass needed to make oarlocks, stem bands, bottom wear strips and the remaining fastenings needed.  ( Or most of them.  I think I still have lots of silicon bronze screws left).   I also have some patterns for the floorboards.   I probably still have the paper plans handy somewhere.  And I can talk you through the remaining work.   If you don’t want or don’t know how to make your own oarlocks there are historically accurate models available for sale out in the world.

Now let’s talk about price.  Just as a sort of starting point or guide I suggest you look up a company in Vermont, USA  –  Adirondack Guide Boat Company.   You can look them up on the web.  They make a range of Guide Boats.   Direct comparisons are not easy to make but let’s start with a look at their prices and see if this is any help.   I am going to ignore their cheaper models which are basically fibreglass or kevlar shells with bits of wood trim added on just for looks.  Those are their bread and butter business.  However,  they do make some Cedar models.  They sell them as completed boats or as kits, which they describe as “half-completed”.  Their 16 foot model, finished, sells for about  US $19,500.   Their 16 foot “half-completed” kit for same boat is about US $11,500.  Multiply those numbers by today’s exchange rate and you are looking at close to $15000 Canadian dollars for the“half-completed” versions.  (Plus shipping and taxes).  They estimate 300 hours of work to complete their kit.  I will beat their prices by a nautical mile,  so let’s talk. 

Two of the largest differences between their boats and mine are as follows.  Their boats have less than half the number of frames.  Their planking is Western Red Cedar and mine is much tougher Yellow Cedar.  Their boats are covered with fibreglass over the wood.   Now I am not spiritually or politically opposed to fibreglass.  It has some tempting qualities and you can’t beat the price, but to me that’s not a wooden boat.  Anyway I hate to see what happens when water gets under the glass skin.  That’s just my personal take on fibreglass. 

Finally a little about her qualities.   She is absolutely the fastest and easiest pulling boat (without sliding seat) you’ll ever encounter anywhere.  She glides smoothly ahead between strokes, with no lurching.  She is remarkably stable and gets more stable with a load on board.  She is strong and seaworthy, sashays easily over the waves with no slop coming over the rail.  Her design evolved in a place of lakes and rivers,  but boats of her type have competed in and won long distance open ocean races, sometimes the only vessel to complete the course. She is easy to handle. I’m not a big guy but I was able to pick her up and carry her myself (in my slightly younger years) – but that’ll never be a worry.  Anyplace you go every passerby wants to help you put her up on your roof rack or help carry her to the water because they desperately  want to get close to her and to touch her.  At the Classic Boat Festival in Victoria people say she is the classiest of the show. She is just the most romantic-looking boat ever!

Please call or email and we can set up an appointment for you to see her and one of her completed sisters here in Victoria.  Thanks for your interest.

Contact Marty Hykin if interested.
250-480-1899

3 Comments

  1. To whom it may concern:
    Is this boat still for sale?
    Neil Stein
    Pikelake Provincial Park
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    1. Hi Neil, you’ll have to contact Marty to find out. His contact is at the bottom of the post. Thank you.

  2. Hi Marty some questions
    Does this boat come with oars and oar locks ?
    How many seats come with the boat ? Are there back rest’s available ?
    Where can I see this boat. ? Peter

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