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Thread: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    Default Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Hi everyone,

    I've always wanted to build a little sailboat, and I was hoping the assistance of the wealth of knowledge available on this forum to guide me in my decision making.

    I'm planning on using the boat to learn to sail in (having done probably 15 hours in my life, loved it), and for inshore pottering around in the local bays and lakes. Racing isn't really my cup of tea at the moment; if I decide to go there I'll cross that bridge then. I would like to be able to carry a second person safely if possible, but it is likely to be used mostly singlehanded. Money isn't really an issue, obviously I don't want to never finish it because of expense, but I'd much rather invest in quality materials. Beach launching is preferred, but there is no requirement for car-topping. Speed is not that important to me. I'm of the opinion that I should be looking about the 10' mark.

    I'm fairly practically minded and have experience working with tools and power tools, but not a lot of woodworking experience. (I'm 21, so not a huge amount of life experience either). With that in mind I am of the opinion it is better to start off with a manageable project that I am sure I can and will complete in a timely manner, even if that means compromises. I would just buy a used dinghy, but I want to gain some skills and I would like a constructive project going into winter. (EDIT: I should explain, I live in New Zealand, hence the coming winter). I have access to space and tools, as well as in-person advice.

    I've trawled the internet for several weeks picking out plans I think may be suitable (and being disctracted by beautiful boats well above my skill level along the way), and have a few ideas for designs.

    I started off by stumbling across the Graefin 10, a very early Stitch and Glue pram from a popular mechanics magazine. I'm sure it would function fine, but free stuff is generally worth what you pay for it, and I'm sure in the 40+ years since that plan, stitch and glue technology and design has progressed.

    So, continueing on my quest I have also found the Argie 10, Spindrift 10, and the Duo Sailing Dinghy, and I'm leaning towards the Argie at this point.

    So my question for you all is, how well are these boats suited to my intended use? And, do you have any other suggestions for plans?
    Last edited by _Connor_; 02-05-2018 at 04:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Salem, MA
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    147

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    _Connor_
    Add to your list the underappreciated OzGoose by Michael Storer. https://www.facebook.com/groups/opengoose/

    His plans are well know to be more like a small boat building course for small boats - extremely detailed.

    The Open Goose FB forum provide endless and very experienced advice - 24/7

    Dead simple, most economic, light and easy to transport - and fast.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=uO0B5p7iTjE

    PS...
    this little youtube showing practicing capsize recovery with kids will tell you a lot about the boats
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=doPL-fE-O3c


    All the best,
    Tom151
    Last edited by tom151; 02-05-2018 at 05:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
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    15,143

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Models. Build models first. Build models of em all!
    2 inches to the foot.Artists matt board. It acts like quarter inch ply at that scale.
    bruce

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
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    2,553

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    First thought: John Welsford has a number of small boats that might be suitable and (second thought) as a New Zealander (Kiwi?) he might be able to line you up with a kit.

    Kits, while derided by some are IMO a great way for someone to dip their toe into the wonderful world of boatbuilding/woodworking without getting too worked up over getting each plank shaped just-right. Clint Chase over on our east coast does great work too. Iain Oughtred is another top-notch designer with enough popularity to have some kits available. Shipping can be a big dollar obstacle which is why finding a local source is helpful.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    4

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Thanks Tom151, I have added it to the list. She's definitely an unusual vessel, but seems to fit it's intended purpose very well.

    Wizbang, thanks for the advice, that sounds like a very good idea. The only thing is I don't own the plans yet. Is it the done thing to build models without plans?

    Stromborg, Thanks for your reply. I have come across both John Welsford's designs, they look very pretty, and I have briefly read Iain's book about Clinker plywood construction. As much as I like them I'm certain it's too big of a project to attempt first time from plans, so I will look into some kits.
    Last edited by _Connor_; 02-05-2018 at 05:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Oriental, NC USA
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    4,692

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Both Spindrift and Argie are designed by sailor/designers who know what works and what does not. Dudley is from South Africa and Graham is from Australia although both now live nearby on the USA Atlantic coast. Either will sail well for a 10 footer. I much prefer the interior layout of the Spindrift for both useful and structural reasons.
    Tom L

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Thanks Tom, that's part of what drew me to both designs, particularly the Argie. I agree with your sentiments about the internal layout, I can see why both designers have chosen their respective layout, the Argie is definitely a more straightforward design, where as the Spindrift is objectively better, at the price of complexity.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by _Connor_ View Post
    Thanks Tom, that's part of what drew me to both designs, particularly the Argie. I agree with your sentiments about the internal layout, I can see why both designers have chosen their respective layout, the Argie is definitely a more straightforward design, where as the Spindrift is objectively better, at the price of complexity.

    The apparent complexity is just that, only apparent. Built boats both ways and think the Spindrift interior is actually simpler by the time you fit all the pieces necessary to match the weight and strength characteristics. Plus one has fully recoverable ability from a capsize with little water inside and the other does not.
    Tom L

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
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    16,702

    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Joel White redesigned a Herreshoff Pram for plywood construction. It comes in two sizes, the 9’6” one is really fun to sail with one or two and makes a great yacht tender, too.
    Plans from the WoodenBoat Store.


    09EAFEEE-FD2D-40E2-99BE-71A2EB0955C0.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Design Opinions for a First-Build Sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    The apparent complexity is just that, only apparent. Built boats both ways and think the Spindrift interior is actually simpler by the time you fit all the pieces necessary to match the weight and strength characteristics. Plus one has fully recoverable ability from a capsize with little water inside and the other does not.
    Ok, that's worth bearing in mind. I'm guessing there's an extra sheet of plywood used in the chine bulkheads and the extra decking/seating. I do like the idea of being able to sit against the gunwales.



    Thank you Steven for your input, I'll look into the pram.

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