In 1987, a pilot by the name of Robert Plath invented a new kind of suitcase - the Rollaboard. It had two wheels and a rigid stowaway handle. While a pretty basic concept, it was revolutionary compared to what currently existed (suitcases with four wheels and a leash that always fell over), and now almost every suitcase is designed in his style.
We feel that the Wheelbarrow Dinghy is to the world of boats that the Rollaboard is to suitcases. The big problem with small boats is they aren't small enough. Moving them around when they aren't in the water - up the beach, or over to your car, or from your house to the water - can be a pain in the lower back. It's particularly challenging if you're doing it on your own. There are all sorts of gizmos to assist - folding wheels, stowable dollies, roller skids - but the fact is none come close to the comfort and convenience of a wheelbarrow boat.
So what exactly is a wheelbarrow boat? It's simply a rowing vessel with a wheel built into the bow with oars that double as wheelbarrow handles. The boat is transported just like a wheelbarrow, and it can also be used to carry gear or cargo. Those using it as a tender can cart their boat to the nearby supermarket, load it with groceries, and then wheel it down the street back to their bay. It really does feel just like a wheelbarrow. And performance on the water feels just the same as normal.
We first dreamt up the concept about five years ago. Of course, as with all good concepts, the first thing to do was consult Google to see if anyone else had the same idea. Harry Brian of Nova Scotia was selling plans for a pretty wheelbarrow boat, but that was it. At the time we wanted to offer the first stitch-and-glue construction wheelbarrow boat, but we were just too busy with our other company Open Ocean Robotics.
Now that we have more time to devote to Angus Rowboats the time seemed right to design this boat and finally offer it to our customers. The Wheelbarrow Dinghy has been designed to be as versatile as possible, and we are thrilled with the results. You can check out the boat here.
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At Angus Rowboats, our passion for adventure naturally draws us to the mystique of the Northwest Passage – one of the world's most captivating and perilous waterways. Historically, this elusive passage promised a shorter shipping route, spurring early navigators to fervently chart and struggle through its icy intricacies.
The summer of 2023 saw three audacious teams, including one using our very own RowCruiser boats, aiming to be the first to traverse NW Passage solely by human power within a single season. As the season concludes, we've chronicled these attempts, and catalogued past human-powered endeavors to navigate the Northwest Passage.