For over 50 years the Minto 9 Rowing Tender has been one of the most popular small rowboats in the Pacific Northwest. Generations of kids first learned to row in this dinghy. Sailors and power boaters alike treasured it for use as a shore boat or ship’s tender.
Back In the late 1950s, according to retired boat builder Les Curley, the “original” wooden hull was found washed up on the grounds of “Our Lady Minto Hospital” on Saltspring Island by builder Ed Hoppen, who named it the “Minto”. It was estimated to have been built back at the turn of the century. The original builder is unknown.
Ed took the hull down to his shop in Gig Harbor, Washington, USA where he built the fist fiberglass models using the original as a pattern. Les purchased the rights from Ed for producing it in the early 60s. Over the next ten years, he built over a thousand hulls at his shop called the Pelagic Pacific Boat Builders in Victoria, British Columbia Canada.
Where the Minto really excels is how it handles, rowing exceptionally well with one, two, or three adults on board. Due to generous freeboard, well positioned seats and oarlocks, this boat rows efficiently in a variety of wave conditions and is also renowned for stability when boarding. The full bow shape and tracking skeg allows for safe and easy towing. The Minto handles a small outboard quite well with its reasonably flat aft bottom proportions and robust transom.
Whitehall Rowing & Sail first produced the Minto in 1988. The elegant fiberglass teak and bronze ‘treatment’ given to this little classic makes it popular for adorning the decks of sailboats, transoms of motor yachts, or being towed smoothly along behind.
After a few years out of production, it is available once again on a build-to-order basis from Whitehall Rowing & Sail in Victoria, BC. It comes complete and ready to row, with a fiberglass hull, teak woodwork, bronze transom and bow caps, bow eye suitable for towing plus stern eyes suitable for hoisting. Options include custom lift rings or snap davits for transom mounting along with many other custom features.
A curious thing about the Minto rowboat is that the third strake down at the bow is a little narrow and this anomaly has been faithfully reproduced that way for all these years.
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