Engine Room for Tow and Coxie

by Marcin Bober - Silesia - Poland

Marcin Bober born in 1980. Founder of Bobrowe Żeremia Foundation (pl-pl.facebook.com/BobroweZeremia/). 
Foundation Bobrowa Żeremia has created a Maker Space in Silesia, Poland for the renewal of furniture, bicycle repair and much more. Propagator and designer of Skin on Frame, Poland.

The story of R-1 Skin on Frame rowing boat started about two years ago when I meet Przemek & Joanna Piechowiak form APJA Foundation (they work with kids with disabilities) at Boatex a boat expo in Poznań. At that time I was showing my designs and  the SOF building method. We had a very interesting conversation at which both of us agreed that SOF can be a very useful as a therapy for kids with disabilities. Exposition was finished and I forgot about the conversation and the case. Then after four months, I had a phone call form Przemek.

“We  are writing for a subsidised workshop with kids from ZSS Gębice (special school for kids with disabilities). We need the calculations at the workshop for two boats. The design is for two rowers and a steersman. Kids as rowers, teacher as steersman. I can’t promise anything as we need to wait for a state decision on our budget.

I have made the calculations and thought that it would never happen. Then, after two months, I had one more phone call form Przemek. We received a subsidy but the state cut the budget. Can you rerecord the price. If you can than we start the workshop in one month. I agreed and started thinking on what I agreed. I started thinking about the design and my first thought was Whitehall. I sent some drawings to Przemek. Very nice but too long and we need a place for an outboard engine.

After some more phone calls we managed to get to this point


LOA 4,3m

Beam 1,2m

Draft 0,1m

Displacement: 200kg at 0,1m draft

Displacement: 300kg at 0,15m draft

At the time of the workshop we had  beautiful  weather, building went very  quickly  and the result was much better than I thought.

Of course we had design and building mistakes, such as rocket hogging and a hole in the fabric after holding the iron too long in one place and we had late supply of the wood stringers, but we managed to finish the boats after six days.

That was one year ego. In September 2017, I was asked to build this same boat at Jarmark Jarosłaiwcki but with a sail. So the time to solve the problem had come. I decided to make a 4,5 sqm sprite sail and oar as a rudder (but after building I added a classic rudder). The building process took four full days with some assistance form the kids of stepping bay.

For this moment the design matured and we can say it is a utility boat. You can use an oar, small 2 horse outboard engine or  auxiliary 4,5 sqm sprite sail. The boat has an skeg and 6cm high and 4cm thick keel which more or less helps when you us sail, but it is also protecting the fabric.

There is a place for tow rowers,  steersman and aye. Four people is the maximum load for this small boat. She is pretty light around 40-45kg –  even the one rower will manage with her without any problem.


  1. Awesome! Simply, awesome. Thank you for what you do, to help kids learn to work with their hands, and their heads, and their hearts. Two boats in six days. Mighty fine.

    Dan Rogers

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