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Thread: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

  1. #1
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    Default Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Hello all

    I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is David. I have been lurking on the forum for a few months but this is my first post. I've never sailed a boat or even been on a sailboat but recently I've developed the urge (my wife would say obsession) to build a boat and learn to sail her. I have some specific criteria that need to be met and after many hours of research I think I may have found the best fit for my needs. However since everything I know I have learned online my assessment may very well be flawed so I hoped some of you fine, knowledgeable folk would be so kind as to let me know if you think I'm on the right track. The boat will be used exclusively on a lake and the criteria I have are as follows
    1) Something that can be both rowed and sailed
    2) Small enough that I can load it into the back of my truck and unload it without assistance
    3) large enough that I can take another adult out with me when needed
    4) Mast and spars can be stowed away inside the boat

    With these requirements in mind I'm thinking my best bet would be a 7' to 8' pram with a standing or balanced lug rig. Something like this but not with that particular sail plan of course.
    http://glen-l.com/designs/hankinson/sabotina.html

    My reasoning is that with a pram I would have more crew/cargo space for the length and beam than I would on a boat with a traditional bow and the lug rig would be a simpler rig to learn on and allow me to use a shorter mast. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    learning to build and learning to sail is just a bad idea IMHO Suggestion, go sailing! Rent or go on a skippered boat. see if you actually WANT to sail. 2 adults in less then 10ft.... eh!
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    The Nutshell pram [ http://www.woodenboatstore.com/category/nutshell_pram ] or better for two, the Shellback [ http://www.woodenboatstore.com/categ...ellback_dinghy ] are very well thought out and you can get anywhere from wonderful plans to kits and components all depending upon your level of skill and ambition.

    But I urge you also to learn to sail. Google reveals at least two clubs down your way, one with an actual adult instructional program and the other with, no doubt, opportunities to crew and learn.

    The Shellback rows fine with two - better if you've a lunch hamper and such in the bow.



    But as you can see, might be a bit cramped for sailing except solo.



    Boats smaller than this would be more cramped. Your restrictions in size make sailing with two something you want to do only after you are a good sailor.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    That's why I want something I can use as a rowboat as well. If I find I don't enjoy sailing I know that I'll get plenty of use out of a rowboat so either way it will be worth the build. As far as it being less than 10' my understanding, and again this is just what I've found online and so it very well could be wrong, is that an 8' pram would have approximately the same available internal space and capacity as a 12' dinghy with a pointed bow.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    I have woodworking skills and I think that with a set of plans I could do the build. It may take me awhile but I think I could do it. I'm not set on it having to be a particular boat or even style of boat. I'm completely open as far as that goes. I could even go a bit bigger as long as I didn't need a trailer for it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    sailing a very small boat is very aerobic for lack of a better word. It's not a sit still activity, most people sailing such craft really do plan or know they will get wet and make it part of the fun.

    My take on sailing is learn to sail LARGER boats.. but that's just me.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Today's plans make building boats so easy it keeps the oldtimers in a constant state of wondering why they spent so many years learning that which is all done with computers now!

    15+ ft around a 100 lbs. the lady that traded it to me helped me load it up

    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Ian I know where one of those clubs you mentioned is. It's actually just about 10 minutes from my house. I have thought about contacting them about lessons so that whatever design I decide on I will hopefully have at least a basic understanding of sailing before it's completed. Also I wouldn't even dream of taking someone else out sailing with me until I felt confident that I could get them out and back safely. I don't have any delusions that I can just jump in a boat and go. I understand that sailing is a skill and art that takes time and lots of practice to become proficient at. That's another reason I want something that can serve the dual purpose of a rowboat and sailboat. I do have experience with a rowboat and would feel comfortable taking someone out for a row around the bay.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Have you looked at the Goose (LINK)?



    The plans covers two styles of building.

    1.Built with timber framing; this is the cheapest option for North America and developing nations.

    2.Built with epoxy fillets; this is the fastest building option. It is cheaper in countries where suitable timber for framing or shipping of timber is expensive (EEC, Australia, much of central Europe).

    The plans are very complete and include details of every aspect of building the boat, links to rigging methods etc. They also include complete details on making a sail out of polytarp which can help reduce the budget for the boat by a few hundred dollars.

    It is easy to build: it is a box with only two curved lines. We can built 10 boats with some sponsor help for the same price as importing a single Laser sailing dinghy.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    nah.. just jump in! my first was a Hunter 23. all i had was self read and a couple of outings on Maine windjammers!
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    sharpiefan I hadn't seen that one yet. The only problem I really see with it is that it doesn't look like it would double as a rowboat. Denise I like your gumption lol.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Quote Originally Posted by DMattingly View Post
    1) Something that can be both rowed and sailed
    2) Small enough that I can load it into the back of my truck and unload it without assistance
    3) large enough that I can take another adult out with me when needed
    4) Mast and spars can be stowed away inside the boat
    I would encourage you to stick to these goals (like the rare #4) and even attempt the rare pleasure of mostly self teaching yourself small boat sailing (with books). Assuming you can swim and are in warm protected waters and have a cautious nature, it's certainly more forgiving than self taught hang gliding. I hate being told how to do things, but like to be a seeker for the principles of how things work. Later can clean up your act with contact with gurus.

    For #2 it sounds like you would extend to truck topping, and this can be easily done by one person without power gadgets. There are youtubes of folks hoisting huge heavy boats thru clever techniques... one from Japan uses a simple technique with only light finger touch to topload a massive multihundred pound boat in a series of dozens of manual steps.

    For #3 maybe count pounds rather than people. Designs may be decades old when people were lighter, so unless you and passenger are old fashioned thin...be skeptical of claims of 2 person capacity.

    For #1 a book by guru Phil Bolger claimed that rowing and sailing could be highly conflicting design requirements. Easily possible for some nice sailboat to be an exasperating dog of a rowboat due to high wetted surface and fat stern. Or possibly vice-versa. His pet peeve was customers wanting to convert in one direction (sailboat to rowboat? or v.v.?) although converting in the other direction was OK. Just don't assume any design will be equally adaquate in both roles. Below is an example of a boat that I speculate is optimized for oars and paddles more than sail, but is interesting for brain storming around your requirements:

    Last edited by rudderless; 07-02-2017 at 07:03 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Jim Michalak's "pick up pram". But buy a cheap second hand dinghy and get on the water while you build.

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    Rudderless do you by chance know the name of that book? I think it would be good to check it on out. I hadn't thought about the weight vs occupancy aspect but I definitely see your point. That boat in the video is awful pretty. I'm going to have to find out a bit more about it.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Al G View Post
    Jim Michalak's "pick up pram". But buy a cheap second hand dinghy and get on the water while you build.


    That is exactly what I'm looking for. I think I've found my first build. Thank you and thank you to everybody else who took some time to help a newbie out. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions in the future.


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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    It's in the highly rated book https://www.amazon.com/Boats-Open-Mi.../dp/0070063761 but I can't find the comments again quickly flipping thru the rowing or sailing sections. He possibly repeated the points in other sections.

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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Quote Originally Posted by DMattingly View Post
    That is exactly what I'm looking for. I think I've found my first build. Thank you and thank you to everybody else who took some time to help a newbie out. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions in the future.


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    Awesome. Really good decision to choose something over 7 or 8 feet long. The extra speed gain of a slightly longer boat is very worthwhile IMHO. You could really cover some distance in a day, or spend more time fishing or exploring and less time in transit. Jim michalak has written a book which contains sailing instruction, building instruction and boat design theory all for the total beginner and lay person. Its a good reference to have and is probably worth buying if you are gonna build the piccup. Good luck with it.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    To echo Denise's comment, having spent time in sailboats (i.e., through sail instruction programs) might help you identify what types of boats you like to sail. Imagine building a pram (and a fine one at that) but you discover you don't like sailing a pram. Would that put you off sailing altogether? Would you look back and regret having taken the time to build a pram when you later discover you in fact much prefer sailing a Caledonia Yawl? Just a thought! Good luck!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    David,
    I had requirements similar to your's. I've built two dinghies. First was too small at 7'6". Second was 11'. So much better and I can handle it pretty easily by myself. I usually sail by myself but have sailed with another adult. Had my 3 grandkids (ages 5, 8, 10) out rowing on a couple other occasions. I do use a utility trailer but a pickup would work. Here are some links on my experience with these two builds:

    http://captnkid.webs.com/builds
    http://bateau.com/studyplans/SD11_study.php?prod=SD11
    https://forums.bateau2.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=30909 (lots of links in this short thread)


    If I had it to do over again, I believe I would build the V12 http://bateau.com/studyplans/V12_study.php?prod=V12. My flat bottom SD11 slaps on the water and a v-bottom might be a bit better. I also like the Shellback dinghy as has already been mentioned.

    I have rowed my SD11 as far as 11 miles at once. I'm not fond of the sprit rig simply due to the difficulty of reefing while on the water. I also converted to a push/pull tiller. I usually sit on the bottom of boat with my back against the stern thwart while sailing.

    Hope some of this helps.

    Dale

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by schoonerjay View Post
    To echo Denise's comment, having spent time in sailboats (i.e., through sail instruction programs) might help you identify what types of boats you like to sail. Imagine building a pram (and a fine one at that) but you discover you don't like sailing a pram. Would that put you off sailing altogether? Would you look back and regret having taken the time to build a pram when you later discover you in fact much prefer sailing a Caledonia Yawl? Just a thought! Good luck!


    I'm glad you mentioned that. To be honest it never even occurred to me that the type of boat could make that much of a difference. Now that you've brought that to my attention it seems like something that should've occurred to me almost almost immediately.


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    Dalekidd id actually looked at those designs previously. At the time I'd discarded them as being bigger than I wanted. I'll have to go look at them a bit closer now. I do like the look of the piccup pram though.


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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Quote Originally Posted by Al G View Post
    Jim Michalak's "pick up pram". But buy a cheap second hand dinghy and get on the water while you build.
    Piccup has been on the short list a while;

    Boatbuilding For Beginners (and Beyond) by Jim Michalak (LINK)


    Piccup Article (LINK)



    PICCUP PRAM, SAIL/ROW PRAM, 11' X 4.5', 90 POUNDS EMPTY

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  23. #23
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    Sharpiefan I've read that article 4 or 5 times over the last couple days. I've searched all over Google for more information and watched every YouTube video I can find. The more I see the more I want that boat.


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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Quote Originally Posted by DMattingly View Post
    Sharpiefan I've read that article 4 or 5 times over the last couple days. I've searched all over Google for more information and watched every YouTube video I can find. The more I see the more I want that boat.


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    The same dog bit me.

    His book is a terrific reference, no matter what you decide to build.

    Practice posting pictures, so we don't miss anything on your build thread.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Might take a look at the David Beede "Summer Breeze". I just finished building it, the wife and I had a blast doing it together. Took just under 3 weeks. Several threads here on the forum by those who built it, and at least one elongated article not on these pages.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    DMatt, just wondering. what boats have you used and been comfortable in? This is what would determine what you will build and how much you use it.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    If you choose the piccup, you won't get much love from the regular contributors here. But please post you pictures because there will be plenty of folks silently watching and being inspired.

  28. #28
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    I've used rowboats, canoes, pontoons, John boats, and bass boats. I grew up about a 10 minute walk from the lake. I currently live down the road from the house I grew up in. That's one reason I'm wanting something I can row and sail. I know that either way the boat will get plenty of use.


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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    When I first saw your post I thought of the Piccup Pram. It was originally created by the designer for himself for the same need you have. And by accounts it has worked really well for him and many others. I have read that it sails better than it rows, but it does row just fine for shorter distances and fishing, not for adventure long distance rowing. It seams to be a good sailing pram, there are two different sail sizes for it, depends on your typical wind speeds and how fast and far you want to go. I bought the plans years ago but never built it. I did have a sail made by duck works to slightly smaller specs and dimensions of smaller piccup sail plan for my sailing canoe, and really like it.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    We get posts like yours all the time, and even have a bit of a joke about 'em - "I want a boat that can be cartopped, carries 4 and sleeps 2, can circumnavigate, and...oh yeah, cost under $200"...

    Biggest issue is the weight, as even the Piccup Pram (a great design and sails quite well) will be a beast to load and unload. If your back is strong and health insurance paid up, give it a try. But most of us go for trailers as it makes storage, launching and retrieving much quicker, easier and safer.

    Here's a friend's Piccup Pram with three adults aboard, although the sailing would have been tricky if the wind had really kicked up.


    It is a stable design but, just like every small open sailboat, can be taken to extremes. Here I am a few months ago in the same boat, different (smaller) spritsail.
    Last edited by Thorne; 07-05-2017 at 09:40 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  31. #31
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    Thorne I understand what you're talking about. Many people do have unrealistic expectations. As I said in the original post I have no experience with sailing. The little bit I know I've learned from the internet and we all know that the validity of online information can sometimes be quite dubious. I'm not the kind of person to get upset at or disregard information and opinions that don't fit my preconceived notions. If I've come across that way to anyone I sincerely apologize. That is not my intent. I want to know if my goals are realistic or not. I want the best information I can find. I want the opinions of those who have experience and not just theoretical knowledge. I want to be able to make an informed decision. I've seen many designs online that claim to sail and row equally well. After getting input from people with real world experience it seems that such a boat is akin to Bigfoot. Many claim the creature exists but so far it is yet to be actually found. Knowing this I now have to make a decision as to which aspect is more important to me. I really do appreciate all of the advice I've been given and I appreciate all of you folks who've spent years of trial and error learning these thing sharing your knowledge with those of us just starting out.


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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Pretty hard to ignore the merits of a sailing canoe! Sold it off and never built the sail rig. Long skinny boats are easier to load on racks then short fat boats.

    1955 Old Town HW
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  33. #33
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    Denise when I first caught the sailing bug I had thought about a sailing canoe. After many hours of looking at designs and reading forum posts I drifted away from that idea. I'm starting to think that I should go back to it. It would be an easier first build and it would allow me to see if sailing is for me. If I find it is then I can find a sailboat design I like for my second build.


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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    Almost all but the "Laker" types are under a 100 lbs. You could go with an outrigger too.

    The Whitehalls are pretty boats tool Just about any boat you want can be done in strip or stitch and glue plywood.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Questions from a newbie before he jumps in

    I was just joking a bit, your attitude has been great! But as above, try sailing before you build a sailboat. If you don't have rowing experience, try rowing a proper pulling boat, not some awful stern-dragging rental boat that is miserable to row.

    Best of luck and have fun building!


    Quote Originally Posted by DMattingly View Post
    Thorne I understand what you're talking about. Many people do have unrealistic expectations. As I said in the original post I have no experience with sailing. The little bit I know I've learned from the internet and we all know that the validity of online information can sometimes be quite dubious. I'm not the kind of person to get upset at or disregard information and opinions that don't fit my preconceived notions. If I've come across that way to anyone I sincerely apologize. That is not my intent. I want to know if my goals are realistic or not. I want the best information I can find. I want the opinions of those who have experience and not just theoretical knowledge. I want to be able to make an informed decision. I've seen many designs online that claim to sail and row equally well. After getting input from people with real world experience it seems that such a boat is akin to Bigfoot. Many claim the creature exists but so far it is yet to be actually found. Knowing this I now have to make a decision as to which aspect is more important to me. I really do appreciate all of the advice I've been given and I appreciate all of you folks who've spent years of trial and error learning these thing sharing your knowledge with those of us just starting out.


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

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