100 Boat Designs Reviewed: Design Commentaries by the Experts (Woodenboat)

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Author s Peter H. This book by Peter Spectre contains the most popular boat designs. It will definitely be very useful and practical for people who intent to construct their own boat and are now searching for some suitable design; it will be also very interesting to those trying to improve the existing boat designs or even trying to create the unique ones. Some of the presented designs come from the past; however, some of them are even designs of the future.

We all know how important the drawings are in the boat- and shipbuilding - in fact, good drawings shall be treated as the essence of any boat review.

The publication contains so many excellent and well-detailed design reviews, accompanied by class technical drawings. Most of the designs presented in this book are conventional while some of them are definitely not - the latter ones are very interesting for the boatbuilding enthusiasts. The idea of the author to supplement the design descriptions with the experts' opinions was brilliant - the reading is now much more interesting and entertaining because of their enlightening commentary. Double-paddle canoes might well be the ultimate "impulse" boats.

Light and simple, they'll sit happily atop your car waiting to explore small streams that flow barely noticed under highway bridges. Yet they're able to handle serious coastal cruising. And you'll be welcome in any harbor because of your complete con- trol, absence of wake, and silence. Two brass plates bore the legend "William F. Wiser, Builder, Bridesburg, Pennsylvania. This was the height of their development, before all advances pointed toward speed. The rockered keel and rising floor give an easy motion and a dry bow. The decks and watertight bulkheads make her virtually unsink- able.

She has rather moderate sail area, which per- mitted Wiser to design a much larger cockpit opening than usual, nearly 6 feet in length. Thus, two people could share an afternoon sail, or one could venture on a cruise. About one-seventh of the sail pro- jects forward of the mast, shortening the boom over the cockpit without reducing sail area. The full-length battens allow quick reefing with a simple pulley sys- tem.

The vertical seams help to support the weight of the boom, allowing lighter sail cloth.


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Using this rig, centerboard, and hull shape, she would sail like a dream, though no closer than 45 degrees off the wind. The use of a double paddle with a reefed mizzen would be an excellent way to go straight upwind. In a time when machines have soured the natural beauty of our land, and when people are turning again to sports that demand intellectual and physical agility, sailing canoes like this one may well enjoy a renais- sance.

The relative sizes of the canoeist and the canoe set up a close, interdependent relationship seldom achieved. The canoe becomes an extension of the body. Imagine sitting with legs wedged against the hull, feet controlling the rudder, leeward hand on the main sheet, and windward arm pulling your weight to windward, while flying along at 8 or 10 knots!

Box , Mystic, CT Stambaugh and Howard I. Predecessors, simply rigged and steady on their feet, served as seafood harvesters and com- mon transportation. Often regarded as little more than waterfront equipment, the boats survived in spite of sometimes desultory care. A measure of their strong character can be seen in the two s kiff "yachts" shown here. Neither is a direct copy of a traditional design, but both bespeak their Bay origins. In his search for a trailerable daysailer, designer Karl A.

Stambaugh discovered plans for a 21 -foot 7-inch crab skiff built by Bill Reeves at Wingate, Maryland, in But the Reeves boat is large and heavy by most daysailing standards, and the traditional cross-planked Bay construction does not take well to travel by trailer. The old boats lived in the water and got where they were going on their own botto ms — frequent drying and the stress imposed by roller flanges were not con- siderations back then In drawing the Windward 15, Stambaugh combined the crab skiffs flavor with contemporary materials.

Plywood, his choice for planking the hull, forces some decisions. And the decisions start right up forward. In no way can sheet plywood be talked into bending around a traditional deadrise forefoot. Most Chesapeake builders would stave the forefoot use short, thick planks worked to shape ; but this tech- nique can be tricky for the inexperienced, and the staves don't mate well with the plywood you might want to apply to the remainder of the bottom.

See a Problem?

The forefoot could be carved from a single block of timber, as seen ; in some early deadrise skiffs, but that construction is heavy and prone to rot. In this age of epoxy, cold mold- ing provides an elegant solution — if you can tolerate the increased building time and expense. The Windward's designer chose a simple path.

He drew shallow forward sections that should present no impossible obstacles to sheet plywood. In a light boat intended for sailing, any compromise in performance will prove minimal. To make this hull even more com- patible with sheet construction, he raked the stem — thus reducing twist in the sides up forward. The powerful rudder, styled nicely in keeping with the old Bay skiffs, will give sharp control and carry a fair portion of the lateral plane load. But, for its pro- tection, you might consider tucking the blade up behind the ample skeg.

Yacht Construction/Design Books

A Neoprene strap bridging the gap between the bottoms of the rudder and the skeg would preclude your snagging pot warp. Despite the best efforts of Howard Chapelle, Phil Bolger, and others, the joys of sailing a sprit-boomed leg-o'-mutton rig seem to remain little known. This rig's simplicity speaks for itself — no blocks, no stand- ing rigging, simple sheet leads, solid mast and boom. Its sophistication might not be so evident. Because the boom can't lift appreciably the foot of the sail tight- ens, reducing lift , the affair is self-vanging.

Sail twist is reduced, often resulting in higher speeds and more docile steering. The sheet is needed only for trimming in the boom. As it need not provide much downward force, this rangement can be simpler and lighter than if it had to introl a conventional boom. Sail twist can be adjusted by moving the sprit boom up or down the mast — lower for more twist, higher for less. Of course, draft can also be affected by changing the down-haul tension. Without a single piece of store-bought hardware, this rig will do everything but sit up and say please.

H oward I. Chapelle needs no introduction here. All of us devoted to simple, traditional boats are indebted to him. Best known for his descriptions — some would say interpretations — of historical types, the master draftsman also left behind a body of his own work. Often unpublished, Chapelle's originals contain an enlightening blend of workboat features recombined to create robust pleasure craft.

Though she's clearly no crab boat, Chapelle's foot Sharpie Sailing Dinghy read skiff has her Chesapeake origins deeply etched in her style and detail. As she'd not be called upon to carry a heavy catch, Chapelle gave her less rocker than you'll see in any square-stemed Bay skiff — save for those driven by outboard motors. This boat won't get up on top as quickly as an International 14, but no doubt she'll plane, given the right conditions. Her skipper likely won't be hauling pots or tending trot lines, so her strong flare won't be cause for a sore back.

The sharply angled sides provide reserve buoy- ancy, a wide base for the shrouds, and room for sub- stantial washboards side decks — all combined with a relatively narrow bottom. Most observers will appre- ciate the resulting appearance. Sharpie sailors learn early not to sheet in too hard or too soon after coming about. A shallow forefoot sometimes won't "hold on" to the new course. Chapelle gave this skiff an impressive gripe a forward skeg, if you will , and it should help see her through those awkward post-tacking moments.

Also, it offers a mea- sure of protection to both the bottom and the slot when beaching. Some opinion holds that the gripe reduces pounding in a chop. The standard dinghy rudder shown on the plans is simple and powerful, but it can be a pintle-breaker in serious shallow-water sailing. A kick-up blade would seem a reasonable modification. The advantages inherent in sprit-boomed leg-o'- mutton rigs were detailed earlier; Chapelle's draw- ings indicate an additional worthwhile wrinkle.

Aesthetics aside, I've never known a sharpie to take much notice of a sprit boom lying hard against the lee side of its sail skippers often seem more bothered by asymmetry than do their boats. In any case, if you're disturbed by the resulting crease, this skiffs half- wishbone fitted with offset jaws provides a solution. The sail will fill nicely on either tack, and this arrange ment is simpler than a full wishbone boom. A spread of sqaure feet of canvas Dacron? Perhaps in deference to the Chesapeake's light sum- mer winds, Chapelle drew the larger jib in solid lines, which suggests that he intended it to serve as work- ing sail.

The apparently squat rig is, in fact, of moderate aspect ratio for native Bay boats. Although our eyes have become accustomed to taller and leaner config- urations, the mainsail shown will provide more usable power and will set on less expensive spars. It's well to remember that extremely high-aspect rigs some- times have developed in response to artificial sail-area limits and the search for ultimate windward perfor- mance.

The limits for this sharpie are imposed by cost and the ability of boat and crew to handle sail — no sense sticking a C-class wing in her. Construction for this little daysailer is straightfor- ward skiff fashion. Any questions you might have about the details should yield to a careful reading of Chapelle's book, Boatbuilding.

We haven't been able to find a table of offsets defining these lines, and the plans available from the Smithsonian provide little more information than appears here. Still, I recommend ordering a set if you're intent on building the boat. By all means, plank the sides as drawn — including the lapped "rising strake" that will cast a shadow empha- sizing the strong flare and nicely drawn sheer. Properly detailed, this boat can sail in any company. She's sim- ple and inexpensive, but there's nothing cheap about her. Plans for the Windward 15 are available from Karl A. Stambaugh, Creek View Rd.

Ask for plan HIC For sailors confined — by necessity or choice — to small craft, the pursuit can be particularly frustrating. Though it lacks the majesty of the schooner-yacht America orthe great fis hing schooners, his design displays grace in lull measure. Admired for its beauty but maligned for what are perceived as technical deficiencies, the schooner rig is not often selected for contemporary designs.

As may be, Gartside's boat will withstand fairly rigorous assault by logic. The divided rig breaks the sail area into small, easily handled patches, and, as stability won't be this hull's strong suit, the low center of effort will be appre- ciated. The foresail might prove just close enough to the main to improve the airflow around the larger sail.

In any case, backwinding won't be so great a problem as with the more popular cat-ketch A sloop directs the flow with its headsail — and saves one mast in the process. The cost comes in the form of standing rig- ging you'll probably want to add to keep the jib's luff tight Strongly raked masts lend much to this boat's appearance and help keep the sails out of the water in rough going.

Also, the masts bury in the hull at most convenient locations — clear of the cockpits but handy for use as tent poles. Technical considerations aside, Gartside presents an unanswerable defense for his dropping a cat-schooner rig into this hull: "I like the way it looks. The motor can be tilted clear of the water — a matter of no small importance, as dragging a lower unit all over the bay would prove unacceptable under sail and heartbreaking when rowing.

Although the drawings show a bent aluminum pipe tiller designed to clear the motor's powerhead , I suspect many builders will glue up wooden sticks to the same pat- tern for a more elegant look. The centerboard trunk and mainmast are located off center for the usual reasons of strength and simplicity, and to keep the slot clear of the ground. We might notice this modest asymmetry, but the boat most cer- tainly will not. This little schooner offers plenty of sprawling space for the crew and ample stowage for camping gear — or, rather, it would if it were slightly larger.

In fact, the designer believes the boat would work better as a cruiser if it were increased properly in size to about 1 8 feet by 6 feet. Concern for her rowing characteris- tics dictated the present foot 3 -inch length, and she ought to row quite acceptably with her rig lowered and her appendages raised. This is a true combination boat, and it'll be a rare day when her skipper can't get home, using either the sails, the motor, or the oars.

Based on a class of raceboats in Gartside's native Cornwall, she's intended for high speed in relatively open water. A: Well-executed construction drawings reveal a dis- Discussing the extremely slack-bilged sections the tinctive stem treatment intended, in the designer's designer explains, "If you want to make a normal row- words, "to hide the outboard motor. I've not yet had the pleasure of rowing a Flashboat, but I have pulled various West Coast designs that dis- play remarkably similar sections.

If you'll allow me the luxury of extrapolation Stability should be no problem — if you're accus- tomed to canoes, kayaks, or high-performance pulling boats. This boat will feel tender at first, much in the manner of a light dory, but she'll seem to stiffen once you're settled down on the rowing thwart. Additional loading say, a compatible passenger and a picnic lunch will make her even more solid.

At low and moderate rowing effort, the Flashboat will pull much in the manner of a Whitehall — easily and with good carry — though you'll notice her light weight. The revelation will come when you pour on the power. Pulled with sufficient vigor, a typical row- ing boat eventually will dig itself a hole in the water and fall into it. No matter how hard you row, you'll go no faster — a textbook demonstration of "hull speed.

The construction drawings show each side planked up with four highly "tortured" twisted to produce compound curvature stakes of 4mm Bruynzeel. Flashboat is little heavier than some tandem canoes, but she's roomier and better suited to open water. She ought to be almost as fast as some recreational row- ing shells, but she's simpler and less expensive. Weighing only 90 pounds, she'll travel happily on car- top — and that's packing a lot of performance on your roof.

These skiffs first appeared on the big estuary during the last years of the nineteenth century. The type — perhaps we should say "types" — varied wildly from creek to creek. Depending upon local con- ditions and prejudices, an observer at the time would have found single- and two-stick rigs, with or with- out headsails. Deadrise amidships amount of V to the bottom ranged from 0 degrees to about 12 degrees. Hulls were double-ended or transom- stemed. In fact, the diversity in skiff design allowed watermen to iden- tify a boat as the product of a particular county, if not a particular builder.

In addition to serving as their name suggests, the skiffs earned their keep in general waterfront trans- portation and by handling odd jobs. Although these boats went extinct half a century ago at least as work- ing watercraft , many of their characteristics survive in contemporary Chesapeake outboard-powered skiffs.

Cross-planked bottoms, strong sheerlines, and sharp forward sections still can be seen in the working power- boats at public landings along the Bay's convoluted 5,mile shoreline. The foot 8-inch sailing skiff shown here must be one of the most handsome of the old boats. According to Howard Chapelle, who wrote about her in the June issue of Yachting magazine, this striking deadrise hull was hammered together by a builder named Simmons in at Cambridge, Maryland.

Chapelle took the lines off the old boat on September 1 1, in the same town. We're told only that the hull construction was "of the usual Bay deadrise type. Although he might have shaped a "chunk" forefoot from a single — 31 timber, Mr. Simmons more likely accomplished the considerable deadrise up forward by staving the fore- foot.

That is, he filled the space between the backbone and chines with short, thick planks fashioned to the required twist. Good, old-fash- ioned inertia will make the boat steadier to work in the notorious Chesapeake chop and will give it the power to punch through now-ubiquitous powerboat wakes. No matter what miracle goops and goos we might employ in building this skiff today, I'd suggest not taking too much weight out of its structure.

We're told that most of the Cambridge boats shared the springy sheer, considerable deadrise, flared sides, and raking ends seen here. Chapelle suggests that the rough water often found at the mouth of the Choptank River provided ample incentive to build able skiffs. Unlike some flat-bottomed skiffs, these deadrise hulls tend to maintain headway when coming about; they don't pay off excessively before settling in on a new tack.

The habit of falling off before heading up to a new course constitutes a potentially dangerous char- acter flaw in half-decked boats. Unless the sheets are carefully tended, a nearly stationary skiff can be knocked down as the wind fills its tightly strapped sails. Builders sometimes fitted flat-bottomed Bay skiffs with substantial foregripes to lessen the risk. This Cambridge skiffs rig is fairly representative of those seen elsewhere on the Bay.

Its sprit-boomed leg- o'-mutton sails provide their usual advantages: They are self-vanging the angled foot of the sail tightens and prevents the boom from lifting. They can live with light booms and simple sheeting arrangements. Draft in the sails can be controlled, to a degree, by adjusting the tension in the snotter the line that secures the boom to the mast. Although the curve drawn into the foot of each sail looks fine, our sailmaker will know to cut the bottoms of the sails dead straight to better handle the tension.

While we're at it, let's ask him to cut the mainsail some- what fuller — and with the point of maximum draft farther forward — than he would for, say, a tautly strung sloop. Because the mizzen often will be sheeted closer than the mainsail, among other reasons, it ought to be sewn relatively flat. At the size we're discussing, these rigs need no ready- made hardware. Absolutely none. Dumb sheaves well faired and lined holes worked through the sticks near their heads will substitute for halyard blocks. The single-part sheets need only a bowline at one end and a figure-of-eight knot at the other.

Rope snotters do the work of sta in less-steel or bronze gooseneck fittings — and then some. The old boat is believed to have been built on Hoopers Island about Chapelle took the lines off her at Crisfield, Maryland, in This hull's shallow, almost flat-bottomed, forefoot allowed Parker to sheathe its virtually unaltered lines with sheet plywood. The deeper, sharper forefoot of the Cambridge skiff would, most likely, have demanded some fancy on-the-spot laminating in order to mate with a sheet bottom.

We might note that this skif f and the Cambridge boat have their centerboards located far forward by yacht standards, and the boards are slightly smaller than expected. This arrangement has obvious advantages in working skiffs, and the added cockpit room will be appreciated in the daysailing derivatives. The happy configuration is made feasible by the forward bias of the sail plans' geometrical centers and by the far-aft lateral plane offered by large skegs and rudders.

Before dropping the rig from the old skiff into the new skiff, Parker lopped about 20 inches off the mast. As indicated by the vertical dashed line drawn on the sail, he added a traditional vertical slab-reefing sys- tem that was sometimes used for larger sharpies. Details of this arrangement can be found on page 66 of Chapelle's book, Boatbuilding W. Casual inspection of the contemporary waterfront suggests that too many raceboats masquerade as day- sailers — their shallow cockpits fouled by nests of lines, and nary a seat in sight.

Old skiffs from the Chesapeake offer secure and comfortable alternatives. Plans for the Simmons Cambridge skiff, as drawn by Howard I. Box , Key West, PL Ask for the foot modified sharpie skiff. The boat is intended to serve as a tender for the Brays' summer camp on a rocky island, here in Maine. Because the island has no beach or dock, the boat must be loaded and boarded over the stem, from a sloping granite ledge. This gave rise to the boat's most unusual feature: The bottom aft has no skeg and is rounded up sharply to roughly match the curve of the ledge where she will be landing.

The stem is quite flared and buoyant, and is quite broad for what is a relatively narrow boat, making it very difficult to sub- merge, and yet providing a smooth run. There is con- siderable rake to the transom "bringing it closer to you" when boarding. She could be built with a more conventional afterbody if it was wanted. This skiff is intended to be easy to row, with her rel- atively narrow bottom, clean lines, and low freeboard. As a sailboat she can be anything from a good work- horse to a real flyer, with her three possible sail plans main and mizzen, main alone, or mizzen alone, stepped forward.

Her low freeboard serves as a kind of safety valve, when sailing. While her flared sides will keep her dry and add considerable reserve sta- bility, she will start taking water over the rail long before she reaches the point of no return and capsizes. She will sail best on her bottom, at any rate. The sprit- sail and Chesapeake mizzen are strong, simple, and light to handle, and easy to construct. There is no boom to conk you on the head when you're rowing out of a tight spot The rudder and centerboard have been kept shoal, to preserve the boat's ability to tiptoe in around the rocks and ledges without touching bottom.

The rud- der looks too shallow, but it is expected to "swim lower" when underway. It is hung in the manner of the English beach boats, with a very long lower pintle, which looks wrong end to, making it easy to ship or trice up, when landing. It is hoped that it will rise up if it hits an obstruc- tion. The pintles and gudgeons are intended to be very stong, since of necessity they must be mounted unusu- ally close together.

Compared to round-bottomed boats, skiffs tend to weigh a lot, and as drawn this one would be no excep- tion. It would be difficult to imagine a handier, more ver- satile boat for working the shore and beachcombing. She should be a joy to row or sail, and will be an eye- catcher wherever she goes. Plans for the foot Culler skiff are available from George B.

Kelley, 20 Lookout Ln. She is an A Vopen boat, arranged with three rowing posi- tions and a ketch rig for sailing. The mainsail is rigged with a diagonal sprit, and the mizzen with a horizon- t. There are no headsails. The concept was for a boat that two people could use for coastal cruising under sail or oars, yet be small enough to be trailered. Two of the prime requirements were that she he able to carry quite a lot of weight and be reason- ably stable when beached. That led to this full but easy shape and the plank keel. The sail type was chosen for its simplicity, and the two-masted rig to achieve various combinations of sail.

The masts are the same size so they can be stepped in either location. Three rowing positions were pro- vided, although the use of two is most frequently antic- ipated All told, nine different woods were used to build this boat: red oak, white oak, hackmatack, Honduras mahogany, native white cedar, Maine cherry, white. Each wood was chosen not only for function, but also for looks, as the inside of the boat was to be finished bright.

Hardware for the boat was custom designed and nude by Steve Goodale. This included mast collars, oarlock sockets, centerboard lever, rudder hardware, and stem band Robin has proved to be a fast, able boat under sail and oars, with or without a large load of people. How could I not J. With every subtle curve and detail, her hull demonstrates Pete Culler's gift for proportion and his sense of appropriate decoration.

We can trace the lineage of the traditionally styled foot 8-inch Buzzards Bay Sloop directly to the designer's foot 8-inch Concordia Sloop Boat, and that daysailer has its roots in small working craft. She would have to be well built with special attention to detail. For a number of reasons, wood seemed to be the best and only medium for construction. Wood has natural virtues so far as appearance, sound, feel, smell, and flotation are concerned. Variations and modifica- tions by [the boat's] owner are easy. And [wood] can be painted, polished, and puttered with. In short, it can be bved" During their search for an appropriate model, Howland and his fellow conspirators talked about Scituate lobsterboats, Connecticut River shad boats, and Bahama dinghies.

All having been said, Culler kept a Kingston lobsterboat firmly in mind while draw- ing the hull lines for Concordia's daysailer. Although Burke's book bristles with accounts of the Sloop Boat's ability in a breeze of wind, this is a light and narrow craft that carries a healthy spread of can- vas. It can jump up and bite a sailor who dismisses the mainsail's deep reefs as mere affectations.

For all its virtues, stability and power are not the Sloop Boat's strong suits. In , Wyatt Garfield asked Culler to draw him a more able version of this design for sailing off the exposed shores of Cuttyhunk Island. Captain Pete stretched the hull to 18 feet 8 inches, made it 1 foot wider, added 6 inches to the draft, cranked some dead- rise out of the bottom, and included pounds of outside ballast for good measure.

He increased the sail area sparingly. He swept up the sheer back aft. So far as I know, nobody ever accused the old Sloop Boat of dragging its tail; but, with a lazy helmsman loafing against the transom, the little boat appeared to be per- petually climbing uphill. Lapstrake planking replaced the smooth set work specified for the original design. Shadows cast at the laps would accentuate the new hull's sweet lines. The gains in stability and power provided by these changes might surprise a casual observer until he remembers that "size" increases essentially as the cube of a hull's length.

Of course, the unseen lead ballast adds considerable inertia to the equation and stability to the boat. Since then, the good people at The Landing School near Kennebunkport, Maine, have built about twenty boats to this design — well, almost to this design. They added an afterdeck to create a usable lazarette and to pro- vide a solid base for mounting a bronze outboard- motor bracket. Some of us believe that hanging an internal-combustion engine on a boat of such elegance represents at least a minor crime against nature.

As may be, the bracket is removable. The Landing's instructors and students faired the hull lines first on the drawing table and then on the loft floor. They drew about 1 inch of additional free- board at the stem to obviate any chance of the three- — 39 - A Sloop Boat dimensional sheer appearing to powderhom take on a reverse or S curve forward in the finished hull — no matter from what angle it might be viewed. Most boatbuilders consider the above modifications to con- stitute "builder's prerogative.

That's the way it is. When the folks at The Landing School asked if I'd like to sail one of their Buzzards Bay Sloops, they didn't have to wait long for a reply. I drove up to Kennebunkport on an October Indian-summer after- noon. The sun was warm, the air crisp, and the visi- bility stretched far beyond the limits of middle-aged eyesight — a day to pull from my mind's closet in the dead of this winter.

I found the sloop resting in a borrowed slip at the local yacht club. The low autumn sun reflected from white topsides and mirrored the lapped planks on the water. Oiled teak decks and rails glowed like honey in a glass jar. Oh, my. Once aboard, I was surrounded by comfortably shaped details.

From the steam-bent coaming and slat- ted benches to the carefully tapered spars, this boat bespoke first-class professional quality. Never mind that she was built as a learning experience. Looking forward from the helm, my eyes followed the ever- tightening arches formed by closely spaced bent frames. They define the hull's shape. Of course, most of the frames are redundant in this glued lapstrake hull. Landing's president John Burgess explains that they were included for their "educational value.

The sloop's cockpit is, indeed, good space. But I had come to sail, and we fired up the iron breeze for the run to open water. The flooding tide roared at us through the narrow mouth of the Kennebunk River. Any moral objections to internal-combustion machin- ery conveniently disappeared just long enough for us to power through the cut. King Kong himself would have had to think twice before rowing against that current. As we worked clear of the gentrified Kennebunkport waterfront, Jamie Houtz Landing's director of boat- building hoisted sail.

He had plenty of strings to pull: throat and peak halyards for the mainsail, a jib hal- yard, too-tight reef lines, etc. While the sloop is under- way, the halyards' falls hang neatly from belaying pins at the turn of the coaming up forward. They look right, and they come easily to hand — a fortunate anange- ment on this day as the new three-strand running rig- ging stretched as if made from rubber.

We reached off under a moderate breeze to the good sound of a lapstrake hull cutting through waves. Lapstrake boats don't make noise. They make sound, lots of sound, pleasant sound. The sloop's fine fore- foot blends smoothly into flaring topsides to produce a smart bow. This boat understands that she should brush aside small waves but climb over the tall ones. Her motion is easy and comforting. The helm is light but firm.

Culler's sloop wants to keep to its heading, although not to the point of being stubborn. Nudge the tiller, and the boat will change course smoothly — almost imperceptibly. She is cer- tain, but stately, in stays. I'd not want to drive her into a tacking duel with, say, a Herreshoff -footer.

If you're accustomed to sailing light centerboarders with big rudders, you'll be able to send out for lunch while putting the sloop about. The low gaff-headed rig suits this boat aesthetically and functionally. While looking at Culler's drawings, we might wish he had peaked up the gaff just a wee bit to preclude its sloughing off to leeward. But, out on the water, it works fine just as drawn. The gaffs relatively short length, an efficient angle of pull for the peak halyard allowed by a mast that extends well above the height of the gaff jaws , and a good angle to the main s ail's leech combine to keep the gaff where it ought to be.

The total joy of sailing any boat comes from the sum of a thousand discrete parts — aesthetic and techni- cal. Aboard the Buzzards Bay Sloop, everything adds up perfectly; and she's almost as much fim to watch go as to sail. This was Captain Pete's last design.

It might well have been his best. The boat we sailed had a glued plywood lapstrake hull. A typical summer's day would unfold in no particular hurry: Up at first light more or less after having slept on the beach; take a short and slow walk along the waterfront, drag the stranded boat down to the water, stow the meager camping gear, and row off into the morning calm. Breakfast about a mile offshore, safe from at least some of the biting insects; row on until the climbing sun makes the effort uncomfortable usually about 10 a.

At the first sign of the afternoon Seabreeze some time between and set up the unstayed lug rig and sail to wherever. In the evening, when the thermal fades, strike the rig, and pull the last mile or so to a secluded cove. Such are the simple delights of beach cruising. Because several types of boats are suitable for this pleasant mode of travel, perhaps a functional defini- tion of the breed will serve best.

A competent beach cruiser should be simply rigged; capable of carrying large loads; light enough to be dragged over bar and beach by its crew; safe in moderate surf; able to sail, not just float, in shallow water; able to work its way up small creeks under sail, oar, or paddle; comfortable to sleep aboard; sufficiently rugged to withstand fre- quent and terrible abuse.

A beach cruiser need not be flat bottomed, or carry only a single mast, or have only cnehul The design shown here, Iain Oughtred's foot 6- inch Caledonia Yawl, will make an excellent beach cruiser. It will be faster under sail and will carry more gear than my peapod though we can be certain that Oughtred, known for applying an artist's touch to his light lapstrake creations, admits to being under the influence of Shetland ness yoles and sixems while draw- ing this handsome double-ender.

And those highly regarded workboats can trace their pedigree to older Norwegian small craft — a strong heritage. The Caledonia has relatively high ends and shows con- siderable reserve buoyancy above the waterline throughout her length. Her hull lines resemble those of many surfboats that have evolved to meet the rig- ors of working off exposed beaches on different con- tinents. Similarities between the world's beach boats often are more striking than regional idiosyncrasies.

This yawl has well-balanced ends. Oughtred gave her a run that is fin er and shows more deadrise than might be ideal for extremely high speed under sail.

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The result- ing gains in helm balance and civilized behavior in waves make the compromise profitable. Caledonia's builders can rig their boats with either balanced lug or high-peaked gaff-headed mainsails. The balanced lug has the advantage of being self-vang- ing, and it sets on an unstayed mast. Less time will be required to raise and strike the lug rig — good news, as beach cruising often involves repeating the exercise four or five times every day. The control and balance provided by the tiny square foot leg-o'-mutton mizzen probably pay for its cost — and for the complication it introduces into the steering equation.

The mizzen will almost always be the first sail set. It will keep the yawl squarely into the wind while you fuss about stowing the lunch and setting the mainsail. To assure positive tacking, sim- ply back the mizzen to the inside of the turn as you come about this boat shouldn't need help often. When you're ready to eat lunch, strap the mizzen in hard, and drop the main lugsails come down as fast as lead the old pod will be easier to row and less of a chal- lenge to horse around the beach.

In this configuration, Caledonia will sit qui- etly during most summer weather. At the end of the day, if you're of a mind to show off, the mizzen can be used to back the boat down under sail into a slip. Just be sure to remember the boomkin, and keep the main- sheet free to run; if it fouls, you'll be courting disaster of front-page proportions. The steering difficulty caused by the far-aft location of the mizzen is obvious — the tiller wants to cut clean through the mast.

Oughtred could have solved the problem by specifying a fancy curved tiller, or by draw- ing an inboard rudder with its post forward of the mast, or by using a yoke and lines. A short tiller arm half a yoke, if you will attaches to the rudderhead perpen- dicular to the centerline. A long, light tiller is hinged to the shorter stick and run forward. As drawn here, pulling the tiller forward will turn the boat to starboard. Some practice in open water will suffice to get the tech- nique under control.

On your first day with the boat, you might want to row out of the harbor. For serious shallow-water sailing, Oughtred chose a pivoting centerboard in preference to a daggerboard. This arrangement requires a longer trunk, but the boat has room to spare. A rowing thwart supports the trunk solidly. The kick-up rudder shown as an option would add to Caledonia's shoal-water ability, but you might want to alter the design to provide for more bearing surface between the blade and cheeks when the blade is in its raised position.

Sooner or later, someone will use the kicked-up rudder to scull the boat off a mud bank, and Caledonia's lapstrake construction makes good use of plywood and epoxy. The hull is built in an inverted position, and the backbone and building jig are fairly conventional. Four wide shakes for each side are spiled, hung over temporary molds, and beveled. Drywall screws can act as clamps until the epoxy sets. Solid timber shouldn't be used for planking this boat, even if you're fortunate enough to find boards of appro- priate width.

Lack of cross-grain strength makes it prone to splitting — especially along the laps. Solid planking works fine for similar designs, but here there are subtle differences in shape and considerable dif- ferences in framing.

100 Boat Designs Reviewed: Design Commentaries by the Experts

Find the best mahogany marine plywood you can, and go to it. Oughtred's yawl is well worth the expense. The plans specify Ys-inch planking for Caledonia's sides and bottom. Her frameless hull will be strong and stiff, but it's well to remember that plywood's outer surface — no matter how thick the sheet — con- sists of one extremely thin layer of veneer.

You might consider adding hardwood beaching strips, one on each side, at the first lap just below the turn of the bilge. They needn't be too long. Three or four feet of length should do — just enough to catch the fullness of her hull as she lies on the beach. As for accommodations, Oughtred shows a version with considerable built-in closed space similar to a Drascombe Lugger's interior and a more open model.

The open boat will be simpler and lighter — and for beach cruisers, light is good. Builders can choose var- ious combinations of the two layouts. In all cases, the decks are kept below the rails. This arrangement gives better access to the yawl's ends, and it permits secure on-deck stowage of fight gear. Also, the sunken decks allow our eyes to follow the full, unbroken sweep of the sheer from stem to stem.

I can't look at this boat without wanting to push her into the surf and take off. Alden Commentary by the editors of WoodenBoat A s the refinement of the Swampscott dory type reached its zenith, the need arose to depart more distinctly from the workboat origins — where rowing was as important as sailing — and to develop a doiy type specifically for sailing in inter- club races. And, as John Alden never failed to appre- ciate the trends of his time, he set Sam Crocker, then in his employ, to work on a sailing dory one-design class in early The result was a beautifully mod- eled footer with a marconi rig that carried pounds of inside ballast The advantages of the new design over the tradi- tional Swampscott were greater beam and firmer bilges, brought aft to the transom, which afforded the oppor- tunity to carry more sail and thus perform better on a triangular course.

With its generous side decks and inside ballast, the design provided a margin of safety without diminishing the excitement factor. It was, in act, a boat well suited to clubs with limited budgets and many young sailors. William Chamberlain built the first boats and many of the rest , which were first sailed in at Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club. So successful were the boats that other clubs ordered more built, and the Indian class was well on its way. In an age of high-performance planing craft, the Indian class has little to offer today's racing sailor, but before it vanishes into obscurity, we ought to take another look.

It is, after all, a fine performer itself, and one that will sail well in all sorts of conditions. Given its relative simplicity of construction, the Indian should be relatively inexpensive to build. The Indian is built dory-style, with the bottom, stem, transom, and six sawn frames being set up first. After the planking is completed, four pairs of steam-bent frames are set in place between each pair of sawn frames, the combination providing a light, stiff hull.

Because of that construction, full lofting is unneces- sary and dimensions can be picked up from the plan. An interesting option offered in the design is the so- called V-stern, wherein the garboard and broadstrake lap together at the transom without a knuckle, afford- ing, presumably, somewhat less drag at this point. The round-sided dory types require a wider-than- usual garboard, the stock for which can be very diffi- cult to find these days.

There are, of course, a number of ways of creating one wide plank from two narrow ones, but the cheapest and simplest solution might be to join them with typical riveted dory laps, perhaps made flush so as not to show. Scheel was an early hero of mine — his designs always stood out from the pages of the boating mag- azines over which I misspent so many youthful hours. His boats had a flair, a bold profile, a youthful zest, so much like the man 1 later came to know.

His early career was based in New York City and Connecticut, but later years were spent here in Maine. Before he died, his design work had begun to reach international circles, and three large designs were built at the Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland, necessitating many rips abroad to oversee construction. To my eye, these arc among the loveliest of his creations. They repre- sent the culmination of a lifetime of design. The Scheel keel, with its cross sections shaped like the profile of an axe head, is another reminder of Harry's inquisitive mind.

Designed to concentrate bal- last weight low and to reduce tip eddies to a mini- mum, the Scheel keel is offered by many stock builders around the world — especially where draft reduction is impotent Always an innovator, at the time of his death he was working on a series of designs for a new hull shape hat he believed would make a better, faster boat — one in which wave-making would be suppressed by the addition of a chine in the after sections of the boat. He even made one that had the usual round-bottomed hull shape on the starboard side while ;he port side had the added chine.

Sailing this model in first one tack, then the other, demonstrated to Scheel the value of the chine, and he was able to photograph the different wave patterns coming from each side. Several years ago, a foot daysailer was built to this idea — the boat illustrated here. Scheel had named the new series Bestyet, and the boat in question was the Bestyet A look at the Bestyet's plans will show that inno- vation did not stop with the added chine. The boat has a most interesting drop keel combined with a trian- gular fixed fin amidships.

The sail plan shown is con- ventional, with a self-tending jib trimming to a track just forward of the mast, but Scheel was experiment- ing with more radical mainsail shapes — fully bat- tened, and shaped much like windsurfer sails. The lines plan, especially the body plan, shows what Scheel was doing. A light-displacement shape with long, straight buttock lines and a nearly flat bottom has been modified by starting a chine near the mid- ship section. The chine runs to the stern, where it dies out between the last station and the stern itself.

The effect of this in the body plan is to widen the LWL in the after sections, to straighten the buttocks even more, and to produce a shape that will handle higher speeds without too much quarter-wave production. Anything over 20 gives sports car performance to most boats. The plans we have do not show how much the drop keel weighs, but judging by the light construc- tion of the hull, I would guess that it is perhaps 40 per- cent of the displacement, or nearly pounds. I would have thought that in a boat of this type, Scheel would have gone for more waterline length and less overhang.

But this overhang does make for nicely V'd forward sec- tions and a drier boat. The boat is quite beamy for her length, but the sec- tions have considerable flare in the topsides, and the waterline beam is moderate. The boat is light enough and small enough to gain some of her stability from the weight of her crew sitting to windward. With the lead drop keel down, and a couple of crew on the rail, her stability should be good enough to handle the large sail plan shown.

The boat is built of cold-molded wood — a nice job by Steve Van Dam. This footer has a light, multi- layer veneer skin over a framework of bulkheads and longitudinal stringers, and a thin plywood deck cov- ered by teak strips. This type of construction produces a stiff, strong boat with minimum weight, but it cre- ates an interior that is very much cluttered up with structural pieces.

Scheel elected not to have a cockpit in the strict sense of the word, drawing instead two footwells separated by a bridge deck for the main traveler, and letting the crew sit on the wide side decks. When I sailed the boat, I did not find this a very comfortable arrangement and, with four of us aboard, felt that we were unduly crowd- ed in a foot boat.

But we must remember that the boat has very little depth of hull — she reminds me most of an overgrown Lightning — and to expect a deep, comfortable cockpit with seat backs is probably unreasonable. After all, what we are pursuing here is a new and faster way of sailing, not creature comforts. There is a hatch in the forward deck for access to the forepeak and for storing sails. On each side of the cockpit, a section of the side deck hinges up to allow stowage of smaller gear items.

The drop keel tru nk comes through the deck just forward of the cockpit, and there is a winch and two-part tackle arrangement for handling this heavy unit. The mast is stepped just forward of the trunk. When I sailed the boat the day gave us only light airs. The mainsail on board seemed to me to be about half size, reaching as it did only two-thirds of the way up the mast and halfway out the boom. These ho facts combined to make for a less than satisfactory chance to try the boat's potential abilities. I am used to day sailers with lots of lateral plane ami a good grip on the water.

Outside the lighthouse we lay off on a longer reach, looking for more air, but never found it. The best sailing of the day came just as we returned to her mooring, when the wind picked up a bit and we zigzagged amongst the closely packed boats and she began to pick up her heels just a bit I had the feeling that I had saddled up a racehorse that never quite got out of a trot, but might someday answa the trumpet with a charge that would take yourbreatfi away.

What about the new and improved underwater shape, and the clai ms of better performance from it! Had there been 1 5 or 20 knots of wind that day, I might have an answer for that question. Having been an interested observer of boat design for more than half a century, I know how little comes along that is truly new and revolutionary. Design evo- lution is inevitably a series of very small steps forward, interspersed with backslides and side excursions. But Henry Scheel was always a man eager to take any trad that offered promise, and he was undiscouraged when left floundering in the puckerbrush.

I suspect that with this boat he was on the threshold of one of those very small steps. Whether it will develop into a large gain remains to be seen But, bless the man for stepping for- ward. Good sailing, Harry! Bra , Mystic, CT Crowninshield — Commentary by Maynard Bray F rom the time the first 21 -foot WL knockabouts Nancy and Jane appeared in 1 , the nearly fin- keeled jib and mainsail cabin sloops — day boats, really, of up to about 30 feet on deck with moderate overhangs — enjoyed a widespread popularity undi- minished until the First World War. For their day, and compared to some of the freaks that preceded them, they were sensible craft, easily han- dled by one or two persons and fun to sail.

In , B.

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In the spring of a dozen boats emerged from the Rice Brothers building sheds at East Boothbay, Maine — all of them for members of the Manchester Massachusetts Yacht Club — initiating what was to become the most popular and long-lived class of their type in the history of yachting. Records indicate that another seven boats were ordered the following year and that before the building of new boats ceased in the mid-'30s, about boats had been launched.

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Not long after the early boats were built, the center of interest moved from Massachusetts Bay to the coast of Maine, between Penobscot Bay and Frenchman's Bay, and the name of the class was altered in a variety of ways depending on the particular yacht club affil- iation. There is a group of a dozen or so boats still rac- ing from the Buck's Flarbor Yacht Club, and oca- sionally one finds a 17J4-footer still sailing from ofc New England harbors as well. Thesim- ple deck layout and canvas over cedar or pine ded discourages freshwater leaks — the bane of all wooden boats.

Their continued popularity is understandable, for they are still ftin to sail. They'll move along in liglt air without extra sails, they spin on a dime, and tra can take more rough weather as a rule than their own- ers can, although at times they are wet since the! Across the bay in Camden, "Bodie" Crowniiv. But at least one oi boats survives as perhaps the finest combination oi performance and beauty ever developed within tht definitions.

It may be that Mr. Burbank, whu-e 53 Three Knockabouts initials are on all of the drawings and in whose hand all the calculations appear. In any event, the owners of all three one-design classes appeared to be pleased with their boats. Office log entries read: " Sails set well. Boat trims and measures almost exactly like plan. Stephens Commentary by Mike O'Brien H ere we have something different: an easily trail- ered beach cruiser that should provide the thrills of high-performance sailing during the day and, yet, offer reasonably comfortable accommo- dations after the sea breeze fades.

The fully battened mainsail catches our notice at first glance. This configuration might be common on catamarans and trimarans, but we don't often find small monohulls rigged in this manner. Designer Robert W. Stephens drew full-length battens because they can support substantial roach and, therefore, carry ade- quate sail area on a relatively short mast desirable for ease of trailering and rigging.

Fully battened sails provide another benefit: silence. These sails don't flog wildly when luffing, but they do take some getting used to. They will not telegraph word of improper sail trim in the immediate fashion of unsupported sailcloth. Until we're accustomed to handling this rig, we'll want to stitch a forest of yam telltales to the sails.

To a reasonable extent, fully battened sails offer pos- itive control of their shape. We can fuss with the com- pression and thickness of the battens to alter the amount and location of draft camber in the mainsail. To throw more curve into the sail at a particular height, we sim- ply tighten the line that secures a batten's after end to the leech thereby forcing more of the batten into its pocket. For more precise and permanent control of shape, we can thin down the batten stock selectively along its length, or replace a batten with one of dif- ferent flexibility. When sailing beach catamarans during the s, I habitually kept the battens slightly too long — for no particular reason.

Now, it seems there might be sound logic in letting battens extend an inch, or two, beyond. He explains that a sail fitted with battens that protrude from the leech generates a series of separate trailing vortices, si mi lar to those formed behind the feathers on a bird's wings. These vortices eventually combine to form one large, but ill-defined, vortex well behind the leech. This vor- tex, Hannay says, causes less drag than the more tightly wound vortices that tend to form close behind conventional sails with smooth, uninterrupted trail- ing edges.

Theories of shape and flow aside, typical short bat- tens make sails difficult to handle when setting and furling; in a minor but pleasant paradox, full-length battens he neatly parallel to the boom for efficient reef- ing, furling, and transport. Given the above advantages, why — except for rea- sons of prejudice and inertia — haven't all monohull sailors switched to full-length battens?


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