Opinions/help on 1st build for ~ 12' sailboat

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by corkobo, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. corkobo
    Joined: Nov 2018
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    Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

    corkobo New Member

    Hello,

    I want to build my own sailboat. I have never built a boat or sailed one (or even been in one) but everyone has to start somewhere.
    After about a month or so of reading on the subject (mostly on-line) I realize that the more I learn about boat design the more there is to learn. After initially thinking that I can just design my own I have now realized this would be a bad idea for a 1st build.

    I have found many designs that look appropriate but none that perfectly matches what I want. So I'm asking for opinions/help to decide between 2 basic designs, but, furthermore, about some alterations to the designs.

    First, my intended usage/requirements:
    To use in sheltered waters (river, estuary, lake), not in bad weather, to learn to sail and having done that, to cruise for enjoyment mostly for 1/2 to 1 day or so at a time, hopefully even some whole weekends.
    high priority: suitable for a sailing novice, safe, stable, can easily take 2 adults and possibly more, reasonably simple to build, not too long or heavy, beach-able (if there is such a word), comfort (internal space)
    medium priority: comfort (not a lot of roll/pitch or slam), some extra load (camping gear?), can modify/build-on later (e.g. decking/flimsy cabin-like shelter, etc.), can be rowed for small-medium distances
    low priority: speed, ease of rowing, trolling motor
    no priority/not intended for: racing, high speed, strong winds, sea, aesthetics.
    I do not (for now) intend to sail it/heel it so hard that I need to lean out of the boat. I intend to trailer it, store it in a shed at home.

    Basically, after a lot of searching, I came down to 2 designs: the OzGoose 12' development of the PDR and the Piccup Squared (or the Twixt maybe?).

    So, first question: how do they compare in your opinion?

    Second is about modifications: I want to increase the beam of both to 5', maybe even 5'2" and an increase in side height (I'm thinking 24" or so). I want to build longitudinal airboxes in the Piccup.
    Could I? Should I? Which design would enlarge better/easier? With or without a small (10-12") increase in length?

    I have a lot of ideas/questions about these 2 designs, and the modifications I would like to make, but this post is long enough and I'm weary of asking too many (stupid) questions in my first post.

    I'm grateful for any help/opinions, including the "you're way wrong" ones.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think that trying to modify something you have no experience with is a really bad idea. The best idea, is to go sailing and find out if you don't puke your guts out and hate the whole idea. Once you get over that hurdle, ask yourself if the goal is to spend 2-3 years building a poor quality boat (typical of your first build) or to go sailing. If the second, then get a used boat and go sailing to enjoy the sport and gain experience. That experience will then allow you to make informed decisions on design, etc. that will make sense. For example, when you say that "I do not (for now) intend to sail it/heel it so hard that I need to lean out of the boat", it shows a lack of understanding of small boat sailing. Not hiking out in a gust results in a capsize.
     
  3. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Location: Spain

    TANSL Senior Member

    I think the OP has clearly stated that designing a boat himself to build his first boat is a bad idea. Which, I think, is totally correct. It also seems to me that he could, well advised by someone with knowledge, design a boat (not build it) to go into the design of boats. If this is his idea, I find it very commendable and, in my opinion, he does not personally need to have experience in navigation. It seems, then, that he wants a design, to verify that it is correct, etc., before starting to build anything. If this is really his idea, or something similar, I would be happy to help him carry it out. In this same forum we have seen people who "design" things, presented to us as boats, without having any experience as a designer, or as a builder, or as a navigator. So, why not encourage the OP to continue with his idea?
     
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Stick to the plans, or a plan.

    The easiest, fastest boats to build are stitch n glue, monocoque construction using a non blushing slow epoxy. Building them bigger can done(ask the designer), but requires a lot more effort.

    The next, but generally quite a bit harder to build are ply on frame. Building these bigger is harder still.

    I recommend you continue to search for a good stitch n glue design that fits your wishes more ideally.

    There are boats out there that perform differently.

    I am sort of with Gonzo here; save you can build a great first boat in stitch n glue and a decent first boat ply on frame if you have built things before.
     
  5. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Also, forget the air boxes. Just follow the design. My brother has a ply on frame Windward 15 and while there is room for a buoyancy chamber here or there; you would not want to do it until after using the boat and deciding if you can do without the space. His boat has a space under the gunnel, but not all the way to the sole, for example. Of course; this is within reason. If you have a small area under the foredeck to make watertight; you'd do it before laying the deck.

    Again, best to find a design that already has planned it.
     
  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Also, I don't care much for either design. A caveat is I am not a sailor.

    I prefer a more forward mast in a small boat and a boom that requires less ducking. Some well tuned sailor might help you out. These boats become a one man boat in a hurry when they are uncomfortable for passengers is all. And I am just a passenger on a sailboat generally.

    And the Ozgoose is just ugly to me.
     
  7. corkobo
    Joined: Nov 2018
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    Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

    corkobo New Member

    Thank you all very much for taking the time to answer so fast. I did not expect this.

    @gonzo - I could maybe get a "1st sailing lesson/session" or similar to try sailing but cannot afford to buy a boat. So home built is the only way I see, at this time.
    On the subject of heeling, you are right, I do not understand small boat sailing, I was thinking rather that I'll not go that close hauled if that's what it takes to not heel too much. It may be that my thinking is flawed.

    @TANSL - I do intend to build the boat and sail it myself. But I am patient enough to either select a design that most closely matches my vision or to modify one and be as reasonably sure as I can be that it is fit for purpose. I have to admit that the modification/tinkering aspect attracts me in and of itself, but the actual objective is to sail my boat.

    @fallguy - Yes, it is stitch and glue I want to do for this. Both designs I picked can be done like that. They are both ~12' long (I don't think I can store/transport a longer boat). Being pram/scow (still not sure of the difference) they have good interior space for their length. I intend to try two rigs, a balanced lug and leg-o-mutton (this last one on a short mast so deliberately underpowered).


    The reason I would want to add fore-and-aft airboxes to the Piccup Squared is to allow easy recovery after a capsize (I fully expect that I will capsize a lot while learning) with most of the water flowing out of the boat after re-floating it.
    And if I add fore-and-aft airboxes that will make the cockpit narrower which is why I was thinking to increase beam. It sure would be nice to have a 4' wide "box" to sail in instead of a 3' one.
    I thought more beam also means more displacement and thus more carrying capacity.
    I also (perhaps naively) thought it will increase stability, maybe at the price of speed.

    My intention in increasing the freeboard is to try and have a drier boat. I realize that more freeboard means more weight and thus the draft would increase a bit as well. Maybe that would also increase stability. And yes, more freeboard means more side wind effects but performance is not my priority with my first boat. I would not sail it in high winds anyway.

    I fully suspect that I probably oversimplify the issues so much I fail to see some huge horrible flaws in my thinking which my result in a boat that does not sail at all (or so badly as to be useless). I am thinking that people with more experience will see these flaws immediately. I intend to build a small scale model first anyway (2' or so) to at least visualize the parts, dry fit, etc.

    In the end, if the consensus is firmly on the side of "don't modify the hull of a tried and tested design" response I will follow that advice (otherwise why ask in the first place).
    So it may be that simply need to decide between the 2 designs.

    I got this idea of building a boat from the PD Racer. Maybe I should just have build that but it's so small. I really do wish to have something that can easily take 2 adults (not that slim ones) without water lapping into the boat. So from there I got to the Goose. And from the Goose to the Piccup Squared.

    I don't even know how detrimental the straight sides of the Goose are vs. the rounded ones of the Piccup.
    Or what is the advantage of the vertical flare of the Piccup sides vs. the straight vertical ones on the Goose.
    Or which rocker is better? Or why the Goose has the mast so forward and the Piccup no so much?
    So much to learn!!!!

    Sometimes I think it will take me months of study before I'll even decide what I'm going to build, let alone build it... :(
     
    fallguy likes this.
  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Go sailing and find out if you can handle the movement without puking. If you do, and enjoy sailing, then it makes more sense to spend time and money on building a boat. As far as modifying a design, that is a really, really bad idea. Also, you will find that building a boat is more expensive than buying a used one. You couldn't buy the plywood, let alone the sails, hardware, etc. for what these boats are selling for:
    - Dinghy in Devon, South West | Boats and Outboards https://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/Sailing-dinghies-for-sale/unknown-dinghy/240735
    Tony Richardson - Enterprise in Cambridgeshire, Eastern | Boats and Outboards https://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/Sailing-dinghies-for-sale/tony-richardson-enterprise/240288
    David Gibbens - Solo in Devon, South West | Boats and Outboards https://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/Sailing-dinghies-for-sale/david-gibbens-solo/238444
     
  9. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

  10. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I think you have to try something before you can really know what it is you want. Does "(or even been in one)" mean any boat at all or just sailboats..?

    There's boat clubs in Edinburgh where you can 'try it out' or get training.

    There's boats you sail, boats you paddle or row, and boats that have a throttle.
    A sailboat has a certain mystique about it, but it takes a certain temperament to appreciate them. A small sailboat will be slow. If you don't intend to sail it moderately hard, since half the time is spent going and half is spent coming back, a 1/2 day sail can leave you pretty close to the dock the whole time. Or, you can sail like crazy for a few hours and then the wind quits and you don't get back until the next day if you're not washed out to sea altogether.
    A small sailboat means most of your attention will be devoted to sailing. A lot of the view will be blocked by the sail, but most of your attention will be devoted to sailing anyway so that might not be a problem.
    If you dislike sitting with your head cranked 90 degrees looking over your shoulders all day, sailing will become tiresome.
    I think sailboat racing is such a big thing is because otherwise sailboats are not that enjoyable.
    I find boating more enjoyable when there is a throttle involved and I can reasonably plan where I will go and when I will get back. Plus you can go to places you can't go to in a sailboat, cover much more area and see and do more things.
    Even paddle boats or row boats give you more control over where you go or what you can do. Sailboating is pretty much limited to the act of sailing.
     
  11. corkobo
    Joined: Nov 2018
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    corkobo New Member

    I have been on boats before (and a few ships, not counting ferries). Mostly rowboats (some single oared, but also 8, 10 and 12 oared both as rower and as steersman). And, except for one bad experience on a badly rolling motor tourist boat in the Med, I've quite enjoyed my experiences.
    But no sailboats.
    I am not after racing, at least not now. Once I learn how to sail a small boat decently I may change my mind of course.

    Anyway, I have (to some extent) come to my senses. I realise now that designing my own boat as my first ever build is not a wise thing. Especially after reading more about hydrostatics/hydrodynamics and lots of ways to get things badly balanced and simply wrong.

    So, I will build a simple (the simplest?) boat that's big enough to take 2-3 adults, reputedly fast to build and (hopefully) cheap. I bought the plans for the Oz Goose and will build that.

    To my surprise, it only has plans for a centerboard. So, even though I meant to NOT change the design I think that I will have to add a swinging leeboard, even without having plans, as at first most of my sailing will be in really shallow water.

    Anyway, I have not given up on building the boat I want, but first I'll build a tried and tested design. Then after having gone through a build and (hopefully) learned to sail I will reassess and decide what to next.

    It is possible that I may end up not liking sailing, though I cannot right now imagine that.
     
  12. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    And if you don't, a wood boat (and all the waste and left over wood), makes for a lot of firewood.

    Luckily, most any row or paddle boat can be a sailboat too. Or even have a motor.
     
  13. tmark
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    tmark Junior Member

  14. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Although it's nice to not have one in the way, it might be better to redesign the centerboard to a kick up. Little changes on small boats get magnified. If you do leeboards, unless you want to switch it from side to side, you need two to avoid lopsided handling characteristics depending on which tack you're on. The center of resistance or whatever it's called will change too so it could be trial and error to find the right position. Even with a kick up centerboard things will change fore and aft a bit if it's only half way down, but with an immovable daggerboard (like the Oz Goose?) it's just not good to run into things.

    You need a kick up rudder too.

    The two links in here might give you ideas...
    How to build a Kick-Up Centerboard and Rudder https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/how-to-build-a-kick-up-centerboard-and-rudder.6864/

    Here's something kind of handy. The last half of chapter 9 and all of chapter 10 kind of pertains...
    Rigging Small Sailboats - Title page https://www.glen-l.com/free-book/rigging-small-sailboats.html#contents

    .
     

  15. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The sensible thing to do would be to buy an old Mirror dinghy and repair it as needed. There were very good reasons why it was so popular in the 60'70's. it sounds the best boat for you and buying a used one will be far cheaper. If you find you like sailing and have design improvement ideas at least you will have started at a sensible place. Maybe like this?

    Bell Mirror Boats for sale Scotland, Bell boats for sale, Bell used boat sales, Bell Sailing Dinghies For Sale Mirror Dinghy Sail No: 65183 - Apollo Duck https://scotland.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/bell-mirror/587760
    (I consider it overpriced, BTW, GBP150 would be a better price)
    Richard Woods
     
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