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Thread: Shell Boats Schooner_18

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    New Westminster, BC
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    Default Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Hi all,
    First time poster. I'm onto about my 6th issue of Wooden Boat and now just purchased Small Boats. I am very intrigued by the Shell Boats Schooner 18, available built or as a kit.
    http://www.shellboats.com/sbboats.ht...or_Schooner_18
    Things that impressed me: the size, the features, the weight, and the price. I am looking at getting my first boat in the next few years. I think a daysailer is the best way to go for now, so I am looking at something I could tow behind a medium sized car.
    My question would be for anyone who has read the article; would this boat be suitable for anything other than a lake? I'd be looking to use it in some of the more protected waters in the Vancouver, BC area. Don't worry, no circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Would this boat have enough depth for more open waters?
    Secondly, does a bilge keel offer enough lateral resistance to properly sail? I know a center board would probably be preferred, but what can you get away with with a bilge keel?
    Thanks for any suggestions or tips. Would also gladly take suggestions of similar rigs that could be towed and that have a small cuddy cabin. Looking to keep weight of boat and trailer under 1500 lbs.
    Last edited by stickers11; 01-16-2011 at 12:03 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    New Hampshire
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    This might get more traffic if placed in the "Design/Plans" forum. Under the Administrative buttom you can move this to that forum.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Okay, I'll bite. I don't like that schooner very much at all actually, for a number of reasons. Feel free to disagree with me, by the way, I won't take it personally. But you might find it interesting to know what I dislike and why.

    First, bilge keels. Yes, they sorta work. Long shallow keels have always sorta worked. Many trad. fishing boats have long used the simple and straightforward long shallow keel to give adequate, low-tech performance good enough for their purposes. But it ain't nothing like the performance of a genuine, high-aspect modern foil-shaped daggerboard or centerboard. How satisfied with the performance of a shallow long keel will be in large part contingent on your sailing experience and what you've become used to.

    The non-retractable nature of those bilge keels as well as the skeg-mounted rudder makes the construction perhaps simpler, but it also means you've got a whole bunch of extra wetted surface to pry through the water when under oars. This is severely sub-optimal for a sail and oar version of this boat. Those sharp beaching legs also ain't gonna work all that well in soft mud, loose sand or weedy beaches, no matter how well they might work on the pebbly shores of Lake Champlain.

    Another thing that is questionable is the sail rig and the sail area. The sails are sleeved onto the masts and are apparently reefed by rolling them up around the mast, getting rid of the sprit-booms in the process. Neither of these things is particularly conducive to windward performance when it starts to blow up, as the sail will get baggier as it is rolled up. It sounds simple enough, and I suppose it is, but shaping a sail to do well in a variety of wind strengths isn't simple at all, it's a subtle and exacting art. Sails like these dont have very many adjustment opportunities. The magazine article also calls the sail area "reasonably rigged" and "no heroic hiking required". This is code for poor light air performance to go along with her poor heavy wind performance.

    Then there's the business with the steering wheel. On an 18' sailboat. Have you ever tried wheel steering? Many of us don't really like it. . . only putting up with it as a necessity for the leverage once a boat gets over a certain size. But whether you like it or not, a Teleflex steering cable and setup ain't particularly cheap.

    And then there's the shape of this boat. Like all the Shell boats it has a very low bow coupled with a weak chin. That's not really the optimum shape for punching through chop to windward. I don't know if she'll be dry or not, but she won't be powerful. and I suspect that you could push that bow right under a steep wave when crossing a big tide-rip's eddyline without having to work at it too hard.

    I'll leave the business about the dryness of a "geneerously proportioned" forward-facing companionway hatch, the need to climb up and over that cabin structure to clear seaweed from your prop and the aesthetics of the whole shebang up to your judgement.

    But hey, if you decide to build one, I'll be rooting for you and I'd be fascinated to see it in person at one of our local sheltered waters messabouts. It is definitely outside the norm.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    James,

    I'm smitten with this design. The looks. It's interesting without being TOO weird. I like the notion of an aft cabin like this. I like they looks of the aft cabin as built. I've used wheel steering on a couple of small boats... and didn't HATE it.

    As for the rest of your critique, I either agree or don't disagree.

    I don't know what to expect from the bilge keel setup. Never been aboard one. I've always been intrigued by the notion. I've even considered taking a old f.g. brit (27'??) cruiser off of Greg's hands - just because it has the bilge keels I'm curious about (not to mention that nifty british aesthetic). But I shant... it's just not light enough for easy trailering.

    The major stumbling block for me on the Schooner18 is the rig. I'd have no qualms about changing it. I'd have to satisfy myself that I could make a friendlier, more effective rig work... or I wouldn't consider building it.

    I'm not as set as you are on having a sail & oar boat. If it rows even moderately well, I think I'd be happy. The flip side of this, though, is that rig becomes more critical. I think this boat would work well for a lot of Coots events that call for a minimal trailerable short-distance cruiser, or a sleep-aboard weekend-long day-sailing deal.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    I think it would be more suited to Waldo Lake than Rosario Straits, that's for sure.

    David, if you actually like the looks of that boat, then by all means build one. That's a small, cheap, light boat really, and so if you end up not really liking it then you're really not out much in either time or money. And it will provide a huge contrast to the Goat Island Skiff you already enjoy Go ahead, experiment. Have fun!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    James,

    Just because I'm smitten, doesn't mean that I'm gonna sell the house and move to Fiji with the little vixen. I've kinda promised myself that the next boat (trailerable, lightweight, easily launched & retrieved & singlehanded, with a cabin big enough to sleep, eat, and poop aboard) will be purchased... not built.

    Besides... I'm about to be gifted with an aging kit built plywood 15' skiff with a small foredeck. I'm gonna need to procure and organize a trailer and an outboard for that boat. Also do a few repairs. Not too much to do though. One of the conditions of the gift was that I had to promise NOT to turn it into something too nice to use <G> My buddies want me to have a beater boat to take crabbing & such. Newport, Netarts, Lower Columbia, etc.

    But I'd love to see someone build this one, and get more feedback on it. I really do like its quirky but purposeful looks.
    Last edited by David G; 01-18-2011 at 12:40 PM.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    New Hampshire
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    James,

    Just because I'm smitten, doesn't mean that I'm gonna sell the house and move to Fiji with the little vixen.
    What's wrong with you man?!?!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Southern Maine
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Much as I hate to agree with James, I disliked it so much that I didn't read the article in Small Boats

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    New Westminster, BC
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Thanks for all the honest opinions. I'd rather hear truthful opinions from those in the know than opinions based purely on emotion. Even I concluded that dryness might be a problem with this design. Thanks all.

  10. #10
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    Singapore
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    Where in BC are you? There's a guy named Jamie Orr in Sidney on the Island who has a Chebacco 19 that might fit your criteria just fine. He's it sailed all over the place, including yearly crossings of the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend and back and trailered it over to Tofino and all that stuff. Jamie is a fellow forumite, and he's written several trip diaries of his adventures in various places. For a small, trailerable sailboat with a cuddy, the Chebacco is a phenomenally better boat in each and every possible way, I'd say, and it can't be much more $ to build.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Shell Boats Schooner_18

    I'm sure Jamie would be glad to show off his Chebacco... and it is a fine boat, indeed. Given his new project... you might even convince him to sell it to you <G>

    CS222 - I already have a keeper... with 26 years of proven service and most of the requisite adjustments and modifications accomplished. Fiji's probably too hot anyway <G>

    Hwy - I know it's tough to agree with James... but cough it up. What was your aversion to the boat? More detail, please? Too quirky looking?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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