Building a 14ft Family Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by augbug27, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    I'm looking for input on building a 14ft boat for my family, we have two young children under 4 and have owned a couple sailboats (ranger 26, hunter 25, butterfly) and a couple small powered inflatables. We've had fun with these boats but ultimately had to sell them for financial or practical reasons. The main reason they didn't work was the impossibility of relaxing with the children aboard, even with life jackets I was always paranoid of one of them going overboard or getting tangled in the main or jib sheets, this was only confirmed when sailing on a relatively calm day when the ranger broke a spreader under way and very nearly lost the mast with the children aboard. It was my fault as I hadn't inspected the spreaders that year, but it was enough for my wife to have had enough.

    So on to the next boat, I am imagining a 14ft trailerable with a fully enclosed pilot house, possibly about 6.5ft beam, and most likely a planning hull rather than displacement. For stability I was thinking some sort of tankage down the keel as low as possible that can be filled or drained depending on the situation, I know this is overkill, but when swimming off of it or dealing with less than pleasant seas it would be nice to settle the boat down a little. It will be powered by an outboard for financial reasons (any ideas on HP would be appreciated) and secondly must be beach-able. I also intend to build the pilot house as strong as the hull so in a capsize the pilot house can act as buoyancy and hopefully right the boat, also I plan on putting foam just under the level of the rail as buoyancy so if she ever were to take on water she could float in an upright orientation and hopefully make it back. I know this all probably seems like overkill but I enjoy designing and thinking about a boat that is as safe, unique, comfortable and capable for its given size. I've looked at a lot of the mini tugs and lifeboats this size, but if anyone has built or seen something like this I'd love to see it. Also if there is anyone with ideas or in the same situation I'd love to hear about it. Thanks again.
     
  2. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Reading this I was reminded of something I did a few years ago as an exercise. I was playing with box keels and came up with this (although a bit longer so I scaled it down to your suggested dimensions. It gives you a 14 ft boat in a hull that is more like a 16 footer with it's nose chopped off. The box keel would be perfect for your tankage and it provides a good planing pad. The edges of the keel are flared outwards to eliminate tripping on a square chine. It should give the ride of a pointed skiff with the roominess of a Garvey. Now...being an amateur and this being a bit of an outside of the box box hull...you might run it by a professional to see if things are kosher.

    [​IMG]


    Oh...and I expect a 25-40 horse would be more than enough to push it along. I would go with the higher to ensure a longer engine life.


    Edited to add...

    Adding a pilot house...maybe not such a good idea to this hull... it overwhelms the rest of the boat I think. This one is just a box but would be 6-6.25' above the sole for headroom and it just seems too tall for the boat.

    [​IMG]


    Might I suggest a center console and a dodger or Bimini...not nearly so much weight up high.
     
  3. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    lewisboats,
    I like your boat a lot and I don't even like short-wide boats. Would be great here in SE Alaska on the bay. Nobody would want it here though if it was'nt aluminum. Box keel/tankage? You mean put the fuel tank in the box keel? That would make aluminum even more desirable. If something heavy was not in the keel the keel would tend to make the boat less stable ...I would think. Also looks like you've got a line on the transom at the keel that dos'nt belong.
     
  4. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    Thank you so much, I hadn't considered a box keel, but I think that would be perfect, especially when adding the ballast tankage. I think as far as the pilot house is concerned I will make it a shorter pilot house that you step down into off the aft deck with a higher companionway that comes off the aft deck for added sea worthiness. I don't plan on being able to stand in it, more just a comfortable place for me and my wife and kids to hide from the weather, I also plan on extending the pilot house to be most of the boat, maybe allowing 4ft or so at the stern to be open, (maybe a second set of controls for outdoor running/ docking? might be a little silly on a boat this size). Thank you again for the drawings, I actually really like the blunt nose, I had a 19ft 1964 Arkansas Traveller years ago that had a blunt bow, made it much more interesting looking in my opinion. Thanks again, if you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them.
     
  5. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Ah...you want a cuddy cabin rather than a pilot house...that makes better sense.

    Beware though that that box keel adds a lot of volume so it will take a bunch of weight to keep the boat at it's lines. The first drawing has a displacement of 1050 lbs in salt water to be sitting at that waterline... Also be aware of free surface effect...which is related to liquid sloshing around the tanks when less than completely full. You would need to have the tanks carefully designed to minimize this or have a series of quite small tanks to reduce this effect.

    gotta go i'll add more later
     
  6. MatthewDS
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    MatthewDS Senior Member

    In terms of a compact, fully enclosed tiny ship, you would probably be best served by the Tad Roberts pocket cruiser 16.

    [​IMG]

    Pocket Cruiser 16

    You might also look at Benford's 14 foot Grivit.

    [​IMG]
    Grivit

    Otherwise, I would say that you want too stuff in too small of a boat, I'm not aware of any fully enclosed planing hulls of that size.

    -M
     
  7. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    lewisboats,
    Would it be fair to compare your box keel 14 to a Livingston dinghy?
    Easy Rider
     
  8. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Don't know...could you point me in the right direction? My browser has been hijacked and I can't search for anything right now...still working on disinfecting the offending bug.
     
  9. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    As long as you're worried about your kids safety, no boat will feel safe. When I was two, my folks bought a beater lighting and fixed it up. On the first outing (on the Chesapeake), they dropped anchor, stripped me and tossed me in and opened a couple beers. Problem solved. Sorta. The first fifty dollars I made in my life I spent on a boat.
     
  10. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    Yeah I know what you're saying, but I am more talking about actual dangerous situations, spinning props, busy water ways, bad weather and so forth. I am trying to design a boat where my wife and I can relax with our children on board, we can enjoy the water, escape from bad weather and not have to worry constantly about one of them jumping overboard while we are in weather beside a freighter in a channel. But yes, we will definitely be jumping overboard with them and swimming as well. I think more than anything I need my wife to be able to relax while on the boat for a change, not feel like she has to constantly babysit.
     
  11. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I don't think I ever actually relax. It's more a matter of becoming conditioned to being on the water and staying within the comfort level of one's (or one's spouse's) experience a large percentage of the time. It takes me about two weeks to get into the swing of things on a backbacking trip. Same with a cruise. I start out pretty slow until I toughen up and most of the chores become second nature and I quit making stupid mistakes. For daysailors, it is a matter of repetition. I launched from a ramp most weeks for 20 years.
     
  12. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    Just curious if there is such a thing as a partial box keel? Maybe one that starts roughly center of the boat and then works to the bow similar to in your drawings but non-existent past the center of the hull moving aft. I'm thinking something that acts as extra buoyancy mostly for the bow, as well as cutting the water. In regards to the tanks, what would you think of maybe 4-8in PVC tubing with a insert of plywood disks glued to the side with many small holes drilled in them (epoxy coated of course) and a small notch cut in the very bottom of each plywood insert so that all the water can be fully drained as well? This would also leave me the option to use a variety of off the shelf parts for connections, access holes, valves, etc.

    Also sorry about my use of 'pilot house' your completely right, cuddy cabin is much more accurate. I started drawing it out and I end up with a cabin starting 3 feet from the bow and extending 8 feet aft with an absolute height off the keel of about 6 feet. I am also thinking of giving the forward windows a negative cant just so I can really push the steering up toward the bow without feeling like I am pressed against the glass (lexan). I'll probably push it out to about 14 LWL so about 15.5 or so LOA, which should leave me another 3-4 feet at the stern for a very small aft deck. The aft deck will be self bailing, so as to negate the effects of any waves coming over the stern, if you have any ideas for where to put the gas tank I'd love to hear them. Can I put it in a vented spot in the cabin or should I work on getting it down low at the stern outside the cabin, maybe in its own compartment?

    Thanks again to everyone, love all the ideas.
     
  13. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If a Ranger 26 was not enough to contain your children, the only way a 14' will work is to stick them in the chain locker and close the hatch. How is going smaller going to make it better?
     
  14. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    Yeah I know what you mean, I did some extended sailing on our 25 and 26 and it took me a few days to get into the swing of things and get comfortable with the boat, and even then there were moments where I really knew I had gone too far and need a lot more experience. I think the biggest challenge for us has been to just stay on the water for any length of time with the kids, its more the hassle of it all, if that makes sense. The main point of building this boat is to try and make something that doesn't bite back too hard if I accidentally stray too far out of my comfort zone. Something thats overbuilt and over-designed so that if we misjudge the weather, or have an engine failure etc. it won't be an instantly bad situation. I also full well realize that I am over-thinking this boat terribly in a lot of ways and trying to make it capable way beyond what I will actually use, but thats half the fun of it I think and the joy of building something new and different.
     

  15. augbug27
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    augbug27 Junior Member

    Haha, yeah I know sounds crazy. Well for one going from sail to power and secondly having a full cuddy cabin (big chain locker for all of us) that is comfortable while under way. We also would like to have something trailerable for a change so that we can access lakes and rivers closer to our house rather than a long drive to the boat, then an overnight or two and then a long drive back, more something we can take out for evening cruises close to our house, that kind of thing.
     
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