The Herreshoff Swift 17/14 Rowboat

Primary Length 17 ft, 5.2 m 

Beam 3 ft 8 in, 1.1 m   Depth 13 in, 0.33 m

Lifting mass (bare) xxx kg nom

Alternative Length  14 ft  4.3 m.

The primary (17 ft) boat is intended for single person performance rowing (single sculls), and family use (optional passengers). It is also available for 2 person rowing (coxed or coxless sculls, or coxed single oar).

The alternative length (14 ft) boat is offered for single person rowing (single sculls), and family use (optional passengers), for lighter bodied people, mainly women and children.

These alternatives will share the same end shapes, with parallel middle body in the 17.


This design is described in John Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft 2003 edition. Gardner’s article starts with “In October 1947, the lines of a rowboat were offered to the readers of Rudder magazine by its most illustrious contributor, L Francis Herreshoff.” The initial boat was used for single person daily commuting, as alternative to a long land journey.

Gardner then goes on to describe and illustrate various instances and developments of this design, including  the offsets used by PE in the current project. The boat is a true double ender, light, and easy to build and row. It has the flat dory bottom, similar to that in the Mosman 5.2. The topsiders in Gardner’s  book are shown as 5 clinker (lapstrake) strakes of ¼” marine ply.  The topsides are smooth in the moulded GRP Gaco Swift Dory Sydney implementation. The HBFWA implementation has 3 strakes, 2 chines of multichine construction to suit the flat pack construction.  

Design developments over the years have resulted in filling out the sections above the waterline at the ends, to generate more buoyancy and a drier boat in rough water. A preliminary PE arrangement drawing is available, as are Swift Dory photos.

There is no firm program for a release date for Herreshoff Swift 17/14.

Views from the arrangement drawing for the Herreshoff Swift 17 ft rowboat shows the hull structure. Thwarts, buoyancy compartments etc not shown. The 14 ft variant is similar, with 3 ft (0.9 m) of parallel middle body deleted.

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We welcome all enquiries, whether it is about a concept design, current design, implementation of an idea, or have a view of a concept design to bring to production!