Category Archives: Designs and designers, boat plans,books of plans

Plans for boats, sailing yachts, motor yachts, rowing boats, sailing boats, dinghies, dories, canoes, skiffs, oars, sails – may be free or paid-for

Mouseboats built and launched at Faversham

Folks on a training course at the Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building led by local boatbuilder and repairman Alan Thorne have been building Mouseboats to my free plans – and yesterday they launched four of them on a pond at the head of the Creek.

A good crowd turned out to cheer and witness the event, and even the local press arrived with their cameras!

A fifth Mouseboat also turned up to be launched – this one was built by Terry Croucher, who has been working as an assistant to Alan.

Plans for the Mouseboats are available free from the Yahoogroup Mouseboats. To obtain them you have to sign up to join the  Yahoo (and the  Yahoogroup). Alternatively, some folks prefer to buy my book published some years ago – it is available from Amazon, but be warned that the new prices is a lot less than some folks are charging for second-hand copies!

The 8ft Mouseboats cost very little to make and are typically very light – they can be carried in one hand, yet can allow folks to go on the water very conveniently. Hundreds have been built around the world.

The boats built by Alan’s group are the Minimouse model with an easy to build flat bottom, but other similarly easy to build types for different purposes are available from the Yahoogroup.

So why is the Folkboat such a popular type? Classic Boat examines the question

Classic Boat on the Folkboat

Well, the Folkboat has Classic Boat’s Theo Rye convinced:

‘The freeboard looks perilously low, especially on the Nordic version, but the boat is remarkably dry even when pushed hard. The flare in the sections means the waterline beam when upright is modest enough for decent light-airs speed, but as the hull heels it rapidly gains stability; aided by a very healthy ballast ratio (well over 50 per cent in most versions), her stiffness is perfectly judged.

‘She is also tolerant of added weight; a good attribute in a pocket cruiser, especially one capable of crossing the Atlantic or even more, so even quite reasonably equipped boats look and sail perfectly well. The firm tuck of the bilges leading into nice, slim keel sections help generate good lift (in relative terms) from the long keel, which is a key to good sailing performance. The shape owes precious little to rating rules, only hydrodynamics; you pay for that bold forward overhang in accommodation or waterline length, maybe, but driving into any sort of sea you’ll be glad of that bargain. The slope of the transom stern tucks the rudder deep under the hull and the angle of the stern post, while typically Scandinavian, looks old-fashioned, even exaggerated; but time at the helm tells you exactly why they stuck with it.

‘The fractional sail plan is equally well judged; with her relatively modest displacement and wetted surface area (for the type), she can slip along just fine, but will carry her canvas well as the wind comes up.’

I’d certainly have one – though perhaps not where I sail!

My thanks to the excellent small boat designer, builder, sailor and sailmaker Mik Storer for spotting and sharing this one.

For more posts about Folkboats, click here.

A fifth edition of Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by T Harrison Butler


In more good news from Lodestar Books… Dick Wynne’s fabulous imprint has released a fifth edition of the classic Cruising Yachts Design and Performance by metacentric theory protagonist and talented amateur yacht designer (and professional ophthalmologist) T Harrison Butler.

Dr Butler’s designs were built in numbers that ran into the hundreds a good number of which still grace our seas. Cruising Yachts is his design manifesto and first appeared in 1945—the year of his death.

The new edition has been produced in collaboration with the Harrison Butler Association, and is a complete re-setting of the original text, drawings and mono photographs, and documents in detail HB’s approach to the design and equipping of a yacht, an annotated catalogue of notable designs and a biographical portrait by the designer’s daughter, the late Joan Jardine-Brown (see a photo of Mrs Jardine-Brown in an earlier post).

There are also a modern gallery of colour photographs of the yachts, and a foreword by the late Ed Burnett, who was regarded as a foremost designer of modern yachts in the classic English idiom.