18' Canting Keel Single/Doublehander

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, May 14, 2007.

  1. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    This is one of the neatest 18 foot singlehanders I've seen yet. The canting keel makes this boat in my opinion-and its a powerful 50° system too. Very, very cool! Guess my 20 footer will have to settle for being the smallest FOILER with a canting keel.....

    From an article here:
    Sailnut.com - Sailing Related Sightings Round-the-Sound
    Address:http://www.sailnut.com/sightings/ Changed:6:56 PM on Monday, May 14, 2007
    (also in DA and Sportboat Anarchy)

    More info on Sailboat #55 - 2.17.07
    With a lack of fanfare, Dennis Clark launched this 18 foot home built boat in January of 2007. Since then he has been testing it on the waters of Puget Sound near Gig Harbor. Of course this boat is hardly typical of a home built boat. With many molded fiberglass parts, a modern rig with assymetrical spinnaker, and a canting keel, this isn't a slightly modified Thistle or C-Lark. Fortunately, Dennis was nice enough to chat about his boat after a day of testing on a brisk February day.
    My first question was 'Why?'. Dennis wanted a boat that could be single or double handed in a wide wind range. To this end he needed a relatively light boat with substantial sail area. The canting keel allows the boat to carry lots of canvas without requiring lots of human weight on the rail. Dennis contacted Andy Vance to design the rig and hull. Dennis also talked about the concept and design to his friends, family, and neighbors. And he listed to what many of them had to say. By the time the boat was finished he had incorporated ideas from many different individuals.
    Dennis built the hull by hand. It is a cedar strip core covered with fiberglass and epoxy. Carbon fiber was also added in high stress areas. A mold was created for the deck which is also fiberglass but with a balsa core. This hull is narrow compared to most modern boats. Just 36 inches of beam at the waterline. The boat is self bailing with bailers positioned on the sides of the hull to evacuate any water scooped into the cockpit.
    The canting keel is the star of this show. With a maximum 50 degrees of cant, it is able to get the 98 kilogram bulb way out there. The keel currently uses a 10:1 block and tackle purchase system. A canard handles lateral forces. The canard is removed like a daggerboard for trailering. The rudder is not transom hung on this 18 footer but is 'cassette style'. This design was chosen to allow removal for trailering.
    The rig is designed to be built from a shortened star mast. Both lower and upper stays are swept. Despite it's Star heritage, the mast does not utilize any backstays. The top of the mast is aproximately 24 feet of the water. The boom is a modified Laser spar. Dennis did not know the exact area of the asymetrical spinnaker but it is not insignificant.
    With just a couple months of sailing under it's keel, Dennis seems happy with his toy. He reports that the boat is quite responsive to the canting keel. And it has a neutral helm even while heeling.
    After discussing the boat I changed the subject. I was curious if Dennis planned to get back into the boat business. He wasn't sure. His first goal was to work out the bugs in this boat. He wants to sail it in various conditions, get more feedback, and see what needs improvement. He also offered to take me sailing. Sounds like this article might have a 'Part 2'. Stay tuned.
    Sailboat #55 Specifications
    Hull LOD 5496mm / 18'
    hull weight minus keel aproximately 133 kg / 292lb.
    beam 1371 mm / 4.5'
    waterline beam 914 mm / 35.9"
    Keel-keel bulb 98 kg / 215.6lb
    keel strut, bulb, and pivot aproximately 133 kg/
    draft-1676 mm/ 5.5'
    maximum keel cant 50 degrees
    mainsail area 10 square meters-107.6 sq.ft
    jib area- 6 square meters-64.56 sq.ft.
    sprit length 550 mm / 21.6"
  2. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    I just had a delightful conversation with Dennis Clark about his boat. Amazingly(and spookily) he knew of my interest in such a small canting keel boat!
    I asked if he would consider answering some questions posted here and he said he would try to get to it. So if you've got any questions for Dennis post them here.....
    1) Will you consider selling plans yourself or thru Andy Vance?
    2) Do you have any plans to produce the boat? Any possibility of a kit? Any idea on a ballpark price?
    3) Would you describe your canting keel mechanism,please. Am I right in assuming the canting keel is retractable along with the canard?
    4) Area of the asy spin?
    5) Can the boat be singlehanded in a good breeze-is learning to handle the keel difficult?
    I guess thats all for now and thanks in advance, Dennis. You and Andy have done a remarkable little boat!
  3. DC-Lark
    Joined: May 2007
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Gig Harbor, WA USA

    DC-Lark New Member

    Canting 18 footer answers

    I am pleased at the interest in this new boat.
    As far as selling plans, I would not be interested. This boat was meant as a testing platform of ideas for a "Laser on steroids". I am keeping most of the molds and tools used to build the boat that could help with a next generation small canter.
    To produce this boat would take more than some interest from some of us wing nuts (actual boats on order and $ or maybe someone tired of the AC game that needs a new cause.)
    I would visualize as inexpensive a boat you could get away with similar to laser construction technology. No kits. We would probably make it a little bigger for perhaps 2 guys or 3 girls. It seems that this could be a great type of boat for women's sailing.
    The keel mechanism is two parts inside the box. Sheaves in the keel head, becket cheek blocks on each side then up through through deck blocks turning forward to get enuf throw then a five part tackle, ratchet, and cleat. It is a continuous line. This part of the boat has worked very well and I feel really lucky that it worked out.
    The keel is retractable for ramp launching (crane launching seemed problematic) the steel strut fits into a lead bulb which detaches and lives on the trailer. The rudder is in a cassette and the canard is just a dagger. So the boat is about like launching a Thistle, no big deal, but you probably want a totally awesome trolley dolly like I have (my wife) to help. Our launch and retrieval is pretty well greased but it still takes an hour and a half.
    I haven't measured the actual area of the sails.
    The keel is pretty easy to use once you get in your head that pulling on the leeward string tilts the boat toward you. The boat sails well with a lot of heel so you can precant the keel for the new tack but make sure it's cleated as the boat leans
    over like it's capsized if you "get on the wrong side of the keel". It will scoop a pretty big load of water and take a couple minutes to drain after a tipover event. The boat is very stable downwind. I have sailed it alone in 22 knots upwind and it could use more crew weight than my #200 as well as a couple more hands. We were hoping to get a 0-30 knot boat and are pretty close to that, and a couple of reasonably good Laser sailors should have no problem. The keel is a lot like having a crew on the wire.
  4. frosh
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 621
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    Location: AUSTRALIA

    frosh Senior Member

    Not bad, but have outdone that 25 years ago.

    Hi, The 50 degree canting keel is like having a man on the wire, according to the designer and builder. More than 25 years ago I owned an Aussie designed and mass produced (albiet in small numbers) a trailable 23 ft. sailboat called a "Wildfire". It sailed with 2 crew on the wire with trapezes, and skipper, and one more crew. It carried a small streamlined stub keel attached to the underside of the hull, with a slot through, being the daggerboard case. A long high aspect lightweight daggerboard could be lowered or raised. According to our size, we should have sailed in division 4, but Wildfires were all placed in division 2, against well performed racing 40 ft.keelboats. On the typical windy day, a well sailed Wildfire could take line honours by a margin of a leg or so.
    The Wildfire is no longer built and would be a sluggard next to some modern designs such as the Bakewell White 8, which has no canting keel but beats boats much larger most of the time.
    And this is especially for Doug Lord. You can keep the concept very simple and avoid incorporating all your favourite gizmos, and still run rings around some of your dream concept boats. I will post a link to the fabulous 26 footer which is an Aussie design.

  5. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Canting 18

    Dennis, thanks for your post! If possible would you post a picture of the boat out of the water and maybe a close up of the canting system inside?
    A remarkable boat using modern technology to the utmost-I love it.
    Dennis, when you can please e-mail me at lorsail@webtv.net
    Frosh, those were/are some interesting boats. But I have to tell you that I like my "gizmo's".
  6. frosh
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 621
    Likes: 14, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 44
    Location: AUSTRALIA

    frosh Senior Member

    Doug is Doug, we have no option.

    Hi Doug, You won't get any personal **** from me any more. I am over that phase. However having said that, you are obsessively focused on a couple of specific development areas, while not being aware of some of fantastic developments taking place in trailable sports boats coming out of Australia. None of the designers of these amazingly performed small boats have considered either lifting hydro-foils, or canting keels. That was the original version of Vivace. (Now I see that this pronouncement as OUT OF DATE). I see that there has been a big development since I last checked out Bethwaite's latest design work. I am somewhat surprized to see ( mostly because this development is going on purely on the East Coast, and I live on the West Coast), that the latest Vivace (soon to go into production) has a canting keel.
    The performance of this boat is approaching an 18 ft. skiff more and more, and should not really race against any other traditional keelboats, as there would be such huge discrepancies, that you could not devise a handicap rating, that could have any consistent meaning.
    I post a link her to the latest canting keel Vivace from Julian Bethwaite, enjoy checking it out.
  7. Paul Scott
    Joined: Sep 2004
    Posts: 423
    Likes: 51, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 84
    Location: San Juan Island, Washington

    Paul Scott Senior Member

    Hi Dennis, neat boat. Can you rack the rocker like you did on your FD? 5.5 feet D sounds like a good depth for getting in and out of GH. Do the local porpoises come by and say hello to your bulb? They do with ours. I think they're saying "what's your sign?" I still remember a heavy air winter OK sail you guys made for me way back in the mid 70's. Very nice. My brother manned a chop gun down in the Kent factory molds. Good to see you're still doing cool stuff, no matter what the Aus contingent might say.

    Hey frosh, see all that grey sky? That's a GOOD day around here. Warm too.

  8. DC-Lark
    Joined: May 2007
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Gig Harbor, WA USA

    DC-Lark New Member

    canting discussion

    Paul,et al. I can't really remember all the weird stuff people did with FD's. My comment about it being like sailing with someone on the wire was in reference to managing the power in the righting moment (like teabagging your crew); the keel can't cuss you out but the results are similar. The boat will not get the ratios of a trapeze boat in any case.
    I have some pictures of the boat on a trailer but no pictures of the boat on a hoist or anything. I only have pictures of the individual parts and don't have anything that shows everything together and working. I am happy to share construction and design thoughts but need more time and talent for the pix.
    This boat is probably scaled down to mouse nuts for smallest canters, meaning the bigger the boat the more sense it makes to cant. I wonder about the bigger canters figuring it out how to do it human powered instead of running generators and pushing buttons.
  9. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    12-17' canter

    Dennis, a guys idea on another thread got me thinking about applying a canting keel to a smaller boat-say like the Bongo(fixed retractable keel)-a boat designed as a planing performance singlehander. What do you think of something like that?
  10. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I've really come around on this. All this talk about canters and their benefits has gotten me in a whirl of creative production.

    I think that there's no reason to limit canting keels to just sailing boats in order to make them more complex. There's a Big Ol' world out there just waiting for more canting keels and I'm just the guy to do it.

    Here's a start and I'm sure you guys can add your own suggestions until the waters of your favorite location are filled to the max with canting technology... all for the benefit of those who love the device.

    Canting Buoy Systems... no need to have heeled buoys anymore that fail to broadcast their lights and sounds out to max distances. An active canting keel could account for wind and wave heeling and keep that bad dude upright forever.

    Canting Fishing Boats... hey just think how this could revolutionize the fishing industry if the boats of the gill netters, for example, could remain as upright as possible without yielding any of their precious (and limited) righting moment while pulling those ungainly nets over the gunnels.

    Canting Sunfish... This is but one example of the plethora of small, affordable day boats that can be vaulted into new and more complex worlds for the benefit of their non-racing owners. A simple retrofit of the everyday (and all too boring if you ask me) Sunfish could change sailing forever for all those kids and vacationing families. Suburban moms can now hit the waves with huge measures of confidence as their rental Sunfish blasts around the buoys with the fastest guys. This could mean that she could forego that breast implant in order to have some vacuous self-esteem. Believe it, or not, there's a net savings hidden in there for the hard working Dad of the family. I can't speak to the personal fun quotient, lost or gained, in the trade-off.

    Canting Bait Barges... Imagine pulling-up to your friendly bait barge in the harbor before heading out to nab a haul of spunky Albacore and the bait guy tilts his barge over on its side for you so that it's, Oh!... so easy, to reach in with the net and get the best of the live well bait for your trip. No awkward dipping exercise as the freeboard of the bait box is now down at convenient level. The barge operator gets to do-away with an employee who used to handle the net and everyone gets a better deal. Well, except the unemployed bait boy.

    Canting Blue Water Life Rafts... I'm reticent to share this one as I feel it has real commercial benefit beyond mere convenience. To that end, I've Trademarked a name, Copyrighted the concept and application and filed for a yet another patent among the many I already own on useful devices of this type. You'll have to take my word for it, uh.... that it has real value.

    Now, I know on the surface it looks like I'm kidding with all this, but it is a sincere effort to join the club, so to speak, and get up to speed with the manner in which this heavy technology has totally changed the face of boating.

    Please accept my most sincere apology if this has found you in a doubting mood.
  11. frosh
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 621
    Likes: 14, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 44
    Location: AUSTRALIA

    frosh Senior Member

    S--t Chris, You have upset a mutual friend of ours who was saving his pennys and nickels to get those exact ideas (are you sure that you didn't hack into his webcam?) to the patent office in a month or three. Come on; did you really need to get all the credit? What have you now left for him to allow him to leave his mark in history? Please be more thoughtful next time. ;)

  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    C'est la Vie

    Gotta do something, Sam. I lost a wad of reputation points this week by suggesting the Brown Nose thing. So, I dropped a few of my Provisional Patent apps on the page to help boost me back to full status.

    Maybe they're kinda weak as the points just don't seem to be coming like they used to when I'd get these brain storms.
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