Home built single hander project

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bistros, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    All:

    I've been lurking on this list for a few months as a guest, and have enjoyed the discussion and expertise present. I am currently investigating the idea of building a single handed high performance skiff-style dinghy in my far too clean garage.

    I currently have a Laser 5000, so that may set a baseline for what I consider a skiff-style dinghy. I have followed the Swift Solo design from it's introduction in Woodenboat magazine, and have also taken a hard look at the Musto Performance Skiff. Single handers greatly appeal to me as finding regular crew (victims) willing to go out on the 5-tonner wire is an issue. I also want a very portable, light design to allow usage on family trips.

    Since this will be a second boat, and I have a mortgage and family to support, cost is somewhat of an issue. I'd like to build myself to learn, enjoy the process and save some money. Target budget: $2-3K for rig & sails. Hull: $2K. Time: Lots.

    Here are my thoughts so far:

    - I would like to use as much production / high volume rigging as possible, as custom design / one-off production of carbon masts and sails would probably kill the project. A modified 10m(or larger) sailboard rig with simple stays (a la Hoot) is my current thought, with an added asymetrical gennaker.
    - Composite cedar strip core / epoxy / e-glass / carbon-kevlar hull. I'm very comfortable with woodworking, and have saws, routers and all tools & skills necessary. I'm not very familiar with vacuum bagging and foam, hence the cedar core. I'd like to see the unrigged hull weigh in at 60-85lbs.
    - I'd like a longer lasting stiff hull that may be usable for years at a slight weight penalty, rather than building the lightest possible hull that will flex itself into disuse in two seasons.
    - Given the sailboard rig concept, I expect that I would make use of 49er style wings (or B14/Moth-style tubes & tramp) with hiking straps, rather than a trapeze. I would love a trapeze (it's what I'm used to), but that drives the rig into a traditional mast with spreaders, upper diamonds, custom sails and very high cost.

    In looking at the other designs out there, here are my thoughts:

    SwiftSolo - Stunningly beautiful, very complex on the order of a 49er. Very tuning sensitive. Maybe a little too 5o5/49er, where ceaseless tuning/fiddling is the major factor in going fast. Big dollars and the build cost of $9-10K US plus a year is a stumbling block.
    Hoot - Nice design but a little too sailboardy for me. The lack of an asymetrical sail for downwind performance is an issue, and I do not know what hull life is going to be, given the ultra light weight and foam core composite. No home build option.
    MPS - this is almost exactly what I would like, if money were no object, but getting one here would cost $16K Canadian, and I would not get to build it.
    There are lots of others (Voodoo, MxRay, RS700, RS600 etc.) but I want to design and build this myself.

    Milestones:

    Pre-build:

    Obtaining, learning and using a naval architecture CAD tool for generating a reasonable hull and being able to output the station molds for cutting on a CNC machine. I've got a great local foil shop that is willing to use their CNC tools to cut out accurate station molds.

    I'm currently leaning towards FreeShip as cost-no-object it seems able to do the job I want. I'm not looking for a Sydney-Hobart open hull here, I'm looking at a 14' strip planked hull. What I need here is a tool to output a fair and true hull.

    What are people's thoughts:

    1) Should I leave the hull/rig design to the professionals?
    2) Should I find an existing design hull to use?
    3) Should I forget about the project - is it too disaster prone?
    4) Will performance targets be achievable? Can I make the thing go quickly upwind using the proposed simple rig?

    Thanks in advance for reading the long post of newbie blather.

    --
     
  2. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    http://www.devboats.co.uk/plusplus/ for an example of just such a project.

    http://www.sailingsource.com/cherub/descherub.htm has some info on designing dinghies, tho the page is class biased.

    http://www.sailingsource.com/cherub/bldfoam.htm has a basic article on hoam building in foam

    http://www.internationalcanoe.yachting.org.au/default.asp?MenuID=How_to/13919/0,Build_an_IC/13920/0 Has good articles on home boat building too, again somewhat class specific.

    Sailboard rigs have never been made to work in dinghies. You might be the first, but do you want to take that chance?

    One off rigs are not particularly more expensive than standard ones provided that both are being sourced in your country. Rigs only really get a bit cheaper with Far East mass production. provided your rig source does rigs for Develeopment boats anyway then they should be able to do a reasonable rig first shot. If you've got no local suppliers with good experience I'd probably use C-Tech/Fyfe in NZ if your exchange rate is reasonable.

    Foam is dead easy. Longevity is not a significant issue if you use epoxy layups. I wouldn't strip plank a boat unless I was prepared to trade looks for weight.

    I'd use Hullform as a design package. You might have to purchase one of their paid for options if you want direct output to CNC though.

    Factor foils into the cost, especially if you don'tr build them yourself.

    Gear, fastenings and fittings will cost shed loads more than you think.

    Your budget looks very tight. However its usually best not to add it up, just pay the bills as they turn up. It hurts a lot less. The only performance boat that I think might get near your budget is a low rider Moth.

    The only vaguely established performance singlehanded classes out their that get near your requirements and are sailed in NA are the International Canoe, the International Moth and the Swift Solo.

    Go for it, every sailor with an interest in that sort of thing should so at least one boat project.
     
  3. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Thanks for the feedback

    gggGuest:

    Thanks for the feedback and the URLs. It looks like I'm going down a well-travelled path, complete with potholes, ditches and numerous wrecks from former travellers.

    That being said, I'm not discouraged. The fun of the build, the challenges, the defeats and the rare possibility of success looks attractive to me.

    I've looked at the Linux version of Hullform and was underwhelmed. I'll have to build a Microsoft box and see if that is better.

    --
    bistros
     
  4. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Heres another article-this one on building a stressed ply IC:
    Building a stressed ply Development Rule International Canoe Hull
    Address:http://www.internationalcanoe.yacht...%2F0%2CHow%5Fto%5FBuild%5Fan%5FIC%2F13920%2F0
    --------------
    Do you want to race? Or just go fast as hell?
    You could consider a hybrid foiler Moth using buoyancy pods for ease of pre foil sailing. Some commentary on that on the UK Moth site.
    The Swift Solo is a pretty cool boat but I guess it's over budget-seems like it's got to be something like a Moth or IC or a derivitive of one of those designs. You DON'T have to build a skinny Moth to build a foiler Moth but if it's not skinny it probably wouldn't be competitive.
    Lots of options; sounds like an exciting project-best of luck!
    -----------------------
    I just remembered: on Dinghy Anarchy I saw pictures of the Hoot being sailed with a spin. You might write to Doug Kidder- the man behind the boat- and ask about that and see if you could just buy the rig or even,maybe, a "kit" boat. Kidder is a first class guy and has always responded promptly to me.
    Hoot Welcome : Hoot sailboat
    Address:http://www.gohoot.com/index.html Changed:11:50 PM on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
    --------------------
    Also check this out. Simon Maguire is behind this boat which is designed for heavier people than the Moth and designed to be easier to sail with buoyancy pods standard. In addition, the foils retract like on a "normal" skiff and it is designed with buoyancy pods as standard. Maguire is on a world tour but will respond to e-mails-just be patient.
    The M4 concept
    Address:http://www.sailm4.co.uk/ Changed:7:06 PM on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
    --------------------
    I think you can get plans for the Contender:
    Latest News in the Contender World
    Address:http://www.contenderworld.de/indexf/latest_news.html Changed:12:04 PM on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2007
  5. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    More about the project....

    It's hard to encapsulate a few years of thinking in a web post, so here's some more detail:

    1) I want to go fast as budget permits. It would be nice to be faster than Lasers & other production single handers, but keeping the budget sane is a priority. An asymmetrical spinnaker will keep me interested downwind.

    2) This boat is to be used for Lake Huron (#2 freshwater sea on the planet), here on the Ottawa river. Basically single handing, but also to take my eight year old out as well. He just doesn't fit the Laser 5K yet!

    3) I won't be racing this as I already have one orphan boat to race. This will allow me to get time on the water without the need to find crew and make everything a big production.

    4) Build, learning and design are a bigger priority than other concerns. I think that this process will make me a better sailor. I'm an engineer by trade so design, compromise and ingenuity are stock in trade.

    5) If I wanted a cheap single hander, I would snag a Laser off eBay.

    6) I'm too big (220 lbs) to sail a Moth. There aren't enough diet pills on the Internet, nor could I make it under 190 without amputation of more than one appendage. I hate paying the weight penalty on a Laser and being slower than everyone (Ottawa is a light air venue for the most part). Although foiling is technically interesting, the cost of the T-foils and minutia of making it work isn't in the cards.
     
  6. PI Design
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    PI Design Senior Member

    What about an overgrown scow Moth type thing, with assy?

    Personally I prefer using Freeship to Hullform, but both will let you design a perfectly decent dinghy. Freeship seems much easier to use and is easily exportable to Rhino etc (which you can get a free demo version of - 25 saves) for other details. It also has a foil wizard, to make designing/CNCing the foils easier. Just make sure you take the design beyond the "isn't this a pretty picture" stage! As an engineer I am sure you will, but it surprises me how many people don't. Having said that, appreciate when the design is adequate. You can never get the perfect design and you will spend eternity trying to manage it. I found the hardest part was sticking to the original design brief. It is all too esy to think "wouldn't it be great if it could also do x, y and z?". Remeber what your priorities are and stick to them.

    Definitely give it a go, you learn so much and its great fun. I'm a Naval Architect by profession and I still learnt an amazing amount when I decided to do my first dinghy design.

    One final piece of advise - don't re-invent the wheel and don't have too many radical features. Keep it simple, but do it well.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. Tim B
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Tim B Senior Member

    The trick with Sailing dinghies is to make sure that you use a rig that's the right size.

    I have a LARK (2 man 14' racing dinghy) and it's fantastic, the only problem is that without crew I can only sail it in about 10 knots of wind. I'm sure you've found similar problems yourself.

    Next, be careful about what you want it to do. A fast skiff will not prove to be a particularly good boat for the family. My advice would be to start thinking about the design, get a few sketches down on paper, and find out when the next boat show is, then go and look at the dinghies and ask all the difficult questions that the salesmen didn't want you to. You'll learn a huge amount that way.

    Cheers,

    Tim B.
     
  8. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Great feedback - thanks

    All:

    Yes, a traditional Moth sized for real world adults is pretty close to the mark. The cost of developing the T-foils and control systems make foiling impractical from a budget standpoint, but giving up on meeting the class rules of 11 feet and 8sqM of sail give a lot more options. Keeping the hull to 11 feet makes folks of my size pay (and pay and pay) in light winds and displacement sailing, and 8sqM of sail just doesn't raise my pulse enough.

    I've followed the adult-sized Moth discussions here (and elsewhere) over the past year or so, and they've been interesting.

    Simple. Fast. Cheap. Fun. Challenging. Modern hull design. Home build-able.

    --
    Rohan veal is meat from caged, tortured young cows in Middle Earth isn't it?
     
  9. Tim B
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Have a serious look at the LARK racing dinghy. 9.75 square meters of sail (upwind rig) is fun to say the least, but it's a good boat. On the sea, it is absolutely impeccable, bit more of a handful on inland waters though.

    My advice is to go for about 14 feet LOA (about 4 meters), and stick to a reasonably "traditional" racing dinghy hull which will handle well.

    The LARK design is now 40 years old!!! more info at http://www.larkclass.org/

    Tim B.
     
  10. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    I have a plan set for Contender. I bought the plans fair and square but never built the boat. I think it is legitimate for someone else to build one boat from those plans. I will give them to someone who has the ambition to build the boat. You pay the shipping costs, thats all. If you really want to go fast, I have a plan set for the Australis cat. I think there are some better A sized cats but AUstralis was a real hair raising fun boat. Also I have an original set of Cates Moth plans, circa 1960. The Cates type is the one with so much deadrise that the boat would capsize when you stepped out of it. This one is for nostalgia type builders. This Cates design wont go like a modern moth.

    Your best bet with respect to budget and time is to buy an international canoe. There are a reasonable number of them that can be had for a manageable price. You want to go fast, I mean really fast, for little money ? Get an IC

    Gene
     
  11. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    Is that co-incidence or what. Ther's just been a thread posted by Tim Clark asking for Contender plans. Can I have an agents comission...:)

    TimB - The Lark is an old, heavy, 2 man dinghy with a metal centreplate, which I don't think you can build yourself. The design brief was for a homebuilt, singlehanded skiff with asymmetric. The two seem to me to be polar opposites.
    The RS Vareo is one boat that seems to fit the bill quite well. I doubt they are sold in the US, and anyway I understand that the aim is to design and build the boat yourself, but it might be useful to check one out on the internet - it will give an idea of sizes etc. It is designed as a singlehanded hiking boat a bit faster than a Laser, with an assy for better downwind performance. It is also marketed as having room for a passenger when required.
     
  12. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    I said LOOK at it, and in actual fact, it's quite light for a two-man dinghy. It's a matter of taste, I suppose, but there are often comments from other sailors about how nice it is to sail.

    Performance-wise, it's not up to skiff standards, perhaps, but it's still pretty quick. For Sea-keeping and handling, it is definitely more forgiving, which I would say is critical in a sea-going boat.

    Tim B.
     
  13. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    I agree, they are nice boats, just not what Bistros seems to be after. But you did say "look", so I apologise.
     
  14. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Bistro:
    It's me again. If you have never sailed an IC, you are in for a real discovery. Even a moderately good IC will Go to windward like a streamlined train, It will smoke just about anything you come across when offwind. It is light, it is not expensive, it is easier to sail than the Laser 5000. The hiking plank thing looks like madness to the casual spectator, but I promise you it is easier to work with than a trapeze. It tacks faster than a trapeze too.
    Google the International Canoe web site for more info. You will find the class people very helpful, and very knowledgeable. Some of their sailors work at places like Stevens Institute so smarts are part of the class structure.
     

  15. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    I love, sail and own ICs, but you are slightly exaggerating IMHO. Everyone should try one, they are wonderful, but definitely not a mainstream choice. Yes, they do go to windward like a train, but offwind isn't special if you are used to high performance two handers. Although the sliding seat is a whole host easier than its reputation, and shouldn't put one off, I can tack a trapeze boat far more easily in 20knots than an IC, which after a year I am still finding challenging to tack in that much breeze or more. But then if you want to go fast with no effort you buy a motor boat.
     
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