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Boats and Boards

At Great Bear Boatworks, we use contemporary materials and techniques to build wooden boats that are exceptionally fast, surprisingly light, and strikingly beautiful--a true synergy of form and function. 

Specializing in kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and sailing and rowing craft from designers around the world, we build on contract for the discerning recreationalist and serious athlete.

See below for more information about a sample of the many  boats and boards we have built.


Guillemot: 13' Rowing and Sailing Dinghy

Designed by Iain Oughtred, the Guillemot has timeless lines and the sweet aesthetic of a traditionally built lapstrake hull. With firm bilges and a proud, vertical stem, this small boat can carry a lot of weight and handle moderate seas with ease. Yet she is light on the water and rows and sails with efficiency and grace. 


Stretched to just over 13' from the design length of 11'6" and built using the glued-lapstrake technique, this specific boat will be a row-only dinghy to serve as the gateway for family adventures of the aquatic and marine kind on the protected waters around Vancouver Island.


At just over 100 pounds in weight, she can just as easily be car-topped as transported on a light, small-boat, aluminum trailer. For those in the Intermountain West, the Guillemot or her larger cousin, the Acorn 15, would make sweet day sailors or rowing boats in which to explore the countless mountain reservoirs and lakes. Just be sure to save time at the put-in ramp for the affectionate onlookers.

Visit the Guillemot Build Gallery


Kaholo 12.5 and 14


Designed by Larry Froley of Grey Whale Trading Company and produced by Chesapeake Light Craft, the Kaholo 12.5 and 14 paddleboards are light, fast, and fun! The Kaholo comes to life when paddled on lakes, rivers, estuaries, and sheltered bays with small to medium wind waves. The hull shape allows the board to travel straight and true at any speed and still rise onto a plane when surfing in a following sea.


The hollow boards are light enough to transport with ease and feature a watertight hatch with integrated stuff sack in which to store food, phone, camera, and car keys while out on the water.  

Join the paddleboard explosion in style!

Kaholo 12.5 and 14 Gallery




Savo 650D4: 21' Finnish Rowing Shell


Designed by Ruud van Veelan of Puuvenepiste in Finland, the Savo 650D4 open water double rowing shell is known for winning prestigious endurance rowing races in its native country. Light, fast, and beautiful, the Savo is changing the way that American wooden boat builders are thinking about effective, performance-oriented rowing craft. Perfect for teams with a combined weight up to 350 pounds, the 650D4 can be easily converted into a highly competitive single scull, essentially giving you two boats in one!


At 21' long, 50" wide, and just over 100 pounds in weight, the Savo 650D4 cruises easily at 4.5 to 5 knots and can reach speeds of almost 9 knots when sprinting. With plenty of volume and storage space for gear, the Savo 650D4 is perfect for competitive rowing as well as recreational day trips or extended adventures.

Savo 650D Gallery




Firefly: 18' Open water rowing dinghy

A Ken Basset classic, the Firefly is a hard-chined open water rowing dinghy with a sliding seat and outriggers. With very similar lines to Basset's more traditional "Liz" design, the Firefly is a perfect response to recreational rowers' desire to take to an open stretch of water at sunrise (or any other time of day!).


Wee Lassie: 10' Ultralight Canoe

The Wee Lassie was originally designed by Henry Rushton in the 1880s as a traditional double paddle lapstrake canoe. This skin on frame adaptation has been designed by Dave Gentry and reflects the beauty and functionality of Rushton's original design.


At  10'6" long, 27" wide, and 20 pounds in weight, the Wee Lassie is a perfect boat for exploring quiet waters, including lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and ocean estuaries and marshes. Easily transported on top of a small car, the Wee Lassie is the perfect adventure boat for children and adults weighing up to 200 pounds.


Gloucester Rocking Dory

The Gloucester Rocking Dory is a perfect gift for the youngster in your life and will provide hours of unfettered joy. Handcrafted from traditional marine woods, this scaled version of the classic New England fishing dory is available in either a single strake or three-strake lapstrake hull design.

Each rocking dory is custom built with the hull design, wood selection, paint color, and varnish scheme of choice. Shipping available throughout the continental US.

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