12' Rhodes Wherry

The Rhodes wherry is a wonderful boat with a very long ancestry, being a direct descendant of the wherries used along the Thames in 15th century England. This particular model was bred for the Atlantic Salmon fishery that flourished here on this part of the Maine coast for about a century. Duck Trap was, and still is home to the wherries—and we've built more of them than anyone.
The original Rhodes model was 10'-6" overall and built by Stimp Rhodes over the winter of 1898-99, and launched in Duck Trap Cove in the spring. She was a present for Ozzie Wade on his 10th birthday; he was destined to become the last surviving salmon fisherman, some 80 years later. This 12' version is the one I built in 2009. A great deal more background information is in Wherries, as well as on the photo CD.

The original version is an able sea boat, and one that would take care of a you should the going get a bit rough. She’s a wherry, after all, and they are well suited working on and off the shore. At 12’-0” overall, she’s a lot more than a youngster’s boat, and a lot more than a yacht tender. The additional length enhances her performance in every way.

She will carry a couple of adults easily–even three, but you can run out of leg room pretty fast in any 12-foot boat. Of course, it’s a great design for teaching young sailors the fundamentals. It’s also a great design for gunkholing, because with her plank keel, she can slide right in through reeds and over shoals where other boats would ground out. When it comes right down to it, the Rhodes Wherry is a lot of fun to row and sail—and she can even be outboard powered if you are so inclined.


Specifications include: 9mm Okoume planking, sawn frames, oak transom, thwarts, and rails, spruce spars, Dacron lugsail of approximately 60 square feet, and spun Dacron lines. Construction is glued lapstrake for ease of maintenance. Her rudder and daggerboard are Okoume marine plywood, aromored with epoxy. Belaying pins, rudder fittings, oarlocks and sockets are bronze, our pattern. She is complete with a pair of 7' spruce oars...again, our pattern. This is a serious small craft with a very long pedigree, built to last a lifetime and beyond.

So why is she for sale? Because her owner's age, as he put it, is catching up with him. That's understandable as he now approaches his 90th birthday. She's only two years old and in more than excellent condition. The total package, including her galvanized Load Rite trailer is worth $18,000. Her owner is offering her for sale for $15,000, and will deliver her anywhere in New England for free. That's an excellent deal for an excellent wherry. Even if you don't happen to be a lover of fine boats, in this economy, the only investments that make sense are tangible ones–and what could be better than an asset that retains its value and that you can use and enjoy?



Contact us by email should you require further information,
or phone 207-789-5363.

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© W. J. Simmons 2011