My thanks to Broadland Memories for spotting this one!
François Vivier’s sailing cruiser Pen-Hir
Many of François Vivier’s revered ply and epoxy boat designs draw somewhat on the traditional boats of the Breton coast. We had a priceless opportunity to appreciate how attractive and well worked out they really are this summer when we were invited over for lunch with him and his charming wife Veronique.
That meeting over a lovely lunch was a great pleasure for both Julie and I. François’ English is excellent and his conversation is marked by strong views and clear, well argued and original insights – they’re just as well made as his boat plans themselves.
Looking at his own coastal sailing cruiser Pen-Hir as built by his son’s boatyard, we were struck not only by attractive and well made the boat was, but also by how well everything is worked out.
For example I often joke about the ‘long things’ that make life difficult in most small boats – the boat hooks, the unused spars, the odd oar or sweep, and so on – but I was impressed to find that François hadn’t just found places for them on his boat, but had designed-in spaces for each one that meant they could be kept accessible but out of the way and secure.
The smart equipment was good too. I particularly liked the diesel cooker that doubled as a heater, and the electric outboard. It was only a shame that it was too windy to go sailing – and boy was it windy. We’d heard stories about how the French will sail in any sort of weather, but from our experience they aren’t true – at least not at Pornichet, for no-one else was out on the water that day either.
I was interested to learn that François has been involved in establishing a new French boat building school, and very much look forward to learning how it goes in the coming years.
More information about the Vivier Pen-Hir design and many more photos can be found here.
This is the 23ft 8in tabloid cruiser described in Howard Irving Chappelle’s classic book Boat Building: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction.
If you’ve read Chappelle’s book, you’ll likely know this design and will have been intrigued by it – I’d guess that it has something in common with New England lobster boats and Hampton boats of the past.
The photos here were kindly sent to me by Randal Cooper of Goolwa Masts. Randal reports that the boat, which is made of strip-planked cedar, is about 20 years old and is owned by a young employee of his. Randal also says that the boat is quick under sail compared to trailer yachts the same age and that there’s a plan afoot to enlarge the rig.
I’m in two minds about the idea – on one hand the rig as laid out in the plans is snug, but on the other this centreboard boat is really a big dinghy and if it gets knocked down will be too big to right. You takes your choice…
There are several other interesting sets of plans in Chappelle’s book. Are any others afloat, does anyone know? Do you have photos, please, and how do they perform?