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Thread: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

  1. #1
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    Default Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Hello Wooden Boat Forum!

    First post, so I'd like to mention that this forum rocks. I found it about a year ago looking for info on faerings and have been digging up new boat goodies every time I turn around... Thanks to the Sail and OarTM trio, the keyhavenpotterer duo, Todd Bradshaw, tapsnap, lagspillar, Peerie Maa and others who have invested so many hours at the computer contributing to my boating education!

    I've wanted to build a Viking ship as long as I can remember, and at this point I've settled on one of Oughtred's faerings...the question is which. Part of me thinks more is better so go with Elfyn, but the flip side is that Elf is easier to transport and according to one thread can be built with just 3 sheets of that spendy top-notch plywood.

    Intended usage is a lot of 2-3 person fishing trips, some 1-2 person camping trips (though we pack light), and learning how to sail...probably with a lug rig even though part of me really wants a striped square sail. Local waters are small-to-medium lakes and a few creeks and rivers slow enough for oars. All this boat really has to do to be a smashing success is replace a 20+ year old plastic canoe that's getting to be in pretty sorry shape.

    Has anybody seen both side by side? How much plywood does Elfyn take?

    Thanks!
    Michael Ford

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    ELF is pretty crowded with three onboard. I wish we had built Elfyn.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    The lug is a square sail adapted to go to windward. Buy a nice standing lug, and then make a poytarp dipping lug when you get the urge to go pillaging, and want to do it in style.

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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Stripes are not a problem on lugs or spritsails.



    And if you are willing to perhaps take a bit of an upwind performance hit, a balanced lugsail can be built with hollowed, luff, leech, and foot as well as a more horizontal head. Kind of a lugsail/squaresail hybrid that I call a "Squgsail". Viking stripes optional.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Good to know Steven. I ended up drawing several IO boats to scale...



    ...and Elfyn certainly seems more comfortable. Not as good as seeing them in 3D but it helped.

    Say, luggers look pretty good in stripes. So on sails: is this something where it's best to just order a Sailrite kit to Ian's specs, or can a total newbie stitch up a decent enough sail from scratch? I read your recommendation Todd of The Sailmaker's Apprentice on another thread and the library is finding me a copy.. The DIY aspect of the whole build is important, but so is finishing

    Upwind performance isn't top priority. From what I gather Elfyn is a rowboat that sails nicely enough, but not designed with upwind in mind anyway, right?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    "From scratch" depends on how much you want to study ahead of time and your definition of "decent". You have the basic construction aspects of sails to learn, the actual sewing aspects to learn, and even more importantly, the design aspects to learn. There is a huge difference between making a rectangle of cloth and making a sail that sets and works properly, and honestly, most of the scratch-built sails that I have seen here and elsewhere look like crap. Much of that is due to either inadequate studying, or just not enough practice with the sewing techniques and materials. Your chances of turning out a proper sail that works well are improved drastically with the Sailrite kit, where you can get away with beginner's sewing skills without screwing up the whole design of the thing.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Hmm. I think I'll look into the Sailrite for the Elfyn, and do my scratch building experiments in Tyvek on the aforementioned battered plastic canoe.
    Thanks for your help, Todd.

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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    While I mean no disrespect to folks who make a living designing sails. it's not too hard to design a sail that works reasonably well using Sailcut Cad, which is a free design software. I found the designing part easiest, and the cutting of panels second to that, while we decided to outsource the sewing part to a chap who does kitesurfing repairs, as that's where you either do a good job, or a bad one. We taped the panels together with double-sided tape, and gave the whole sail to said kitesurf repair guy to run through a sewing machine, add corner patches and eyelets etc. This was for an assymetric spinnaker for a high-performance catamaran, which has turned out pretty well, and is certainly not slower than the standard offering from a well-known worldwide sail loft (translation : it's faster than a North Sail). I'd share a picture if I knew how to without hurting my head. I did work for a sailmaker for a few years as an apprentice, and perhaps we got lucky first time with the design. But my point is, don't be afraid to try.
    Last edited by SteveMSA; 03-14-2017 at 05:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    That's good to know. Honestly I'd much rather learn to design them myself instead of letting a computer have all the fun, but I could probably learn a thing or two messing around with free software at any rate.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Michael,

    I might build one of these two one day and have both plans that I've mulled over.

    At the outset these are boats with a narrower waterline...good for rowing performance but they will be more tender under sail. Fine for light winds, but in heavier air you will need to sit them out/ reef proficiently and watch the leeward gunwale. The slack bilges also reduces room inside the boat compared to a higher freeboard straighter sided harder bilge boat, but not so different from a canoe that you already use. They certainly are lookers and make very efficient use of materials and are light weight which is good out of the water or dragging up a bank. Relatively compared to a canoe, the space would be palatial.

    On the plus side, 15ft Elf requires just one scarf per plank. And just 3 planks. Should be a a pretty quick build. Because she is long and thin with slack bilges with a V bottom water moving side ways up the sides of the boat still will remain laminar and dosen't need to be multi strake. Similarly the long narrow waterlines reduce entry and exit angle naturally and reduce the need for multistrakeness to provide low angle changes as the water flows over the planks. So although they are just 3 planks a side, they are still inately hydrodynamic. If that did cancern you the Wemyss Skiff would be the one to look at.

    The placement of the plank overlaps perfectly creates the typical bell shaped distribution of displacement curve. It's not just aesthetics. The forward flare will keep you dry. They are so narrow, waves will just roll under the boat. You can rock the boat side to side to jig baits up and down or use it to lift a fish up. The low freeboard will help bringing fish aboard.

    Depending on wether you sweat the details in construction, material selectiona and finishing, there is the opportunity with Elf/ Elfyn to create a very beautifull boat that stops people in their tracks, possibly unmatched.

    Now being critical...

    1. The thwarts are laid out either side of the center of buoyancy, with the daggerboard inbetween. If you want to solo row, you would either need a balance ballast bag at one end (but that will increase displacement and wetted area and waterline beam) or be able to fix a mid thwart between them. Ian shows this, but you'd have to make sure it didn't interfere with the daggerboard case. Easy enough if removable. If it was permanent, it goes over the top of the daggerboard case which would make it non functional. So then I'd consider putting in a centerboard instead which could sit under a mid thwart easily. The only other fly in the ointment is because of the narrow waterline and V section at the keelson, the keelson width is very narrow. Iain shows it with the daggerboard offset to the side of the keelson for this reason. You could just build it with a wider keelson at the molds stages. Something to be aware of.

    2. The only two position lifting rudder I wouldn't bother with. That custom arrangement is expensive and means you have to go off the stern to lift or drop it, which has no reserve buoyancy and is an inferior arrangement to a 'standard' lifting rudder. So I would make an attractive lifting rudder, with a long Norwegian tiller to get my body position to the middle of the boat. Sit at the back and the skeg will immerse more and you will struggle to tack it. In this regard, with upto 1-3 people aboard you will need a strategy to have the boat balanced. Not unlike your canoe. I've seen an Elf and think it makes a fine 1 person boat. 2 OK. With 3 I'd be wanting Elfyn at least. Probably a Ness Yawl.

    3. Elfyn is a bit wider and a bit longer at 16.5 ft. Scarfing a second extra foot of material on the topside planks would be a kick in the balls that day, but with 8ft sheets unavoidable and best not to dwell on it. But Elf is better in that one piece of detail.

    4. I'd personally prefer the lug rig on Elfyn rather than the sprit on Elf for more serious sailing. Not that you can't get a sprit to work. I'd consider a sprit if I wanted the shortest possible spars, which combined with a boat like this but of even longer waterline length, you might be able to get it to stow under the floor boards. This alone would make me favour Elfyn.

    5. Their waterlines are actually a bit sub optimal. They should be about 16ft/ 18-19 LOA ideally. An Elf is a lot of boat for the work and materials. A stretched Elfyn would be quite the hustler.

    6. Depending on the fishing your doing, do you want a mizzen so it stays head to wind. You'd be looking at Arctic Tern for that. With upto 3 people and fishing duties a Tammie Norrie could also suit, but all the extra planks would be more work. Gartside's strip plank 147 is also a beauty.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 03-15-2017 at 07:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Ah, just the kind of comparison I was hoping for. Thanks Edward!

    Our typical usage will be rowing with two, sailing when opportunity arises, so in those regards Elfyn seems to fit the bill nicely. This boat will actually be my brother's - I'm helping him build it as a high-school woodworking project, though I may have talked him into the idea... But we have enough siblings that I doubt it'll get singlehanded often enough to warrant a center thwart. But we'll see.

    Good to know about the rudder, I may try to scale down James McMullen's design from Rowan then. Push-pull tiller included, they look very convenient.

    The extra scarf I can live with. Does Elfyn only take one more sheet of ply?

    I'd love to build an Arctic Tern with the lug-yawl someday, but from what I've read Elf/Elfyn is a quicker, simpler, and somewhat cheaper first build. Gotta start somewhere.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    Edward, thanks for that thought out comparison.
    A friend is starting on two Elfyns (one for his son) and I sent a link to your post. He hopes to get them finished for an August trip down the length of the Guadiana.
    Your comments about balance are very useful, as they will be single rowers. We are also talking about using the lifting foils as in my Willey Tern, rather than a dagger board and fixed rudder. A closed c/b case will enable a thwart in the right place.

    Scarfing: I found 10x5 ft sheets of good quality marine ply here. Might be worth a search.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oughtred Elf/Elfyn Comparison

    This is video of an Elf sailing with two at English Raid a few years ago. He put a balanced lug sail on it, and fitted a cassette rudder through the boat, as he was a International canoe sailer and was familiar with them. Arguably Elf/ Elfyn are the purest sail and oar boats Iain has drawn with 50:50 balance. Besides low wetted area, the narrow waterline beam gives low wave making resistance at high speeds, provided you can balance it. The greater length to beam ratio and light weigh satisfies some of the conditions to push beyond 'normal' computed displacement speeds. And it works both ways. A boat with low wave making resistance is also less affected by waves front on in chop. The balanced fore and aft symmetry and narrow waterline will also reduce heave motions as the boat rolls and there should't be any roll induced weather helm. From a learning to sail perspective just stay out of the fore and aft ends.



    Two Elfyn's have been built at Lyme Boat Building College. One glued lap. This one has three people in it. Iain doesn't give the design displacements, but I'd guess he's worked on boat + two people probably. I think three puts a Ness Yawl at design displacement.




    http://www.boatbuildingacademy.com/b...ughtred-elfyn/

    And one traditional clinker with more strakes.



    Functionally one advantage of the sprit on Elf is that it brails up against the mast when not sailing. That does give you windage, but keeps the rig not in the boat. Just to be aware of from a fishing perspective. You might prefer not to have a mast up though if your following "the big one" around the boat with a rod. With the rig down, the balanced ends above and below the water puts a symmetrical face against the wind and water, so the bow shouldn't drop off the wind particularly compared to a high bow/ low stern/ rear skeg arrangement of typical boats which makes the them fall off the wind and waves more readily.

    Because they use so little plywood, the CNC kit of planks and molds is (relatively) cheap in the UK at 533/ 587 from Jordan boats. Might be worth enquiring in the USA. It does save some time, although three planks isn't onerous, and it will give you nice laps.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 03-17-2017 at 06:25 AM.

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