(really) Small aluminum sailboats?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by hospadar, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. hospadar
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    hospadar Junior Member

    I'm wondering if anyone can point me at any nice, small (<= 12' LOA) aluminum sailboat plans.

    I've built a PD racer & a summer breeze with plywood/epoxy/glass (with good success). Recently I've come into possession of a TIG welder and some more metalworking equipment for a DIY camper-trailer project and I'm just curious about really small-scale sailboat building in aluminum.

    I'm wondering about using a stitch-and-glue plan and converting it to aluminum, maybe with riveted chines and welded frames? Has anyone done this? Any good build logs/designs?

    I'm not dead-set on building with aluminum for the next project, I'm just curious about my options and I can't find many projects online that are smaller than sailing-yacht size.

  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    There has been another thread about the same thing.
    You should look for it.

    I have a friend who built a piroque in aluminum. About 12'.
    It weighed 100#. 100% welded by his brother who works in the marine industry.

    We converted it to stitch and glue ply. 40#

    The aluminum boat is great looking, and will probably never get used again.

    Be careful what you wish for.
  3. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Hospadar..... Upchurch is politely suggesting to you that a 12 foot aluminum sailboat is not the most advantageous plan. Plywood is, pound for pound, stronger than aluminum. That is not all. The wooden boat will be quicker and easier to build and probably cost less, it will also make less noise, and be more pleasing to the touch, especially on a very hot or a very cold day.

    The advantage of an aluminum boat is that you can leave it out in the weather and otherwise abuse it without serious consequences. Not so with the wooden one. Aside from that the wood boat is the likely to be the better option.
  4. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Aluminum construction in that size is inferior to wood because the density of aluminum is too high. To get enough thickness in AL to not dent or oilcan the boat will be too heavy.
  5. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    If you want to build in alloy you should do a tig welding course, the welding setup is reasonably cheap and the welding is quite easy once you've been shown what to do. You'll never look back.

    Have a look at the alloy sailing dinghy plans available here :

  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Thanks for the link, this is only the second example I have seen of small aluminum boats.
  7. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Barry Senior Member

    MikeJohns aluminum boat seem that it fits the bill. I could not find a weight of the finished hull

    I would change the profile of the gunwhale as it is quite wide and unless you need it for stepping on, it takes up a lot of inside space.

    If you are tigging this boat. After one side of the chine weld or keel weld is completed, you have to take a skil saw, and cut a groove in the back side of the joint until you know that you have cut into the welding portion. So when you weld the weld, there is not porosity in the joint.

    At the end of each tig weld, ie when you stop, you should cut back the last part of the puddle to ensure that you do not have crater cracks in the weld. With tig it is not normally an issue when you know what you are doing

    You have to be extremely careful as the saw might want to push back on you.

  8. tane
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    tane Junior Member

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