General Purpose Pram Dinghy by John Perry

09 May 2021 09:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

John's design is described in detail along with explanatory drawings in this document.  John also supplied .dxf files of pretty much every component. The introduction and illustration below are both taken from the document.

The aim is a general purpose boat, a little under 2.4m overall length, that can be used with oars, small outboard motor (2 to 3 h.p. suggested) or under sail.

This could be used as a yacht tender although it is acknowledged that for many yachts an inflatable tender is more practical being more easily carried on board and less likely to damage the parent yacht or other boats when left at a quayside. Also, these days an inflatable tender is probably cheaper than the materials to build a plywood tender.

A stowage compartment at the bow is accessed through a lockable hatch having a 450 x 450 clear opening. This compartment should be rain and spray proof but it is not intended to be watertight in the event of capsize. There are good size buoyancy tanks at the sides of the boat so it is not necessary to consider the bow compartment as part of the buoyancy provision.


  • 22 May 2021 03:33 | Anonymous member
    Wow! This is a labour of love, endowed with every embellishment and with an enormous investment of time at the drawing board. The designer has gone to enormous lengths to solve every problem – and the builder will need to go to some lengths too. I have no doubt the result will be worth it.

    I think it is misnamed as “general purpose dinghy” – despite that it has a cute little cargo hatch, a rowing position and provision for an outboard motor. I would describe this as an almost- pure sailboat with add-on features. Many add-on features.

    I don’t think it matches the (vague) criteria of the JRA committee very well - as far as I can interpret them – except perhaps the school build project aspect, which has been proposed – depending on the budget and the degree of challenge that is being sought. I wouldn’t build it for myself, these days, because the time and expense could be better applied to something a little bigger, and I don’t need or want anything so elaborate.

    But it should be welcomed here as a repository of interesting and useful ideas which can be applied readily to any dinghy, if any of them take one’s fancy. And it might well inspire a father-and-child winter project, which would teach a lot and provide an awful lot of joy.
    (And joy is all that really matters).

    Usually the devil is in the details, but in this case, that is where the real treasure is to be found, and it is all so well-documented, there is no hidden detail in which any would-be devil could possibly lurk. I like those of the details which are the most simple and practical. The moveable thwart, the footrest for rowing – and especially that neat little wrap of the fender around the little lifting handles at the bow transom – which could probably go just as well on the stern transom too. A neat touch. You won’t want to put a scratch on the bottom of this well-endowed little darling – so the substantial built-in stern wheels might appeal to some – not such a complicated idea when you see it drawn up like that – why not?

    I like the rig. I like the enormous amount of thought which has gone into this package.
    And, I am afraid, my local chandlery shop will like the list of items required.
    (Never mind – what (or who) we cherish, we can adorn with nothing but the best).

    It’s a good wholesome decently-shaped dinghy that ought to sail pretty well. If I wanted a lengthy winter project for a father-and-teenager, and the teenager was passionate about sailing, yearned for a boat but never having owned a boat before, needed something fully buoyant, safe, capsizable and recoverable – this is the one I would choose.

    (I write this from the heart - something like this was exactly my good fortune some sixty years ago.)
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  • 23 May 2021 10:21 | Anonymous member
    Astonishing amount of thought, experience and detail a real object of desire, if I were 10 years younger I'd start building now, if I was 20 years younger I'd have a go at the catamaran as well!
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