Hvalsoe Boats Eric Hvalsoe HV 13 and HV 16

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HV 13 & HV 16: 

Two Lapstrake Sailing Dinghys 

Eric Hvalsoe has created a rare compromise: fine little boats that both row and sail well. 


The Hvalsoe 13 - A Perfectly Proportioned Boat 

In 1980, Eric Hvalsoe was commissioned to design and build a traditional dinghy for oar and sail, producing the first Hvalsoe 13.

This design features ample beam of 4 1/2' and a powerful midsection for security and stiffness, standing up well to a 64 square ft spritsail.  With fine ends and a beautiful heart shaped transom, the HV 13 rows very easily. 

Construction is lapstrake, Western Red Cedar on White Oak frames with copper clench nail lap fastenings. 

HV 13 Facts 

  • Length: 13 feet (3.9 meters)
  • Beam: 4 feet 6 inches (1.4 meters)
  • Minimum Freeboard/Depth: 1 foot 6 inches (0.46 meters)
  • Weight of boat without centerboard and trunk: Approx. 130 lbs (59 kg)
  • Weight with centerboard and trunk: Approx. 155 pounds (70 kg)
  • Spritsail: 65 square feet (6 square meters)

(See Hvalsoe's Typical Design Elements at the bottom of this page.)




 The Hvalsoe 16 - A Great Compromise

The Hvalsoe 16 lapstrake dinghy is considered by Eric Hvalsoe to be “the great compromise,” as it both rows and sails well. This craft’s fine ends make the Hvalsoe 16 an excellent rowing boat, while it carries enough beam to make it stable under its 85 square foot sprit-sail rig.

Marked by an elegant curved stem and rake wineglass transom, the design is narrow at the ends with a powerful, stable midsection.  

The rig is an unstayed, loose footed spritsail.  The sprit rig is a model of simplicity and flexibility. It features a convenient brailing line, spruce spars and sail assembly that may be stored inside the boat.  Mast, sprit and sail come in a long canvas sleeve for tidy stowage and transport. 


These boats will stand upright on the beach with their wide plank keel and are protected with tough, UHMW shoes and rubbing strips.  Hull interior are finished with Seafin Teak Oil, exteriors typically painted to the owner's specifications. But don't be fooled by all the gloss, as seats, transom, trim, etc., are coated with an incredibly tough, flexible urethane coating.  Results over the years have proven excellent. 

Above, Hvalsoe 16 ‘Camp cruising package’ 2008


Camp Cruising the HV16.  Multiple cruising options are available on the HV16, especially when a prospective owner has plans of camp cruising. Perhaps most significant is the addition of a double wide primary thwart, which provides greater room for the aft rower in a tandem configuration. (We have found that on multiple day treks, where rowing can stretch on for hours, a bit more elbow room between between oarsmen is a welcome touch.) Additionally, the rear oarlock pads are lengthened to incorporate the original position, perfect for solo rowing, and the aft tandem position.  The double wide thwart is also handy for thwartship lounging, eating lunch, or spreading out a chart.   


Push-pull tiller. The addition of a pushstick allows a singlehanding skipper to move their weight around the boat, offering the best possible trim. In a boat such as the HV16, people are often the sole ballast, and it is good to be able to adjust your weight when needed. The steering pushstick is set up and secured by a tending mechanism on the starboard thwart knee.  The universal rudderhead incorporates both a pivot bolt for a conventional tiller, and a mortise for inserting the pushstick crossarm.  (Note ... when sailing with company, we prefer to use a conventional tiller, though you may find you prefer the pushstick full time. Of course, there's only one way to find out ... )


Above, on an HV16, the main sheet is led from a turning block at the port quarter to a second block midship, then on to a jam  cleat mounted on the aft side of the double wide thwart.  The angles are perfect, easy to tend, yet unobtrusive. 

Study plans and offsets are available for the HV 13 and HV 16. 

HV 16 Facts
  • Length: 15 feet 9 inches (4.8 meters)
  • Beam:4 feet 6 inches (1.4 meters)
  • Minimum Draft: 1 feet 6 inches (0.46 meters)
  • Weight without centerboard and trunk: Approx. 155 lbs. (70 kg)
  • Weight with centerboard and trunk: Approx. 185 lbs. (84 kg)
  • Spritsail: 84 square feet (7.8 square meters)



 Typical Design Elements, Construction and Features of a Hvalsoe 13 & 16 Rowing and Sailing Dinghy:  


  • Generous beam, fine ends, raking stem and heart shaped transom
  • Secure freeboard and graceful sheerline


  • Western Red Cedar planking over White Oak bent frames
  • Mahogany stem, transom, centerboard trunk, knees
  • Hardwood keel and riveted rubrails ... Apitong, Purpleheart, or White Oak
  • Thwarts, typically Sitka Spruce or Red Cedar (special requests considered)
  • All fastenings are copper and bronze


  • Shaped, Red Cedar panel floorboards, four sections, easily removable
  • Unobtrusive, adjustable, removable foot stretchers (heel rests)
  • Removable tiller with retaining strap, pop our rudder, Stainless Steel hardware
  • Choice of full length wrap around stern seats
  • Tough, UHMW grounding shoe and lap runners 


  • Boomless spritsail from Rush Sails, available with reefing points
  • Sitka Spruce Spars
  • Shaefer hardware and Harkin ball bearing mainsheet blocks
  • Brailing line for quickly taking in sail
  • Sitka Spruce oars with sewn leathers, bronze oarlocks


  • Galvanized marine trailer, 12" wheels, winch and tongue jack
  • Carpeted 2x6 lumber platform with cradle support, tie offs 


  • Durable Sunbrella boat cover, watertight and breathable
  • Cutouts for bow and stern lines, reinforced and padded stress points
  • Unique laminated arch support system provides all year, all weather cover support. No pooling of water or excessive stretch. 

Please contact Eric Hvalsoe for cost estimates.