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Thread: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

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    Default Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    A friend of mine is abandoning a project and I'm considering taking it over. Some years ago he started Calypso, a 17' rowing dory from Atkin and Co and got pretty far along with it. He's a very accomplished boat builder with a lot of experience in traditional building methods so all the work that's been done is really done right. At this point there is strongback; keel, stem, transom assembled; frames ready to attach to the keel plank and good okoume plywood for the planks.
    My dilemma, aside from the fact that there's still a major project ahead, is figuring out whether this would make a seaworthy sail and oar camping boat for the Texas coast or hauling to the cruising grounds in the PNW. Daggerboard and rudder wouldn't be hard to design and I have a 105 sq ft balanced lug rig and small mizzen that should make for a suitable sail plan. The narrow dory bottom would be great for rowing, even given the weight of a traditionally built boat, but would the hull form be a little tender for sailing in substantial wind and chop? It seems to me that most of the sail and oar hulls have rounder bottoms and more bilge, but there may be a few examples in the dory style. Though the traditional open-boat, thwart seat design is quite lovely, would it make sense to consider adding some decking and coaming to help keep things dry in lumpy sailing conditions?
    Thoughts?

    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Calypso is more of a dory-skiff, with a wider transom and more fullness aft. Even so, this dory will be tender and require quick reefing and careful sailing in a breeze. 105 feet of sail would be a bit much for this hull and the mizzen would best be left ashore. You will need a simple rig that is quickly doused.

    The Jon Dory from WB has multiple rig options if you need some examples of sail area for a dory of this size.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Also have a look at the dory designs and specs for the boats from Chesapeake Light Craft and Clint Chase boat building. I've salled along with one of Clint's 17 footers which is quite capable. Lug rigged and optimized for quick reefing.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    Calypso is more of a dory-skiff, with a wider transom and more fullness aft. Even so, this dory will be tender and require quick reefing and careful sailing in a breeze. 105 feet of sail would be a bit much for this hull and the mizzen would best be left ashore. You will need a simple rig that is quickly doused.

    The Jon Dory from WB has multiple rig options if you need some examples of sail area for a dory of this size.
    Good information. I also have an 89 sq ft balanced lug and that seems like a more appropriate size, based on some comparisons. Both my lug sails have 2 reef points. My mizzen is quite small and would only be useful for sail balance and weather-cocking when the main is eased or dropped. Maybe more trouble than it's worth. I definitely agree about the need for simplicity and ease of sail handling. The single balanced lug could be down in the boat and out of the wind in a matter of literally a couple of seconds. It definitely appeals to me as the best rig for a boat like this.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    I sailed a dory skiff of similar dimensions, but a bit bigger 18'9" by 6'6" iirc. I don't remember the sail area, but she had a sprit main, a mizzen and a jib, plenty. The hull was light enough for two strong men to lift, and a bit tender. Some ballast settled her down. I also built a low bench seat to put my weight in the bottom center for lighter breezes. I never sailed her in open water, Long Island Sound in a fresh breeze though. I had no fear of capsize or shipping water. Sometimes she was fast, she was always fun.
    Keep us posted if you proceed.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    For Sail & Oar cruising in the PNW, a mizzen is absolutely worth it.

    Adding a sail rig to an old row boat that wasn't intended for it is another thing.


    I think its a worthwhile project; even if its not a great sailor you still have a nice row boat.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    For this very cool design, 89 SF of sail would be absolute max with a very well tuned reefing method in place. Probably would want a reef by 10 knots.
    I've always like this boat.
    Clinton B. Chase
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    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton B Chase View Post
    For this very cool design, 89 SF of sail would be absolute max with a very well tuned reefing method in place. Probably would want a reef by 10 knots.
    I've always like this boat.
    Thanks for the input, Clint. Your thoughts on this particular boat carry plenty of weight as this style and hull form seem right in your wheelhouse.
    In terms of a project, it has a lot of appeal and it could definitely find its way into my shop. As a camp-cruiser for either the Texas 200 or the Salish 100 though, it seems that it may fall short in some important ways, all things considered. For the windy conditions on the Texas bays (10 knots routinely and up to 20+ knot very often), it could be a handful to keep on its feet and while it might sail and row just fine in the PNW, the tenderness and slightly limited volume that go along with the narrow bottom/wide garboard combination could make it less than idea for camping aboard at anchor.
    If I end up taking it on and building it out, I suspect that it may live out its life as a row-only picnic cruiser on the local lakes.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    You can go as big as you can lift up in and out of the partners as long as you can reef it a heartbeat. I often think of my 120sq ft balance lug as a +1 that I use up to 10-11 knots or so, then I single reef down to a standard 100sq ft or so for use between 12-16 knots. For 17+ knots I'm usually at 2 reefs. At 23-25+ knots I need three reefs (plus one in the mizzen) so I tend to get off the water and sit on the beach until I can make another decision about how to spend my day. I could probably stay out longer if I had a second person who was capable of helping out, but providing all the muscle plus all the brain can be taxing in too much wind.

    It takes me about a 90 seconds to three minutes or so to reef at one or two points, but by the time we hit three reefs I'm usually catching my breath and staring at the whitecaps while thinking "this is dumb, let's call it a day."
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    You can go as big as you can lift up in and out of the partners as long as you can reef it a heartbeat. I often think of my 120sq ft balance lug as a +1 that I use up to 10-11 knots or so, then I single reef down to a standard 100sq ft or so for use between 12-16 knots. For 17+ knots I'm usually at 2 reefs. At 23-25+ knots I need three reefs (plus one in the mizzen) so I tend to get off the water and sit on the beach until I can make another decision about how to spend my day. I could probably stay out longer if I had a second person who was capable of helping out, but providing all the muscle plus all the brain can be taxing in too much wind.

    It takes me about a 90 seconds to three minutes or so to reef at one or two points, but by the time we hit three reefs I'm usually catching my breath and staring at the whitecaps while thinking "this is dumb, let's call it a day."
    What boat are you sailing? A balance lug of 120 sq ft is pretty hefty.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Tim's boat is a Hvalsoe 18, which I think represents the current pinnacle of transom-sterned Sail & Oar boats.

    https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/hvalsoe-18/
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Hahaha, I like to think of her as the Industry Standard(TM).

    I think my greater point is that you can have a large sail plan on a sail & oar boat as long as you can handle the weight of the rig when lifting and/or dropping the rig AND as long as you can reef it easily. Large rigs allow for better light air performance, which for us in the Salish Sea is extremely helpful. Here the wind can go from light to YIKES in short order and then back to middling. Rigs with stays or lazy-jacks, and rigs that are tough to reef (sprit sail, for instance) are less than optimal for my specific needs. YMMV.

    Lots of other considerations, but it's also important that hull has the necessary stability for you to be able to hustle forward and aft to do what needs to be done.
    Last edited by Yeadon; 12-09-2021 at 02:03 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by BBSebens View Post
    Tim's boat is a Hvalsoe 18, which I think represents the current pinnacle of transom-sterned Sail & Oar boats.

    https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/hvalsoe-18/
    That's what I was thinking...one of the more "proper" Sail and Oar models. Only a foot or so longer than Calypso but probably twice the boat in terms of volume, capacity and seaworthiness.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Hahaha, I like to think of her as the Industry Standard(TM).

    I think my greater point is that you can have a large sail plan on a sail & oar boat as long as you can handle the weight of the rig when lifting and/or dropping the rig AND as long as you can reef it easily. Large rigs allow for better light air performance, which for us in the Salish Sea is extremely helpful. Here the wind can go from light to YIKES in short order and then back to middling. Rigs with stays or lazy-jacks, and rigs that are tough to reef (sprit sail, for instance) are less than optimal for my specific needs. YMMV.

    Lots of other considerations, but it's also important that hull has the necessary stability for you to be able to hustle forward and aft to do what needs to be done.
    Yes, that moving forward and aft part is what's probably most troubling about Calypso for "expeditioning". I think its narrow bottom and tendency toward initial tippiness could make things problematic when standing or when moving about under duress. I don't doubt that a good load of camping gear and provisions stowed under the thwarts would settle it down quite a bit but all in all, it seems best to respect the realistic limitations of this hull form and this particular design.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Below is a photo and I hope readable text of a Bolger Gull dory that successfully rowed/sailed 200 miles in Puget Sound; Port Townsend to Olympia and back.

    IMG_2516.jpg

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?



    The 5'5 beam on a 17ft LOA with a bit of transom should help it stand up to some sail. Depends on wether you think you should be rowing upto F1 rather than sailing, solo or with a mate for ballast, and you're ambient conditions you prefer to go out in. Ballpark maybe 85 sqft balanced lug? Only 14 inches freeboard amidships but that vertical gunwale should help to keep the water out when heeled.

    I'd prob just stick the rig in that you have first and see how it goes (it's about a reef's worth of extra sail you've got at 10 sqm). It'd be fine for light airs and just need reefing down and make sure there's ballast in there to help.

    It's beamier than a 18ft x 4'8" John Dory (similar bilge shape) to compare...

    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 12-10-2021 at 07:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    John, If you do build it, you can try out my 75 sqft Balanced Lug on it. See how that feels compared to your 105 footer. It may not need much especially while down at the coast. Maybe something in-between like Edward and Clint suggested. Looks like a decent row-sail option, since its on the lighter side may be easier while hauling it up the beach. I sail used a balanced lug on a sailing canoe, no going forward or aft on that, all work and reefing can be done from kneeling in the center. As I am sure you know.

    An off-the-shelf OcGoose 89 sqft. sail could be a good option.
    https://duckworks.com/rss-ozgoose-ozracer-sail/
    Last edited by Matt young; 12-10-2021 at 01:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    The Deblois St Dory uses a 90 SF standing lug and it flies


    I am not comfortable sharing the lines plan, but I will show the body plan with bottom width
    Clinton B. Chase
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Just a thought, but the photo and link below show a Flint rowboat with a very simple sail rig for reaching and running. This one uses the leeward oar for lateral resistance and the windward oar for steering. The sail is simple crab claw or lateen. I bring this up because no centerboard or rudder is used, and the sail rig is simple and easily handled. The builder camp cruised extensively and reports the rig works much better than you would think, and the rowing function isn't compromised. Since the sails, spars, and appendages often take as long to build as the basic hull, this would get you on the water in half the time.

    I'm intrigued with the idea myself, but if you're looking to build a proper row/sail boat, this isn't it.

    https://alecmorganrowboat.tumblr.com/page/9

    tumblr_lttrcydubI1r3ecieo1_500.jpg

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Crabclaws are really cool. That skiff looks like a blast.

    I used to cruise a Matinicus peapod outfitted with a spirt sail. She was also a bit of a "reacher", as in she could reach and run with great efficiency but that was about it. We could go to windward okay but never well. So when the wind would really get to popping I'd tend to drop the spritsail and take to the oars. Under oars a little boat can point better than any sailboat anywhere, anytime.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    Just a thought, but the photo and link below show a Flint rowboat with a very simple sail rig for reaching and running. This one uses the leeward oar for lateral resistance and the windward oar for steering. The sail is simple crab claw or lateen. I bring this up because no centerboard or rudder is used, and the sail rig is simple and easily handled. The builder camp cruised extensively and reports the rig works much better than you would think, and the rowing function isn't compromised. Since the sails, spars, and appendages often take as long to build as the basic hull, this would get you on the water in half the time.

    I'm intrigued with the idea myself, but if you're looking to build a proper row/sail boat, this isn't it.

    https://alecmorganrowboat.tumblr.com/page/9
    Flint is a great little boat and with a proper sail rig is very able in any wind. One was used on the Texas 200 at least once. It's weakness showed up in a tendency to swamp in a bad chop when fully loaded with a week's worth of gear and provisions. It's a killer boat for day sailing or overnighting but I'd feel a lot more secure with more volume and more capability in a bit of a seaway. I designed and built a 14 footer that's pretty much in the same class as Flint and while I'd feel very safe in it on a lake or even some inshore waters, it's just lacking capacity and freeboard to be the boat to trust on a longer expedition or in any rough conditions. A boat like Calypso, OTOH, has a lot of the characteristics and capability of the "real" Sail and Oar boats but even it sort of falls short in some ways.
    Here's my 14 footer:
    20151013_100915.jpg20151013_101226.jpg
    Last edited by allisonatx; 12-10-2021 at 07:37 PM.
    John Allison
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton B Chase View Post
    The Deblois St Dory uses a 90 SF standing lug and it flies


    I am not comfortable sharing the lines plan, but I will show the body plan with bottom width
    JR has worked out some quick reefing systems for his Deblois dory.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Clint’s Deblois St Dory is the epitome of 5-plank 18-foot sail and oar dory. I have built both a 5-plank Gardner dory and a 3-plank Oughtred John Dory. I think the Deblois dory would outclass both those boats in every way. The lug rig is perfect for performance and safety.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by allisonatx View Post
    Flint is a great little boat and with a proper sail rig is very able in any wind. One was used on the Texas 200 at least once. It's weakness showed up in a tendency to swamp in a bad chop when fully loaded with a week's worth of gear and provisions. It's a killer boat for day sailing or overnighting but I'd feel a lot more secure with more volume and more capability in a bit of a seaway. I designed and built a 14 footer that's pretty much in the same class as Flint and while I'd feel very safe in it on a lake or even some inshore waters, it's just lacking capacity and freeboard to be the boat to trust on a longer expedition or in any rough conditions. A boat like Calypso, OTOH, has a lot of the characteristics and capability of the "real" Sail and Oar boats but even it sort of falls short in some ways.
    Here's my 14 footer:
    20151013_100915.jpg20151013_101226.jpg
    Nice looking little boat. Sort of an enlarged Shellback/Poohduck dinghy. I found the Poohduck to be fun to sail, but a little tough to row against a chop. (Too big and too light, relatively speaking I think)

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryfeet View Post
    Nice looking little boat. Sort of an enlarged Shellback/Poohduck dinghy. I found the Poohduck to be fun to sail, but a little tough to row against a chop. (Too big and too light, relatively speaking I think)
    Thanks...It's got a wide v-bottom rather than a dory-style keel plank but there are definite similarities to Shellback and others of that style. There's a little weight in this one because I used Aqua-Tek Meranti rather than lighter okoume. The result is a boat that's great on the water but a little cumbersome for car-topping. Sails very well and rows as slick as spit, though I have to say I haven't been in much of a chop with it.
    John Allison
    Austin, TX

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by allisonatx View Post
    Flint is a great little boat and with a proper sail rig is very able in any wind. One was used on the Texas 200 at least once. It's weakness showed up in a tendency to swamp in a bad chop when fully loaded with a week's worth of gear and provisions. It's a killer boat for day sailing or overnighting but I'd feel a lot more secure with more volume and more capability in a bit of a seaway. I designed and built a 14 footer that's pretty much in the same class as Flint and while I'd feel very safe in it on a lake or even some inshore waters, it's just lacking capacity and freeboard to be the boat to trust on a longer expedition or in any rough conditions. A boat like Calypso, OTOH, has a lot of the characteristics and capability of the "real" Sail and Oar boats but even it sort of falls short in some ways.
    That looks like a beautiful boat you designed and built.

    Per your freeboard comments, I can't disagree with you but there are the inevitable tradeoffs in efficiency vs reserve capacity and (arguably) safety:

    (per Ross Lillistone) Phil Bolger pointed out in print that Bounty's launch had 7-1/2" of freeboard
    when Bligh and his men set off on a 4000 mile journey across the Pacific after the mutiny. Raising freeboard affects the rowing geometry, increases weight, and importantly, increases windage.

    Jim Michalak is another proponent of lowish freeboard, but much likely depends (as you say) on the boat's intended use and locale. My own swampings have, with
    one exception, always occurred when launching or landing through small waves/surf, and not in open water.

    Jack Loudon

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Loudon View Post
    That looks like a beautiful boat you designed and built.

    Per your freeboard comments, I can't disagree with you but there are the inevitable tradeoffs in efficiency vs reserve capacity and (arguably) safety:

    (per Ross Lillistone) Phil Bolger pointed out in print that Bounty's launch had 7-1/2" of freeboard
    when Bligh and his men set off on a 4000 mile journey across the Pacific after the mutiny. Raising freeboard affects the rowing geometry, increases weight, and importantly, increases windage.

    Jim Michalak is another proponent of lowish freeboard, but much likely depends (as you say) on the boat's intended use and locale. My own swampings have, with
    one exception, always occurred when launching or landing through small waves/surf, and not in open water.

    Jack Loudon

    Don't also discount the fact that Bligh's men were expert seaman and we here are weekend warriors.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    And there were lots of them to bail.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    And they didn't have much of a choice.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Don't also discount the fact that Bligh's men were expert seaman and we here are weekend warriors.

    Kevin
    Yar. Iím reading an account of the voyage just now, and itís startling how often the small boats were used in day to day life for them.

    Someone or something is forever being run ashore or to the ship, and there are endless forays to gather supplies.

    Those dudes probably used the small boats on an average voyage more than most modern people would in a lifetime.

    Iím still not trading places with any of them.

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    Default Re: Atkin Calypso as Sail and Oar boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Yar. Iím reading an account of the voyage just now, and itís startling how often the small boats were used in day to day life for them.

    Someone or something is forever being run ashore or to the ship, and there are endless forays to gather supplies.

    Those dudes probably used the small boats on an average voyage more than most modern people would in a lifetime.

    Iím still not trading places with any of them.
    Yes to the above! I read of life at the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria in the 1800's, and people regularly crossed the river in very small boats and regularly drowned. One thing that sunk in with me is that there were no roads (only some footpaths) so all cargo and most personal transportation was over water. Tillamook on the coast was 60 miles due west of Portland, yet the trip was done by water (open Pacific, Columbia bar, Columbia River), 3 times the distance and a slow, dangerous journey.

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