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Thread: Tiny blue water sailboats

  1. #1
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    Default Tiny blue water sailboats

    I have always been a fan of tiny passagemakers, say under 15' or so. An armchair fan only as I'm 6'6"... There used to be quite a collection of designs, but lately there don't seem to be many. One of my favorites is Matt Layden's Paradox, which isn't billed as blue water, has made Bahamas passages. Does anybody know of any current/newer designs? As I said, I'm too big/old to consider building a real one, but winter's coming and as I've built several as models, I'd like a new project.

    BTW, there's a good website on these kinds of boats:

    http://www.microcruising.com/famoussmallboats.htm

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Quote Originally Posted by WHYankee View Post
    I have always been a fan of tiny passagemakers, say under 15' or so.
    so very sorry to hear that, how can we help you over come this?

    Quote Originally Posted by WHYankee View Post
    An armchair fan only
    Oh, OK so it's as simple as introducing you to a locally owned micro cruiser and going for a test sail... youll never want to sail one again... or try sitting inside a tire and rolling down hill, similar effect, now imagine trying to sail that tire on a Passage.

    I have posted alot on daysailers around here, but here's my ideal minimalist passage maker;
    fast packet Dreadnaught dimensions: 212'41'6"26'6" and tonnage 1414 tons OM and 2337 tons NM. The deadweight of this cargo was 1559,65 tons including 60 tons of ballast.
    "She possessed the merit of being able to bear driving as long as her sails and spars would stand." [Samuel Samuels] (P.E.M.),
    still 9 days across the atlantic is a long time... thats why passage making is not for me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    I've always liked the look and concept of John Welford's Fafnir. I think the sleeping area would allow for even a tall guy to stretch out so no excuses there. Or you could admit, like me, that you like to dream about such things but when it comes down to it, you know a bigger boat would be faster, more comfortable, and probably safer because you could carry more backup stuff in case something went terribly wrong.

    Still the Fafnir would make a fun and very capable coastal cruiser and could be built in almost any garage.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Fafnir, Selway-Fisher's Tideway 14, Jay Benford's Happy come to mind.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Macnaughton Farthing 15 and Silver Gull 19, althought the silver gull 19 is coastal.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Silver Gull 19 is one of those boats that I would just love to build even though I don't think I would have much use for her.

    Stitch and glue dory hull with a strip planked deck and junk rig.

    I often wonder what it would be like to sail her.
    Last edited by High Altitude; 11-01-2010 at 11:34 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    WHYankee,

    The Fafnir recently designed by John Welsford has alot going for it. John always takes a problem orientated approach and solves it objectively. Such a small sailboat would/ has always needed some guile and luck to survive truely offshore in bad conditions but as you know it can be done by those motivated to do so. Here's the only Fafnir I've seen on-line. He has some video of it sailing too. Remember this is a 13ft boat. If I had to, in a sub 15fter I'd take this one. Such 'blue water' cruisers also make very compact fun inshore cruisers in the summer - they certainly offer more protection than a typical open 13ft dinghy: they may be light overall, but are heavy displacement for their size. They can be built and stored in a small space and overall will not require massive funds or materials to build, moor or get on the water.

    It would be great for you to make a really nice model of it and show it on the forum.


    http://fafnirsailboat.blogspot.com/2...1_archive.html
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 11-01-2010 at 12:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Thanks for the links to those micro cruisers...this ones quite like Fafnir.

    Go to 20 seconds in, on this video...I've never seen a boat moved like that - ingenious - he's even sussed out the gearing he needs!

    Europe to the USA against prevailing current and winds.
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 11-01-2010 at 12:57 PM.

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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Thanks for the input. I've seen Fafnir before and she would be an excellent choice for a real boat. I think she's very well thought out for making ambitious passages. I wish I could get a study plans package to build a model from, but I think only "real" plans are available.

    Years ago I met Sven with his Bris in Newport RI. He kind of fired my interest in tiny passagemakers.
    Last edited by WHYankee; 11-01-2010 at 02:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    The real problem is that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that a 15' long boat does better than a 20' long boat of the same displacement other than fit in a smaller packing crate.

    This equation is one of the major reasons why:

    Though there are other problems such as compromised bow entry half-angles and prismatic coefficients and suchlike that are forced into short, fat hulls by the need to incorporate adequate amounts of displacement in a given length. Also, longer, slenderer hulls with gentler curves are easier to plank and build than tubby ones. Unless you are really constrained for space reasons, I can't think of any reason why to force such an unnatural limitation for boats designed for grown human beings to travel in comfort aboard.

    Here's my own experience dabbling with itty-bitty cruisers:
    My first genuine cruising sailboat was a Swallow 16', pretty much a West Wight Potter with a ballast keel to make here more self-righting. It took phenomenally longer to get anywhere in that 16 footer than it does in my current 23' boat, a feature exacerbated by how much less comfortable and more crowded the 16 footer was. Wakes and chop and weather that the bigger boat simply ignores would stop the little guy dead in its tracks, hobby-horsing and pitching. I started out with the smaller boat thinking it would make it much more convenient to trailer. . .but the thing is, even smaller trailerable ballasted boats are a pain in the ass to trailer anyways. After struggling with getting the timing right for the correct tides to launch and retrieve, and getting sick of all the time spent in the parking lot to rig and unrig the damn thing every time I wanted to go for an afternoon's sail, I looked into getting a tie-up for the summer instead. And once the boat was in the slip, it turned out that I got to sail her an awful lot more often. It transformed my enjoyment of sailing to be able to step in and go, especially when I only had an hour's worth of time before dinner or other constraints.

    And once I realized how simple and enjoyable it was for me to keep a boat in a slip rather than on a trailer, there was no reason at all to settle for tiny, claustrophobic berths, a cramped cockpit and no woodstove, comfortable reading chairs, icebox, inboard diesel, and all those other comforts downstairs. I still have a trailerable boat as well, but it is a light, fast, responsive, joy-to-sail, easy-to-trailer boat, not a slow, cramped, heavy tubbo.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    As the owner of a 15' foot boat that cannot do anything better than a 20' boat, may I respectfully note:
    A) Rowan is a plywood approximation.
    B) Phoebe is plastic.

    Otherwise, you go girl.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Yeadon! I wasn't talking about you! I was talking about tiny blue-water cruisers, boats with cabins and keels. There are indeed some compelling and justifiable reasons to go smaller and lighter in open boats. Or just smaller, in the case of Big Food.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Hey, what was that snapping sound I just heard?

    Kaa

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    I agree that a longer, sleeker, less beamy sailboat of the same displacement is better. I think most build real small because of space to build, space to store, cost might be less depending on the designs or they just like small boats and the challenges they offer........

    I think after about 3 days floating around in a Farthing or Fafnir with out seeing any land and realizing just how much farther I had to go I would begin to wonder what I have got myself into

    Wouldn't mind trying it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    The real problem is that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that a 15' long boat does better than a 20' long boat of the same displacement other than fit in a smaller packing crate.
    Last edited by High Altitude; 11-01-2010 at 04:04 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    It makes the Flicka look huge.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon! I wasn't talking about you! I was talking about tiny blue-water cruisers, boats with cabins and keels. There are indeed some compelling and justifiable reasons to go smaller and lighter in open boats. Or just smaller, in the case of Big Food.
    With a bit of bad luck, Big Food could be the next James Caird. Then you'll see.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Your all missing the point.

    For sure a bigger boat is more comfortable and arguably safer. Most into these do so to prove to themselves that they can do it, that they can endure. They've probably already crossed in a 40fter. Then did it in a 30fter, then a 25fter, they are making it more difficult for themselves on purpose: for a greater test of their building, seamanship and personal endurance. People get it down to 6-8 feet in the end.

    It's because its harder and more uncomfortable to cross in a 15ft'er that people do it - crossing in a 35ft Contessa 32 is not enough of a challange for them anymore. Same reason some people cycle accross America - an SUV would be more comfortable but that's not the crack: the cyclist wishes to push himself, see if he can endure and prove to himself (and others) his physical and mental capability.

    Most are perfectly aware that its slower and harder and more dangerous. That's the whole point: its a greater test.
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 11-01-2010 at 05:03 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    "I think after about 3 days floating around in a Farthing or Fafnir with out seeing any land and realizing just how much farther I had to go I would begin to wonder what I have got myself into"

    I remember feeling like that a couple times just sailing the Mini Twelve across Lake Mendota (5 miles across). I can imagine that a 15' boat in the middle of the ocean must, at times, really make you wonder what the hell is wrong with you?

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    keyhavenpotterer gets it! My first cruising boat was a West Wight Potter C-Type, basically a Potter with a Gunter rig and modified CB placement and my last was a Freedom 25, unstayed, rotating carbon fiber wing mast. The Freedom did everything much better than the Potter...except one thing. The emotional high of getting somewhere in the Potter, albeit much later than anybody else, was unmatched by the Freedom which was frequently first in port. Remember that at this stage of my life, my sailing is limited to my newly restored 18' dory and I am looking for a design for a model, not a real boat.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Being nearly your height (6'4") I share that unholy fascination with micro-cruisers. But my obsession is nicely separate from any desire to actually sail one on a long passage.

    There are certain critical dimensions, e.g. from kneecap to hipjoint, or from the base of your spine to the top of your head, that simply do not allow you to function in a severely-confined space. And when that severely-confined space is lurching madly under wave and storm, and you're seized with a flux of the bowels, then. . .

    I was also fascinated with ultra-lightweight mountaineering tents, which lent me a perspective on the problem of large bodies in small spaces.

    We is what we is.

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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Quote Originally Posted by keyhavenpotterer View Post
    crossed in a 40fter. Then did it in a 30fter, then a 25fter, they are making it more difficult for themselves on purpose: for a greater test of their building, seamanship and personal endurance. People get it down to 6-8 feet in the end.

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by WHYankee View Post
    keyhavenpotterer gets it!

    my sailing is limited to my newly restored 18' dory and I am looking for a design for a model, not a real boat.
    please tell us about your dory!

    If a sailor has not been challenged by the ocean enough then they havent been sailing on the ocean enough... and when you are challenged... what ever boat your in will feel plenty small...

    It's good your just tinkering with models, while your at it howabout doing a model of a "footy" could have a usfull little boat when your done.

    we "get it" too,
    it's a mental condition that results in the downward spiral/ tail spin into smaller and smaller boats... though I question the ratio of "doers" who are actually sailing smaller and smaller boats VS the number of "Armchair sailors" who are designing smaller and smaller boats and imagining sailing each one across an ocean.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    The real issue with these discussions is the refusal to equate boat size with displacement rather than length. The lightest boat to cross the Atlantic, for example, was not the shortest one. But the records aren't kept that way because, I suppose, people judge boat sizes by a quick visual survey -- how long is it? I wouldn't want to see people competing for the lightest boat crossings -- that would be even more dangerous than the shortest boat game -- but it would be a more meaningful measure.
    So who did the longest cruise in the lightest boat? It would be a kayak, I'll bet. Quite possibly Hannes Lindemann in his folding Klepper.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    I posted a link in the Building section to the dory pics of the restoration I did. She's a 20+ year old Gardner Gunning dory. I got a lot of views, but no comments/replies so I just figured everybody thought I did a botch job and was too nice to tell me so.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/32673765@N00/?saved=1

    Someone made mention of displacement. I think that a heavier displacement, albeit short, boat would be a better design for blue water. Short and light would be unsuitable.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    beautifull boat.
    any Idea how old? who built her? batten seams but the frames look very traditional with the old slide by feet. Ill look up the building thread,
    dan
    http://dansdories.googlepages.com

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    By choice or design. For Bligh... The choice was obvious. Are you in a divorce, have underwater mortgage or have some life insurance. With hundreds of beautiful inexpensive boats available right now, you don't need to suffer cramped quarters or smaller waterlines.

    Build a small boat if that's your passion. Remember that there are some beautiful boats needing TLC that could take you anywhere you could dream for 1/3 the cost of building your dream blue water bath tub.
    Without friends none of this is possible.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Ya know, I've been 100, 150 miles off in a 70 footer(powerboat) lots of times and wondered what the hell I was doing there.When it gets big, the smart get scared. More power to 'em!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    It's unavoidable that some of us would just rather build their boat and then sail it. Whether it is more fun to build the boat than it is to sail it is part of the adventure that some of us just can't resist. In this economic environment and with a nod towards doing more with less, the real charm of the Fafnir for me is capability at sea you get for the money spent. If you ask me what a 13' foot boat can do better than a 20' boat, i'd say get itself built under budget.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    1996, Ranger 29 solo to Hawaii, 16 days. 2008, Santa Cruz 27 solo to Hawaii...16 days and change. I could DO it in a smaller boat. Sure I could. I could do it in a solid 23 - 24 footer. I know a guy who did it in a Cal 20 and enjoyed it. I know a reasonably big guy who did it in a Pearson Electra and was dismasted, but made it. But I have to tell you that after about 12 days, it was time to GET there. The idea of doing it in a 15 footer is just...I don't know. Nuts. It'd take a month or more. I also know a guy who did it in an Intl. Folkboat which is not exactly a slow boat and it took him 22 days. That's a LONG time.

    If someone really wants to do an ocean passage in a small boat, then go buy a 24-28 foot old Carl Alberg designed 'glass boat for a couple thou. Fix her up, and spend 5-8 thou more. That's what you'll spend on building and outfitting the CrazyVoyage 15.5 ..... Then go. Have a blast.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    What's the actual difference in materials cost between a Fafnir and a 20' Bolger Long Micro? I betcha not very much at all.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    I share this fascination/madness about minature cruisers also (though you notice I chose a more practical/conventional boat to build). I think it's something to do with having this self-contained little place that's just for you. maybe it's a back to the womb thing.

    I love that video of Fafnir; look down at your right foot, there's the bow, look down at your left feet and there's the stern.. It looked to be moving along smartly though, unless that is just the go kart effect.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Fafnir requires about 60% of the materials cost of Long Micro James, and thats allowing for the more complex rig.
    Thanks Keyhavenpotterer for the positive mention.
    I drew Fafnir in response to some of the ill informed discussion and debate on the late "Around in 10" forum, to show what would be about the minimum boat that would carry enough stores for the longer legs of the proposed race. I think that it would be possible to do that, but I'd prefer to take something bigger. A weekend though, even a week, OK.
    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Tiny blue water sailboats

    Thanks John. I guess I'd rather have a Pathfinder or a Pilgrim than a Fafnir myself no matter what the cost differential. I'm done with short, fat boats with too much cabin and not enough cockpit.

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