Tag Archives: designers

A warning about changing boat plans

Whenever boat designers get together there’s one topic nearly always crops up – the problems that arise when some builder or other changes plans.

Other groups have also have their gripes – I know touring bands talk about the comfort that is afforded by having the bigger engine option in their vans and office workers complain about IT.

But changing a set of carefully worked out plans goes to the heart of what designers do when they make the mass of small decisions that together make a functioning and often good looking boat. So a designer’s anxiety mounts when someone announces that they’re making a change.

Often, the changer is an experienced person (such as Faversham’s Alan Thorne), the change is minor and everything works out fine  – but so often that anxiety often turns to dismay when an unlooked for modification turns out to be disastrous for the builder’s project.

And so it was in the example Michael Storer quotes in this article. I commend it to first time and amateur boat builders – and I commend Mik’s thoughts on the issue to other designers.

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A skiff on a lonely New Zealand beach

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Regular intheboatshed.net reader Paul Mullings found this skiff on a beach while strolling by the Manukau Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand and was so uplifted by its simple elegance that he decided to send in a clutch of photos.

‘Hi Gav,

‘I chanced upon this delightful skiff when out and about today and thought I should share it with you – it certainly lifted my spirits and instilled a modicum of jealousy too!

‘Paul’

So here’s the question: assuming that it was built to published drawings, which were the plans this builder used? Answers to the Comment link below please!

Also on the subject of doings in New Zealand, weblogger Andy White has written to say that Devonport Yacht Club is holding an exhibition of the work of North Shore designers from the 4th to the 11th October as part of a heritage festival for Auckland. Read more here at Andy’s weblog and also here.

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Edwin Schoettle on catboats, Gavin Atkin on what’s wrong with yachts and yachties

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Legendary catboat Silent Maid

Edwin Schoettle’s classic Sailing Craft published in 1928 is a fabulous big old book of nearly 800 pages – so I hope no-one will mind me posting a few of them. And perhaps my post will serve to keep the memory alight.

I’d like to explain why I’ve been thinking about the catboat lately.

I’ve complained for years that many yachties  motor or motor sail for much of the time and I’ve often wondered what the reason might be. Well, I’ve come to think that it isn’t laziness or a dislike of sailing. The reason why they’re reluctant to use their full sailplan is that they’re either sailing alone, or effectively doing so, and don’t want the fag of having to manage sails, winches and sheets as well as steer, navigate and keep a look out.  And because they’re not using their full sail plan their boats are slow without the help of its engine – and that’s why most yachties motor for much of the time.

Looked at another way, it’s because we’re using the wrong rigs.  Instead of the Bermudan sloop with a masthead rig, big foresail, winches and the rest, we could be using rigs that reduce the number of essential control lines to very few – the cat and the cat yawl.

Of course there’s a shortage of cat yawls outside of a few designers offering plans for relatively small boats aimed at the amateur builders, so I’ve been considering the experiences people have had with the catboat.

I’ve no experience with these boats and have no firm opinions to offer, but it’s interesting that Schoettle emerges as such a fan of the catboat. I’m inclined to think a modified form of catboat, perhaps one with the kind of capacious hull that’s long been normal in family cruising boats could be seriously useful to yachtsmen in the era of expensive fuel and growing environmental awareness.

Those who find it difficult to swallow the idea of the Bermudan sloop being replaced by a more old fashioned rig might thinking about the argument in a different way – instead of describing the cat or cat yawl rig of the future as being derived from historical yacht types or workboats, just think of them as big Lasers with heavy keels.

Read more about Silent Maid in a recent post at the weblog 70.8%.

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