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Thread: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

  1. #1
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    Default Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    This thread got me thinking about a question I've never settled in my own brain completely:

    Assuming a sail and oar boat intended for solo cruising in semi-remote or remote waters for possibly weeks at a time, self-supported and engineless, what factors come into play deciding on how big a boat to use?

    A lot of the PNW crowd seems to favor boats in the 17'-19' length overall, with beam approaching 5', and mostly double-enders. They're obviously great boats for this.

    But I've also been really impressed with Ross Lillistone's Phoenix III for this kind of cruising. It's a shorter boat, but gets a little extra room for the length by having a transom. My best guess is my brother's Phoenix III weighs under 100 kg empty. Rowing steadily in flat water, it was fairly easy to keep ahead of a Hobie tri powered by Mirage drive--it may not be a speedster but it sure moves easily under oars.

    Having capsize-tested it, I'd feel very confident the boat could handle any conditions I'd want to be out in. I'm not sure I understand how a bigger boat would be much more capable.

    John Welsford's Walkabout is much closer to the Phoenix III in size, maybe a little heavier.

    Extra beam brings extra sail-carrying capacity, but I haven't been in a situation where I felt undercanvassed or underpowered (unable to beat off a lee shore, for example) in the Phoenix III.

    So, what is it exactly that makes so many of you favor the bigger heavier boats? Granted, the longer WL will give you a higher theoretical hull speed. But the Phoenix III, with its flat-ish run aft, can do substantially better than hull speed off the wind (we briefly hit 13.2 knots by GPS once when caught in a sudden squall--a freak occurrence--but also managed sustained speeds over 6 knots off the wind fully loaded with two people and lots of gear) so that might even things out a bit speed-wise.

    I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, just trying to understand the size question for myself. The advantages of a smaller lighter boat are obvious. So what specific advantages compensate for the extra size and weight of bigger boats?

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 02-07-2014 at 06:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Keep in mind that many people have cruised for weeks at a time in truly remote areas with no resupply (with the exception of fresh caught fish) in canoes that are 17 ft long and less than 36 inches wide, two persons to a boat. It all depends on what you want to bring and how you want to camp, and how rough the waters are. You can get away with a pretty small boat, if done right.

    I've done a week long whitewater trip in a 16 foot canoe with another person. By comparison, my 15'6" x 5'10" Drascombe Dabber is a veritable freighter.

    So, I think that you have already identified that size doesn't really mean it is more capable or suited for a long cruise. There are other factors that come into play, and a larger size may not be an advantage.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    With boats of any type, displacement is the better measure of size. That is how much volume the boat offers. A short boat and a long boat could both have the same displacement. But how each of these boats perform will vary. One may have more form stability ( better for sailing, but perhaps harder to row). One may carry more on each stroke, but have less ability to carry sail. These are just hypotheticals.

    On the water, my experience is that longer boats are better behaved, have a more comfortable motion and more easily propelled ( sail, paddle, engine, oars--are all propulsio) than shorter boats of similar displacement.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I would have liked to build 17'-19', but the garage size dictated 15'.
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    At a certain point, you just need more room for water, food and supplies. A bit more waterline always helps when you aim for longer crossings, too. There's also a difference between a boat you crawl around, and a boat where you can hop up and gingerly move forward. More size in the rips is nice, too. But little is fine, too. You can do most of the same things, just a bit slower.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Yeadon mentioned the need to carry water--that certainly sets a lower limit on size for salt water voyaging.

    Maybe another way to ask the question is, other than max theoretical hull speed (and probably actual practical speed to go along with it in most situations), what advantages do bigger boats offer? Again, I'm not saying they DON'T offer advantages, just trying to understand them.

    As for stability, I don't think a 19-footer would be that much easier to move around in than, say, the Phoenix III. And what is it that makes a longer boat better in tide rips? Obviously I wouldn't want an 8' pram there, but again I am not seeing yet what a big boat can do that a Walkabout or Phoenix III can't.

    Is there any advantage to going with the SMALLEST boat that will meet your needs, even if it's a bit slower?

    Tom
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Maybe another way to ask the question is, other than max theoretical hull speed (and probably actual practical speed to go along with it in most situations),
    Remember that speed and efficiency are linked to the extent that a boat that can go faster is likely to require less energy ( power, again paddle, oar, sail, engine) to maintain any given speed.

    And what is it that makes a longer boat better in tide rips?
    Spanning the wavecrests, a longer boat will pitch less violently.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Within some limits smaller may be better. Unless you are racing you will move the boat below hull speed. Until you approach hull speed, the biggest part of your friction is surface drag. Generally the shorter boat will have less surface area. This means that at cruising speed the shorter boat will have less drag and move more easily. There is no question the top speed will be less than the longer boat.
    Last edited by gilberj; 02-07-2014 at 04:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    There are times that Big Food (15 ft) will run downhill in light winds and quietly outpace Rowan (nearly 20 feet). Nothing huge, but if I get out front of Rowan she just doesn't catch up. And then the wind picks up a bit more and Rowan just walks away from me on every point of sail. It's probably a case of what you just described.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I think that one of the primary considerations when using a sail-and-oar boat for beachcruising is the ability of the crew to move the boat - both on the water and on land - when exhausted/sunburnt/hypothermic/hungry/mosquito-bitten/ill etc etc.

    When moving the boat on land, weight is the sole serious concern, and when on the water, wetted surface area and windage are what worry me. The importance of "hull speed" and therefore, waterline length is vastly overrated for someone interested in cruising, as the primary resistance when rowing comes from a combination of wetted surface area and windage. When sailing, these small, finely modelled boats have little difficulty exceeding "hull speed" and frequently operate in the semi-displacement and planing modes. See this video of Phoenix III on a windy day with the smallest of her rig options set (76 sq.ft balance lug).

    I've just done a very quick comparison of two similar hulls which meet the criteria being discussed on the forum - Phoenix III which is 15ft LOA and a little over 4-1/2ft in breadth vs Periwinke which is 17ft LOA and 5ft in breadth. Both have very similar hull-forms and proportions, so the comparison is of value. The linear changes (LOA, LWL, BWL, etc) all vary by between 112% and 114%, while the wetted surface area, exposed hull surface area (representing a comparison of windage), and displacement all vary between 124% and 132%.

    Accepting that each boat has sufficient volume for gear, which has never been a problem for me, as I travel light, and can always store more equipment than I could possibly carry with comfort on my back, I have always found that I gain more satisfaction from the smaller option. I understand that is a generalisation, but for the purpose of the conversation it is valid.

    There are other practical considerations which concern most of us, the most important of which is home storage. A 15ft boat on a narrow trailer will fit into far more home garages and sheds than a 17-footer.

    Ross Lillistone

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I used to regularly paddle my "double paddle canoe" with ~12 foot waterline with an extended group of friends paddling an assortment of kayaks ~15' to ~17', There were usually 6 to 10 boats/people. I had no problems easily keeping up with the fleet, often leading. Because my boat was so different from the rest, we exchanged boats. Many commented that my boat was easier to keep moving at the cruising speed. No contest in the sprint......

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    On the water, my experience is that longer boats are better behaved, have a more comfortable motion and more easily propelled ( sail, paddle, engine, oars--are all propulsio) than shorter boats of similar displacement.

    Kevin
    What Kevin said tallies pretty well with my observations. And for any given wave or wavelength, a longer boat makes those waves relatively smaller.

    But it certainly might come down somewhat to personal tastes and preference. I'd mostly gone for smaller boats myself until I built that Ness Yawl back in 96. . .and it pretty much ruined me for other boats. That size seems to be just my size.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I tend to agree with Ross L on this one. My 17'x6' sloop is a dream to sail, but a bear to row or wrestle up and down the beach. The next one will be 14' (if only 'cause that's the hull I have)

    The smaller boat will be more tiring to sail in a blow, and will be slower under sail, but faster under oars (within limits of course, but I never got the big one even close to half of hull speed under oars).

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Looks like we've sorta gone from size to hull design, but it's all good info. I row a Cosine Wherry, which was an early experiment in matching hull shape and length to the wavelength and/or resistance in water for an average load. I'm certainly no NA or designer, but when rowing alongside other boats at TSCA events, the Cosine does seem to create less wake / wave -- just from a visual standpoint, mind you -- that has been confirmed by some of the other nearby boats.

    But this is just an information point, as the designer recommended against sailing the Cosine so she doens't count as Sail & Oar™ boat.

    http://www.concretecanoe.org/Feature...sineWherry.htm


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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    The advantages of a smaller lighter boat are obvious. So what specific advantages compensate for the extra size and weight of bigger boats?
    I don't really see the obvious advantages of a smaller, lighter boat. The specific advantages of the larger (300 - 400-pound) boat are the ones that compensate for the disadvantages of the smaller one: Speed, capacity to carry stores, water and proper ground tackle, split rigs with larger sailplans for light air, easier motion/less fatigue, ability to self-steer, positive buoyancy, etc.

    Everything I read before I undertook my build pointed to a length of 18 feet. John Gardner states in Chapter 22 of Building Classic Small Craft: "Length in a small boat is always a prime virtue, and it is a great harmonizer of conflicting elements."

    The reason you're conflicted is because you've been sailing such a great "little" boat for so long you now need to convince yourself of the advantages of the bigger one. I feel for you.
    Last edited by darroch; 02-08-2014 at 06:46 PM. Reason: repetition

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Lillistone View Post
    I think that one of the primary considerations when using a sail-and-oar boat for beachcruising is the ability of the crew to move the boat - both on the water and on land - when exhausted/sunburnt/hypothermic/hungry/mosquito-bitten/ill etc
    Just as important is the ability of the crew to move in the boat. It really matters to have comfortable seating, a good backrest, legroom, and the ability to shift one's weight quickly to trim with changes in wind speed. While I love my 15 ft. Bolger Gypsy for daysailing and rowing, with two up and a week's gear it might feel rather cramped, particularly when sailed all day with no chance to stand or stretch out.

    There are fixes such as cushions, canoe seats or folding fabric chairs, kneepads (I use a cheap fuzzy foam bathtub mat), etc. But having enough stowage space to keep gear out of the way when sailing or rowing, and well-configured space to make the cockpit habitable for long stretches are both as important as the sailing and rowing characteristics.

    My boat doesn't allow sleeping aboard, which is yet another topic.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    The 18 footers at my rowing club (and they are not sailing boats, so a bit of grain of salt is required) are just right for two people. The ply boats are lighter than the solid timber boats, and somewhat corkier. I like them better. The solid timber boats are either 14 footers like the COlumbia dinghy, or the Viking class around 18 feet and maybe 220 lbs. I have never preferred the heavier boats. Some apparently do, for inertia and stability, though there are so many other factors.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    There are an awful lot of "trade offs" in this sort of boat. Longer means theoretically faster but increased wetted area means more resistance when rowing at less than hull speed, wider means more stabiity to carry sail, but harder to row, heavier may be the case if the boat is bigger in order to carry more stores and the increased displacement means a bigger hole in the water, more wetted area so more friction and on and on.

    My Walkabout was a real effort to produce a singlehanded medium range voyaging sail and oar boat. As she was to be used in some very open waters there is much attention to both structure and bouyancy so she is a little heavier than optimum, but has proven to be very successful.
    There are stretched versions around, between a foot and a half and two feet longer and these row well, with a sliding seat they are notably faster than the standard length version under oars, and they sail very well, but if it were me and I were planning a very long solo trip with perhaps 2 weeks between reprovisioning I'd go for the standard length boat,especially if the voyage were to involve hauling the boat up a beach or a bank to overnight out of the water.
    At 15 ft you wont make her go any faster with fixed seat rowing, she sails pretty well anyway, and the lighter weight of the standard length boat is a real relief when hauling it out after a long day on the water.

    John Welsford
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. I'm especially happy to see two of my favorite designers step in here, especially since they have both drawn a boat I would classify as a "small" sail and oar cruiser, and both designs seem to be really successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by darroch View Post
    I don't really see the obvious advantages of a smaller, lighter boat.
    1. Lower cost to build.
    2. Less space required to build and store.
    3. Easier to haul up a beach if necessary.
    4. Lighter weight, which (as John Welsford pointed out) can lead to advantages with reduced wetted surface and easier propulsion at low speeds.
    5. Easier/quicker for helmsman to get to the mast if need be, so perhaps less need for leading control lines back to tiller.
    6. More likely to be able to ship the boat to a cruising destination (e.g. the ferry to Isle Royale on Lake Superior won't take boats over 18' long).
    7. Satisfaction derived from getting by with as little boat as you need for your purposes.

    There are also advantages to bigger boats. When I launch my Alaska I'll get some first-hand experience with all that, and I'm looking forward to it.

    I suspect that a good case can be made either way. It's interesting, though, that both Ross Lillistone and John Welsford have taken the smaller size route and had some real success that way with Walkabout and Phoenix III.

    As some of you point out, there are things you absolutely need: supplies, adequate anchoring gear, crew comfort, etc. I can assure you that the Phoenix III can do all of that, and I'd guess Walkabout would as well. I guess I'm leaning toward the idea that for me, the perfect solo cruising boat is the one that meets those basic requirements in the smallest possible package. That may be largely an opinion formed by recent habits and activities, as darroch suggests.

    I do consider my Alaska to be a rather small (i.e. low volume) 18-footer, having sat in it and done some imagining. It'll be very interesting indeed to go cruising in it, with my brother along in his Phoenix III for comparison. Anyone care to make any predictions about the relative performance we'll see?

    Tom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Just as important is the ability of the crew to move in the boat. It really matters to have comfortable seating, a good backrest, legroom, and the ability to shift one's weight quickly to trim with changes in wind speed.
    One thing John Welsford didn't mention in his recent post here, is the attention to detail for comfort. In my Walkabout I particularly appreciate the angle of the coaming that *exactly* the right angle for a back rest. Having sailed alongside boats for week (Sail Caledonia), that are excellent in many ways but don't address this sort of issue, it's really noticeable when people complain of sore backs etc from being cramped and twisted all day.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    ... having enough stowage space to keep gear out of the way when sailing or rowing, and well-configured space to make the cockpit habitable for long stretches are both as important as the sailing...
    While Walkabout has big buoyancy tanks at both ends, I only store light bulky stuff like sleeping bags there to keep the weight out of the ends of the boat. There's a good big space under the deck aft the bow tank. I try and store heavy stuff in a big dry bag lashed to the floor in under the rowing thwart. I never use the space in the tanks under the side benches, mainly because I suspect I'll forget where it is!
    Osbert
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    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    My Walkabout was a real effort to produce a singlehanded medium range voyaging sail and oar boat. As she was to be used in some very open waters there is much attention to both structure and bouyancy so she is a little heavier than optimum, but has proven to be very successful. There are stretched versions around, between a foot and a half and two feet longer and these row well, with a sliding seat they are notably faster than the standard length version under oars, and they sail very well, but if it were me and I were planning a very long solo trip with perhaps 2 weeks between reprovisioning I'd go for the standard length boat,especially if the voyage were to involve hauling the boat up a beach or a bank to overnight out of the water. At 15 ft you wont make her go any faster with fixed seat rowing, she sails pretty well anyway, and the lighter weight of the standard length boat is a real relief when hauling it out after a long day on the water. John Welsford
    Good to hear! After reading about the exploits of some of the stretched versions I been wondering if I should have gone for length now that my daughters have been sailing with me more - I'd always assumed I'd be sailing singlehanded. With John's blessing here I can be satisfied with my standard length Walkabout.
    Osbert
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Osbert,

    I'd be interested to hear a bit more from you--what do you think of Walkabout's size? Other than fitting daughters aboard, have you ever found reasons to wish you had a bigger boat, or does the standard Walkabout at around 16' do everything you need it to do? Have you been aboard any bigger sail and oar boats to compare it to?

    Tom
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    [QUOTE=WI-Tom;4059475]

    1. Lower cost to build.
    2. Less space required to build and store.
    3. Easier to haul up a beach if necessary.
    4. Lighter weight, which (as John Welsford pointed out) can lead to advantages with reduced wetted surface and easier propulsion at low speeds.
    5. Easier/quicker for helmsman to get to the mast if need be, so perhaps less need for leading control lines back to tiller.
    6. More likely to be able to ship the boat to a cruising destination (e.g. the ferry to Isle Royale on Lake Superior won't take boats over 18' long).
    7. Satisfaction derived from getting by with as little boat as you need for your purposes.

    I suppose I was thinking more of the advantages of a boat "at sea" where it counts, but I agree it's theoretical unless you've sailed all these boats we're talking about.
    I wouldn't take anything away from Phoenix III or Walkabout or any other boat in that size range. I'm just completely sold on my own boat.
    The three amigos have rowed and sailed a lot of small boats in this size range and their observations of the bigger ones ring true to me.

    Oh, and I think your brother will kill you in his Phoenix III until you get the hang of your Alaska. It took me years but I'm sure you'll pick it up in no time.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I think you have to fit the boat to the mission. If you need more load carrying, or you are planning longer more challenging trips, you need to carry fresh water, you want to sleep on board...you may require a bigger boat. keep in mind as the boat gets bigger it will take more man power to safely operate it in all conditions. People who are not big and powerful, like many women should perhaps consider a smaller boat. James is a fairly big fellow and Rowan clearly suits him in every way.
    I suppose what I am trying to say is that with these small boats...each person will need a slightly different size boat for the same mission.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Kayakers are right up there with picking a personal boat, much like a pair of shoes.

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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    People who are not big and powerful, like many women should perhaps consider a smaller boat.
    With some notable exceptions...


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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Tom...just out of interest, I designed Alaska with the idea of accommodating a crew of two for long distance voyaging (the Inside Passage in particular, for myself and my wife). I'm actually very surprised that most oar and sail boats discussed on the Forum are cruised single-handed. In practical terms, an Alaska might be too much boat for a lone voyager, but I would still prefer her over anything smaller for an extended wilderness adventure without an engine. Gary Lundstrom, who did the IP in an Alaska, found that he rowed at least 50% of the time because of the contrary, light wind conditions he encountered in the narrow channels, with their notorious currents. He would have had a tougher time making distance to windward under sail alone. Being able to row efficiently and play the currents and eddies made a big difference to his daily progress. Long days at the oars were the norm, rather than the exception. Even the best sailing cruisers resort to their engines a good portion of the time on this passage.

    Consider also that Gary spent 5 months on that trip from Anacortes, WA to Petersburg, AK and back again and chose to sleep aboard most of the time. Bears, wolves and cougars were a big concern for him. He had a large dog with him, but was worried about its welfare as well. Nice, easily accessible camping spots were far and few between apparently as well. Steep rocky shores with dense bush running right down to the high tide line discouraged any notion of beaching the boat or hauling it out for the night. The ability to anchor out securely in all conditions and in all manner of holding ground proved essential.

    In light of that, livability on board then becomes a premium and I expect this could be a serious problem for smaller, lighter, “corkier” boats. In my opinion, a proper, well laid out sleeping platform is essential for long term comfort and habitability - along with a decent, easily setup, boom tent of course. Having sufficient space to sleep, prepare food and relax, can make or break an expedition. Suddenly, a beach cruiser becomes much more than a conveyance from point A to point B, and ultimate speed and light weight take on less and less importance.

    An Alaska is really not a “big” boat in spite of being 18’ long. A shorter, beamier boat, like a Phoenix III might have about the same amount of hull volume, or close to it. Alaska is just skinnier, but that’s the secret to her ability under oars. I expect the wetted surface of both boats is similar too. It’s just that, if that wetted surface is distributed narrowly in a long line, it will have considerably less resistance to rowing than a boat with more beam and wider distribution of that wetted surface. P III and similar boats will, arguably, be better under sail hard on the wind and might point a few degrees higher, but on all other points of sail I don’t think there will be that much difference, especially when heavily laden with cruising gear and stores. Under oars, there is no contest and it just boils down to what kind of cruising you choose to do. Add an outboard motor into the mix and pulling boats just become quaint anachronisms that make no sense at all.
    Last edited by Don Kurylko; 02-09-2014 at 09:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Osbert, I'd be interested to hear a bit more from you--what do you think of Walkabout's size? Other than fitting daughters aboard, have you ever found reasons to wish you had a bigger boat, or does the standard Walkabout at around 16' do everything you need it to do? Have you been aboard any bigger sail and oar boats to compare it to? Tom
    The standard Walkabout DOES do (almost) everything I need it to:

    - day sailing from singlehanded to three on board

    - extended cruising with sailing and rowing, singlehanded or two up. (One sleeping on board, one on land)

    - light enough to beach single handed, with the help of an anchor and tackle. - pleasure to row

    What it doesn't do:

    - can't row two up, with three on board (this became apparent when two grown up daughters wanted to join me on the Sail Caledonia - one if us ended up cross legged on the aft deck, or one rowed with one each side of the tiller)

    - it's hard work pulling across soft sand on it's launching trolley (I keep her at the top of a beach with no hard ramp), but so would almost any boat this size be (I am pondering a sof pulling boat as a second boat)

    - can't sleep two on board. I suppose with ingenuity and discomfort you could sleep one on the bottom and one on boards across the seat too: double decker.

    The only reasons I can see why I would seriously regret not building the stretched version would be if I ended up doing a lot of extended cruising with two where we couldn't camp on land. And I don't see that happening.

    I should be clear that my extended cruising has all, so far, been as part of the week long Sail Caledonia Raid. The conditions can be tough, but one has the comfort of safety cover and a barge providing meals. (Some stuff on this on my blog).

    I've sailed alongside lots of other sail and oar boats, mainly Oughtred's eg CY, Whilly Boat, Ness Yawl etc. Performance wise Walkabout is where you'd expect from hull shape, sail area etc.
    Last edited by Osbert; 02-10-2014 at 03:39 AM.
    Osbert
    -
    Scratch, a Welsford Walkabout, and Selkie, a Clint Chase Drake 17 rowboat

    http://forthsailoar.osbert.org

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Kurylko View Post
    Tom...just out of interest, I designed Alaska with the idea of accommodating a crew of two for long distance voyaging (the Inside Passage in particular, for myself and my wife).
    Don,

    Thanks for stepping in--now THREE of my favorite designers are on this thread!

    Just to be clear, I'm perfectly happy with my choice of Alaska so far--I'm simply idling away time here as I can't be working on it right now, but it MIGHT launch this summer. Here's why I picked it: first, it's beautiful--the whitehall tradition speaks to me more than other designs from a purely aesthetic standpoint; second, it's a pulling boat and I anticipate a lot of rowing for both pleasure and passage-making, with no motor aboard; thirdly, it can carry an immense amount of supplies and not suffer too much performance-wise as it gets loaded down (in fact, I'm guessing sailing performance will improve with some load, and rowing won't suffer much). I do have a voyage up the Inside Passage in the back of my mind and I think that might be stretching the carrying capacity of the smaller boats. And of course the sleeping platform--that's going to change my cruising habits more than anything, I bet.

    I agree that Alaska is a small 18-footer, so maybe kind of a compromise between "big" and "small" sail and oar boats--and since compromise is the essence of the sail and oar boat in the first place, this makes perfect sense. I don't think it's quite in the same size range as the Sooty Tern and others like it.

    Also, a lighter boat doesn't offer extreme practical advantages with regard to beach hauling anyway, because even the Phoenix III and Walkabout are too heavy to make this the favored option for solo cruising. You'd have to go MUCH lighter (kayak or skin on frame) for this to be the deciding factor.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    I've been in contact with my long-time beach-cruising (as well as hunting/bushwalking/coffee drinking and talking) friend, Ian Hamilton. He is an unusually good communicator - far better than me - and he is also a lateral thinker with a lifetime of outdoor experience. Unfortunately, he is also exceptionally lazy and he won't post because he doesn't know how to join the forum! Therefore, I will quote from his email to me, and will also paraphrase from our 'phone conversations: -

    I was going to comment that the key point was ground handling ... sandbars, rollering up the beach, loading trailers solo.... but got to your comment and you had already said it. If they think they need a bigger boat than P3 so they can move about onboard without difficulty, then they haven’t been out enough to justify their comments. The limitation with Cartopper is not gear (essentially the same gear for a week as an overnight) but weight of water .... ‘course, they don’t need to carry as much.

    What he is saying there needs translation - he is referring to the fact that we have done a lot of cruising in dissimilar boats, particularly in the early days. There were a number of longish coastal (in serious North Queensland ocean water full of crocodiles and sharks) trips we did where Ian was in a Nordkapp sea kayak and I was on a KW10 10ft wave ski where the Nordkapp had a huge advantage over me in LWL, but we cruised happily together. Also, the two of us (sometimes with our kids) cruised with me in my original Phoenix (15ft 2-1/2in x 5ft 11in with 118 sq.ft) and Ian in his Bolger Cartopper (11ft 6in x 4ft with 59 sq.ft) and were able to cruise in company with no trouble. By the way, I need to give a key for translation: - "they" = Americans/British/anybody from colder parts of the northern hemisphere; "P3" = Phoenix III. The reference to water-carriage relates to the fact that much of our travel was within the tropics, where drinking water is extremely important for survival.

    Every time we got into trouble on our trips, the problems came when we were on a beach/sand bar/boat ramp/reef/mud flat etc. The common enemy was always the weight of the boat. I can't think of any time where we were troubled by lack of gear stowage options, but there were many times where we were limited by our lack of physical strength - and we are both strong and relatively fit men.

    I recently designed a round-bilged boat of 17ft x 5ft to the inside of the planking for my own use, but after careful consideration of all that we have experienced over the years, I've changed my mind and have decided to build a Phoenix III. Ian states that he has zero interest in owning a beachcruiser larger than the First Mate I'm building for him right now. Reason - ease of movement on land with only one person and a tackle available.

    Having said all that, those are still just some opinions, and highly subjective ones at that. However, we've been at it since our teens and we are now both within months to our sixtieth birthdays, so we have experienced lots of mistakes which have helped us hone our techniques to what is still a very blunt edge! What we both admit is that we don't have to carry cold weather gear, which may have a bearing on boat size, but we do have to cart water and sun protection.

    As for sleeping platforms, here is what I suggest for Phoenix III and First Mate. The movable panels serve as side seating if desired (but I prefer to sit in the turn-of-bilge) and then can be slid into the centre to provide a 24 inch wide sleeping platform when combined with the stern sheets and the main thwart. Gear can be stowed underneath as well as in the forward and aft buoyancy compartments.





    Please do not think that I am pushing a particular barrow, as I am well aware that we all have different priorities. These opinions are simply comments to add to the discussion and only represent personal opinions. By the way, the "hull speed" difference between my two representative 15ft and 17ft boats, Phoenix III and Periwinkle, is 0.33 of a knot! I'll take reduced wetted surface area and windage over waterline length anyday - for a cruising boat.

    Ross Lillistone

    Last edited by Ross Lillistone; 02-10-2014 at 05:37 AM.

  31. #31
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    Nov 2007
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    4,978

    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Tom,

    With so many interelated factors currently my sail and oar start protocol is:-


    1. Summate your weight, the boats weight and your gear weight.

    The lighter the better. Light boats re-accelerate faster under oar and light puffs of wind. They have less wetted area and especially wave making resistance. For a given LWL, they are more capable of reaching above waterline speeds under sail.



    2. Chose your sail area based on a sail area to displacement ratio.

    This will govern light air sail performance. It also will reflect expected wind conditions, how early you are comfortable reefing, how happy you are to row in light air and how long a stint at the oars would be necessary. A generally long and narrow sail and oar boat is more easily propelled and is not likely to be a planing boat, so modest amounts of sail may only be necessary mostly unless conditions are very light. Sail area is cheap and easily balanced in light air.
    Combined interconnected factors: sail plan, spar length, hull stability and ballast etc will also influence this choice.


    3. Hull topside beam and freeboard at the oarlocks, set by rowing ergonomics for the individual.

    This will be affected by size and strength. Weight of boat. Duration of rowing. Stroke rate. Presence of waves etc i.e. the rowing gearing adopted.


    4. LWL Beam and Length.

    The longer and narrower the WL displacement profile that still provides sufficient stability, the less effects on wetted area and wavemaking resistance at all speeds. Stability must be set to an individual need. This depends mostly on waterline beam, but also bilge profile, waterline length, rig weight, ballast - water/ lead or weight on the gunwale, overall displacement, press of sail, sail aerodynamic drag, helm weight, predicted conditions causing instability, downflooding issues, position of helm in relation to CofG etc. Further influence comes from where upon the sail and oar spectrum one wishes or desires to place it. Beyond sufficient stability to carry sail, the boat becomes and oar and sail boat for a row focussed activity, however such a boat isn't necessarily slower, a straight VMG to windward can outpace most good sailing boats in flat water. The duration, desire and fitness to row for long periods is a factor on this approach. A concave waterline forward and concave aft at the LWL seems optimal at lower froid number speeds, a convex aft waterline for higher sailing speeds close to LWL speeds for sail focussed designs. While LWL will predict maximum speed attainable for a displacement boat, all these boats will achieve higher speeds because their displacement to length ratio is so low. On a 17ft waterline for example weight has to be 500-600kg all up to become waterline restricted for a typical shape. Prismatic coefficient can be optimised for the speed predicted. If very low sailing speeds were also predicted the row and sail component can be focussed. If high speed sail speeds were predicted and half rowing speeds, the CP would have to be focussed towards or for higher speed sailing. LCB similarly. Rocker will be set by LCB (I think). Thwart will be set at this position, or slightly forward to generate a more symmetrical shape for lower speed rowing - helm weight can influence LCB dynamically. Rocker at the stem junctions will be influenced by beach gradient for pulling the boat up and down a slope without catching. Rocker will also influence speed of turning.

    5. Above LWL shape.

    This is influenced by predicted sea state and wind conditions. The desire for flare and overhang affecting stem shape. The need for dryness depending on the presence of sheer, decking, predicted speed through the water etc. Need for gunwale ballast to counteract press of sail, ability to construct the shape in materials, wish to elongate the waterline as it heals, wish to provide end buoyancy to lift the boat in its displacement wave to allow it to appear longer to the wave, storage space, need for staying positions, off center spar storage while rowing, and even desire for an easy auxilliary outboard attachment. Prediction of aft wave trains may influence choice of transom or stem to provide or facilitate or reduce chance of surfing. Rerverve above LWL buoyancy shape will influence reserve stability for predicted press of sail, weather helm and motion comfort in side and front waves.

    6. Non aquatic factors.

    Typically building space, storage space, materials cost or availability, building complexity, flexibility in use in variable conditions or loading, tradition, fashion and prejudice.


    Ed
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 02-10-2014 at 12:18 PM.

  32. #32
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    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Lillistone View Post





    Very simple and ingenious. For two persons, building the sliding seats with a second layer, hinged along the outside edge, would provide a full-width fold-out sleeping platform, for which I'd use plywood rather than slats. Judging by eye, with the two platforms pushed to the outside, there'd be a narrow footwell in the centre. It would increase the weight, but not by a great amount.

  33. #33
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    Sep 2002
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    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Between Ross's and Brians postings they pretty much cover the issues around a "sail and oar" boat. There are many many possible solutions to the design problem for a boat of this genre, each one fitting a particular set of circumstances. For example even the difference in water temperatures between where Ross lives and where Brian lives can make for a different approach, the strong prevailing winds where I live will need a different approach to a boat that might be ideal for an area with very light winds, an exposed coast with prevailing onshore winds will be different from a sheltered shoal draft environment.
    The constants though are ergonomics, the boat has to be comfortable to use in both rowing and sailing mode. Load carrying, it has to carry the provisions and the crew without being hindered by the weight on board. These are generally not boats where the skipper will overnight on board and the area where they cruise may not have sheltered anchorages, so the ability to get them out of the water overnight is important. This means that light weight is important as the boat is going to be manhandled up a bank or on and off a trailer to launch at an interesting patch of water where there is no boatramp.

    Like I said, there are many possible approaches to the question of what will suit the owner, and relatively small changes in the circumstances of use can mean changes in the boats configuration. This is an ideal of course, and most people will choose a workable general purpose boat that will work for their use.
    This is a good thread, good to see discussion on these increasingly popular boats.
    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    BC Coast
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    3,825

    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    We seem to have two camps here...Those who prefer slightly larger boats and those who prefer slightly smaller boats....The difference between what is larger and what is smaller is pretty small, but the difference is there.

    I notice Ross Lillistone is cruising in sub-tropical waters, while some of us are cruising in temperate climes. John Welsford is also suggesting smaller as opposed to larger, Walkabout are pretty much right in there, but some of the others, Pathfinder and Navigator, still in the same small open boat gendre look a bit big for convenient rowing. The slim and easy lines of Ian Oughthreds double enders are seductive, and I think James experiences are testiment to their excellence. Don Kurylko referred to his mission to carry two people on an extended trip.

    What are the thoughts about limitations on the mission by geography, exposure, isolation, time...(a few days, a week, 2 or more weeks, months?). Or the limitations on building space, and facilities. Whether you are carrying a single person or at least sometimes cruising with 2 persons.

    I have cruised in a fairly full bodied 13 footer and a 16 footer. Between the two for single handing I actually prefered the smaller boat I did not have to work as hard, and I do not think there was an appreciable difference in the overall cruising speed. The smaller boat was definitely easier to handle in rougher water. These were boats mainly rowing and fair wind sailing only as backup. These were beach cruisers in the sense that I slept ashore. I have also cruised for up to a week in a 13 foot double paddle canoe. When loaded the canoe was near the maximum safe load, and I'd probably not try more challenging trips weather and exposure for that reason. In my case the boats were the boats I had at the time and were not specially designed and built for the intended voyage. I did not have watertight or secure stowage, or flotation. I think almost any of the boats dicussed here are better for this reason at least than my boats.
    Last edited by gilberj; 02-10-2014 at 03:19 PM.

  35. #35
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    Sep 2002
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    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Size in Sail-and-Oar Boats

    Another thought. James McM, Lin Watson and I did a joint presentation and we spent some time talking about the safety aspect of cruising in small open boats. This at at the last Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival ( if you've not been, make sure you get there sooner rather than later) .
    Thats a very important consideration, any small boat that goes out of sight of where you'd expect someone else to summon a timely rescue if you got into trouble ( thats about 200 yards off the beach in my opinion) needs that to be designed and built in from the very first.
    James says " just dont capsize it". I concur, but mistakes do happen, especially when the crew are pushing their boundaries and learning by doing.
    Some boats are easy to manage after being swamped, some are not. The time to find that out is not when you are miles from anywhere, its half an hour after sunset and the water is about 40 deg f.
    So if you are looking for a suitable boat to buy or build, put the ability to self rescue high up your list of must haves.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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