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In the Boat Shop: Winter 2023

We invite you to peruse the current projects in our shop. Please contact Great Bear Boatworks if one of these designs catches your eye or you have another design in mind that you would like us to build for you or with you.


Note that these images reflect the project in process and will be updated as the build progresses. Once the boat is completed, a full gallery will be posted online under the "Boats" tab.


Savo 650E: Expedition-ready double sliding seat rowing boat


Designed by Ruud van Veelen of Puuvenepiste in Finland, the Savo 650E is an expedition-specific version of the popular and highly successful 650D. The addition of bulkheads and watertight compartments make this already incredibly versatile craft fit for adventures grand and small. Similar versions of the 650E have successfully completed the Race to Alaska twice, placed with laudable results in the Seventy48, and cruised the Maine Island Trail. So whether you have your eyes set on a peaceful afternoon rowing your local cruising grounds or on a destination well beyond the horizon, this craft will take you there with efficiency, style, and joy. 

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Savo 575S: 19' Finnish Rowing Shell


Designed by Ruud van Veelen of Puuvenepiste in Finland, the Savo 575S open water single rowing shell is a slightly shorter, lighter version of the 650D4. Light, fast, and beautiful, the Savo is changing the way that American wooden boat builders are thinking about effective, performance-oriented rowing craft. 


At just under 19' long, 49" wide, and weighing 85 pounds, the Savo 575S 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, great maneuverability, and the versatility of a car-toppable shell, the Savo 575S is perfect for competitive rowing as well as recreational day trips or extended adventures.

Visit the Savo 575S Build Gallery


New Boat Barn

After several years of building boats in a 450 square foot basement room, we have taken the step to build a dedicated shop. At just over 1900 square feet between a main floor and loft, the new building allows for more efficient, safe, and ergonomic work spaces. We are poised to be able to build larger boats (such as the Aroha!) and have multiple projects on the go at the same time. We are also excited that this space will make it more plausible for future clients to contribute meaningfully to their boat's build if they so choose.

Building the new shop has taken time and has been the result of countless hours of work by family, friends, and neighbors. There is still a long tick-list of tasks that need to be completed before we are done, but we are extremely grateful for all of the support we have received in the process. We moved in this winter and are building hull #1 for the new shop - a Savo 575S. It is such a treat to have the space!

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