Home built single hander project

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

  1. tuks
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 78
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 35
    Location: SA

    tuks Junior Member


    Hey Bistros

    How is your project coming? Have you sailed it again?

    I was thinking about the need for a lighter mast. Phil Stevos built a development canoe, you have probably seen it around in the forums.


    He built a mast from carbon tubes he got from c-tech which fit inside each other and are glued. Okay it is a freestanding mast, which is probably not suitable for a spinnaker boat but I added up the costs from prices from the C-tech site and is seems quite cost effective. Also you can ship it is smaller lengths which should help with the shipping cost. What do you think?

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  2. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    Progress has slowed somewhat in the past three weeks - I've been stupid busy with work and haven't had any free time. Eric's been swamped with a refinishing job on a spectacular wooden Woof Albacore (which now looks like it belongs in a salon as fine furniture).

    The boat is being re-faired - the bottom lost a bit of fairness due to a month's outside exposure of the fairing compound and epoxy without paint. The wear and damage due to testing is fixed and we've reinforced the hull where necessary. The adjustable shrouds are being rigged. We've added some glass to the side decks, sistered reinforcement to the exposed stringers (to prevent human caused damage, not structural failure), and are adding carbon to the daggerboard to improve strength.

    The daggerboard is being lengthened by about 8 inches, and a new rudder core is being built to increase the rudder size (to balance the larger daggerboard). This should dramatically improve the ability of the boat to hold it's lane upwind. Although speed upwind was good, VMG suffered due to leeway during testing. The larger uncut 505 main certainly should behave better with the increased lateral resistance. Finishing and fairing of the foils will improve things dramatically as well.

    I've contacted a top flight sail designer to get a proper main designed and built for the boat and tuned for the Proctor D section. I'm not convinced that the carbon mast is necessary yet - although by choosing the 505 rigging I'll be able to take advantage of the carbon development going on in anticipation of the 505 class approving carbon spars. There is at least one local guy who already has a carbon 505 mast for "testing" purposes.

    The new sail will be to Eric's intended design for the boat - chop top, high aspect ratio and with a smaller foot than the 505 main. This will allow us to shorten the boom and rake the rig as designed. We are going to angle the boom upward (like the MPS) somewhat to increase the space under it for skiff-style run-through tacking. The current full 505 main demands tacking be like a Contender => you have to get really low in the boat to get across.

    In talking with the sail designer it looks like this is a winter project, so it will be real for spring season. I may alter the current 505 main ahead of that just to make fall sailing more pleasant once we've got the boat painted.

    The boat is intended to be ready to display at an upcoming Albacore regatta in Toronto - during the same time slot as the C-Class catamaran challenge between Cogito and Fredo's new foiling C-Class. It should be ready and rigged by next week.

    I'll post pictures and on the water shots when possible, providing my work levels drop back to manageable. It's frustrating that I'm working so much now with the clock ticking down on our season and our lake temperature dropping quickly. In two to three months time we'll be able to walk the race course area.

    In general, I'm very happy with progress and I'm satisfied that I'll end up with a spectacular performing single handed skiff. The one thing you have know getting into this type of experimental development is that real progress takes time. I'll be buying a Velocitek GPS this winter and will be measuring performance and tuning this spring. Real hard data is necessary to separate reality from feel, and I want this boat to work well. I expect the first real measure of performance will be next year's Ottawa Skiff Grand Prix in early June.

  3. tuks
    Joined: Jun 2007
    Posts: 78
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 35
    Location: SA

    tuks Junior Member

    Thanks for the update. The boat sounds really cool. I hope that when the development is complete the plans will become available.

    Have you managed to stick to you original budget, $5000 if I recall correctly. I would guess all the development you have done must have cost a bit more.

    I cant wait to see the pictures. In the mean time I will keep my eyes open for a 505 rig and maybe a set of decent foils.

  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    The budget is probably about right on so far - although I expect things might go slightly higher depending on the cost of the proper mainsail. I managed to keep cost relatively reasonable due to a few efforts:

    1) I milled my own cedar for the build. I made the sheer clamps, the stringers, the cedar strips and all other cedar parts except the foil blanks. I've got a fairly complete shop at home with quality tools and reasonable skills.
    2) Eric made the foil blanks, as he wanted to integrate carbon reinforcements in the build up
    3) Phil's Foils machined the foil blanks for us for a very reasonable rate - Phil and Dave sail our of the same club as me, and Dave is the fleet captain of our skiff fleet. It helps to know the guys!
    4) Phil's Foils CNC cut all the Okume plywood for us from CAD files. This again was reasonably priced and made the whole build process fast & accurate. This includes all the hull panels, the deck panels, the bulkheads and the station molds (from 1/2 inch exterior plywood).
    5) Eric basically made the build a team effort - contributing a lot of his time and effort to get the first hull built. I paid reasonable designer's fees and have paid for any materials needed.
    6) We obtained a lot of parts locally from friends and club members - the 505 mast & assorted rigging was $200, the carbon boom was a I-14 boom I had sitting unused, Eric had a lot of parts from a previous prototype that was retired etc. The mainsail was a freebie.
    7) I contributed a fair amount of labor and effort co-ordinating things - basically project management.
    8) Eric has a great shop facility with space to work.
    9) Eric's partner Laura was understanding beyond belief regarding the hours of work he put in - including a few all nighters to get the hull built in three weeks.
    10) I was given a dead dolly/trailer combo (without wheels or life signs) which my son and I rebuilt over a week of his summer holidays - total investment $250 - now I've got a perfect, brand new combo trailer/trolley that fits the boat exactly. I made bunks using the #10 station molds as a pattern, so it fits the hull perfectly.

    Pictures coming soon .... (or it didn't happen according to Sailing Anarchy)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  5. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    New year, progress made. Pictures in a week or so.

    Boat done, painted, sailed and loved.

    New main sail designed by Ethan Bixby of North Sails - Gulfcoast. Fully battened square top main and it is beautiful. I need some tuning time to figure out how to best control mast bend appropriately. Probably will incorporate lowers as they is less complex than a mast ram system. Main is in Dacron for the first round. Probably will go to mylar/Kevlar in a couple years.

    Changed kite to a 29er spinnaker. Larger, easier to sail, available and fits the rig perfectly. Gybes easier and floats through like a 49er/I-14 spinnaker now that it isn't close to the fore stay.

    Increased foil sizes in a balanced way and have now got a boat that doesn't lose sight of ICs upwind. On my two outings so far, I'm very happy with it's performance upwind. As fast as an updated Penultimate I-14 upwind.

    Paint is Awlgrip primer with Imron finish. Hard, beautiful. Left decks as wood under glass - am varnishing this week.

    Added a lot of structural reinforcement where necessary, and added more glass where needed. The boat was designed well for sailing, but needed to account for operator error and dumb things people do while crashing at speed. The boat now is strong enough to handle me during crashes and capsize recoveries.

    Did a lot of rig tweaking and optimization for single hand trapeze spinnaker work. Moved sheeting up on boom, with boom cleating. Routed rear bridle split main sheet through boom to make more room for tacking and it work really well. Added foot loops for trapping and some forward for righting lines. The righting lines work really well and have made capsize recovery 100% easier than last year. The aluminum mast is not as big a problem as I thought.

    I've got a Willetts I-14 carbon mast to cut down and try as well, but decided to reduce variables and go with the known Proctor D to start the season. I'll get the carbon mast together this summer.

    Boat is very fast, very light (final hull weight with paint is 85 pounds).

    All in all a great project so far, and there are more things to go:

    - better standing rigging adjustment and repeatability of settings needed
    - T-foil on rudder to stabilize / control boat pitch is a great experiment for next year.
    - Incorporating a carbon mast appropriate for the design - increase mast height a few inches for easier tacking.
    - learning how to sail the boat to it's potential and improving my skills

    Cheers all
  6. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I'm just stunned by your on-going commitment to the project as you defined it early on. Very big congratulations for seeing it through, in spite of the hang-ups and delays.

    I'm really excited to see the photos of your recent sailing experiences and wish you the best in your development of this interesting concept.

    The young people in your yacht club, as well as any who read these pages, will be encouraged that there is a boat out there for the building that will give them the transitional sailing experience they seek at a price they can afford.

    Chris Ostlind
  7. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Thanks Chris.

    Appreciate it. I told you up front I was committed to working through this process, and now that I can see the finish line I'm quite satisfied. I've had an interesting couple of years, and have learned a lot. Surprisingly, the final product is not far off the original concept - and that in itself is unusual.

    I've been lucky in that I've had great footsteps to follow.
  8. Andy
    Joined: Aug 2003
    Posts: 267
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 45
    Location: Edinburgh

    Andy Senior Member

  9. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    PIcs coming ... more blogging about progress

    Sailed the boat this past weekend, and a photographer friend took pictures. I'm waiting for a disk or the photos to be posted on-line. I'll post some in the next couple of days, soon as I have them.

    I sailed with my son all morning on Saturday, wind was low (2-5 knots) and it picked up to 8-10 later on. Got the kite up with my (nine year old) son, but sheet pressure was too high for him and he got a little scared ripping past all the stationary keelboats. They were looking at us like freaks, planing on the back half of the hull while they are sitting still. Rachets on the kite blocks would help. I told him he could flog the kite when he was scared, but he didn't have a clue what I meant - I guess I have to work on my communication skills!

    Once I got in, I talked our local skiff fleet captain to take it out and I arranged a photographer and chase boat. The chase boat with 5 of us in it and a 20 horse outboard could not keep up with the Falco. There was another local skiff fleet member singlehanding his Vanguard Vector and the Vector could not keep up - even with a lot more sail area. The guy sailing the Vector is quite good, so I think the provisional 900 I've been given locally on Portsmouth is a gift. The boat is certainly fast, performing better than I anticipated.

    In watching the Falco from the chase/photo boat it became really apparent it badly needs lowers - the boat was not fully powered up for the conditions, and the uncontrolled mast bend was preventing fully powering up the rig. You can't take full advantage of the fully battened main if the mast isn't controlled right. I'm going to send the photos to the sailmaker (former 505 World Champion Ethan B.) to get his take on improving the tuning of the mast. Lowers are probably the best way.

    Interesting commentary after the sail by this guy was that he felt the singlehander was very fast, but there was huge room for improvement tuning things. Basically, although it performed well, he felt there was a long way to go to reach what the boat was truly capable of. The 505 mast is not a liability at all, except in the speed of righting the boat. It would be faster to right and turtle slower with a carbon tube. I'm sure a carbon tube with a more flexible top section would be easier to sail in higher winds as well. One comment on the water was "that thing sure isn't a Contender!" - meaning it was in a completely different performance league.

    Other progress reports - the boat is balanced and sails well - far better downwind than anticipated. The boat is actually easier to sail downwind with the 29er kite up than without it. It just follows the bowsprit and apparent wind. The boat needs LOTS more rig tension than I've used so far. I'm going to have to improve setup & tensioning quite a bit.

    Also recommended were more foot loops along the rail - I started with two at the extreme back end, but while figuring out how the boat went on different points of sail, noticed that there is a lot of forward pull while trapping, and it would be easier to sail if there were more loops. Boat pitch trim is interesting as well. On the boat it feels better bow down with the knuckle in the water going upwind, but from the chase boat it really looked fast trimmed more bow up. I'll have to get a Velocitek in it to figure out what best affects VMG and speed.

    I had put two foot loops through the sheer clamp in front of the daggerboard to assist in righting the boat, and they work a treat, making righting this boat 100% easier.

    All in all, things are working out extremely well, and I can see how the boat may realistically exceed my original expectations quite a bit when I get it dialed in. There is no substitute for light weight when it come to getting performance out of a boat!
  10. wind_apparent
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 257
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 96
    Location: boulder colorado

    wind_apparent wind driven speed addict

    finally got my foiler design pics on my thread, your turn:D

    you boat sounds awesome, I'm at work right now, but I'm itchin to pick your brain about rig and sail design, and mast tuning.
    can't wait to see the pics......
  11. bistros

    bistros Previous Member


    From this past weekend ....

    Attached Files:

    1 person likes this.
  12. rogerstrube
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 8
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    Location: Punta Gorda, Florida

    rogerstrube Junior Member

    Consider a Multihull

    I have built three small, Kurt Hughes (www.multihulldesigns.com/ ) 16 foot Trimarans. They are great fun to sail and cost about $3K each to build. I started with his 4 meter design but stretched it to just under 16' so it would be a real boat. Kurt also has a 16' design. The boats are sailed from a seated position in the center hull. I am doing some development to adapt these boats for elderly and/or disabled sailors. The projects may be viewed on my web site: www.wingsailor.com by clicking on the "Trimarans" tab and the "Disabled and Senior Sailing" Tab. They use Hobie 14 rigs and rudders with a custom jib and screecher. Dave Calvert designed a new main, jib and screecher for these boats.
    These are ongoing projects and do not depend on the sale of my present cruising cat, Millennium Dragon. Once the Dragon sells, I will get started on a motorsailor. Pictures of my hobby shop are also no this site.
    Good luck with your project.
  13. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    While I'm inclined to say something that would get me heavily dunned, a simple Holy Cow! will have to do for now.

    Very sweet main and spinny choices and just a beautifully clean set of lines to the hull. I hope you guys get that class rolling with some real authority up there and that it spreads everywhere.

  14. wind_apparent
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 257
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    Location: boulder colorado

    wind_apparent wind driven speed addict

    nice pics......looks like a real rocketship.

  15. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Bill, congratulations-beautifull boat! Looks like loads of fun.
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