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Thread: A Modified Meadowlark

  1. #1
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    Default A Modified Meadowlark

    LFH's modified sharpie, the arc bottom Meadowlark, was a self build shoal draft design recommended to me ages ago by a senior member. At the time I was planning on building Griffiths Waterwitch.

    My only interest in Herreshoffs Meadowlark is the hull. He drew this hull with such clever lines in order that self-builders would not have complex curves and bevels to worry about. But I think he probably went a wee bit too far in his quest for economy and ease of build, when he dispensed with the main shelf, the sheer clamp, the chine log, and the floors... The planking was one and three quarters on the bottom frames, and one inch on the side frames. The frame spacing was two feet.

    LFH says in the construction plans, - don't bother to loft it, just draw the frames on a large board. Well I have to say some of his offsets are well out... Which isn't unusual to find in a NA's offsets on a linesplan...


    I really think I can build this hull, and I'm having an interesting time modifying it back, by straightening the bottom frames.
    Of course this will reduce surface area, and change the displacement and make it lighter. I also intend to build in ply. Which should make her ultra light compared to LFH's heavy planking. His scantlings were well over the top, and the bottom frames were 3 by 2.

    I just want to open a dialogue about this and hear what other folks might think. I've been using David Gerr's book to calculate the scantlings. But I'm not sure about the minimum number of frames I should use. She looks ideal and very simple to skin with ply.

    The fact is she will be very very light compared to the original. The original sails beautifully and is quite fast, but she has ugly big leeboards that ruin the hull line. I much prefer to give her a drop keel. I imagine she will sail even better. The other issue was that she was not self righting, although LFH said she could weather anything, and if she went over she would float on her side... mmmm...

    He designed a traditional two mast new haven rig. But by making her self righting, I also have the opportunity of changing her rig to sloop or cutter, which to my Scottish eyes is so much more pleasing

    Obviously there will be issues and considerations that I haven't thought out, so I hope the forum can raise these.

    I'm using Delftship to help me work it all out, and at the end of this exercise, I'll get a NA to check my work and calculations, before I saw one frame...
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-22-2010 at 04:54 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Dozens of other ply sharpie/ modified sharpie/ presto plans out there that are ready to go- but maybe you don't want a sharpie?

    "It should be remembered that most boat types are developed by means of trail and error, over a period of years, hence modification must be made only after considerable study of the type. In the sharpie this is markedly true; seventy years of continuous evolution cannot be disregarded with impunity." H.I. Chapelle

    I think you mean LFH.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    By taking a Herreshof-designed leeboard ketch and modifying it with vee-bottom, sloop rig, drop keel, you are taking one thing and turning it into...another. The first is the work of genuine genius, a guy who could balance many conflicting requirements of construction, draft, stability, handling, ability to windward, and combine them in a vessel that was almost maddeningly...perfect.
    It may be that what you'll come up with will also be perfect, and might even serve your purposes and sailing conditions much better. If so, why be limited with starting with a Herreshof design? Just take a blank sheet, and have at it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark




    Meadow Lark pics:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/georgele...13928341374722

    There is a large meadow lark thread in the archives somewhere..

    Pretty sure this is a Allan Vaites enlarged version:
    http://geoffdevine.com/vaitses.html
    Last edited by George Ray; 01-20-2010 at 11:12 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Thanks for the pics George very interesting to see this build.
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-21-2010 at 11:22 AM.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    she really is quite lovely.
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-22-2010 at 05:29 PM.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Yeah, LFH said he designed it with leeboards, to save the intrusion of a big casing in the saloon. And by arcing the bottom frames he suggested it would sail much better.

    Its easier to build with straight bottom frames and the difference in hull shape isn't much...
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-21-2010 at 07:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by tomfindlay View Post
    I just want to open a dialogue about this and hear what other folks might think.
    I may be a bit of a curmudgeon about this, but you asked. You want to take an arc-bottomed ketch with leeboards designed by a master and turn it into a flat-bottomed sloop or cutter with a drop keel, and make it self-righting to boot?

    I think it would be crazy to try to do that with a design the size of Meadowlark. At one point, you said that there isn't "much difference" in hull shape if you straighten out the arc in the bottom. That's true on paper, but it could make a huge difference on the water, and having an NA "check" your "work and calculations" before you build isn't going to tell you what will happen.

    If I were you, I'd look for a proven design that's much closer to what you want and requires little or no modification.

    But hey, it's your time and money. If you want to go down that road, good luck to you.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    best herreshoff troll ever
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Incidentally, what do you propose to do to make it self-righting? The only self-righting shallow draft boats I've seen were designed by Phil Bolger ... his Wm. Jochems Schooner, for instance.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Yeah Steve thanks for all that. I think Herreshoff would have preferred a lifting keel, and he only designed the leeboards to keep the build very simple. Some folks on here have suggested he got the area of the leeboard a tad short for comfort.

    I'm teaching myself the principles of yacht design using Larsson & Eliassons standard textbook written to be accessible to yachtsmen. Also Skene and Chapelle and Gerr's great book on boat strength. And I'm also using Delftship which is a wonder on its own.

    The Meadowlarks draft is 15 inches and the beam at 8ft is ideal for me to sail in the canal and river systems of Europe. And she is also a fit seaworthy boat to sail along the coastline of Europe. In Scotland we have lots of long inland sea lochs or kyles that are very shallow, and also many dangerous exposed coastlines with amazing sandy beaches like Florida.

    Her lines are excellent and the ease of build makes me think she is a good choice. My modifications are mainly concerned with changing the keel configuration and rig.

    As for hydrostatics and stability, well the box sharpie, as you know will possibly sink if they capsize, but the Meadowlark isn't exactly a sharpie. Griffiths in England designed a similar yacht with leeboards called the Waterwitch. He made a bilge keel version and a leeboard version, I think they were both self righting... He increased the beam by half a foot at the midsection. Its not a patch on the Meadowlark, and the chine is completely different at the stem. Herreshoff buried his at the bottom, and Griffiths brought his out of the water quite high, which ruins the lines completely and turns it into a box...

    I'm not in a hurry, I'm happy to sail my own small sloop for the time being, while I learn some of the secrets of yacht design.
    I listened to Chapelle closely, he said - lofting and construction plans must be drawn extremely accurately, and if you do that, you should have a great chance of success on building a good hull.

    Chapelle is very inspiring, although very dated like Skene, and Parkers sharpie book is excellent too. I think I've spent about 500 with Amazon on books over the past three years.

    The secret is to take the best/nearest hull design that fits yr requirements, start with that, and adapt and improve on it...

    The local waters I sail in are regarded by many as the most dangerous and treacherous in Europe. One minute yr in a 100 fathoms and the next yr in 1... We have tidal races that can push you along at 20 knots, or just drag you into a vortex and spin you around like a saucer. if yr not too careful. One of our most scary places is a permanent wall of water, you see it on the horizon like a giant static wave, its called the Merry Men of Mey, at the top of Scotland.

    So I really do want a modified Meadowlark that has the righting stability that will allow me to sail, if required, across the Bay of Biscay, (The Ushant is very dangerous too) without having an identity crisis...

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    I always thought it significant that the only two designs I've seen much of having arched bottoms were the Herreshoff Meadowlark and the Stevens Lightening, both fast sailers.

    I have a Shearwater Yawl built by Edey & Duff which I've always considered to be a "trailerabe Meadowlark". TRUE NORTH has an utterly flat bottom for absolute minimum draft, like Dovekie. I'd give a lot, maybe even the left testicle for the arched bottom like Meadowlark.

    I once saw a Meadowlark in Vineyard Sound while cruising in my Dovekie. We tried in vain to sail an intercepting course.

    Leeboards? Hey, Love'em!

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Something to consider about leeboards; they are the only lateral planes, save for bilge boards like in a Scow, that can incorporate assymetric foil sections for making less leeway on a beat.

    Of the 13 Shearwaters extant, only mine and one other have lifting foil leeboards, and we both sail better Vectors Made Good than do the others.

    My foild are laminar flow, the other Shearwater has the more traditional NACA-00 foils.

    Think about it.

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Paskey View Post
    Incidentally, what do you propose to do to make it self-righting? The only self-righting shallow draft boats I've seen were designed by Phil Bolger ... his Wm. Jochems Schooner, for instance.
    That's a good question...

    Two things I should say. I want to provide her with full foam flotation, and watertight bulkheads and make her unsinkable
    (she might flip upside down... but she won't sink... lol)

    Firstly - Single chine hulls lend themselves to this notion, and foam can be cut and shaped and placed between the side frames, and it will also provide insulation in the winter
    (Herreshoff incidentally incorporated a wood burning stove in his design)

    Secondly - I like the idea of watertight bulkheads, which is also easy to incorporate into the intial design.

    Giving her a righting moment is a challenge.

    Parker in his Sharpie Book says - some sharpies are self-righting particularly the Clapham Nonpareil with their slight V bottoms and outside ballast... he also says some raised deck sharpie designs (like Hog Fish Lips) are also self righting even with minimal ballast...

    So I think there is a way for me to make Herreshoffs hull a self righter. By straightening the bottom frames she becomes a slight V bottom...

    I need to look at Bolger, as you advised, and see how he configured it...

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by tomfindlay View Post
    I need to look at Bolger, as you advised, and see how he configured it...
    high sides, no flare, inside ballast

    AS39 (Bolger Advanced Sharpie 39)



    AS29 (Bolger Advanced Sharpie 29)

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    The more I look at these pics the more I like her. She is bonnie, but a very high freeboard and transom though...

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    here's another pick showing the AS29's bottom rocker

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Non pareil sharpie by Reuel B. Parker, after Thomas Clapham, based on the 1936 Howard I. Chapelle tracings:
    http://parker-marine.com/sh38mpage.html

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    There is a beauty of a leeboard ketch tied up at the marina down the road. I'll see if I can get some picks. Looks to be vee bottomed.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Have a look at p. 57 in "Boatbuilding by Chapelle, this is a hauntingly beautiful design to me. I have convinced myself that it is the "Minocqua". The rig as shown for Minocqua ll is not one I would care to deal with in rough going.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    The pg 57 Sharpie is indeed beautiful. There is a discussion about it in this thread:
    http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51643
    where it was tentatively thought to have be a schooner rig based on plans acquired from Mystic. Certaiinly influenced by the Clapham modified sharpies. The original Minocqua was what Clapham called a Roslyn Yawl. This is from an article by Clapham in "The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports," by Henry Hall (which you can look at on Google Books) in which he says, "no reefing is ever necessary, even in the stormiest weather." So, no worries there.



    Parker says of his Minocqua II,
    "Even by modern standards, this is an ultralight high-performance sailboat. This vessel may incorporate a more modern rig... it is however, the designer's opinion that the original rig should be employed, utilizing modern materials such as "Oceanus" sail cloth and stainless steel standing rigging, Dacron running rigging, etc. No winches are required."

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Well I have liked the Meadowlark design for years, and wouldn't build one the way you want to or the way LFH told us to either.
    Arc bottom sharpies can be very nice boats, a list of successful designs includes,the Star , the Lightning , the Penguin and Rhodes Bantam, the 110 and 210, and a host of others. Putting some arc in the bottom buys a lot of displacement at next to no increase in wetted area, and so is a generally good idea. Also, by putting a slight compound in the bottom panels makes them stiffer.
    So I wouldn't take the compound out of the bottom.
    I think that much of the structure can be lighter, given modern adhesives and techniques. LFH didn't think much of laminated timber, but he isn't going to be sailing the boat, you are. So while I would look to save weight, I would keep the bottom pretty heavy. Displacement has it's advantages, and if you don't want a squirrelly boat, you probably don't want to get too light. If you got her so the forefoot as just a bit below the waterline, she would probably sail better and still be quiet at anchor. If the bottom is heavy, you keep the VCG low and that helps everything.
    Herreshoff made the bottom planking massive as an alternative to internal ballast, this makes quite a bit of sense, (particularly for a shoal draft boat that will tempt you to go places where the water occasionally vanishes.) So I would keep as much weight there as was reasonable. I believe the original plans called for strip planking parallel to centerline. This is easy and a pretty sensible way to build a shape like this, if you glued the planks together, it would be tough to beat.
    I'm not sure I think the drop keel has loads of merit. It is kind of nice to have a boat that won't sink, so avoiding lead seems like a good idea. I would ditch the lee boards however. Lee boards are ugly in almost every way, they should only be tolerated when history dictates, in the modern age of epoxy, if building a centerboard trunk that is going to last 50 years is beyond you, then you should give up.
    There is nothing you could do that would make this boat sail better than to put some decent foils under it. One of the things we have learned in the last 50 years is that really good centerboards and rudders pay for themselves in spades, and that they can be smaller than what was traditionally thought necessary. So if you put a good dagger board in the boat, it might be quite a bit smaller and less intrusive than previously deemed necessary. You could also consider bilge boards, the trunks could be built into the bunk faces, and thus maintain a very open interior and still get you an upgrade in performance. Best of both worlds.
    I think the Meadowlark would thank you for taking the barn doors off her otherwise very pretty outboard profile.
    I don't think much of changing the rig, The short gaff ketch is very cute and gives the boat such a lot of character. I would, however make sure the masts, booms, and gaffs were as light as they could possibly be. I might even spring for carbon parts... and I would spend money on really well cut sails and have vangs and all of the things to set up the rig properly. Meadowlarks enjoyed a reputation of gunning down larger and more "advanced" racers of their day. This was because they were longer and lighter than they appeared, and the split rig gave them a lot of reaching oomph with a low center of effort. They didn't go upwind that well, and what I propose address some of those deficiencies. It would be fun to see if it could still be done by using some tasteful and intelligent upgrades to the design.
    I expect the Captain Francis sycophants have a different opinion.
    SHC
    Last edited by Steve Clark; 01-21-2010 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Missed a proof

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    And furthermore....
    Just reviewed "How to build..." in Sensible Cruising Designs.
    I forgot about the lead shoe, but LFH was all over keeping the VCG low.
    I would just be more aggressive about it than he was because I can be.
    I would also blow away the skeg, they don't do anything except slow the boat down.
    Rumor has it that Lightnings are a whole lot faster if you sail them without the skeg.
    I'm pretty sure you could sneak asymmetrical bilge boards under the aft bunks....

    Don't go adding extra inches to the sheer and camber to the coach roof. Too many have "improved" the wrong things.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Steve, thanks for all that...

    and the rest above for pics etc...

    Yeah Steve, I don't need a 15 inch draft I can go to 2ft and also increase the beam a litttle to help the righting moment.

    I saw a sharpie in Scotland last summer, it's rotting on a mud berth, in a place called Golspie. It has a steel dagger board worked with a strange Heath Robinson lifting system, flush decks, one mast, and a massive bowsprit.

    The other problematic with Meadoweark is headroom. Herreshoff had no choice and had to make the headroom 4ft 8 inches. So I need to have a bit of the cabin nearer 5ft 6 inches, so that's something else that has to go into the hydrostatics pot...

    To be honest, Herreshoffs coachroof could be radically improved. He stuck a bog standard Noah's Ark on it, to keep it very easy to build, but its waiting to be improved.

    The idea of planking her fills me with horror, not to mention fastening her with half a ton of screwnails...

    I'm still tormenting myself how I should skin her. I like double diagonal and then a final skin of straight ply running fore and aft,
    and also thinking about what the Americans call herringbone (cross-planking - running aft) There are so many good options with ply. The scantlings for ply construction suggest a half inch or five eighths hull thickness. If I sheath her with FG or Kevlar I could even reduce the hull thickness.

    I want to get the hull geometry right and try and keep the Herreshoff original intention - to create a design very accessible to amateur builders.

    I need to chew over what you have suggested and I thank you for that contribution.
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-21-2010 at 08:15 PM.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Griffiths mid-section on the Waterwitch is almost identical to the mid-section when I straightened the Meadowlarks frames...

    Griffiths designed a bilge keel version drawing just over 2ft. I originally thought that would be the solution...

    Having some internal (movable) ballast is a good idea if you find yourself high and dry on the wrong side of spring tides...
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-21-2010 at 08:20 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by tomfindlay View Post
    Yeah Steve thanks for all that.

    The local waters I sail in are regarded by many as the most dangerous and treacherous in Europe. One minute yr in a 100 fathoms and the next yr in 1... We have tidal races that can push you along at 20 knots, or just drag you into a vortex and spin you around like a saucer. if yr not too careful. One of our most scary places is a permanent wall of water, you see it on the horizon like a giant static wave, its called the Merry Men of Mey, at the top of Scotland.

    So I really do want a modified Meadowlark that has the righting stability that will allow me to sail, if required, across the Bay of Biscay, (The Ushant is very dangerous too) without having an identity crisis...
    Hi Tom: I apologize for suggesting that you might be crazy. We get a fair number of people in this section of the forum who have wild schemes for modifying this design or that, and no idea what they're getting into. It's clear that you're not one of them.

    Those sound like extraordinarily challenging (and interesting) waters. And I do hope you come up with something that will work for you... I'd just hate to see you build something the size of Meadowlark and not be satisfied with the results when you're done.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    I'm not really all that concerned, as Herreshoff said that he would be very happy riding out a storm onboard Meadowlark, and she has good stability without me touching anything...

    Of course Herreshoff never sailed in Scotland, my part of the world. Having 10 or 20 foot waves flying past you with nowhere to run is a bit of a worry. Our North and NorthWest coast is not for wee boats or beginners... The seas are really big around here when it gets blowy... and with strong tides and overfalls you can find yr seamanship and confidence tested to the limit...

    But yr right... I'm learning/teaching myself the principles of yacht design so I am a bit crazy to try and master that at 60... and also have the cheek to think I can improve on LFH's linesplan...

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
    Putting some arc in the bottom buys a lot of displacement at next to no increase in wetted area
    SHC
    LFH calculated the full displacement curve at 8000lbs which is 3.628 tonnes. When I straightened the bottom frames it reduced to 3.070 which is over half a ton less...

    The wetted surface area is 18.974m"2
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-22-2010 at 08:38 AM.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    After thinking about it. I believe you should really consider this an original design instead of a modification of and existing design. Certainly a study of the various critical parameters of successful boats provides the context for making prudent compromises, but I believe you are looking for something that hasn't really been done yet. So be bold and design to your own understanding.
    SHC

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Other design considerations

    Air-conditioning:
    Herreshoff did specify a wood burning stove which is perfect for Scotland. But sailing her in the Med and only as far south as the Canaries, will require a cool saloon. It gets very hot down there so I need to think about incorporating a unit that can keep a space 14ft by 8ft by 5ft nice and cool...

    Electric propulsion:
    I think this is an important consideration. I've never seen an electric outboard or an inboard, except in pictures, but it is possible to get two electric outboards weighing 20k each that can push her along... Should I put them in wells? they are very slim. Or is it better to consider one direct drive type...

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Mr. Findlay,

    Here's a individual designer that you may be interested in, if you haven't already run across him: Thomas Colvin. He's kinda famous for shoal draft sailing liveaboard cruisers.

    http://www.thomasecolvin.com/index.html

    Enjoy!

    Cheers,

    Paul
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
    There is nothing you could do that would make this boat sail better than to put some decent foils under it. One of the things we have learned in the last 50 years is that really good centerboards and rudders pay for themselves in spades, and that they can be smaller than what was traditionally thought necessary. So if you put a good dagger board in the boat, it might be quite a bit smaller and less intrusive than previously deemed necessary. You could also consider bilge boards, the trunks could be built into the bunk faces, and thus maintain a very open interior and still get you an upgrade in performance. Best of both worlds.
    SHC
    What you say above is what I'm kinda thinking. And keeping the two masts is fun, (you can stick a mizzen staysail up...)
    also easier to build small masts... You rarely see a two masted yacht in Scotland.

    When I saw the dagger on the abandoned Sharpie I was impressed that they were doing this 80 decades ago, it wasn't wide but quite deep... and doing away with the skeg and instead have a modern deep rudder, and foils...

    For ease of build and cost I'd like to leave her with straight bottom frames that can be bevelled on a tilt table easily. arc frames means buying lumber at least a foot wide, actually more than a foot, and a tricky art to bevel them...

    So I'm tempted just to leave it like that and build her...
    Hopefully with a cute low coachroof and a 5ft 6inch doghouse with minimal curve in both...
    Last edited by tomfindlay; 01-22-2010 at 05:58 PM.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    You've made so many changes I'd hesitate to even call her "inspired by LFH's Meadowlark". For motoring, there's the Minnkota engine mount salt water but the FAQ says not to use it on a sailboat rudder because of the drag. You'd think they'd put a 3-1 or 5-1 planetary in a hub with a better prop for low-speed use.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    Did anyone mention Bruce Kirby's Norwalk Islands Sharpees?

    The 31 is his version of a Meadowlark. I think he has larger similar plans available now.

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    Default Re: A Modified Meadowlark

    I'm so glad I had the confidence to put my crazy thoughts into the forum. The responses have been very helpful and thoughtful, and as always, you go on a steep learning curve almost immediately...

    The images of a Meadowlark that George Ray posted are fantastic, and kinda made me realise how much I actually like this hull. Those images show a different rig of course, with no upper yards or gaffs on the masts, which I much prefer the look of, and the transom is straight rather than raked which probably subtracts.

    Making her single chine construction, without a skeg, does alter a few things, including making her half a tonne lighter. But it makes self build an awful lot easier...

    Keeping, more or less everything else above the waterline, including the rig, as Herreshoff designed, but exchanging her big leeboards for a dagger board isn't that much of a radical change... Is it?

    I think I could make and shape and bevel the fifteen (straight) frames required for single chine construction, and fit the main shelf, sheer clamp, chine log, and keel, and fasten on several skins of ply. Its not a Meadowlark, but it will be a bonnie boat...

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