Chesapeake Light Craft has built a reputation for beautiful, practical, and innovative small boats that you build yourself from a kit. The fleet includes the Eastport Pram dinghy, a champion yacht tender that can carry a decent load, rows and tows with ease, and sails beautifully. Now there's a "nesting" version of the Eastport Pram that packs down to fit on small cruisers, without giving up any capability.
CLC's standard Eastport Pram, arguably one of the most popular dinghies in the world with about a thousand built, is 7'9" in length. This is still too big to store on the decks of the average cruising yacht. The usual solution--an inflatable--is expensive, heavy, hard to row, and impossible to sail.
A "nesting" dinghy is a conventional hard-shell that folds up into a small space. CLC's Eastport Nesting Pram shares its hull with the stock Eastport Pram, but the demountable front half nests completely inside the back half. The nested package is a very manageable 4'9" x 4'0" rectangle that will stow on the decks of cruising yachts down to pocket-cruiser size, or tuck away neatly in an apartment, an RV, a shed, or at the marina. Without rushing, the Eastport Nesting Pram takes less than 90 seconds to assemble or disassemble, a fraction of the time required to deploy an inflatable dinghy.
Concerned that the only thing a lot of existing nesting dinghy designs do well is the nesting part, designer John C. Harris kept all of the fun and function of the stock Eastport Pram--including the sailing rig--without compromising its nesting function. The nesting version is still just as easy to build and weighs less than 80 pounds.
"The Eastport Pram has done so well that I really fretted about getting the nesting version right," says Harris. "It took a lot of prototypes and refinement but this is the nesting dinghy I always wished I'd had on my 26-foot sloop."
Like all CLC designs, you can't buy one -- you have to build it yourself from a kit or plans. The kit arrives in the mail in a big flat carton, and inside you'll find all of the parts cut out on CLC's computerized machinery, like a giant airplane model. Epoxy, fiberglass, hardware, and of course a big instruction manual are included. The Eastport Nesting Pram is built full-length, and cut in half later. (This avoids causing a "kink" at the joint.) At the joint are two very strong structural bulkheads. Six stainless steel bolts with large, easy-to-handle wing nuts fasten front and back together. A rubber gasket seals the joint and helps protect the finish on the two parts.
Small tenders should be able to withstand heavy handling alongside the mothership or in the dinghy park, so planking is 6mm okoume throughout, with three 9mm frames and seats. There's a big, deep skeg for tracking under tow. In addition to multiple layers of fiberglass on the bottom panel, there are two cypress rubbing strips on the bottom to take the abrasion of dragging on a beach. Foam flotation is fitted beneath the seats.
Adding the optional sailing component kit provides the mast, boom, yard, daggerboard, rudder, sail, mast step, and other gear to fit the boat out safely for sailing. The standing lug sail is powerful and well-cut and the short spars are easy to store. The sailing performance will enchant the most critical sailor.
Intended for two adults, the Eastport Pram's total capacity is 375 pounds. There is an emphasis on rowing performance, but a 2hp outboard or trolling motor may be fitted.
For more information, visit our website or call 410-267-0137.