MacNaughton Farthing questions...

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Tussock, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Tussock
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Tussock Junior Member

    Howdy all.

    http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/farthing.htm

    I'm considering building a Farthing 15, and have some questions which you lot may be able to help with. The design is tiny, and doubtless not to everyone's taste, but my questions are more around the seaworthiness and capabilities of such a small boat.

    I believe she's properly proportioned for her size and is about as good a design as is realistic for a boat with an 11 foot waterline. Aside from the mast breaking and smashing the bubble, I don't feel that I'm qualified to second-guess the designer on her sea keeping. So my questions to you all are:

    - How much real-world stability can there be in a 15 foot yacht?
    I know she comes back from nearly 180 degrees, the question is more along the lines of how much, or little, it would take to put her inverted.

    - How comfortable (sea kindly, I guess) can such a small boat be?
    She has relatively great displacement (2,160 lbs), a displacement/length ratio of 724, 45% ballast ratio, BWL is 5'4", LWL of 11", giving a hefty weight for her waterplane... But at the end of the day, she's tiny.

    So comments on her suitability to make passages would be welcome.

    Cheers,
    Tussock
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    Sea keeping is a difficult term to pin down, as there's a fair bit of subjective material involved. In terms of stability and knock down recovery, well these are simply a "centers" issue (issues in fact) and this isn't difficult to obtain, though can be quite difficult for the novice to grasp. The same can be said of her sea kindliness.

    Simply put, that boat is nearly an absurdity. She's a Dolly Parton - 5 pounds of boob in a 2 pound cup. Just about everything on this boat is way over the normal ranges, some to address being at sea, but others, who knows.

    Can this boat take to blue water - yes. Would you want to - probably not. Small boats, regardless of D/L ratios and capsize screen figures, just don't fair well in sea that can at times be much larger then they are. Then there's the speed issue. She a 5 MPH boat in the best of conditions, which is about the pace of a brisk walk, so you're going to have to want get there. At times, the current could overwhelm this speed, so you actually are sailing at full speed forward, but making ground in reverse. A 3,000 mile passage, sailing 100% of the time at max speed (not remotely possible) will take 25 days. Sounds reasonable right? In reality, you'll be lucky to manage 90 miles a day, which makes the trip over a month long. Okay not too bad, but will you stop for supplies along the way, because in mid ocean there's not a lot of places you can do this. Give this, you'll need a gallon of water per day of the trip. 33 - 34 days, that's a lot of jugs of water to drag along on your trip. The same applies to food and equipment. Small boats typically just don't have the space within them to carry the stuff you need for a passage.

    Lastly small boats will beat the crap out of you in any kind of weather. When they get into steep seas, they can't sail, the skipper can just fight the helm and the boat's violent motion, until he's exhausted or the storm subsides. There's an old saying about never going to sea in a boat shorter than the seas you'll encounter and there's a lot of truth in it.

    If you want to get an idea of what it'll be like, rent a rubber raft and take it out into the surf. Play around in the breakers for a while and see how long you can keep your lunch down, because this is what it's going to be like in a storm at sea. You'll be a cork, literally out of control and just hoping it'll end before you wear out.
     
  3. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    "Farthing is probably the least expensive way to achieve and maintain permanent global mobility."

    More like "suffering in a seagoing coffin".
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I think that comment about the Farthing (global mobility . . .) flies in the face or the realities of being at sea in a small boat. First off, I don't think it would be the least expensive of the sea going builds available and more importantly, in spite of it's ridiculous D/L and other attributes, it's an 11' LWL boat trying it's best to be a 30' yacht, which just isn't physically possible or practical.

    We see this frequently enough here, usually an inexperienced sailor falls in love with the idea of a micro passage maker and can't understand why, the professionals and experienced sailors think it's just a death wish. I'm not sure of the attraction of a long passage, in a boat you can't stand up in, but my usual recommendation is to borrow or rent a really small boat and take on the local inlet breakers, just to get an idea of what you'll be up against.
     
  5. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Reality bites.....Almost any small sailboat can be purchased today for a few 1000 dollars and be a much better sailing boat than this, which will take years and thousands of dollars to build. If you like building things then fly at it, if you want to go sailing look at cragslist. A Cal 20 or a Folkboat will be faster, much roomier, and will take you anywhere starting today. If you must have a tiny cruiser look at Matt Layden's designs, light displacement and far simpler builds resulting much faster sailing boats.
     
  6. Tussock
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Tussock Junior Member

    Thanks, all.

    So to summarise:
    - it's safe enough, but due to its diminutive size:
    - it's too slow to get anywhere in a realistic timeframe,
    - it's carrying capacity is too limited,
    - and the motion is too violent.

    Might as well kill the dream - anything else?

    Unfortunately Matt Leyden's designs just aren't appropriate for New Zealand waters. :(

    Opening a can of worms perhaps, but what does everyone consider a minimum length to be for a passagemaker, and what design considerations would she have?
     
  7. bregalad
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    bregalad Senior Member

    I assume you are considering such a small boat because of financial constraints.

    The roughly 1 ton pile of materials that would go into the construction of a Farthing can build many other boats of similar weight. Rather than something very short and very heavy for its length you might consider a more svelte design.

    I think something like John Guzwell's Trekka could be built for about the same cost as Farthing. With two circumnavigations to it's credit I think its seaworthiness is at least equal that of Farthing. I would much prefer to go to sea in Trekka, or a cold molded Sopranino than in Farthing.

    Comfort at sea in very small boats is an oxymoron. I don't know that you would be more comfortable in still small, but longer, lighter boat than Farthing, but you would be uncomfortable for a much shorter length of time. At anchor the larger boat would be far more liveable for extended periods.

    And as Tad said you could buy a Cal 20 or something similar for a fraction of the cost of building.

    Webb Chiles is more than halfway across the pacific in his Moore 24, a relatively high performance boat of similar displacement to Farthing. His passage times so far have been comparable to boats 5 or more feet longer.
     
  8. Tussock
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Tussock Junior Member

    Thanks. This is becoming a learning exercise for me.

    I've long had an interest in passage making in very small boats (Sea Egg, Happy, Tinkerbelle, Yankee Girl, Swirly World etc. etc.). My own passages have been in boats of 40 ft+, and have been been disappointing performers in what I would have considered important ways: insufficient sail area to move in light winds, miserable control when running in a sea due to a tendency to surf and broach, heavy helms, difficult to balance in a sea, require copious amounts of foredeck work at times when you don't want to be on the foredeck, challenging to reef, and with systems that continually break down (roller reefing, hydraulic steering, water pumps, engine cooling). My own boat is a 20 ft, one ton trailerable, whose sailing characteristics are reasonable for what she is but is in no way is she an offshore boat.

    Personally, the past few years have been challenging due to an injury, losing my home in an earthquake and various other factors, and now I'm facing redundancy. The concept of building a small, simple offshore boat that I could use in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2015/2016 has a lot of appeal, and the Tasman Sea likewise has a lot of appeal. I have sailed across the Tasman below 40 S, and have an appreciation for what it can do. I'm aware that it has killed a number of people, including John Riding in his Sea Egg. I have wondered whether I can do better, in a better boat.

    The consensus seems to be that 11 ft LWL on a 15ft boat cannot be anything other than an exercise in misery from the excessive motion, with potential stores-carrying issues on long passages. I accept that it's subjective, but having no experience I'm taking on all your opinions. I can take a bit of a hiding when at sea, but I've no interest repeating the constant miseries from woe to go that Serge Testa suffered in Acrohc Australis.

    So what becomes reasonable in terms of size and displacement for a passagemaker? It does seem that for reasons of emotional connection, cost of ownership, ease of use and reliability that the smallest boat WITHIN REASON is the best for me... I just don't have a grasp of where to draw the line in terms of what's reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  9. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Can I have a bit of fun with the theme of this thread, and get Diarrhea of the Pen ( yeah, I'm stuck in bed, bored and recuperating ) :rolleyes:

    Lets see -

    You dislike -
    "insufficient sail area to move in light winds, miserable control when running in a sea due to a tendency to surf and broach, heavy helms, difficult to balance in a sea, require copious amounts of foredeck work at times when you don't want to be on the foredeck, challenging to reef, and with systems that continually break down (roller reefing, hydraulic steering, water pumps, engine cooling)."

    Lets get real for starters.

    What you have described is what even people who spend millions of dollars find - "sailing is the art of going slowly nowhere at great expense with the bare minimum of comfort".

    Even Larry Ellision on his huge 80' Sayanora
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/...118408085?nk=b517f359a61287b27a801ea938fd5a0d

    calls it quits on the Tasman, we can talk about the kayak tragedy with Andrew Mccauley in 2007, Scott Donaldson gets air-rescued a few months ago within 20 NM of shore etc etc.

    Its rough out there.

    Now

    "building a small, simple offshore boat that I could use in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2015/2016"

    Sorry - that's Summer 2015 ???

    You want a boat without all the vices you mentioned, capable of performing without the limitations you listed, finished, supplied and on the water in a bit over 12 months ???

    Building a boat is for desperate characters , and people in need of much greater trauma counselling than you.

    How about this for a plan.

    The open ocean is cold, boring and dangerous. All the inspiring, fun bits are on the shore or up the rivers.

    You already have "a 20 ft, one ton trailerable, whose sailing characteristics are reasonable". Towable at that !!

    How about you do that any sensible sailor should do in your location, and plan an easy stage, coastal hop around the Northern Island of New Zealand where it is warm, basking in the 2014/2015 summer ( now !!!!! ) from the idyllic Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Islands, and all the brilliant coastal delights that the New Zealand coast has to offer. Overnight in safety and comfort of safe anchorages, wait out the odd bad weather in local pubs, get onto the pristine white sands of those fantastic beaches,
    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-feature/beached-as-20100310-pyf7.html

    bask in the luxurious warm springs on the "Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula." etc etc etc

    You live within 200 kilometers of one of the last great paradises on earth, and you want to go out into the ...... Ocean ?? .

    Sail what you have, NOW.


    ( PS - this advice is not a paid advertisement by the New Zealand Maritime Rescue Service, but I am open to offers :) )
     
  10. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Sailing is all about fixing broken crap in inconvenient places. What makes you think you're going to be exempt? Hell, my boat isn't even *finished* and I'm fixing broken (new) crap because the builder (not me, for once) didn't get it right. This adds insult to injury as if I want something screwed up, I can do that fro free. The really worrying part is, I didn't even go ballistic over it. The brain rot is well established......

    As for *slow*, all sailboats are slow. Friends just launched their brand new toy, years in the building. Now they're talking of adding a Code Zero sail to their collection - boat doesn't move fast enough in winds below 4 knots. It never ends......

    Buy a boat and go sailing, live with the compromises. If you must build your own, why aren't you looking at your own local boat designer, John Welsford? He does small boats.

    PDW
     
  11. Tussock
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Tussock Junior Member

    You're welcome to fun at my expense, rwatson - but - to look at the points you've raised....

    I've sailed the Tasman, from your home of Tasmania to Nelson. Ive crossed chunks of the Pacific and found it warm, wonderful, and potentially hazardous, and I want more. I've sailed the Hauraki Gulf extensively - was there last weekend - and coastal NZ. While I was in the ara I looked at Swirly World, the boat that towed John Riding off to his Tasman attempt. I knew Andrew Macauley, nice guy, good climber. And I've done a whole bunch of sailing on my yacht without roller furling, hydraulics, water pumps and engines, and hence by not spending millions I've saved myself a whole bunch of grief that those who've spent those millions have suffered.

    My 20 ft trailer sailor will next be sailed on Saturday. A year ago I took it on a 7 day journey from Dunedin to Lyttelton, reaching 200 miles offshore. I don't want to repeat that experience because a Coronet 20 has reasonable sailing characteristics but doesn't have the strength, watertightness or stability to make such journeys sufficiently safe for me to want to repeat it. I'll be sailing it plenty this summer. I've got a long- term ankle injury from a mountaineering accident that leaves sailing as one of the few activities that I can rip in to.

    But so what??? That's not what this thread is about.

    I've built a house and two aircraft before, and I know full well that I could build a yacht that is capable of a Tasman crossing, doesn't require any foredeck work apart from anchoring, has minimal tendency to surf and broach, a light helm, well balanced, moves in light winds, and free of those systems mentioned above, and have it on the water in the next 12 months. I could build something far more robust than Andrew's Casper covered kayak, and with greater potential than Scott's rowboat. That part isn't a challenge.

    What I don't know, and why I started this thread, is if the stability and motion of the craft that I could easily build in half that time, is sufficient to make the exercise worthwhile. I've no experience in tiny yachts, nor am I a yacht designer. The consensus from this thread is no, the sort of boat I had initially envisaged has too violent a motion in a sea, and too little stores carrying. Fair enough.

    So I've asked the next question, and I'll repeat it: what size and displacement becomes reasonable for a passagemaker?

    So while you're suffering in bed with nothing to do but write, how about directing your pen at answering that question? Instead of taking wild pot-shots at my goals, talk design with me, help me get a grasp on what's reasonable in terms of a small, simple, capable, offshore yacht, easily controlled from below decks. Talk about motion damping qualities, clawing of a lee shore, natural course-keeping, stability downwind, and other factors too if you want.

    Think Hasler's Jester, not Elliston's Sayanora.
     
  12. Tussock
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    Tussock Junior Member

    I'm an engineer. The first rule is: stuff breaks. But if you're without refrigeration, standing rigging, spade rudders, hydraulics, etc. they aren't going to bother you.

    Hells bells guys, if you can carry all the tools that built your boat with you and a few spares, aren't you going to be able to look after yourself?

    Now, to get back on track, let's talk motion damping and other things I can't fix?
     
    Dolfiman likes this.
  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    They don't have to be slow, nor difficult to handle or even temperamental, unless you bring the wife. I have a sailor that cruises at 17 knots and I've had her over 23 occasionally. Yeah she's a wee bit longer then what we're talking about, but it is a monohull.

    Boats are a compilation of discontinuous compromise and concession. You have to eat some stuff, just to enjoy some other stuff. Cruisers are the most difficult of the breed to get anything fulfilling on, simply because there's so many conflicting and competing issues at play. You'd like some speed, but aren't willing to sacrifice some comfort, you'd enjoy easy sail handling, but insist on a complex, highly strung rig, you need the room to carry stores and guests, but can't afford the extra length, etc., etc., etc.

    Sail handling can be really simple, but you'll have to surrender to light air hoist options. A free standing rig is logical for this route, but there goes the headsails, though you don't have any standing rigging to worry about. Given the choices, I'd opt for a free standing cat ketch rig. You're not going to claw to windward like a fractional sloop, but you'll do just fine and the rig will take care of itself, with simple controls. If you're really desperate, you can host a staysail or chute off a retractable sprit, though foredeck work may be required.

    Stability can be assured with a good design, but not one patterned after a club racer or intended to meet some rule set. Will you need shoal draft (another compromise)? Systems breaking down are pretty common, if price is the motivation at purchase. You can buy bulletproof stuff and maybe have redundant systems, but bring your first born and maybe kiss off an arm or two.

    You's like some speed, but don't like the "tendency to surf", well pick one, because you can't have both. The fastest boats are twitchy bitches, hard to control and very demanding of skipper and crew. Whittle down these traits for whatever reason and yep, you'll get a more balanced end result, but it'll shave the speed and handling portions of the equation too.

    See if you can find a "Flica" as this is a 20' ocean capable pocket yacht, with standing headroom. It's dog slow, but safe, reliable, predictable, well mannered, much like the ugly girl next door to you when you grew up. She'd have made a fine wife, but just didn't have what you wanted, though was probably much more qualified then some other choices.

    At this point you need to focus on a SOR and make some real hard priorities. This will guide your decision making, in regard to a design best suited.
     
  14. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Look, I'm most (hah) of the way through building a *simple* single chine steel hulled sailboat a little under 12m LOD. Long shoal keel, fully supported rudder, no hydraulics, steel masts and galvanised rigging I can put swages in myself. I'm fully supportive of simple, robust and cheap. Unfortunately, like a lot of stuff, you *never* get all 3 of 'good, cheap, fast' and you also never get all of 'simple, robust, cheap *and* fast'. Let alone 'comfortable'.

    I have a very comprehensive workshop with a lot of metalworking and woodworking tools. I make lots of stuff myself and if it breaks I know just how to fix it. I'm fully sympathetic with that POV *but* it costs TIME.

    Look at some of Jay Benford's designs. Not sure what the smallest dory is but I know there are some shorter than BADGER. A friend of mine built a BADGER. No standing rigging, simple ply dory hull, home built everything really including sewing his own sails. It's a junk rig with all lines led aft to the cockpit, no foredeck work needed. At 75 years old, he can easily single-hand it.

    He was a retired tool maker with a very good workshop. It took him a touch over 6 years to build a 34' boat.

    So IMO your thoughts of building a 15' boat in under a year is feasible, but it won't do what you want really, so what's the point. I've got all those books on small boat voyaging too - what I got out of them was, I'm going *nowhere* out of sight of land in a boat that size. So your SOR is way out of synch with your intended boat size, which one are you going to compromise?

    As for the question on motion damping, I can tell you an absolutely guaranteed way of achieving it. Get a much, much bigger boat. Then the pitch & roll period is lengthened and becomes more tolerable. I spent a lot of time in the Southern Ocean on icebreakers, no way I'd go there in a 12m sailboat (let alone a 5m one).

    If you want to hear more or see some pix of what I'm building, feel free to PM or email me. I don't post much on my build to the net as I've seen others seem to spend more time updating their web sites than building.

    PDW
     

  15. Tussock
    Joined: Sep 2014
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    Tussock Junior Member

    Cheers, PAR. I've seen a Flicka up close, and it looked a little try-hard to my eyes... lots of gloss varnish over mahogany, a basically sound hull but not an outstanding design... but as I say, I'm not a designer. The Folkboat previously mentioned and something like a Vertue are better hulls, surely, but sans the sexy interior that appears to look good dockside but perhaps performs less well on a passage?

    I know I want a small boat that can hold some sail in a blow to make way to windward... one that tracks well to a simple vane gear... one that behaves itself in a following wind and sea... a simple single sail that can be controlled from a central point below decks... I don't need through-hulls below the waterline, bucket and chuck it is fine...and a high AVS, a slow roll rate and minimal pitching is more important than speed.

    I THINK that the characteristics that give those qualities are a heavy displacement design, relatively fine forward a more full aft to reduce pitching, with a full keel with a deep ballast, a wineglass section with plenty of flat in the deadrise between the keel and the turn of the bilge, and increasing beam in the topsides above the bilge. I think those features entrain the most water when rolling, give the greatest course-keeping, give the slowest roll period, and resist planing the best. I may be wrong. Maybe that's your girl-next-door - a little Mae West for today's tastes but plenty to grab hold of on a cold night.

    From what I know, the heavier the displacement for a given waterplane the better the motion. That's too vague a notion to be more than relative. And what I can't grasp at all is the point where LWL becomes sufficient to give a reasonable motion in a sea.

    For what it's worth... I have a very technical job; I'm happy to leave all electronics of a boat. It's a very personal decision. I can navigate fine with a sextant, and prefer a wind vane to an autohelm. A bit off topic. I get enough buttons to push at work; I'm happy to leave them there.
     
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