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Thread: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

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    Question Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Sorry. This is my first post, and it's probably about the 16 millionth newbie-wants-advice-on-choosing-a-boat thread ... but I couldn't find any other similar threads which answered my questions. So here goes:

    First, about me. Late 40s single woman, haven't sailed since my 20s, but did a lot of sailing in my youth. Started out tied to the mast of an open catboat aged 18 months, progressed to rowing a wooden dinghy on a lake, graduated to racing a Mirror I helped build, and then raced a very-battered paleolithic plastic 420. Along the way I sailed with father on his Drascombe Longboat and then a J/24, which rather than racing we cruised extensively around the Irish coast: fast passages, easy sail-handling, great fun, and outsailed nearly every other cruising boat we met. Great schedfreude in planing past a big gin-palace yacht, where the fat man who pays the bills goes red in the face as we fly past ... and bullies his large crew into getting futile hernias by winching around more huge sails while we pulled little strings. Small is beautiful!

    Now, after time in exile, I'm returning home to Ireland to live beside a lake ... and after 25 years on dry land I need a boat.

    The obvious choice was a Drascombe Dabber, which has the kick-up rudder lacking in bigger Drascombes, or a Scaffie with its simple rig and uncluttered cockpit, but although they are robust and pretty boats, they don't sail upwind or in light airs. So I thought of a Wanderer, but realised that I hate bermudan rigs and the whole factory-boat feel of plastic-boat-with-alloy spars. Thinking further, I realised that the boats I loved most were the wooden ones: my ancient clinker-pram rowing dinghy and Mirror. There's nothing to beat being afloat on varnish you've applied yourself, and since most of world is turning plastic these days, I don't want my waterborne relaxation to be plastic too.

    But which wooden boat? Head and heart conflict here: heart says tan-sailed gaff cutter, heavyish construction, somewhere near 20 feet, with lots of varnish and string. Head says don't be daft, that's not a one-woman lakeboat.

    The head says start with what I want do with the boat, and go from there.

    This boat will be kept on the edge of the lake, either hauled out onto a beach or kept on a running mooring, so it needs to be fairly light. I loathe engines and like rowing, so this boat will have no engine, and must row well with one person. All that rules out a fat and heavy boat.

    My main use of this boat will be single-handed, possibly crewed by a dog or two. So this has to be a boat which will doesn't need a brace of heavy crew on toe-straps to sail in a breeze, and it must have easy ways of shortening sail. Still, it must sail respectably in light airs: ghosting along in light winds is a great joy and a real must-have.

    I'd like it to be capable of accommodating two or three friends for occasional trips, but could live with a limit of one or two.

    There seem to be lots of boats which fit the criteria so far, but I have a few extra requirements which narrow the field. The first is that I have to be able to lie down in the bottom of the boat without rearranging anything. That sounds trivial, but when i thought carefully about my intended uses, I realised that being able to sling a hook and then lie down in the bottom of the boat would be one of the most pleasurable things I could do.

    The next requirement is that the rig should be simple. Less hassle to use, less cost to setup and maintain ... and preferably with unstayed mast(s), partly to avoid the compression loads of shrouds and partly to make it easier to demount the rig.

    Most of my use will be day-sailing, but I would like to be able to do some overnighting in the boat. I'm not looking for luxury or a cabin, and apart from a bit of stowage for clobber, I don't think this alters my requirements much except by pointing me a little larger to allow some reasonable payload.

    One other thing: I love the idea of having a small mizzen, to facilitate heaving-to and stabilising the boat at anchor.

    And finally, the heart and head agree on one thing: lots of epoxy-plywood boats fit both the lightness criteria and the real-boat-feel criteria. (No disrespect to the more boxy resigns such as Matt Leyden's Little Cruiser, but that look is not for me). So I'm probably looking at something either stitch-and-glue or lapstrake ply, built by me. I'm not a first-rate woodworker, but I'm confident enough in my skills to build something myself provided I start with a kit.

    So here's the summary criteria:

    1. Reasonably light wooden sailing boat
    2. Self-built from a kit by a moderately-accomplished amateur
    3. Must look pretty.
    4. Simple unstayed rig, preferably with a mizzen
    5. Capable of sailing well in light airs, but being easily reefed for heavier weather. Must go well to windward
    6. Must row well, 'cos this boat will have no outboard.
    7. Floor I can lie down on without rearranging anything
    8. Can be sailed single-handed in all conditions, but must have room or a few more people

    I have been googling way and reading lots of blogs and forums, and so far, the boats which seems to come closest to my criteria are the designs of John Welsford and Iain Oughtred.

    I'm slightly tempted by the Swallow Boats Trouper 12 and Storm 15 or Storm 17, but none of them quite gets there. The elegant Trouper looks great and has lie-down space, but it is just a little small. The Storm 17 has a horrible tiller-behind-the-mizzen setup, and while the 15 looks nice it has an outboard well, which offends me ... tho maybe I am being stupidly purist.

    So I looked through Welsford and Oughtred's catalogues. There are several boats there which catch my eye: Welsford's Pathfinder and Navigator, and Oughtred's Thirrik, Arctic Tern and Caledonia Yawl.

    Rationally, the Navigator looks like a wise choice against nearly all my criteria except rowability: it looks just a little fat for easy rowing. And aesthetically it doesn't do much for me.

    So that brings me back to Oughtred, especially the Caledonia Yawl. It's a boat of great beauty, and has a delightfully easily-driven hull. Their sailing performance is clearly great, and as far as I can see, the new side-bench-locker version pictured here fits my need for gear storage and buoyancy and (thanks to the single thwart) for lie-down-in-the-bottom. I'm trying hard to find anything to dislike about it, and so far I can find only possible problems:

    1. Some notes suggests it's a bit of a handful for one person to row. That would be a deal-breaker for me
    2. Is it manageable by one person when the wind gets up? The boat will be no use to me if I have to have a crew in anything except light weather.

    It seems to me that the singlehanding problem is likely to be mostly a matter of stability, solveable by ballast. I guess that removable lead ballast is an acceptable solution, though I don't see any reason why I couldn't make a custom-moulded water ballast tank to fit under the floor boards and then use a suitably-arranged bilge pump to empty and fill it.

    But is the Caledonia yawl just too big a boat for one person? Should I really be looking at something smaller? I have a sneaking suspicion that I may I just played a logical trick on myself to rationalise the fact that the CY has stolen my heart

    BTW, I'll welcome any replies, even if they point in unexpected directions. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Welcome to the forum Alice ()
    You should get enough feedback here to make your head spin..enjoy.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    You be better at answerin' questions than askin' em!

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Not ply epoxy, but otherwise fits the bill...

    Don Kurlyko's Alaska









    [/QUOTE]
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 06-12-2010 at 09:35 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    The Caledonia yawl is not ideal for rowing by one person. I think a Tirrik or Arctic Tern or maybe even a Sooty Tern would be ideal. Here is a thread that will tell you many, many, many things about my own Sooty Tern. I singlehand her in all conditions. No outboard.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Too bad you didn't go to the Oughtraid. You could have seen 30 of Iain Oughtred's designs all in one place sailing together.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=115815

    I agree the Caledonia Yawl is a little too big for your needs. One of his smaller boats would be ideal. Kits are available from Jordan Boats: http://jordanboats.co.uk/JB/



    Steven

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    It answers none of your criteria, but I thought I'd throw in a vote for the Dublin Bay Waterwag, seen here in Lough Erne. They are after all the oldest one design in the world



    Available from www.classicsailboats.co.uk


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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Perhaps Selway-Fisher's 15' canoe yawl, Lillie.



    Not too big for a smaller person to sail, row, or haul, but with enough capacity for several. Unstayed rig, space for sleeping, rows well (all according to the website, not me). Stitch and tape plywood. http://www.selway-fisher.com/DoubleEs.htm



    Good luck!
    Dave Gentry

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceThrewTheLookingGlass View Post
    BTW, I'll welcome any replies, even if they point in unexpected directions. Thanks!
    Will you marry me? Please send photo (of boat).

    Seriously, though - Best First Post Ever.

    Welcome to the forum.
    Last edited by Dave Lesser; 06-12-2010 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    If you love the CY you will love her almost twin Tern sisters even more - Sooty and Arctic. The look is identical as they share stem profiles, sheer curvature and balanced lug yawl sail plans.

    CY has 170 sq ft of sail, AT has 110 - that would make a difference single handing. According to Iain AT weighs 30% less than CY. My AT weighs 470# with about 100# of ballast which would make a CY's weight around 700# - that would make a difference rowing and pulling up on the beach.

    The labor and material to build a boat vary with the weight. AT will require 30% less material ($$$) and time.

    CY could carry a couple of more people but AT takes four crew OK.

    Be sure to read the 400ish posts about James' Sooty Tern, "Rowan".

    Lots of good info at http://boats.duncan.com/cyforum/index.php the CY and other IO boats forum.
    Denny Wolfe
    www.wolfEboats.com

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Agree with posts so far, in regard to Caledonia Yawl being a bit too big. Arctic Tern or Sooty Tern pretty close to your needs. Alaska is perfect if you fancied strip plank construction.

    One less romantic but very practical option could be Swallow boats new BayRaider 17. Very well resolved, water ballast for windy days on your own and will be available as a CNC plywood panel kit or complete kit.

    http://www.swallowboats.co.uk/compon...,0/topic,282.0



    I think your heart has already been won by Mr Oughtred's designs. The very practical designs that your head would choose such as Navigator or BayRaider 17 might win after 5 years using them?

    It would be interesting to work out the maximum weight one can push off and pull up a tidal beach? Use rollers?

    Good luck

    Brian

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    I suspect that the Oughtred Rowan design (as recommended above) may be the perfect boat for you, as you clearly want a sail & oar boat, not one with an outboard.

    The only other thing to consider would be a similar boat with a plank keel or flat dory bottom -- either the double-ended Gunning Dory or something like Duck Trap's Christmas Wherry with the plank keel option. This design might allow beaching (and using rollers to moved the boat on the beach) singlehanded easier than a design with a more standard "pointy" keel -- and the boat would sit upright rather than at an angle.

    Not sure if either of these designs offers the required "space to lie down", but many might allow an additional horizontal support to be laid in place temporarily so you could like across the thwarts on a cushion.



    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Navigator and BayRaider are lovely boats, but they fail in the same area as the Caledonia Yawl in not being ideal to row. Rowing is hard enough without making it any harder on yourself than necessary. If you loathe engines as much as both the original poster and myself do, then you'll have a very specific set of criteria for what constitutes a "practical" design.

    Sitting "upright" with a flat bottom hasn't been of any use to me whatsoever as all of the beaches I land on are actually sloped. I've found that being able to lean the boat over to the high side of the hill is much more useful to me than having it be forced to conform to the slope. When your boat is half-in-half-out and a boat wake comes along, you'll prefer having your gunwale tilted away from the deluge.

    I suppose that if you are mostly on flat, muddy beaches, your preference may vary, but I'm almost always on pebbly shingle. The flat bottomed boats didn't work out as well for me, afloat or ashore.
    Last edited by James McMullen; 06-12-2010 at 12:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    I have a Caledonia Yawl set up just the way you have described without and outboard. I can and do single hand it and row it, but it is a handful to row. My wife can row it, but only in flat calm conditions, and then it is a bit of a challenge. As far as a single person pulling it up the beach goes, forget about it. When we launched our CY off the beach this spring it was a two men and rollers operation, and she pretty much lives on a mooring all summer.

    For me the CY was love at first sight and I just never looked any further, but it also fit my needs as a family boat, where we almost always have four people and gear on board. If I were to build again and planned to mostly be by myself I think I'd go for the narrower Sooty Tern, Arctic Tern, or Ness Yawl.

    Good Luck,
    Jim
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    You mentioned John Welsford's Navigator and Pathfinder. Why not John's WALKABOUT? She seems to fit your criteria, including the space to lie down. (She was designed to allow one person to sleep on the floor.)

    http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans...bout/index.htm


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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    here's a blog of a newly launched Walkabout in the UK

    http://forthsailoar.posterous.com/


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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Francois Vivier "Le Seil"
    Beautiful lapstrake sailing scow, not too big to row (primarily a sailer I think), well thought-out set-up for comfort at the mooring.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Another vote for Alaska.







  20. #20
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Paskey View Post
    You mentioned John Welsford's Navigator and Pathfinder. Why not John's WALKABOUT? She seems to fit your criteria, including the space to lie down. (She was designed to allow one person to sleep on the floor.)

    http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans...bout/index.htm

    And it was specifically designed with oar-power in mind.
    I have a Pathfinder, and I can assure you she' be an awkward fat old lump to try and row. She does cope with gnarly NZ conditions very well though, and four people isnt a problem.
    If really insisted on no outboard on a boat that size, then sculling with a yuloh might be a better option than rowing.

    Pete
    Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers!

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Hi Alice and welcome, interesting post...a woman who knows exactly what she wants!!(no offense)

    I think i will have to agree with most of the previous posters, in that a CY will be a bit much to row single handed,but a Tirrick,Tern, or Ness would fit the bill for your needs. As mentioned, Jordan boats can cut kits for these designs too. Good luck in choosing a design,and be sure to let us all know when you have decided. Cheers.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Plenty of great oughtred and other designs mentioned above...

    Are you back in Ireland at the lake yet?

    I'd suggest when you are take a little time to travel the lake, find some local boat builders and see what types of historic craft are in use on the lake, then comission a local builder to carry on their ancient traditions and build you the most suitable historic craft.

    Should be a great adventure, lots of luck

  24. #24

    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    have you been to hegartys boatyard near roaring water bay, & tho i dont know where there is a specialist small boatbuilder on the shannon

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman?

    Kinda depends on the woman. A good dinghy might be worth a couple of women........... Welcome.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    a first post sticky.... wow
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Not trying to push my boat, but I can help it I think its perfect for your use.--shameless yes i know,,,,, I designed the boat you are talking about---called a Raider 18 (actually 19ft). It is very lightly, very fast, seaworthy, rows like hell (with or without sliding seats). lug yawl based on a faering in a way. carbon fiber spars. Balanced lug main , sprit boom mizzen. Push pull tiller. Floor board set onto/into thwarts to make a large flush deck to sleep and dream on. Simple, fast no BS boat that looks great.

    let me know if you are interested, an issue is she is not in kit form yet.

    The other to look at, not in kit again, is Tony Dias's Harrier. My boat is lighter and a bit more simple and faster (challenge), but Harrier is very nice nice (this boat was in one of the Small Boat issues of Wooden boat Mag).

    Francois Vivier's ( I love his boats) Elorn http://www.vivierboats.com/albumsen/...-morbihan.html and Le Siel (pix here) are both fitting your needs, both can be found in kits. I think Clint Chase can get these maybe. He might be able to kit my boat as well. Google Clint Chase Boat Builder. These Francios designs are not yawls, but i bet they could be real easy, he is a great guy and i think he might do a yawl rig.

    Here is a link to a thread were i showed james (above) some pix of the design. http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...67#post2617067
    scroll down past the Koster design.

    Storm 17 with a plumb bow and a push pull tiller ( this i bet they can do not worries) would be sweet as well. Build it very light. I like push pull tillers in terms of space and feedback.

    cheers, Bruce

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceThrewTheLookingGlass View Post
    ... preferably with unstayed mast(s), partly to avoid the compression loads of shrouds and partly to make it easier to demount the rig.
    Watch out, unstayed masts are not easier to demount than stayed tabernacled ones, on the contrary.

    Why limit your scope to a lake-only boat? Ireland is small, there are plenty most enjoyable open water events on the coast you can trailer to where a light lake sailer simply will not do.

    The BayRaider 17 kit is a good compromise for your requirements. It rows well enough btw, but more importantly it sails so well that you really need to row it very little.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    There is a specific Caledonia Yawl, and other Oughtred designs, forum that you may well find useful to read through,

    http://boats.duncan.com/cyforum/index.php

    especially this thread on buoyancy

    http://boats.duncan.com/cyforum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=789

    and live video thread of a Sooty Tern build

    http://boats.duncan.com/cyforum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=894

    Brian

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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    As an owner of a Caledonia Yawl, I can tell you she is no pleasure to row but row she will if asked to. The bigger problem is hauling her up on a beach by yourself. The Sooty Tern is a much better size for a strictly sail and oar boat when you don't want to ever use a motor. I love the load carrying ability of my CY as she can easily take five or six sailing or even more when the weather's right but if you only see your crew as three or four at maximum then the Sooty Tern or maybe a Ness Yawl will be a better size for you to row and woman-handle. I also have a fondness for Welsford's Walkabout. The tent design that comes with it and the offset centerboard are clever touches with the tent up you can row it comfortably even in a cold rain. Good luck with your final choice and keep us posted with your progress.

    Welcome to the forum!

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    Cool Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Welcome to our fun little place.

    Far be it for me to argue with my learned friends here at WBF.

    But..........

    My 12 year old granddaughter rows Elisabeth Grace with a bit of help from her Grandpa. Her Grandpa has been known to walk around the boat at the junction between seats and shear without getting wet. Double reefed in 30+ mph wind was a treat. Not a chore nor white knuckles scary. Sailing in no detectable breeze is another treat. Haul up on a beach? Never tried. That's why I have a trailer and a car. I can take the boat where ever I please.

    By the way, the side bench buoyancy/storage arrangement isn't new. Note the date on this photo.



    All things Caledonia yawl:

    http://boats.duncan.com/caledoniayawl/index.html

    The Caledonia yawl may not be perfect for everyone. It certainly is perfect for me and my 4 grandchildren. Just ask them. They always ask to go for a ride in Papa's boat.

    Elisabeth Grace in the builder's shop ready for delivery.



    Good luck!
    Last edited by Venchka; 06-14-2010 at 02:57 PM.
    Wayne
    Somewhere in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    The Straight of Georgia looks big.
    http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/ven...isabeth+Grace/
    http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/venchka/

  32. #32

    Exclamation Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Wow! I sure came came to the right place to ask for advice! So many thoughtful replies from people who clearly know what they are talking about, and have walked the walk too. Thank you! (and also to the moderator who kindly made the thread sticky!)

    It's very encouraging to see that so many other people have applied so much ingenuity and experience to row-and-sail boats. There's so much food for thought that I fear my brain will get fat and need to go on a diet. I'm sorry for a slow reply; had a busy few days, and a lot to think about on this topic.

    Before my initial thoughts on the suggestions so far, I'd better make a disclaimer. My comments are a mixture of attempts at objective and aesthetic judgements, and the latter are very important to me. They arise out of how I understand myself and my life and where I come from, and I will defend them with great vigour; but only insofar as they apply to me. Other people have different lives and different senses of their place in the beautiful chaos of our short and beautiful journeys through the fragile wee planet which we are rapidly destroying. Their own pain and laughter will bring different sensibilities to their relationship with a little shell to float them on the water, so their answers they find may be very different to mine, but their truths are no less valid than mine. I treasure that difference; so please, please, please ... when I am forthright in my description of my reaction to a particular boat, please please do not mistake it as an attack or criticism of anyone else. It's no more and no less than my way of making sense of myself, and not a reproach to how anyone else has built their intimate relationship with wind and wave.

    Wizbang 13 suggested earlier in this thread that I seemed to be better at answering questions than asking them, and maybe that's not a bad description of my thinking-out-loud approach. This isn't a please-tell-me-what-to-do question, it's a here's-my-thinking-and-does-it-make-sense sort of exercise. That's kinda how I do most things: do some research, try to tie it all together, look at it from different angles, and ask people to help me try to knock it down. Sorry if that seems odd.

    End of disclaimer, and the forum software says that the rest of what I have written is too long to ft in here. So I'd better split this post.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    Standing by with a thought best saved for after the next reply.
    Wayne
    Somewhere in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    The Straight of Georgia looks big.
    http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/ven...isabeth+Grace/
    http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/venchka/

  34. #34

    Post Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    [see disclaimer in prev post]

    There seems to be agreement that the Caledonia yawl is not a one-woman row-boat, so I'll strike it from the list. Sad in a way, but it clearly ain't gonna do the job for me.

    However, Oughtred's Sooty Tern looks like a brilliant alternative, and I have been reading lots about James McMullen's Rowan, a stunning boat which seems to tick a lot of my boxes. I still have some concerns about it, which I'll come back to, but the Sooty Tern is top of the list for now.

    I was fascinated by Don Kurylko's Alaska 18. It's a very elegant and intelligent design, answering a similar set of questions to mine. However, I have reservations. Practical concerns include a lack of ability to lie down on the boards, and the resulting high-up sleeping position. That means no casually dozing in the bottom of the boat on a sunny afternoon, and a sleeping platform well above the boat's centre-of-gravity, which me no like. I don't like the complication of jib and bowsprit and the stresses that causes on an unstayed mast, but I do like the simple and direct tiller setup permitted by the transom and the resulting offset mizzen. For me, the helm isn't just a steering device, it's a sensitive mechanism for communicating with the boat and the water, and my head says that this critical communication must inevitably be diluted by an indirect helm and blunted by the stubby little tiller on the Oughtred boats with a push-pull stick. (Of course, I have tried neither, and my hand may tell me a different story if I do try).

    But if I'm honest, the Alaska was promptly disqualified for me on aesthetic grounds. It's a stunningly handsome boat, but it seems too yachty for me. The strip-planked build looks to me like a miniature version of something that belongs in a yacht club, and I don't do yacht clubs. I'm a scruffy mongrel woman, a Scots-Irish hybrid with my roots and heart in wild places with wild people and their wild music, but the Alaska feels to me like a string quartet boat for a gentleman with a blue blazer and a lady with a fussy hat. Neither of those people is me, and before someone points out the glaring truth that it's also clearly not any of the people pictured in Don's photo galleries nor the amazing voyager Gary Lundgren, I know that. A wineglass stern to make Hershoff proud probably may have very different associations in his homeland, but despite the common language I live in a different cultural context and I just can't picture myself and the Alaska getting together.

    The Dublin Bay Waterwag is of course a historic boat, and in my youth I sailed alongside them (or rather zipped past them!) ... but as Hwyl acknowledged, it meets none of my criteria. So bye-bye wag!

    The next suggestion was DGentry's proposal of a Selway Fisher Lillie, to which I would perhaps add the slightly larger Jim. Despite the differences of heritage, my untutored eye finds the canoes similar in concept to Oughtred's boats: double-ended centreboard lugsail yawls, the main difference being that the SF boats lack the rocker and raised ends of the Oughtred designs. I guess that the SF boats would probably track better, but I think I prefer the raised ends.

    Brian (Keyhavenpotterer) suggests Swallows Boat's Bayraider 17. I'd read up on the larger BayRaider 20: a highly-developed design, with water ballast and self-draining cockpit; a brilliant successor to the Drascombe Lugger, intelligently resolving nearly all the limitations of those boats whilst retaining a pretty profile. If I had a family to bring onto the water, I'd be strongly tempted. But despite the huge advantages of water ballast and a self-draining cockpit, these are bulbous family-oriented boats, a long way from the lean-and-light sail-row boat I want. There is something of the sensible pair of shoes about a BayRaider, and although I plan a trip to Wales to try out some Swallow Boats and may succumb to a bout of rationalism at some stage in this quest, I'm not yet ready to be quite that sensible.

    Steve Paskey rightly pointed out that I had omitted John Welsford's Walkabout. That was a strange oversight, because I had looked at it carefully before my initial post, and Steve is right that it's a close fot. Lugsail rig, mizzen, sleeping space on the floorboards, intelligently-designed tent. A perfect response to the design brief which Steve set, and nearly perfect for me: I have some doubts about that offset centreboard, and even tho it probably works just fine, the idea just feels wrong in a way that an offset mizzen doesn't ... while the idea of an indirect tiller makes me shudder. But my real quibble with Navigator is aesthetic: the drawings look pretty, but in the photos I see too many echoes of the heavy dinghies sailed I watched in my youth. The basic hull lines are sweet apart from some apparent bulk around the mast, but somehow that has combined with the very practical foredeck and coaming to produce a bow which in this picture says "old man" to me. Maybe that's just an unfortunate angle of view, and the photos on Gerryl's blog don't have have the same effect on me, but none of them makes my heart flutter. Steve, I'm sorry to appear so dismissive of your wonderful boat, and maybe I am misled by the photos, but I'm not finding poetry in the Navigator. My relationship with the water needs poetry not prose, and from what I've seen so far, Walkabout wouldn't talk to me in verse.

    Bruce (OEX) suggests the Antonio Dias Harrier. I like the look of Harrier, which appears to be a close cousin of the Oughted boats; but I can't see any reason to go for a boat with an reclusive designer on the wrong side of the pond when when a very similar recipe is available from a designer closer to home whose hulls have been more widely built. Bruce's "Raider 18" sounds interesting, but I see no details. Any drawings or pix, Bruce?

    So that brings me back to an Oughtred double-ender, particularly the Sooty Tern. I think that my detailing concerns can probably be resolved: James has devised neat anchor stowage, a wishbone tiller should give me a "normal" helm with lots of feedback if I can't get on with the push-pull device, while buoyancy and ballast choices permit lots of permutations. There are some questions I haven't resolved, such as whether the thwarts can be removable without compromising the structure and just how much sleeping space exists on the floor (James appear to sleep on land). But I'm beginning to think that there may be other problems for me with any of these 17-to-19-foot boats.

    First is weight. Brian (Keyhavenpotterer) wisely raised this point, and, I wonder whether a fully-rigged Sooty Tern may just be too heavy to beach single-handed. I had planned to use inflatable rollers like these ones, reckoning that a block-and-tackle from a grappling hook on the shore would allow me to haul the boat out alone. But having used those rollers as a kid, I recall that making them work really requires the ability to lift one end of the boat to insert the roller underneath, and lifting one end of a (say) 500lb fully-rigged boat seems too ambitious. In theory, of course, I could remove the rig and gear before getting the boat onto the rollers, but I can see lot of situations where that wouldn't be such a good idea: dumping the rig onto sand horrifies me , and putting it on a stony beach isn't much better.

    So maybe I should have been paying more attention to a careful assessment of all-in-weight, and using that to set an upper bound for the boat I want. Can anyone give me some idea of how to assess those weights for the Oughtred boats?

    I'm beginning to suspect that maybe even a Sooty Tern might just be a bit too big for me, in which case I guess I should look at a smaller Oughtred boat such as a Whilly Tern. No mizzen (sob, sob), and possibly not such an easy rower, but more beach-friendly.

    Oh, and Dave ... I'm flattered , tho I'm not the marrying type. But please do come sailing with me when I've got my boat!

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    Here & there in Texas
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    Default Re: Which wooden sailing dinghy for one woman? Caledonia yawl?

    England isn't that big. There are lots of open boats around. It's summer, or what some folks call summer in England, find as many of these boats as you can and try them out. Find a Caledonia yawl. Break out the oars. You may be surprised.
    Join the Yahoo Openboat group. It is based primarily in Britain. There are open boat gatherings all the time.

    I for one prefer a substantial boat under/around me. The times when that substance is a bother can be dealt with in various ways. When the weather is crap and the water is crap and you need a really good boat to keep you out of and return you safely from the crap that the world throws your way, you will appreciate a more substantial boat then the one that is easily handled out of the water when your safety is not in question.

    Investigate building a cradle on wide fat tires that can roll out under the boat and be winched ashore.
    Last edited by Venchka; 06-16-2010 at 12:59 PM.
    Wayne
    Somewhere in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    The Straight of Georgia looks big.
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