Building a study guide before building

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Luckless, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    The general background: I'm a computer science major finishing up my degree. I toy with engineering as a hobby, and grew up learning fine carpentry. Besides home built aircraft, I have a goal of designing and building my own motorsailer (With over view by an actual Naval Architect.)

    This is a long term plan, and I'm expecting to spend at least 10 years learning, and maybe building a far more simple craft or two before I jump all the way into the grand plan. What I'm mostly looking for from this thread is to gather up suitable sources to help me learn what I need for this design project to really succeed. Books, articles, topics to study, etc.

    Given that I honestly know next to nothing about the design of sail boats, the general idea that I'm going for is fairly open to change based on expert opinions and suggestions.


    Outlines of design:
    Tri-hull, motorsail, suitable for sailing around Atlantic Canada, Charlottetown-Saint John's-Halifax, with the odd trip up the Saint Lawrence River to the lakes.

    Not a sloop! (This may change) I'm not really a fan of sloops, mostly because everyone else that I've seen in the marina here has one. I want something different. I'm thinking Schooner or maybe even Brigantine. I want something I can handle by myself if not trying to push the craft, but something technically interesting for a larger crew to work.

    Full hard deck. Most tri-hulls I've seen have a net/mesh deck between the out riggers, or nothing at all. I want a full 'solid' deck for dock side entertaining, but I'm not sure just how much this will really effect the design and handling.

    Are the out riggers in wide set tri hulls generally for air tight buoyancy only? Or do some designs use them for storage? Or even making them large enough for extra 'cabin' space, like being able to make them about 3.5-4 feet wide at shoulder height to put extra bunks there? Or should I just plan keep all cabin space to the main central hull?

    Engines: Diesel inboard, possibly two small units because I enjoy redundancy, designed as an internal pod system that can be disconnected fairly easily at a central interface, and the whole thing raised out of its bay for cleaning/repair. From what Richard/apex1 has posted, I think I'll go with a Controllable Pitch Propeller. They're nearly 100 years old, how hard can they be?

    I'm not really sure how best to do the internals, but I want room for at least 8, (I'm thinking 6 single bunks in 2 or three cabins, and then a larger 'captains' room for two,... however given my relationship history that is either likely going to be for visiting couples, or limit the crew to 7,...). Likely the hardest part of the design problem is to have it feel open in the galley/dinning space, while keeping things small and compact to avoid dangerous bouncing around.

    Likely the hardest part of this is I've never been on a boat the size I actually want. I've been on very small sailing boats, most were small day sailers without actual cabins. Only one small boat has had actual facilities on board, and they were really not much more than two bunks, a room with a small chemical toilet, and a kitchen table and a few cupboards. After that the next smallest boat I've been on would have been a large car ferry.

    I want the design to be able to be dismantled for road transport, and construction to be mostly wood and fiberglass composites. I've done a few small canoes out of thin strip on ribs, and in general enjoyed the work. I'm thinking a layered method for the boat could work well. I'm planning wood, epoxy, and fiber glass to build by myself, unless someone can present exceptionally strong cases against it.

    There is a fairly good chance that I may even invest in some wood land in three or four years, and a small basic mill to cut my own wood for most of the project.

    Thoughts on things I need to consider? Suggestions on size to aim for? Tips on not swimming back to shore?
     
  2. narwhal
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Nashville, TN

    narwhal Junior Member

    Wet blanket here...if you plan on spending ten years learning before starting, that's a good thing, because in those ten years I'll bet you will come to the conclusion that you've got about another ten man-years of labor to build something like you are describing here.
     
  3. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    Really? only another 10? After all this is a boat Building project, not a sailing project.
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Two people can build a boat like that with a simple interior in six months. If you want fancy cabinetry, you already know how long it takes. I think that sailing a variety of boats is the best way to learn what you like. There are no exact rules. The webbing on the bow of multihulls is to prevent them from slamming on waves.
     
  5. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    I had assumed that (along with the weight) was the main reason. Actually maybe a compromise could be done by building it with extra main braces extending from the center hull to the outriggers. Use netting for when under way, and then a light folding decking that can rolled over for dock side. Maybe even with light strips of wood with a material backing so they can be rolled up and stored.

    Quality of the cabinetry and such and the time it takes to build would depend on just how much I can invest in my shop. I wonder how many other people plan their future house around what is really a hanger/wood working shop?
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Join the club. Some of us even have understanding wives that indulge us.
     
  7. JLIMA
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: New Bedford Ma.

    JLIMA crazed throttleman

    So is that an upgrade or do I trade in my current model....?:?:
     
  8. Gashmore
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: Macon, GA

    Gashmore Junior Member

    When I started Rutu (45' mono) I thought that once I got the hull finished it would all be down hill from there. Boy, was I wrong! The hull was completed in 14 enjoyable months. That was 7 often frustrating years ago.

    I thought that cost would be the primary limiting factor. Money is still a factor but staying motivated is the real challenge.

    A few other thoughts:

    A tri with accommodations for 8 is going to be big. Unless you have a semi and a custom trailer you are not going to transport it very often and you are not going to launch it from the local boat ramp.

    Reconsider the sloop. By the time you are ready to order the rigging you will be pretty tapped out and the spars, rigging and sails are the largest cost of the project. Besides being more to handle, a schooner rig will almost double that cost.

    Sail a lot of boats in the general size you think you want (and some smaller) before deciding on a design. We chartered for 10 years making lists of things we liked and didn't like before I even started looking for a designer. More than half the things on our lists were not to be found in any book.

    Don't build what you think you want when you start. Think 10 or 15 years in the future when you have grand children. The ideal boat for a 40 year old is probably not going to be the ideal boat for an older family.

    BTW, boat building is a great excuse for buying new tools. Building Rutu has given me the opportunity to accumulate a complete cabinet shop and a pretty decent machine shop. Also everyone knows that clamps are a safe Christmas present. The down side is that I can't find space for the Powermatic cabinet saw and the milling machine in the aft stateroom.:D
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  9. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Luckless Senior Member

    Well, 6 of the 8 accommodations aren't going to be very impressive, and I'm actually planning to have at least 4 of the bunks double as cabinet space for longer trips. No need for great state rooms with individual showers, they're only beds for friends who are foolish enough to come sailing with me, nothing important.

    One of my goals for the design was to allow for break down, so it would trailer like a mono with the out riggers, cross beams, and masts would store to convinent temporary hard points on deck. (Or come along on a second trailer) And everything would be designed to be assembled on water. (With wet/dry suits likely. I haven't heard anyone go on about the North Atlantic being warm.) I'm thinking the out riggers may need points to fasten inflatable buoyancy pods to the side to make it easier to adjust how they float while positioning them to the cross beams.
    Any flaws with that idea?

    Would it really almost double the cost? I was expecting that splitting my sail plan would allow me to go with shorter masts, and smaller sails in exchange for a hit on performance, and make replacing a damaged sail less painful to the wallet.
    Of course, this is still the day dreaming napkin plan stage,

    well, 10 to 15 years in the future still puts me under 40, and being single with little expectations of that changing, I think I'm good to go to botch at least one or two boats yet, and still have time to get it right.


    Any small detail features that people find to be uncommon on many boats but extremely helpful/useful/nice that are to be considered? It has been more years than I would like since I've been sailing, and I'm still at least 10 years away from from actually considering the build date. I'm hoping to meet some more people down at the sailing club this summer to volunteer/beg some sailing time, and figure the next 6-12 months will still be the pure "dreamer" stage while I start picking up useful books and figure out where my math skills are lacking. After that I'm thinking 6-7 years of sailing with other people and building simulations (I'm in Comp.Sci. so I'm allowed to get as giddy about a simulation as I am about the real thing) before hitting up a Naval Architect for their opinions for a few years. In that time I hope to start collecting useful materials/money. Then a decade or two of actual building before seeing if my name sake holds on launch.
     
  10. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I'm counting on the "excuse for buying new tools" bit :) As for the milling machine: build a proa, and put the 900-kilogram Bridgeport mill in the windward hull.... imagine the righting moment / sail-carrying ability!
    I'm of the opinion that if a boat is going to include berths, they should be full size. A boat used for day trips doesn't need any berths (although a sufficiently large fold-down dinette can make it a weekender); anything that cruises for more than 24 hours at a time really needs comfortable, secure places to sleep. Too-short berths, or uncomfortable ones, serve primarily to turn happy, obliging crew into exhausted, pissed-off crew.

    There is no need for 4 heads and 2 showers until you get up to about the 90-foot class. A family of six can get by quite nicely with one head and one shower, whether on land or afloat.

    Demountability sounds nice, but really, if it can't be pulled off one trailer and set up by two people in an hour, it's going to spend most of its life in the water. A Farrier F-33 ( http://www.f-boat.com/f-33.html ) is just about the largest trimaran that can be practically moved over land on a regular basis. Anything bigger will involve a crane, several trailers or a big flatbed, and an oversize load permit.
    Next time a boat show comes around, take a good hard look at everything you can find in this size range. Try lying in the berths, try cranking a sheet winch while holding the helm. Try wrapping your hand around the oil filter, or the stuffing box nut. Brace yourself in the galley and think where the pot of pasta is going to fly when your friend on the helm broaches her.

    If you can make friends with sailors / volunteer as crew, this will certainly speed up your boating education. There's nothing like actually being out on the water to see what you like and what you don't.

    I wouldn't worry too much about rigs just yet. Not until you know what you like and how you want to sail. There are all sorts of ways to waste money on a rig that doesn't suit the style of sailing you'll actually do. Better to figure out what you like first. If beating to windward in a force 6 with eight crew is your thing, you'll prefer a very different rig from someone who always runs singlehanded with the trades, or someone who takes a family out in light airs.
     
  11. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    Due to ice I would likely be forced to pull the boat every winter anyway, but I don't really see a complex breakdown and setup process as being all that painful, and with the design I have in mind most of the work should be able to be done in an afternoon by two people. Compared to cottage clean up and such that seems a breeze. Given that there will be a hanger bay built before the boat is, it will also mean I will have the whole winter season to over haul every year in a protected environment. (Better than having the thing parked in the drive way so I have another think for snow to drift around.)

    For berths I was planning for the main one to be used as something roughly the size of a double bed, designed so that either a hard top can be set over it, or the mattress flipped up out of the way to make room to lay out charts and such for planning/research.
    The others would be fixed cots. Most standard sizes for camp cots seem to be 6'5" long and a lowly 26-28" wide, but if I placed them roughly at the widest point of the hull I could easily get 32" with room to pass. (Minus a bit for side padding.) However stacking them 3 high means the one at the bottom is really at the bottom, and the top bunk is getting somewhat high. 4 bunks aren't bad I guess.

    For anyone who has spent any amount of time sleeping in a narrow bunk like this, what problems do you find with them? I know I personally don't mind sleeping on a narrow bed, but I've never had limited head room in one. Assuming everything is well padded, how much head room should a plan allow for? I'm rather out of my depth on just how much of a compromise should be made between comfort and safety for if the boat gets tossed around.

    (As for why not just have 2 'double' beds and be done with it, it is a simple reason. If I invite a couple on board, I want to be sure they're not having more fun than me on my own boat. Just because I'm generally a nice guy doesn't mean I can't be a jerk at times, especially if I'm a nice guy with a boat.)

    I only planned for a single shower, but I'm thinking I would ideally want to try and fit two independent heads in. (What can I say, I'm a fan of redundancy on things I deem important, and I don't mind sponge baths if that's the best I can get.) I should remember to look into the options and requirements for on demand hot water systems. I wouldn't want to rely on some kind of engine heat exchanger option, as I wouldn't want to turn them on just for a bit of hot water.


    As for the rig, I'm still working through reading on pros and cons of them. However I'm not coming across many articles on mixed rig options for multi masts. Brigantine sail plans simply look pretty. (And I've never seen anything but a single mast in the harbor here.) Anyone know of a Brigantine rigged boat in Atlantic Canada that might want a highly inexperienced hand for a few weekends this summer?

    The more comments I have, the more I have to work with. Anyone with a great deal of experience have any suggestions on useful books to start with?
     
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

  13. narwhal
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    narwhal Junior Member

    As far as stacking single berths goes, since you are alloting yourself ten years to think about it, find an old Navy destroyer or frigate that will allow you to tour their enlisted berthing spaces, and you will see just how tight men can live without going crazy. An old sub would be even tighter!

    And as to multiple showers, you may be able to get by with a transom shower for a second one. Some folks get by with a transom or cockpit shower as their only one.
     
  14. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Anybody that calls an old Navy man not crazy hasn't been to port with them ;)
     

  15. Luckless
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: PEI, Canada

    Luckless Senior Member

    Of the handful of enlisted men I know in the Canadian Navy, I must admit that I have never questioned the sanity of any of them. It quite clearly never existed.

    I also want it to double as storage, so I should make them roomier than what the navy normally gives them.
     
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