Early in 2017, Peter Bowman and Owen Redhead were sitting in the stands at the Sydney International Rowing Centre at Penrith, watching their children row, when Peter turned to Owen and said that he had found some plans for a single scull and wanted to build it. There began a journey that has taken just over 12 months, countless hours in the workshop and the enjoyment of building a unique piece of kit. Making the project all the more enjoyable, was how Peter, the boat expert and Owen the practical tinkerer, complimented each other, both learning as they went along and not having a cross word despite working in each other’s pockets for such a long time.
Peter approached Dudley Dix, purchased the plans that he had discovered and settled on Polonia as a suitable light weight timber he had sourced from a farm up near Wauchope.
After making a small version of a straight back, attaching the forms at 734mm centres, the two tentatively stapled the first boards in place through packing straps. After a lot of experimentation, they were ready to attempt the real thing.
By early August 2017 the two started on hull number 1. Much to their surprise, the hull came together quickly and with little fuss. The Bow and Stern decks were made, sanded and glassed, ready to go on. These were then glued in place, bow first, with this in place they then constructed the cockpit, using the templates created earlier. Then the bow deck was installed, using the same method as before, including the foot bulkhead as well. The sneak was then constructed, as they wanted this to be removable to show off the inside to any interested people.
Now their attention turned to the rigger and the foot plate. As the budget was truly drained by this stage, buying a rigger was out of the question, so they put their heads together and with lots of sketching and guessing, a plan was hatched to make one. After a few trips to the hardware store they had purchased a 3mm ply, foam and some Oregon. The rigger was finished with carbon tape and resin and then finished with brass tube from a local hobby shop. Stainless fittings from a hardware store and all the runners and gates, a second-hand seat, and a set of sandals from Rivers put the finishing touches on the project. The final weigh in coming to 19 kilograms.
The boat has been named ‘Redbow’ after the craftsman, Peter Bowman and Owen Redhead and is currently being stored at the Endeavour Rowing Club in Berry Park, NSW.
Following a few practices rows, it was decided that the first race was going to be on the Manning River, Taree during the 2019 CDRA Championships on 9-10 March. Whilst Saturday’s race went off smoothly, Sunday’s race was cancelled due to the same storm that blew the roof off the Manning River Rowing Club.
A blow by blow account of its creation is in Issue 102 of Australasian Amateur boatbuilding magazine.