Drake Raceboat 18

Beauty and speed for the pleasure rower

Just out on the web! See the Small Boats Monthly article and the Off Center Harbor videos on the Drake Raceboat
Drake Raceboat Plans

Plans come as a digital download via email upon receipt of payment.

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 You can click here to watch an excerpt of their video about this boat on  OffCenterHarbor.com , and please consider supporting their good work with a membership.

You can click here to watch an excerpt of their video about this boat on OffCenterHarbor.com, and please consider supporting their good work with a membership.


The Drake R.B. will not only be fast, but it will be beautiful.


The plan view shape shows the designed fine entry and fullness aft which allows for the greater speeds in race conditions. The brown strip is a inner keel. The gray gunwales show the wide outer rails which put the oarlocks further outboard.

While the Drake Raceboat is designed “for the greater speeds in race conditions,” you don’t have to compete to appreciate the boat.
— -Chris Cunningham, Small Boats Monthly online


LOA   18' 3"
LWL   17' 0"
Beam   4' 0"
Draft    3-3/4"
Depth amidships   13-3/4"  
Displacement 306 lbs


- Hull shape that is optimized for speed under oars

- Hull construction that prioritizes lightness                          

- Laminated gunwales for strength and stiffness

- Can accept the drop in Poseidon sliding seat rig


The Drake Raceboat design process began well after the original Drake 17 was launched and tested. It was an endeavor to develop a go fast version, that prioritized lightweight construction, and used a gorgeous, laminated gunwale design to for a stiff, strong hull shape that resisted deflection under oars.

In designing this boat, I started with the numbers. Using the winning finishing times from the venerable Blackburn Challenge race around Cape Ann, I drew a boat that would compete with these winning rowers. A race like the Blackburn also demands a seaworthy boat. For my target rowers, the Blackburn wasn't necessarily the point, but speed and seaworthiness were important. Of course, in the battle of trade-offs, some stability, comfort, and seaworthiness -- traits of the Drake 17 (a sedan version) -- are sacrificed in order to provide speed. But it worked very well! The Drake Raceboat sea trials (conducted in Puget Sound) were the most successful of any of my boats. For the first time ever, I returned from a few days of sea trials without feeling any need to change a thing. She was just right.

To seasoned rowers, the DRB feels pretty stable but to a new rower she feels tippier than the Drake 17. Her light weight is immediately noticeable on the water. It takes a little while to get used to it, but then it feels wonderful. The raceboat tracks great and when powered up continues to track like an arrow without any noticeable deviation even in a cross wind, a very hard thing to get right in a good rowboat.

The hull is thin skinned -- 4mm Okoume plywood -- planked over molds and two ring frames. Without any stem or sternpost, the double ends of this boat are glued together with a fillet and a thin keelson in between. The laminated gunwales are a thing of beauty and offer a good challenge for the builder. The strongback, molds, and frames are all part of the kit and self-jig using the usual suite of features found in our kits. The Drake Raceboat is a good project for someone with a boat under their belt and some experience with lapstrake designs.


The bow view shows a very fine entry and the stern view shows the fullness in the aft end which will support rowing at higher speeds.