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Thread: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

  1. #1
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    Default Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    I am posting this thread again... don't know why it was "closed."

    I purchased a very nice wooden sailboat called a Penrose 16. Please see the photos.

    Very nicely done boat. Has a sprit sail.

    I have searched for information on this design but have found nothing.

    Has anyone heard or know of this design.

    Thanks for any info.

    Hal Nash
    Waldport, Oregon
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Hal,

    I doubt you will find much on the Penrose skiff. Plans were sold in mid to late 90's, not too many sold, lots of other flat bottom skiff plans out there.

    The plans set included 4 related boats: Penrose 15-S, Penrose 15-R, Penrose 13-S and Penrose 13-R. "S" version was slanted more for sailing and the "R" version slanted more for rowing. The plans detailed several construction methods: traditional ply on frame, stich and glue and a "simplified lapstrake". All were sprit rigged. The "R" versions of each carried a bit less sail as they were narrower.

    I actually have the first Penrose 15-S built. Mine is traditional ply on frame with marine fir ply and fir(?) frames. Hull is epoxy/glass sheathed, inside was epoxy coated only until a few years ago when checking convinced me to strip and epoxy/glass the interior bottom. Except for spars, mine is painted, so not as pretty/striking as yours.

    Have used it most recently on our small lake and it worked very well for our conditions (not presently not being used due shoulder injury...). The lake has 3 low clearance bridges, so the easy to ship sprit rig is handy. The lake is narrow with several areas more like a canal (well actually most of the lake is like a canal being only ~ 1/3 mile wide and the widest...) so rowing to get under the bridges and thru the narrow parts. She sails about as you would expect from a general purpose flat bottom boat, in that is she is responsive and sails OK but will not be match to a semi-modern sail only boat. Pretty much the same for rowing, OK but not a match to a boat meant for rowing. Also note that that she's really best in protected water and doesn't much like waves, particularly rowing into them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Good looking craft, with a bit of weight to make it stable by the looks of it. And in first class condition.

    WB reader since issue #1 and only 21 posts.
    You show admirable restraint.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Thank you both for the comments. I've had her out twice now on a small lake. I really like the simplicity of the sprit rig and she sails nicely.

    I can sit on the rear cockpit seats or sit on the bottom... both quite comfortable positions.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Nice little boat! Looks like that's a boomless spritsail? Or is there a boom? I think I only see a sprit and mast, and no other spars--and it's very common for these little spritsails to be rigged without a boom.

    If it is a boomless rig, you should really change up the mainsheet arrangement. It looks like the boat is set up with a cam cleat on the centerline for the mainsheet. That's a very common and popular arrangement, but really wreaks havoc on sailing performance with a boomless traditional sail.

    With these sails, the correct sheeting angle is critical, particularly for windward performance. That generally means you have to sheet to a point that's as far aft, AND as far outboard as possible. Centerline sheeting just won't work well, ever, with a rig like this. That might lead you to believe your boat doesn't sail well, when it would actually do very well to windward if sheeted correctly.

    The easiest way to do this is to run a rope traveler over your tiller, and run the sheet through a stainless steel ring that's threaded on the traveler. That will often allow the sheet to slide far enough outboard for a proper sheeting angle.

    Another option is to manually switch the sheet from gunwale to gunwale at each tack--the traditional French misainier sheeting technique. That works really well, too--I use that system in my own boat, which flies a boomless standing lugsail. I hook the sheet block over the same horn cleats that I use for docking (putting the sheet block on a rigid ring makes it easier to hook the cleat--a rope loop tends to fall shut).

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Tom... thanks for the comments. Indeed I have changed the sheeting on the boat to resemble the sheeting on a Melonseed (although the Melonseed has a boom which I do not). The sheet attaches to clew of the sprit sail and then runs back to a block mounted on the tiller. It works pretty well. I've thought about the suggestion you made about setting up a traveler... I think it's also called a bridle that is strung over the tiller. I'll try that out, too.
    Thanks again.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Tom is absolutely correct regarding boomless sail sheeting angles. Ideally the sheet puts more or less even tension on both the foot and leach of the sail.

    All rigs are compromises. The boomless sprit rig stows inside the boat and excels at being a quick to set-up/strike. The biggest con is that it's boomless so is fussy about sheeting angles and will never sheet well when well off the wind. As designed the single sheet is supposed to go around a dumb sheave (or cleat) mounted on each rail about a foot forward of the transom. Tacking requires moving the sheet from the current leeward cleat to the new leeward cleat. Works fine in light and moderate winds, gets real dicey in strong winds.

    I tried several sheeting schemes to solve the "dicey in strong winds" problem, but none were really satisfactory so stayed with the single sheet boomless setup. Tried were: 1. double sheets - worked fine except the slack sheet inevitably draped right over you or the tiller or tangled with your feet, and, 2. sheeting to a block on a traveler - which didn't work well as the angle of the sheet leading to your hand would pull the block back towards the centerline so the sail didn't set particularly well to windward, and 3. adding a boom. - which sail trim/control wise worked great, but on my boat the boom was just too low so needed a longer mast, plus the boom complicated setting and striking the sail, not a lot but too much for my narrow lake/low bridges situation.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    A couple of other options to try in your quest to avoid centerline sheeting (which, of course, includes sheeting to a block on the tiller...)

    Best option: Just get comfortable moving the sheet manually from gunwale to gunwale. It's a very workable system, even in high winds (though care is needed there).

    Or:

    1. A sprit boom. This is rigged higher than a conventional boom, and works great. That said, I don't like using them despite the obvious advantages in sail control--another spar to handle/stow, etc.

    2. A traveler/rope bridle AND the "hook the sheet on the gunwale" options combined--a stainless ring threaded on the traveler, with enough slack in the traveler so that you can also hook the ring over a cleat at the gunwale (I'm assuming the traveler is tied from one cleat to the other, over the tiller). That way, when it's windy or unpredictably gusty, you can tack and gybe without hooking the sheet manually on the new cleat, and your sheet will slide far enough over that it won't be caught on the wrong side after gybing/tacking. Then you can hook it on the cleat (or not) at your leisure. This is especially handy with downwind headings where you might have to run dead downwind (something I try to avoid, but I often run into narrow channels where it's unavoidable) and might gybe frequently.

    3. What I call a "sheet hauler"--basically, you rig a rope traveler over the tiller, with a stainless ring threaded on the traveler. The sheet runs through that ring. But you also tie a light line (1/8" maybe) to the ring. Cow hitch this line so you have tails long enough to reach the gunwales from the center. This is your "sheet hauler" line.

    In action, you tack, and the ring/sheet slides partway over the tiller, but not far enough for good performance. Then, you pull the corresponding tail of the "sheet hauler" so that the ring is pulled all the way outboard for better sheeting angles. A small jam cleat on each gunwale allows you to hold the sheet in place (the line must be released from this cleat at each tack, and the new "sheet hauler" tensioned and cleated.

    This worked fine, but was overly fussy (just like double sheets, but fewer tangles). I've made my peace with manually shifting the sheet from gunwale to gunwale. I think it really is the best method of sheeting boomless sails, overall.

    Finally, as for the comment about "never sheeting well" off the wind, the trick there is to realize that sheeting as well as possible with a boomless rig means not being able to let the sail out much at all. The sail position downwind won't look much different from your sail position on a reach. If you try to let the sail out further than that, the sail twist at the top of the sail will allow the yard/sprit to go forward of the mast. That's very dangerous, and may set up the so-called "death roll" where the boat starts rolling back and forth, violently and very rapidly, until it capsizes.

    That seems like a disadvantage, but in practice, keeping the sail sheeted in more tightly seems to work just fine. Most boats move very well off the wind anyway. And besides, the excessive sail twist that won't allow you to ease the sheet much ALSO provides an automatic safety feature, as the sail will depower by twisting in a a gust.

    Hope some of that is helpful, or at least mildly interesting... I love little boomless sails, but you really do have to sheet them right. Centerline sheeting just won't do.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Penrose 16 sailing/rowing skiff... has anyone heard of this design?

    Do you have any pics/diagrams of the gunwale to gunwale sheet rigging?

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