Oxford Wherry

This boat is available as three options; digital plans, full-sized paper plans and kits  Details>>

This boat is relatively straightforward to build, and is ideal for beginners looking to hone their skills in stitch-and-glue boatbuilding. Building from a kit is a great way to save time on sourcing materials and getting CNC-precision-cut pieces, while building from plans will save money, and provide satisfaction that comes with building every part yourself.

Traditional Beauty and Modern Design

The Oxford Wherry combines elements of traditional beauty with modern design and construction to create a vessel that is not just gorgeous, but unbelievably fast and functional. Its design takes the most positive elements of traditional wherries and Whitehalls – wineglass transom, carvel-like construction, and elegant woodwork - while jettisoning the less-than-ideal attributes such as excessive weight and beam.

Please click the image below to view the Oxford Wherry Photo Gallery. 


Oxford Wherry 16


Some of the features of this boat include mahogany (true mahogany from Bolivia) gunwales and trim, red cedar seats, and Lloyds approved BS1088 Okoume marine plywood. Fiberglass sheathing, both inside and out, ensures a robust abrasion-resistant hull. Flotation chambers allow self rescue in the event of a capsize.

Very importantly, this boat has generous freeboard - not enough to detract from the lines, but sufficient to carry three adults and a couple of kids with 4" freeboard remaining. Ample freeboard also means you can keep on playing when the wind and waves pick up. There's no point having a gorgeous fast rowing boat if you can only use it in calm conditions.

The hull is shaped for true performance without compromising stability. The vee bottom is almost flat in the middle further creating stability (a surprising number of designers create deep vees in similar style vessels which decreases stability and does nothing for performance). The vee increases near the stern and bow to assist in cutting through waves and creating lateral resistance to enhance tracking.


Watch the video below of the Oxford Wherry in action.


Carries Two Adults

The boat can comfortably accommodate a total of two adults along with a child or pet (in calm conditions). Children less than 50 lbs can sit on the flotation chambers at each end. The level of seaworthiness of this craft is similar to a canoe, and when voyaging solo (with more freeboard) it can handle a good chop. With a sliding seat rowing system you will be passing most recreational kayaks and canoes (even with a passenger on board). Much greater distances can be achieved on long-distance journeys (and much more fun) with two people taking turns, compared to conventional paddle craft where resting is synonymous with motionless.

This boat can be used as a solo exercise tool, or a means to take the entire family on a picnic. And at only 53 lbs, one person can pick it up and place it on the car. It is designed to work with our sliding seat rowing kits, or you can use a third-party rig such as the Piantadosi. It can also be used as fixed seat rowboat with the addition of a middle seat.

Avid canoers will be pleased to know it also functions perfectly as a (super good looking) canoe. There is actually very little difference between the hull of a canoe and a well-designed open rowboat. And the weight of the Oxford Wherry - about the same as a Kevlar canoe of equivalent size - makes for high performance voyaging and easy portaging.

Check out the profile of the Oxford Wherry in Small Boats Magazine.


Can Something this Gorgeous Really be Fast?

In June 2013, Steve Price and Colin Angus broke the nonstop speed record from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Oxford Wherry 16. The men rowed 444 miles (with current) nonstop in 50 hours and 50 minutes. The Oxford Wherry is perfectly suited for long distance voyaging and they rowed individually in two-hour shifts, while resting on a sleeping mat during off shifts. To break the record, the boat needed to be not only fast, but be able to safely navigate the wind-swept waters of Lake Lebarge and to voyage the infamous Five Finger Rapids with the weight of two men and a lot of gear. Read the article here.


We’ve also put a lot of thought making construction as simple as possible. We opted for carvel style rather than lapstrake which simplifies construction and, even more importantly, allows full exterior fiberglassing for greater strength and abrasion resistance. Panels are joined together using our unique SnapTite jointing system, making connection a breeze. All the trim bits – the breast hooks, quarter knees, seats, etc are pre-cut so all you have to do is glue them in. If you can put Ikea furniture together, you can make this boat. Construction time is 40-60 hours and all steps are outlined in our comprehensive illustrated manual.

Click the photo below to see the contents of our Oxford Wherry Kit. Oxford Wherry Contents


Wherry and Whitehall Lines

So is it a wherry or a Whitehall? Actually, it's a bit of both. Wherrries, developed in England, and prolific on the Thames are fine-crafted long narrow vessels with wineglass transoms. American-designed Whitehalls are considered a variation of the wherry, and one of the key distinctions is their near-plumb bow stem and transom. In this respect, the Oxford Wherry is more like a Whitehall; we chose relatively plumb ends for our boats to increase the waterline length, thereby enhancing performance.

We provide sliding-seat/rigger kits suitable for rowing the Oxford Wherry. Third-party rowing rigs such as the Piantedosi Row Wing are also suitable.



  • Length Overall: 15' 10" (488 cm)
  • Waterline Length: 15' 7" (475 cm)
  • Beam: 38" (97 cm)
  • Weight: 53 lbs (27 kg)
  • Watertight compartments: 2
  • Depth: 11"
  • Freeboard at 250 lb displacent: 7.5"
  • Freeboard at 600 lb displacement: 5 "
  • Block Coefficient: 0.39
  • Prismatic Coefficient: 0.51
  • Sprint speed: 11-12 km/hr (6.5 knots)
  • Cruise Speed: 6-8 km hr (3-4 knots)
  • Maximum recommended touring load: 500 lbs (225 kg)
  • Maximum recommended short distance load: 600 lbs (270 kgs)

Oxford Wherry Pricing

To purchase the Oxford Wherry Kit or Plans please click on the red link below.

Full-Sized Digital Plans & Manual              $129 USD
Includes PDF files for the full-sized plans and manual that can be printed and DXF files that can be used to cut the plywood at a local CNC shop. 


Full-Sized Plans & Manual              $159 USD
Includes full sized plans and manual. DXF files available for an extra $30. 
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Complete Kit            $1450 USD
Includes everything required to complete your own Oxford wherry including CNC-precision-cut wood pieces.
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Kits for Customers Outside of North America: Please Read



Find out what other people have to say about their experience building the Oxford Wherry.

I wanted to express my gratitude for supplying excellent plans and instruction (and inspiration through your amazing adventure books) for your Wherry, sliding seat and oars.
I bought your plans about a year ago and enjoyed the building adventure.
FYI, I made the Wherry out of cedar strips instead of plywood stitch and glue because I happened to have some old cedar boards. However, I used the shape and size from your plans. Everything works SO well.

-Craig S., Louisiana

Custom cedar strip Oxford Wherry
We put the third coat of varnish on the interior of the boat it really look great. The seat and the rigger are finished and ready for installation. We are anxious to get it in the water.

- Harley H., Wisconsin
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed building the 2 Oxford Wherry's for Paul C. This will give him 2 Oxford Wherry and he already has 1 Annapolis Wherry. He likes the Oxford Wherry much better,lighter and more stable.

- Alan C.
I finished my boat, launched it today successfully and it was a lot of fun to build. - Christian C., New Jersey

My kit arrived last week in good shape. I built a kayak from a kit purchased from an American company last year and would say that the fit and finish and quality of your materials looks significantly better. I look forward to building the boat.  

- Michael W., Nova Scotia