Posted on 26 May 2010
Written by Chris Landry
A U.S. design with overseas appeal
An Irish boatbuilder is using a time-tested American design from the late John Atkin to launch his business.
Tiernan Roe, founder of Roeboats in County Cork on Ireland's south coast, was born nearly a decade after John Atkin designed the Ninigret 22 in 1963. While choosing a hull form for his first boat, Roe discovered that the slender, seakindly lapstrake Atkin design was just the dayboat he'd been looking for.
"The waters around here can be pretty rough, and so you need a boat that is really seaworthy - in coastal waters, rivers, in large bays, maybe a little bit offshore for fishing," says Roe, 38, who has sold one Ninigret 22 and is hoping to secure some U.S. orders. "It's very fuel efficient because it has a semidisplacement hull which is very fine at the entrance and flattens out to a fairly flat form at the transom."
The wooden Ninigret 22 needs just 20 horses to reach a top speed of 20 knots, says Roe, a former furniture designer and builder with a degree in industrial engineering. The outboard sits in a covered well.
Roe followed the Atkin plans closely, but chose to vary the deck layout to cope with Ireland's climate. "[Atkin] had designed it for a canvas top over the cabin part, which would suit a warmer, drier clime, but here in Ireland we get an awful lot of rain, so I put a hardtop on," he says. The cabin can sleep two, but it's more suited for ducking out of the rain than overnighting, says Roe.
Roe built the boat with white oak frames and western red cedar stringers, and it's clad in 3/8-inch marine plywood. He encapsulated the hull with epoxy and finished it off with a two-part epoxy and two-part polyurethane paint.
Roe, who caught the boating bug when he built an Optimist dinghy with his father at age 10, started his company in March 2009. Ninigret carries a beam of 6 feet, 8 inches, displaces 2,070 pounds and has a 1-foot draft. The boat has a space under the cabin bunk for a 19-gallon fuel tank or portable tanks can be used. The boat without power is 19,900 euros, which currently is around $27,100. For information, visit www.roeboats.wordpress.com or contact Roe at
This article originally appeared in the June 2010 issue.