John Welsford’s micro cruiser Fafnir sparks the imagination

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John Welsford micro-cruiser Fafnir

John Welsford micro-cruiser Fafnir

John Welsford’s interesting Fafnir design. Click on the images for larger drawings

John Welsford tells me that the level of interest in his new Fafnir pocket cruiser design is exceeding all expectations.

It’s certainly an interesting boat – a blue-water cruiser capable of being build in a typical garage, and there’s a good case for saying that it’s the best choice available for someone who wants to sail alone in a small, easily handled boat.

Its crucial dimensions are:
•Length on deck 13ft 1in (4.00m),
•Beam 6ft 2in (1.90m)
•Draft 2ft 7in (0.800m)
•Sail area 139sqft (14.9sqm)
•Dry weight estimated 1430lbs (650kg)
•Ballast 550lbs (250kg)
•Maximum sailing weight 2420lbs (1100kg)

John describes Fafnir as a tough little cruiser for one or two, and tells a story about how the design came about at his website.
It seems a customer wanted to build a 10ft boat in which to circumnavigate, so John worked out a route, the amount of current assist that was possible, the weather windows and the climatic and stores consumption issues – and decided the voyage wasn’t practical.

But he went on to draw the minimum boat he considered workable – and Fafnir is the result.

Go to John Welsford’s site to learn more!

8 thoughts on “John Welsford’s micro cruiser Fafnir sparks the imagination”

  1. It’s a lovely little boat, something to dream and dream about. I agree that 10ft is really pushing it a bit especially for long distance. And even this at 13ft is quite extreme. Were I in the enviable position of being able to build a boat of this sort I think I’d go for JW’s slightly longer Swaggie, one of which has just been launched in Uruguay.

  2. Welsford's boats are great value but I agree that 13 ft is a bit small, even for a day sailer. I mean to say, there's hardly any room for the rum keg, let alone the malts!

    Seriously for the added cost and weight increase I'd prefer 15-16ft myself, just for convenience. Might make a model though, just to get my mind around it.


  3. I'd agree – but lots of people who want to build their own boats haven't got the room to build a larger boat. As for the smaller sizes – I'm pretty sure that if John has done his sums, he's done his sums right.

    Like him, I don't like to think of lone sailors going out there hoping to live largely on what food they can catch and the water they can collect, even if Bombard did show that it was possible.

    And then of course there are all the other things we don't like to speak about – including the issue of loos and daily washing in a small space packed with stores. I can imagine sailing a boat this size for short trips of day or two, but around the world sounds like my idea of hell…

    I must say I'm rather more inclined towards the pipe and slippers approach – I find a long day of even gentle sailing is tiring to just the right extent and feel no need to go to these lengths!


  4. I think this small yacht is great and am seriously hoping to get some plans. I would prefer to junk rig the boat. My only reservation is if I'm skilled enough to build the boat, so any feedback about the skill required would be most welcome.

  5. Hi, just started putting together one of John Welsford's Swaggies, going pretty well so far. I do like the way he does things.

    Fafnir still draws me for some reason, but I made my choice, perhaps someday…

  6. I bought study plans for both Welsford's "Fafnir" and "Swaggie". Swaggie's is a bit more than I need but a beauty and I love the Chinese lug rig. I'm a minimalist and all I need is a 6' X 6' "capsule" as a cabin. Lying on the centerline wedged between "bunks" is my preferred way of sleeping at sea. I like a boat small and light enough be easily skulled or rowed which is how I would choose to maneuver around tight anchorages without an engine and small enough not to need a dinghy to go ashore. Fafnir looks just about perfect for my needs, budget, philosophy and my woodworking skills level. I would probably ask John to design a lug rig for her.

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