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Build Your Own Annapolis Wherry

Experience the ultimate in a recreational, open-water pulling boat.

Tuition: $875 (partner: $425)


  • Single — $1,778
  • Tandem — $1,856

Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.

Building an annapolis Wherry

In this six-day course, each student will build an Annapolis Wherry from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit. The Wherry is designed after the graceful 19th century livery boats used on the River Thames. She is, however, lighter and slimmer, combining breathtaking grace with thoroughbred performance under oars. Solid stability, sea-kindly lines, a buoyant bow, and ample flare make the Wherry a natural choice for rowing in choppy water. It is designed around a sliding seat and, in the hands of an experienced oarsman, cruising speeds easily reach 5 to 7 knots. The Annapolis Wherry may be unsurpassed as a rowing trainer, exercise boat, long-distance cruiser, or open-water racer.

A completed Annapolis Wherry on the shore

The boat is made of 6mm okoume plywood with 9mm okoume plywood frames, thwarts and flotation tanks. Outwales, breasthook and quarter knees are solid mahogany. The Annapolis Wherry is built using the LapStitch™ construction technique. Traditional lapstrake boatbuilding employs molds over which planks are nailed or riveted together. By using precision-rabbeted, computer-cut plank shapes and frames which double as molds, a CLC Lapstitch™ kit boat is wired together just like a stitch-and-glue kayak. When glued with small epoxy fillets, the planks create a stiff and strong hull that will last for fifty years.

The pre-cut hull planks are scarfed together, and then connected to the frames and each other with copper wire stitches, then fixed in place with epoxy fillets. Next come thwarts, knees, wales, and air tanks. Fiberglass cloth on the bottom, inside and out, provides abrasion resistance. The instructor will also discuss the proper way to sand and paint or varnish your boat, and will explain sliding seat installation.

At the end of an absorbing week, students will have learned about stitch-and-glue basics, including epoxy work, fiberglassing, and laminating. Building a LapStitch™ boat is easy, but assembling an 18′ boat in a week means a tight schedule, and you’ll be spending plenty of time in our shop. It will be an exciting week with an outstanding boatbuilder to guide you through your project!

Geoff Kerr gets an A+. His instruction was direct, example-based; ‘old school’ wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever had or worked with a better teacher.”
R.C., Ithaca, New York
WoodenBoat School has provided me with a life enriching opportunity to build an Annapolis wherry under Geoff Kerr’s exceptional instruction and training. Teamed with my soon-to-be 14 year old grandson, a 63 year old Grandpa enjoyed an amazing experience in 6 days. A phenomenal effort thought to be no longer feasible. Thank you!”
L.G., La Jolla, California