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Thread: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

  1. #1
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    Default Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Hello all. I'm looking for plans for something lightweight to get the whole family on the water. Two bigger adults and two kids. My skills aren't that advanced, so far all I've made is the free canoe from bateau.com. Hoping for something simple like a dory that can also hold all of us. I'm not sure how much boat I need. I'm considering using foam core plywood if it can be done safely.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Build an Ilur, Scamp or Calandar Island 16 from a kit and buy a trailer. If you dont want a kit a Welsford Navigator or Pathfinder.

    If it must be light, a CLC Northeaster with extra buoyancy will be about the most boat for the weight.

    By and large familly boats for 4 need to be fat, wide, tall and are better heavy.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 09-08-2022 at 11:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    If I'm going with a trailer I might be able to get away with something a little heavier (maybe 20 ft) as long as it's easy to build and easy to handle. The car I'm looking to buy can tow 3500.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Think four adults, your kids are growing up.

    How big is your building space?

    Let me quote myself from another thread.
    "Pointy ends steal considerable room. My 15' double ended sailboat has the usable room of a 13' boat. Two adults or an adult and a couple kids are the maximum for a semblance of comfort. It has no side benches which my bones don't like.
    My 17' sailboat with side benches would be fine with four adults."

    The CLC Northeaster was brought up along with the smart recommendation for extra flotation. There is a YouTube video of one being capsized and its recovery performance, IMO, is dismal. Also, too small for a family as a slim dory transom is as bad as a double ender for losing useable room. Their Southwester Dory would accommodate a family, but at 18' 10" it will take a longer workspace and if the motor well is included the footwell becomes very crowded.
    Last edited by Autonomous; 09-08-2022 at 07:18 PM.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    i might suggest you look at Jim Michalak's MayFly 16

    https://duckworks.com/mayfly-16-plans/

    and while you're at it buy Jim's book

    https://duckworks.com/boatbuilding-f...rs-and-beyond/

    the book uses Jim's MayFly 14 to describe the process and the 14 is very close when it comes to how to build a simple sailboat

    while you are on the DuckWorks interwebsite there are a lot of options to peruse

    BON CHANCE

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    I have a bunch of kids and echo the thoughts about width and no double-enders. The width is doubly important--you can get two people in the same length, sitting across from each other, if the boat is wide enough. Second, width should make the boat less tender, and remember that your group of four is not going to be sitting still most times. It can certainly lead to family tension if someone moves and it sends the rest of the family lurching one direction or another.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    If "My skills aren't that advanced" refers to your sailing skills, I would really recommend that you take some sailing lessons before you take the kids out. Making rookie sailing with kids on board is not a good idea. There's the possibility of danger to them, but more likely they will hate sailing and you will be very frustrated. Learn to sail first so you can focus more on getting them involved when you go with them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    A lightweight, simple boat for a family of four?

    Sounds like the "200 dollar" version of the Bolger Featherwind ​would fit the bill.

    Here is one that was just launched by a member here -



    Here is his thread about the boat -

    Carnell Nutmeg: an MVB, a “minimum viable boat” (woodenboat.com)

    And here is mine -

    image084.jpg

    Featherwind (woodenboat.com)


    And last, here is an article on Duckworks about the design.

    The Fantastic Featherwind (duckworksmagazine.com)

    My Featherwind is a very high performance boat, rows like a dream, and can carry at least 4 people, 2 dogs and large cooler...along with other junk! The bare boat weighs in at 105 pounds. ...I would highly recommend this boat for the first-time builder since no special tools are needed other than basic shop tools. She can be rowed, motored (electric recommended), or sailed. You can go fishing too, or just putt around if the wind is calm. The average person should be able to build this boat in less than 50 hours. And while everyone else is talking about it...you can be having a lot of summer fun with your family. This boat is extremely versatile and a winner all the way. All I can say is thanks to Dave Carnell! Happy sailing!
    She certainly is easy to build, and needs just four sheets of plywood. Here are all the major parts laid out in my yard -

    SAM_6378.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Ha! You guys have me looking at the rapidly increasing catalog of plans at Duckworks. BTW, a great outfit to do business with.

    Strongly suggest you build something with side benches. A comfortable family will sail with you a lot more! The Mayfly 16 at a minimum.

    A LOT of boat in a simple 17-footer is Mikesboat. Mikesboat Plans PDF - Duckworks Boat Builders Supply

    moffitt-1.jpg
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Do you want to sail with the kids? Or build a boat, while they watch tv?

    Buy a cheap boat on Craigslist, and get out on the water, before it's too late!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by SalsDad View Post
    Do you want to sail with the kids? Or build a boat, while they watch tv?

    Buy a cheap boat on Craigslist, and get out on the water, before it's too late!
    To reiterate this -- even if you want to build something, people have given you suggestions that vary _widely_ in terms of effort involved. All are things that can be done by someone with modest skills (which will likely improve significantly before its done), but I wouldn't be surprised if an Ilur took five times as long to build as a Featherwind (and there are others along the spectrum). Of course, it's quite a bit more of a boat, but just something to keep in mind as people throw ideas at you!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    A Mikes Boat is an easy step up from a simple plywood canoe. It will go together quickly and is a very stable platform that performs quite well, despite the boxy shape. And room for the family. Of course, you'd need to put it on a trailer. Car-toppable boats that will carry four people don't really exist.
    -Dave

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    A Mikes Boat is an easy step up from a simple plywood canoe. It will go together quickly and is a very stable platform that performs quite well, despite the boxy shape. And room for the family. Of course, you'd need to put it on a trailer. Car-toppable boats that will carry four people don't really exist.
    Agree on that. The suggestions to build far more complex boats (Ilur and others) are far from what the OP is looking for.
    Also, AJBTC didn't need to come in waving his finger about safety. It was clear that the OP's limited skills were in building, so the suggestions for basic boats were quite right.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    A Mikes Boat is an easy step up from a simple plywood canoe. It will go together quickly and is a very stable platform that performs quite well, despite the boxy shape. And room for the family. Of course, you'd need to put it on a trailer. Car-toppable boats that will carry four people don't really exist.
    Agree on that. The suggestions to build far more complex boats (Ilur and others) are far from what the OP is looking for.
    Also, AJBTC didn't need to come in waving his finger about safety. It was clear that the OP's limited skills were in building, so the suggestions for basic boats were quite right.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 09-13-2022 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Dublicate

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Sorry guys, tried to delete the duplicate, but no...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Used boats from CL in this size are getting more and more rare. Especially here. I live near Lake Michigan and there’s many inland lakes, but CL only really has fishing boats, jet skis, and 30+ ft 70’s fiberglass sailboats. I also understand the sentiment that building may not be a fast solution.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    Also, AJBTC didn't need to come in waving his finger about safety.
    I don't think I was finger waving. There are certainly plenty of folks who say they want to build a sailboat and they've never sailed before. My thought process is that if the poster has sailed a lot with his family he wouldn't be asking what size boat he needs. Further, I've been on a sailboat with small kids when I didn't really know what I was doing, and it's not so much the safety, it's the miserableness factor. Building a wooden boat, even a simple one, is a lot of work and I'm just trying to make sure the end result is what the OP is dreaming of.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    . Car-toppable boats that will carry four people don't really exist.
    The Featherwind fits this bill the best that I know of

    Photographic proof -







    It's nothing but a big, simple plywood skiff. No seats, but it's stable and carries a heck of a load. I've had three adults (one a big feller) plus gear in mine easy.

    If BugAquatic can afford to get and doesn't mind dealing with a trailer that a Mayfly 16 would be better for sure.
    What's not to like about the 7 foot long bench seats, the rear motor well, simple construction and easy to handle balanced lug sail. Six sheets of 1/4" ply and two of 1/2". Said to be 350 pounds empty, so will tow effortlessly behind any car on the lightest of trailers. I kinda like the pointy bow instead of the pram bow on the Mikes boat






    Ha! You guys have me looking at the rapidly increasing catalog of plans at Duckworks.
    Heh, you need to be careful about that or you'll wind up with eight little boats in the yard....Like me...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Etdbob View Post

    Heh, you need to be careful about that or you'll wind up with eight little boats in the yard....Like me...
    Too late...

    2 stitch & glue + 2 origami + 1 inflatable kayak
    1 Baylee3 inflatable compact dinghy by Feathercraft which sadly seem to have gone under. Too bad, they made very high-quality stuff.
    1 stitch and lap and 1 fiberglass sailing dinghy
    Last edited by Autonomous; 09-16-2022 at 12:24 PM.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    I have the plans for both the Mayfly 16 and the Mikesboat. A question for the OP: will the usual load be two adults and two kids? Or will the usual load be one or two people, but occasionally, two adults and two kids? Or often two adults and two kids, plus a friend or large picnic/dog, etc.?

    If it's the first or second, the Mayfly 16 seems to be a good choice. The exception might be if you want to go fast or enjoy some more excitement, then the ubiquitous Goat Island Skiff might be the way to go. The Mayfly will go together quickly and get you on the water soon. Looking at the plans, I think that 350# weight is all-up with gear, etc. Two sheets of 1/2" ply, six of 1/4".

    If it's the third, Mikesboat is an excellent choice (with the optional cat-ketch lug rig). Nine sheets of 3/8" ply, three of 1/2", so you can see that it will weigh more and is sturdier. The 450# stated is (I think), bare hull.

    Like most Michalak boats, both have big airtight flotation/storage chambers. There is a YT video of some capsize training in a Mikesboat (in preparation for the Everglades Challenge). Came up without a lot of water in it.

    Please note that all this is from the safety of my armchair.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Something like the Mayfly or Mikes Boat seems a good bet, especially if you are committed to building and finishing it before the kids go to college. Both Scamp and Ilur are more complicated to build than might be first apparent, in my view. Also, a Scamp would be very crowded for 4.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Well???
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    I enjoyed looking at all the suggestions, but I'll add my .02. Buy a boat and get sailing. Unless you are retired, the time you have will be limited and you don't want to waste it building with the kids. I build two boats, both stitch and glue while the kids were growing up, but I chipped away with an hour here and there. I had a Sea Pearl 21 that we used to go sailing, because kids ability to focus on the long game is not the same as mine. We had some wonderful adventures on that boat and the kids are all sailors now to some degree. The nest is empty now and I'm lucky to get a few hours with any one of them, but that's life......

    Here's a video for inspiration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC-lAwPN5MQ

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Lightweight sailboat for the family.

    Yes, buy vs build. But they do not have to be mutuly exclusive. Buy now to fine tune th ebuild.

    Regarding double enders - it is okay if both ends are FLAT! Francois Vivier's Seil 18 really caught my eye. Almost 18', more than 5' beam, can carry 6, flat transom for motor (solar). Side seating for moving around. Rowable.

    Another option, quicker and cheaper than the Seil 18 is Dudly Dix's Argie 15. Less parts. Proven design.

    And I just recently bumped into the Hartley 16 design. Wide and stable. Fast and fun. Much older design.

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