Ninigret 22

I bought a boat. New-kinda. Home-built. Still a bit unfinished. It is technically a wooden boat but there is so much epoxy and f’glass used in the construction, it is really more of a composite. Mind you, enough of it is bare wood that it would be eligible for the Wooden Boat festivals and will be the focus of much more maintenance than a ‘glass’ or aluminum boat.

In 1963 John Atkin designed a simple dory-style, semi-lobster-boat-looking vessel for personal pleasure use. It was called the Ninigret 22 after a famous coastal lagoon off Rhode Island and, as the name suggests, it is 22 feet long. It is 6′ 8″ wide at the beam and draws only a foot of water. Ninigret has a fine steep entry that will take a mid-sized sea but our area is generally quite protected (by standard nautical perspective) and it will do me very well. The best features for me are that it is ‘easily driven’ and has a large cockpit. Our life off the grid requires that we carry a lot of stuff and that ‘stuff’ now includes two ginormous fur-balls already the size of an adult female passenger. And they are getting bigger.

My seats will look like this, once installed

Typically a modern planning-hull boat 22 feet long, would require at least 200 horsepower to get up on a plane and go 25 knots or so. 200 hp and a helluva lot of gasoline. But to drive a displacement-hull the same size can be done with something around 10 or 12 horsepower. Displacement speed is slower (1.4 times the square root of the waterline or 1.4 x 4.2 or almost 7 knots for this boat).

A random photo from the internet

Niniget is a compromise of those two styles and is, logically, deemed a semi-displacement hull and, also logically, requires a power plant somewhere in the middle. Atkins designed the boat to be powered with a 25 or 30 hp outboard but, over time, people have put on as much as a 60 hp. My new boat has a 40 hp and should do about 20 knots with just Sal and me, 18 knots with a reasonable load and we should still clip along nicely at around 8-10 knots chock-full.

Random Photo #2

Mike, the builder, is older than I am but he started building the boat years ago and just poked away at it until he got to the point that his age began to inhibit his progress and, at the same time, suggest that extensive future use of the finished boat was unlikely. Mike put it up for sale and I bought it as he puts it: “90% finished“. So I still have some work to do but it will be running within a month (assuming Murphy doesn’t visit) and might be fully finished during the summer – maybe sooner.

Mike built the boat down in Vancouver. And that meant me taking my boat trailer down, loading the boat and (duh) returning home to some dry storage site to finish off what needed doing before putting it in the water. The dogs throw up in the car and, as great a help as Sal is, her accompanying me was not worth the effort and leaving the dogs with anyone else at this time in their puppyhood was out of the question. I was gonna go alone but my nearby friend, SD, volunteered to join me and so two old dorks with ropes and tools headed to the BIG SMOKE to get a boat.

Random Photo #3

Getting to the Lower Mainland from here is usually a ten-hour trip. If all ferry connections go perfectly (very rare) it can be theoretically done in eight or nine hours but most people (me included) plan for twelve and the whole day is spent in transit.

We stayed overnight in a B&B near Mike’s place and, in the morning, joined Mike and his just-arrived adult children along with Roger, my friend and partner up here, in getting the boat out of the garage and onto the trailer. It went well. But we were all initially concerned that with the trailer being only 16 feet long, and the boat being 6 feet longer, we just might drag or hang out too much.

SD is a retired tradesman with several professional designations to add to his considerable marine knowledge. We all milled about at first humming and hawing, planning and proposing and generally procrastinating and delaying until SD kinda took charge. By noon the boat was on the trailer and strapped down. SD made sure it was loaded right and there was no danger of it dragging. We headed home.

After dropping the boat at the dry-land storage on the neighbouring island, we took SDs boat to my house where he was re-united with his dog (Sal had three dogs to look after for two days) and I with my family of three and it was a reunion at exactly 10:00 pm in a light rain. SD left for his place and, with luck, got dry by 10:30. It was a successful venture in every regard. No Murphy. No hassles. Nothing broke. Everything worked out.

But SD and I were both exhausted.

There will be more on the new boat as things progress. It’s another project!

The Real Thing!

23 thoughts on “Ninigret 22

    • Thank you. All credit to Atkin and Mike, tho. Well, OK, I DO have good taste. AND the hubris and good friends to get ‘er done!
      Now, I just have to convince Sal that she’s a great painter because the colour blue on the hull is just the base coat. It will eventually be a sharp green. There is still some work to do.


  1. Coincidently, i have acquired and am building a wooden boat also! Mine is somewhat smaller – a 1930’s 1/80 scale model of the Endeavour racing yacht.. intricate and ‘fiddly’ but great fun. Instructions are in Italian so need to translate before following!


    • Thanks, Gerry. Your opinion is valued (Gerry builds boats, too). I am not a boat builder. I am barely a boat keeper, a boat maintainer, I am barely a responsible owner. But I am an appreciative boat owner with opinions. I want to add a small windshield. I need to add some seats (the two main ones are built). I need to wires up some things. There is stuff to do but the ‘real build’ is done. Now it is just old men/women messing about in boats.


    • Oh, pshaw! You are just sayin’ that! But do not amend that comment. I’ll take the compliment of ‘finding it’. Mike deserves the credit for building it, of course. I only deserve the credit for staying awake long enough to get it home. Ya missed good curry, man!


      • yeah. I could have used a good curry. Been a while.
        I’m working nights all this week to wrap up some jobs.
        Sux 2 B me.


        • Sux2BU? Well, by modern society standards, you are a HUGE business success! So, congrats on that. But I strongly recommend baling from success before 60 and, instead, embracing simplicity, minimalism and off-the-grid living – all of which is made more easily endured and even enjoyed when you have a fat bank account to back you up (I do not know that firsthand but I believe it to be true). The key is timing. When does one have enough? Because, you see, as your bank account inflates your time-account diminishes. At my age, the only currency I worry about now is how much time do I have left….and, it seems, all men get an inkling of that somewhere in their mid fifties even if they continue to work longer. All I can add NonCon: there is no one I know who retired and then wanted to go back to work. Some have had to re-enter the work force or some have gotten antsy but, in the end, any ‘back-to-work’ efforts are short-lived. I would not go back to work for $1000 an hour (well, maybe for a few days). Firstly, I am no good anymore. Secondly (and related to #1) I don’t care anymore. Oooohhhhhhh….this may be a good blog topic…..Death Rattles? Apathy as a Goal? Living and caring on less?
          ‘Damn! I got richer than I needed to be!’


    • Toxic masculinity forbids flowers painted on a boat (altho all boats are referred to as ‘she’). My concession to my feminine side was to name the last three boats after food/vegetables/fruit. We had Wasabi, Aubergine and now Pumpkin. I was thinking of maybe painting a prawn on the stern this time. I am naming the boat after my recently deceased friend and he prawned every day he could.


  2. What a truly magnificent boat JD! And the fact that is was “hand-built” ….respect to the builder! But I thought you had bigger waves during winter/storm season. Most boats that I saw on Vancouver Island (especially to ones in aluminium) all were “higher” . But I truly admire her lines!


    • Everyone wants to be as high out of the water as they can be so as to stay dry in wet weather. But my trips are short. I rarely go more than ten miles out and by ‘out’ I mean within narrow channels. The seas can get choppy and nasty but they rarely get HUGE. That bow will handle anything we have out here. The transom, on the other hand might be a bit skittish in a following sea but, again, a following sea for a few miles I could likely handle on an air mattress. I really prefer the low gunwales that start after the cabin because of the loading on and off of materials and stores. Low sides are good for us and now the dogs, too. It is the right size. Our community dock is 60 feet long and we’d like to get three boats a side when it is busy. I am 22 feet but the engine is included and typically boats measure themselves by not including the outboard. So, I am at the maximum length without offending. I can tie up and so can two others. 24 feet plus outboards is taking two berthing spots. Those aluminum boats you saw are usually commercial (altho a lot are also private) and they have big engines and go fast. When they hit a wave at 30 knots, they spray water and they ‘POUND”. This will ‘slip’ more easily and, of course, go slower. When you get here, WdG, I will take you for a ride. You’ll see. And – one final comment – when I was younger and there was a storm, I went out and enjoyed the whole adventure. Now, if there is a storm, I enjoy the memories and stay home. Even if I get caught out sometime, I am just a few miles from home.


  3. David you do have a knack to find the right boat for your purposes. I love the lines which are somewhat typical of the east coast. Shallow draft is a must in the Chesapeake area to find yourself into the little marshes for duck hunting and getting your dog back into the boat. Look forward to a ride.


  4. David, Finally you have a boat that is worthy of your station in life!! Congrats. Where is it stored on Quadra? Can I go have a looksee? I am remembering one of the first times I met you with you and Sally unloading your rubber boat and pumping it up on the boat ramp in Heriot Bay! You have come along way my friend!!


  5. Until I came along, you had 22 replies to the Noregrets22 post. Now I mess up that bit of harmony by adding post #23.

    But, I must say, she looks fine. I grew up believing that the only “real” boats are made of wood. You found a real one, for sure.


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