Designing Sailboat - need advice

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by jpullen88, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. jpullen88
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 1
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    Location: Florida

    jpullen88 New Member


    I've been searching past week or two while I run through different designs. I'm basically concerned with how stable the boat will be.

    I am designing a boat similar to the Argie 15. It is of similar length, 15.5', and beam, 6', but I would like a small cabin. I need low draft and want to sail windward, would a centerboard be best? I also want to be able to beach it. I have drawn out plans for a rounded bottom hull as well as a chined flat bottom, like the Argie 15, which would be better in terms of stability? I think myself and the boat loaded would displace maybe 400 lbs, probably less. Would I be forced to sit down and low in order to maintain stability? Would a weighted centerboard help bring the center of gravity lower to increase stability?
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The nature of your questions suggests you haven't sufficient understanding of yacht design to consider self designing yet. With questions such as these, the best and strongest advise you can be given, is to buy a set of plans.

    Given your desires for shoal draft, good sailing, the ability to beach and a small cabin, may I suggest Nancy's China as a design you should look into. It's a V bottom, has all the things you're looking for, including a cabin, looks good, has three or four rig choices and is easy to build.

    As to the stability question, well honestly you sound like you haven't much sailing experience and are concerned about things you don't fully understand. Dix's boat as well as Devlin's, are both stable and about what you'd expect given there various arrangements and accommodations. There are other choices too (hundreds), so don't select a design too quickly, as you can just as easily build a boat you'll hate to use as one you'll love.

    This isn't intended to insult you, but just some observations from an old fart, that's seen a few rodeos previously in this regard. The design selection process can be a long and drawn affair, especially if you know what you're after. I personally don't have any designs that small with cabins on them, as I feel this is just too short a length to be more then a coat rack and catch all for all the stuff you bring aboard. Other designers feel differently and do have diminutive cabined sailboats. Me, in a boat this size, I want enough room to be able to stretch out in the cockpit or on the sole to sleep, usually with a boom tent. Others, like a cabin. I'm in Florida, where a cabin is like tomb most of time, unless you're boat is big enough for A/C.

    Log onto and look around.,, are other locations to have a gander at what's available in your size range.
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    Par has good advise, but if it is your wish to design your own boat do not let that discourage you. If you intent is to have a boat, buy one and alter it the way you want, it is far less cost and work than to build one. If your intent is to enjoy the creative process of designing AND building a boat, than have at it. But get some experience before you go to the trouble of building a boat you will not like.

    Therefore, first go out and try out as many different designs as possible, in your area there are likely rental agencies, clubs and builder groups that get together to share their boats, find them and get some time in different sail boats. You need time in sailboats.

    Once you have found one you like it would be easiest to build the hull you like (from plans) and than add or alter it to get the features you like.

    I have built 14 small boats, almost all from my own designs, or highly altered "stock" designs. Some were successful, some were not so I altered them several times until I got what I wanted. And have a number of other ideas I want to try out next, including a sailboat under 16' long with a cabin big enough to get out of the weather in. FL might be nice to be out on the deck, but that is not true most of the year in the Puget Sound!
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