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Kendrift 9 #1


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What is a Kendrift? Well, it is a Spindrift that Graham has kindly modified to suit my particular needs. I needed a dingy for a tender on Rosie, my Outer Banks 26. I was given a low end inflatable around 1983 and hardly ever used it. After launching Rosie I lashed it to the pilot house roof to be used if I needed to change a prop while out on the waters here that have a lot of prop killing logs floating about. It is pretty useless for much more than that. It rows like a jelly donut and needs to go back into retirement. So, what to do for a real tender? I considered a good hard bottomed inflatable but Luanne and I like to row and that is not their highest and best use. I really don’t need any more projects at the moment so I considered buying some kind of hard dinghy. For some reason I always wind up building when buying is a reasonable option. Ok, what to build. After building Rosie and being totally amazed at the looks and performance that Graham and Alan managed to create in the OB26, I started looking at what BandB had to offer. I would probably been happy with a Catspaw or Spindrift as offered at the time. I had a nesting dinghy on my cruising sailboat that served me well for years and one of the nesting versions was strongly considered. Rosie has a lot of real estate on her cabin top and a 9ft non nesting boat would fit. Getting half of a boat up there would still be a challenge without some kind of “crane”. Now the project involved some kind of hoist. If I was to have a good hoist their would be no need for a nesting dingy as a full size one would fit nicely once it was lifted on deck. 

I love to sail but realistically I doubt we would use a sailing dinghy much. We plan to carry some surfskis on with us (if we can manage to fit them onboard). Between tooling around on Rosie, rowing, paddling and hiking on shore, us kids have enough toys to keep us pretty busy.

I approached Graham with my thoughts and he thought a Spindrift would be a good choice. We talked about optimizing it for rowing ergonomics and building it as light as possible. During our discussions it became easier to refer to the modified design as a “KENDRIFT”. I am no Mathew Flanders so while honored to have my name attached to the design, it hasn’t gone to my head:). The Kendrift hull looks like the Spindrift. The biggest change I can see is the seating layout and lack of sailing paraphernalia. Graham designed a clever movable seat that can be adjusted to trim her depending on loading. Very cool. As the discussions progressed I mentioned my ideas for hoisting the dinghy on deck which was essentially copying some hoists I saw on boats with a similar design purpose as Rosie. While very functional, they had a big presence and would add a bit of unwanted weight. Of course Graham had a better mousetrap in mind. A set of drawings for the KENDRIFT were emailed to me and as well as drawings for a very clever, light weight and easily stowed KENCRANE. Graham and Allen mocked up the idea and tested it and refined at their dock. Graham sent me a few of the parts he made for the prototype which will make my life a lot easier.

I have never built a boat as a kit. I have cut miles of plywood and built and lot of boats in my life. As mentioned earlier, I don’t need any additional projects right now so I was intrigued by the notion of a CNC cut build.  I have a number of very light, delicate surfskis that require careful handling. A dinghy out of 4mm ply seems rugged by my standards and Graham had a dinghy that he used for many years while cruising built to similar scantlings. The team at BandB cut the parts for the Kendrift out of 4mm ply to make the boat light weight. I received the crate in San Diego while I was escaping the Canadian Winter weather and brought it back to BC to build it in my shop. I asked Graham how long he thought it would take to build and he replied, “a couple of weeks”. I thought he was pulling my leg. Well, I started working on it around 5 weeks ago while doing a bunch of other projects at the same time. Going back and forth and actually keeping a log of Kendrift building time. Much to my surprise, she is essentially done except for paint and I have just under 80 hours into the build. I am dazzled by how easy it is to put one of these boats together with the precision that the CNC cut parts provide. It felt like a jigsaw puzzle going together. Everything fit to near perfection.

I mounted the oarlocks yesterday and will splash her in the next few days. I weighed her and she came out at 66lbs. Not bad for a 9ft dinghy. I haven’t mentioned the aesthetics. Like most of the BandB designs she is easy on the eyes. The lines just look right. A designer friend stopped by recently (we kept our distance) and made the same observation. Loved the lines.

I should be getting the aluminum tubing today for the Kencrane and will add that to the project list. Thanks to Graham and Allen for all of the effort that went into this project.

Here is a link to more pics.














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Dave- I have another set waiting to be mounted. I want to play with location before I mount 2 sets permanently. I was planning on making a set of oars with some sitka spruce I have been saving for years. A friend just gave me a beautiful set of 8.5’ spruce oars but they will need to be cut  down. I was thinking around 7.5’.  They are also set up to use open horned oar locks which he lent me to try out the boat.  I have a set of round ones sitting in the shop. Not sure if it is worth getting an open horned set. Any suggestions out there on oar length, oar locks, etc. would be appreciated.

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Good call on the rowlock locating.  They need to be set in reference to the seat, and yours can be anywhere. Now to find out where anywhere is first. 

Having now rowed a Spindrift 9 for years, and a Lapwing a few times I think I have a better handle on oar length than I did before.  6' is definitely too short for effective rowing on a Spindrift and 10', though that is what some formulas say, feels too long for a Lapwing. The Lapwing opinion might be me more than design, they are just too awkward for me to keep up a good stroke. 7'5", or maybe just 7' sounds about right for real rowing in a Spindrift 9.


I am jealous of your possession of Sitka, though I have found Alaskan Yellow Cedar is great for shaping and just a little heavier.

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Dave-Regarding oarlock location I have heard everything from 8” to 13” aft of the seat. I guess it depends on body size and how aggressive you want to be rowing. When I built a “Two Bits” nesting dingy in the 80’s I wanted 8’ oars my wife wanted 7’. We wound up with 7’ and were divorced a few years later. Just realized maybe it was the disagreement over the oars that did us in:). 

Around 20 years ago a boat/spar builder friend was moving to New Zealand. I bought a pickup load of beautiful spar grade Sitka Spruce. Used it for lots of projects, paddles, etc. I only have a few boards left. Yellow Cedar is easy to get up here and it is a joy to work with. Planes like butter, bends well and I like the smell. Not good to breath, however. 


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This looks great. I may be interested in building another Spindrift (sailing required) and I definitely am interested in the crane. I bought a Rosborough 246 (my wife says no more boat building for a while) and the factory crane is over 2500 dollars to add to it. I'm thinking of fabricating one myself that looks like this:


For now I would put my 11N up there.

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Steve- When I moved to Canada I learned the word Skookum. That hoist looks pretty skookum. The Kencrane is designed to be light, stowable and strong enough for my light weight tender (Kendrift). What you have in mind looks like you could hoist whatever you wanted up to your PH roof.  Post pics when you get it built.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I got sidetracked on a some other projects and Rosebud was put on the back burner. Finally finished the painting this past week. The Kencrane mast step has been installed. Rosie goes in the water the first week in June and I will get to try out the crane shortly after. I REALLY will launch the Rosebud this week.







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Got to launch her yesterday. Connecting a new boat to water for the first time is always a wonderful experience. As expected, the Kendrift design seems like a winner. I have a few tweaks to take care of such as fine tuning oar length and oar lock position And mounting fendering. . Did a solo row and one with Luanne aboard. She moves through the water nicely, is very stable and looks great. Can’t ask for much more from a 9’ tender. 





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