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Thread: Sail and oar design choice

  1. #1
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    Default Sail and oar design choice

    Hi everyone, it's another one of 'those' threads!

    I'm exploring my options for a boat to build and would like some advice please.

    My situation and expected use
    I'm an experienced canoer but relatively novice rower and sailer. I'm looking for a boat that will take me (a strong guy in my 30s) and my wife and 2 small children up and down gentle rivers in the UK. I'm not expecting to ever go onto open water or significant chop.
    It'd be daytrips most of the time, with possible overnight camping in tame locations and only in mild weather (i.e. not much kit needed). The boat will be stored under cover.

    Essentials
    • Cartoppable (a trailer is impossible for me).
    • Pretty. Must be clinker/lapstrake (glued ply) with wineglass transom. I'm only going to build a boat that I think is beautiful - it's too much effort otherwise.
    • Space for 1 adult rower, and 1 adult + 2 child passengers. We're used to and comfortable enough squeezing into a 15' canoe so it doesn't need to be huge.


    Desirable
    • Decent stability (My wife isn't the most confident in a boat and the small children will throw themselves around!)
    • Pleasant to row (doesn't need to be super fast but don't want it to be a brick)
    • Option to sail (again, it doesn't need to be high-performance as we're only pootling about. It's also important that it's not tender if the wind picks up a bit)


    Boats I've shortlisted
    My search has suggested that something in the 14' to 17' range would be suitable and that it'll need to be something very light to be cartoppable. I'm assuming I'll need to go for 6mm (or possibly even 4mm) ply with minimal internal structure to keep the weight down.

    I've considered/am considering:
    • Iain Oughtred Acorn 15' (reputedly tippy)
    • Eric Hvalsoe HV16 (this was my leading option after Rich Jones' thread on the smaller HV13 but he and Eric have advised that it might be too heavy to cartop, but I can't find a weight for it in 6mm ply)
    • Duck Trap wherry
    • Christmas wherry
    • Pygmy wineglass wherry
    • Chester Yawl (think this might be a bit small and no sailing option)
    • Selway fisher 14' Thames Skiff (no sailing)



    Any suggestions, comments or advice would be very welcome. I've slightly reluctantly started to conclude that a boat of that size with sufficient structural strength and all the gubbins for sailing but remaining light enough to cartop is an impossible combination but I'd love to be proved wrong!
    Last edited by Rabs; 09-04-2020 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Hi and welcome!

    Any of those will do!

    Here's the rub: most of those boats are +/-500 hours to build. What does that translate to in years given your current life schedule?
    Not that you have to rush....but those little kids will grow fast and you may find you require a larger boat before you finish the one that's right for you today.

    Just something to consider.

    Again...welcome!

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 09-04-2020 at 04:37 PM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabs View Post

    • Cartoppable (a trailer is impossible for me).



    • Space for 1 adult rower, and 1 adult + 2 child passengers. We're used to and comfortable enough squeezing into a 15' canoe so it doesn't need to be huge.

    Any suggestions, comments or advice would be very welcome. I've slightly reluctantly started to conclude that a boat of that size with sufficient structural strength and all the gubbins for sailing but remaining light enough to cartop is an impossible combination but I'd love to be proved wrong!

    4 persons, even if two of them are small, in a cartop-able boat, within your specified design criteria, is pretty much impossible.


    There are few ways around this. You either get creative with your car-top rig, as in, create a large enough rack and a mechanism that helps you get it up and down. Or, you get away from your traditional wineglass hull and look at something more unusual, like a punt, garvey, or even a catamaran of sorts.

    Being in the UK, I suggest you look at the Mirror dinghy, which seems to be a popular racing and cruising dinghy over there.

    Cheers
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I think your reluctant conclusion is likely to be correct.Unless you are a weightlifter,any of those designs will be far from easy to cartop.Isn't there a smaller Acorn?It might be better for weight but would have less space and less stability though.For cartopping you might do better to look at boats in the Mirror/Heron/Gull style.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Or is there a possibility of foregoing lapstrake, and finding a skin on frame design that might be made to work? Hard to fit 4 people in ANY small boat light enough to cartop, I'm afraid...

    Tom
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I agree that a wooden boat that will carry four won't be friendly to cartop. I think a skin-on-frame boat is the most reasonable option, and they can look very traditional.

    I wonder if you could put a simple sail rig on DGentry's Gunning Dory. Capacious and light enough to hoist up onto a roof rack. And hey, the whole family could row together if each kid had one oar.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    A good friend in Alaska used to take some really fun trips with his wife and two young sons using their Grumman, aluminum square stern canoe. They only used it with paddles, no motor. It is light enough (about 130 pounds, as I remember) to car top. It's not wood but it's practical. They didn't sail nor did they want to. Used the way they did, the boat was virtually indestructible and maintenance free. It allowed for worry free fun.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    How about forum member ( http://forum.woodenboat.com/member.p...9-Bruce-Taylor ) Bruce Taylor's Blackfly dinghy 14' x 4', 4 sheets of 4mm, stripped weight 80 lbs. I had a cast around on the site but the only real information I can find is this http://gia-inc.ca/boats/gia.php

    A quick google turned up the plans here http://www.tdem.nz/blackfly , tdem is also a forum member
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/member.php?22472-tdem

    Nick
    Last edited by NickW; 09-05-2020 at 03:14 PM. Reason: sp

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I love the look of the Blackfly design--a great little boat that I've considered for years--and it's certainly cartoppable. But the OP calls for 2 adults and 2 children. A 14' boat with a 4' beam? I think the Blackfly's a stretch to fill those requirements. To be honest, I'm not sure they really CAN be fulfilled.

    Tom
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions. Just responding to a few of the questions asked:

    To aid with cartopping I'm very happy to build something like this, as BBSebens suggested:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIy3toNmUJQ
    or:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3e61xCQzKg
    Any then use a dolly to get to the water.

    With a mechanism like one of those I'm confident that I'll be able to manoeuver any boat up to my car's max roof loading of 70kg (155lb). Lighter is obviously preferred but I'm open to considering any boat up to that limit.

    If I could get confidence that the HV16 could be built under that limit I'd probably have already started but I can't find a way to estimate the weight after converting it to glued ply and the only person who's done that (Rich Jones, linked above) wasn't able to estimate what his HV13 weighs.

    Thanks for the suggestion of a sailing dinghy like the Mirror. We'll be rowing most of the time with sailing being a 'nice to have' option, so I think I'd prefer to have something that's more at the rowboat end of the spectrum than the sailing end. The Blackfly looks interesting because it looks slim enough to be fairly easy to row. I'll investigate that one further.

    Skin-on-frame: It's a good suggestion that I hadn't considered, thanks! I'm not mad on the aesthetic but it sounds like I've got to compromise somewhere and that might be the best option if it lets me have the other things on my list.

    On the point of having enough space for 2adults +2children: we're used to squeezing into a 15', ~3' beam canoe and are comfortable enough for a few hours mucking about on the river. Almost any of the boats we're considering would be an upgrade in terms of space! Once the smallies get big enough to be a problem we'll chuck them out into their own kayaks which will leave just my wife and I in this boat.

    Thanks very much everyone - any further comments or suggestions very welcome!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    If you scaled this up 15% it might work. I built one a foot shorter, rows wonderfully, but if i were to build another I'd enlarge it



    http://scottsboatpages.blogspot.com/...-periagua.html
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    As above, Skin On Frame (SOF) designs can look very traditional, with lightweight solid wood used for inwale, outwale and other structural pieces that are what everyone sees and touches in the boat. Woxbox has picked a great design, and there are others to consider. The limitation is one of size -- larger SOF sailboats suffer from excessive flex issues that require more weight to resolve, hitting a point where more standard light ply works better.

    I've done a LOT of cartopping, mostly canoes but some with my Cosine Wherry and CLC Eastport Pram, and it can often be a challenge depending on wind, weather and driving conditions. I'm assuming you've got a heavy enough vehicle to safely handle the wind load (i.e. not get blown into the next lane during gusts)? Remember that if your roof rack cross bars attach to fore and aft rails on top of the vehicle, those rails have a pressure / weight limit after which they break off the roof. If your cross bars clamp on to the top of the doorframes, those clamp pieces can bend or fail -- just saw a Facebook post from an experienced cartopper with multiple boats who had that happen.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    As above, Skin On Frame (SOF) designs can look very traditional, with lightweight solid wood used for inwale, outwale and other structural pieces that are what everyone sees and touches in the boat. Woxbox has picked a great design, and there are others to consider. The limitation is one of size -- larger SOF sailboats suffer from excessive flex issues that require more weight to resolve, hitting a point where more standard light ply works better.
    Hi Thorne, very helpful post, thank you. Your comment about SOF vs ply for larger boats is interesting, what size would you say is the crossover point where ply starts winning out?

    I've done a LOT of cartopping, mostly canoes but some with my Cosine Wherry and CLC Eastport Pram, and it can often be a challenge depending on wind, weather and driving conditions. I'm assuming you've got a heavy enough vehicle to safely handle the wind load (i.e. not get blown into the next lane during gusts)? Remember that if your roof rack cross bars attach to fore and aft rails on top of the vehicle, those rails have a pressure / weight limit after which they break off the roof. If your cross bars clamp on to the top of the doorframes, those clamp pieces can bend or fail -- just saw a Facebook post from an experienced cartopper with multiple boats who had that happen.
    also very encouraging that you cartop your cosine wherry - that's very similar size to the boats that I'm looking at (in fact, I might add it to my list!) so gives me some confidence that I'm not barking mad.
    I'll be putting it on a 1.5 tonne audi a4 avant, with roof bars like this:

    Then tied down to hardpoints fore and aft (as well as over the bars). I've been taking my 15' canoe quite happily with this arrangement for many years. The new boat will have a bit more front windage, being ~1' wider but the side profile will be basically the same and the stability of the car has always been absolutely fine, even in wind.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Rabs...there seems to be a car in your boat shed? That will also do for a 18-20fter on a trailer. Are you making sure the space remains clear? Good man.

    Being realistic...a couple of years to build...your kids are going to be bigger and heavier even if you build it quick...your going to need a fair size boat to accomodate 2 adults and two mid sized kids. You're doing well with your canoe...you could build a bigger canoe like a Bear Mountain Freedom 18 for the interim, build 4 paddleboards, or plan well ahead and build a decent safe family day sailer like a Viver Ilur, Welsford Navigator or Scamp.

    If you're after rowing, you're looking at 16ft waterline minimimum, ideally towards 18-20ft to also give the space for 4 people and some gear. Your going to need to locate two people rowing either side of the center for balance, and two kids or adults spaced into the ends. Taking it out solo you might need a loose thwart right in the middle and an extra oarlock station central. At this length you'd go transom stern to give some hip space for those sat aft and a high transom so it doens't immerse at full loading and double ended on the waterline. If you've got the LOA in that garage a double ender fore and aft will give the best ride quality and dryness forward over a short upright stem at the expense of a little more windage.

    The boat will have an inter oarlock beam of about 5ft for normal rowing give or take, a bit less for kids to row but they're going to grow into it or can row side by side. Will that fit on your roof bars? If not your going to need a narrower boat accross the gunwale and some outriggers which aren't cheap.

    Unfortunately a boat with enough length and narrowish waterline beam to row with 4 with much aplomb, is likely going to be too heavy to car top easily, though you won't be doing it on your own I guess you might manage it. It won't be particularly stable either and will be a downwind sailer with a small rig, unless you make it flatter and stiffer for sailing which then makes it a bit slower for rowing. Make it light enough by being short and narrow and it's going to be cramped, low in the water and slower.

    I'd say you should build a Vivier Ilur from a kit quickly in that garage then keep it in there on a trailer. It rows well enough, is stiff under sail and is excellent for inshore work. Safe too in a capsize for a family boat or when later your adventuresome kids take it out. It's quite roomy, with high freeboard and good stability. Design displacement is for more than two people. If your certain that you want a rower, the Oughtred Acorn skiff spaced out to 17ft will be a pretty good boat, but possibly a bit cramped before long. It'll be tipsy under sail and easily downflood under press in a gust if your not carefull with people sat to leeward whch becomes unavoidable 4 up. In my experience you really want stiffness and freeboard in a family boat with a rig in the UK, and with two people rowing you could use a fatter stiffer boat and still row Ok and have a better sailer. The Ilur is a good, safe, jack of all trades with excellent resale - you'll get more than your money back, the kit from Jordan boats just slots together (even the jig): no head scratching which you don't have time for.

    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 09-07-2020 at 05:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Ilur is a great boat. And that picture really shows how length alone is not a reliable measure of boat size. At "only" 14' 8" this is a far bigger boat than my 18' Alaska. Obviously no problems handling 2 adults and 2 children, or probably even 4 adults.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I built my Ilur in just under 11 months, while working. It is indeed a great boat if you have space to stow a trailer. I would recommend the Ilur or Scamp for another reason—they are very well mannered boats which would be wonderful for children to learn to sail, and capable enough for camping and dinghy cruising if curiosity takes the OP’s family in that direction.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    The boomless rig (with or without a sprit boom) is also a great feature for sailing with children and non-sailors in general.

    Tom
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    The Audi A4 roof rack appears to be limited to a 75kg load. Not that much once you start looking at wood boats for two adults and two children (who have a tendency to grow bigger over time). I've put a lot of stuff on roof racks over the years, it can get awkward pretty quick. Long and skinny like your canoe is pretty easy, beamy gets tough but your family can help. My dad taught me to sail in a Sabot, the first part of the adventure was always loading it on top of our little Datsun 510 stationwagon. I learned a lot about tying stuff down too.

    I think SOF is probably a good direction, at least until your family grows to point where a trailer has to move from the "impossible" to the "necessary" column.
    Steve

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    Rabs...there seems to be a car in your boat shed? That will also do for a 18-20fter on a trailer. Are you making sure the space remains clear? Good man.
    Sadly, that picture isn't my garage and car - it was just a photo I found on the web in response to a question earlier in the thread to show the type of roof rack that I'll be using.
    I really, absolutely definitely, 100% cannot have a trailer so sadly any plan that involves something as large as the Ilur (245kg!) is definitely out. It looks like a lovely boat though!


    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    The Audi A4 roof rack appears to be limited to a 75kg load. Not that much once you start looking at wood boats for two adults and two children (who have a tendency to grow bigger over time). I've put a lot of stuff on roof racks over the years, it can get awkward pretty quick. Long and skinny like your canoe is pretty easy, beamy gets tough but your family can help. My dad taught me to sail in a Sabot, the first part of the adventure was always loading it on top of our little Datsun 510 stationwagon. I learned a lot about tying stuff down too.

    I think SOF is probably a good direction, at least until your family grows to point where a trailer has to move from the "impossible" to the "necessary" column.
    That's right: 75kg max and probably better to undershoot that given wind load has to be factored in on top of that. The boats I've shortlisted are all about 4' beam, so a bit wider than my canoe (3'), but not massive. Agree that slimmer is probably better (and easier to row). My wife will just have to get used to it being a bit less stable!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I'll strongly suggest you add one of these to your car to help carry the weight and stabilize the load. Some are designed to make getting the boat onto the roof easier too. One method is a big wide roller, the other is a pivoting clamp. Boat upside down, behind the car, facing away from the car, you lift up the stern and set it in the clamp, tighten it up. Then pick up the bow and walk it around to the front of the car and slide it onto the forward rack. With two on the job, each is only lifting about 1/4 the weight of the boat at any moment.

    -Dave

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Thanks for the suggestion, that does look very handy - what is it called and where does one buy it? I've tried a few searches on google for combinations of boat, support, roof and towbar but couldn't find it.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Search "hitch mount boat support" and you'll get some hits. Yakima, Thule and Rhino-Rack make them, among others. I could not find a manufacturer of one that offers the swivel deal. But that's something that would be easy enough to put together yourself if it's not made these days. These units are nothing more than square steel tubing that fits the hitch receiver. A couple of cuts and welds and you have one. A simple sketch taken to a metal shop would be enough, and then you could get the exact height you need to line up on your car with the fixed factory rack placement.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    I agree that a wooden boat that will carry four won't be friendly to cartop. I think a skin-on-frame boat is the most reasonable option, and they can look very traditional.

    I wonder if you could put a simple sail rig on DGentry's Gunning Dory. Capacious and light enough to hoist up onto a roof rack. And hey, the whole family could row together if each kid had one oar.

    If you are going to look into that, why not his melonseed? http://gentrycustomboats.com/Melonseed.html
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Search "hitch mount boat support" and you'll get some hits. Yakima, Thule and Rhino-Rack make them, among others. I could not find a manufacturer of one that offers the swivel deal. But that's something that would be easy enough to put together yourself if it's not made these days. These units are nothing more than square steel tubing that fits the hitch receiver. A couple of cuts and welds and you have one. A simple sketch taken to a metal shop would be enough, and then you could get the exact height you need to line up on your car with the fixed factory rack placement.

    One fairly significant obstacle in that plan;the OP is based in the UK and our cars don't have the hitch receiver that seems to be universal in the USA.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Dad used a Karitek to get his sailing canoes up onto his car.



    There's a dinghy park (usually several) up every river in the UK. Upto a 130kg dinghy can be trolley'd in and out alone. I pay 200/ yr, though i do bring it back in winter as I don't want other boats blowing over and damaging it.

    Bigger than that quite a few people seem to store the boats on trailers in the boatyard year round and just drive down from London and launch them for summer holidays here. Boats like Crabber 16's and even Romilly's. They just dry sail them off the trailer from the yard. Moving it every year if you live somewhere central would also be a pretty good way of seeing the British coastline and many estuary's provided you researched the tide and shallows. I wouldn't compromise your ideal boat for car topping. Anything more than a kayak and it's unpleasant. I car top a Bangor Packet and it's on the limit for me. Currently trying to get a trailer for it.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 09-09-2020 at 03:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    One fairly significant obstacle in that plan;the OP is based in the UK and our cars don't have the hitch receiver that seems to be universal in the USA.

    only our trucks and SUVs have them universally. You would have to have them added to the any cars or estates, either from the dealer or shop that sells or rents trailers like Uhual.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    You could order and install a US receiver if you don't tow with it. These guys may have a UK -> US receiver adapter of some kind. Don't know if it would pass MOT, mind you... http://www.bak-rak.com/


    I have the canoe loader shown above, but replaced the short horizontal bar with a longer stainless steel one, with bolts through each end to keep the gunwales from sliding off. Works great for just loading from the back, not trying any silly pivot stuff.

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    I'm fairly sure any part would need to be CE marked.A bit of professional looking modification of a bicycle carrier might be a bit easier to arrange.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sail and oar design choice

    An Acorn 15 would be cartoppable if you build the hull in 4mm occoume and the solid wood with selected deal. Use water containers for ballast after launching against tippynes. Twarths not in solid wood hut with framing. Frank
    www.oarandsail.nl

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