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A New Lease of Life for Mo-B

Bringing an old Wherry back to life, and rowing out to the California Delta

In 2015, the Dolphin Club received a donation of a wonderful little wooden boat, the Mo-B. I had often seen it being rowed along the Sausalito waterfront, and I’d long admired the boat’s grace. I haven’t been able to find much about the design, but it was built by Bill Grunwald of Aeolus Boatworks in Davenport, probably sometime in the early 80’s.

After it joined the Dolphin club, it was used on and off by some of our rowers, but it suffered from wear and tear and neglect that eventually became bad enough to pull from service. Paint was peeling off the stem, the rub rails were chewed up, and there were holes in the sheer from a goofy rigger system that had once been used.

I figured it deserved some love, so I took it under my wing for repair.

First step was to pull off the tape and mess hiding problems. As I started sanding things back, the boat actually seemed in pretty good shape.

With the damage pared back it was time for repair. I opted for a pretty simple option of just backing the holes with 3/16 marine ply, and fairing the outside with epoxy. Then there was really just a lot of sanding of the interior and exterior, repaint and revarnish, to get her looking tip-top.

After 60 hours of work, I relaunched her back at the Dolphin Club. While working on the boat, I had begun to wonder about how it would handled if swamped. Well, let’s test that out….

She’s a stable boat, but you probably wouldn’t want to take it out on a really rough day on the bay. That set me wondering about where it would be nice to row. I set my sights on the Delta.

My first trip was a multi-day trip out to Steamboat Slough near Walnut Creek in the Fall.

Then, on another trip, wewent south and explored some of the Old River.

California is delightful in the shoulder seasons with a small boat and some time. Mo-B makes a great companion.

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