Seeking Assistance

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Leopluridean, May 21, 2009.

  1. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    First of all, hello everyone. I'm new here.

    I'm interested in building for myself, a small sail boat.
    Let me make it known upfront, that I am a complete newbie to this.
    I don't know anything about variables in building, such as which hull types provide the best steering, how much weight different shapes displace, buoyancy etc. On top of that, I have never sailed!

    Anyway, my goal here is to make a boat that can hold preferably two people.
    I'd prefer to use cheap materials since I'm on an extremely tight budget.

    Can anyone help get me started here?

    What kind of boat style should I go for, what materials should be used and so forth.
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Will you be trailering or car-topping/truck-bedding? Have you ever sailed before? Do you own some tools? Have experience in woodworking? Space to build?
    Narrow your options down by asking yourself those kinds of questions. Once you make those options known here, you'll get plenty of help.
    Welcome to the forum. Always great to see another first time builder arrive.
  3. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    Also, I've got a huge array of tools at my disposal. I live on a farm and have more than enough room to build. I've done plenty of woodworking. The only things holding me back are lack of know how and materials. After I know what materials I'll need and what to do with them, I can get started.

    I'm looking for something to put in the back of a truck/van or on top. Preferably around 12 feet I guess? Will that be big enough for two?
  4. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I would go for a set of plans or kit. There are lots of them on line. Many are very easy to build using simple stitch and glue techniques. try Chesapeake Light Craft, Glen-L or any of the other on-line sellers of kits and plans. This will reduce the learning curve to just the building part of it. Once you get it built you can then concern yourself with learning to sail.
  5. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    Thanks for the URL, but I still don't know what kind of boat would best suit me. Suggestions?
  6. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi Leopluridean,

    Good, good. You know how to handle wood, you have space, you have motivation and excitement. :)

    OK, so you're new to sailing but already love the idea of it. You don't want to spend too much money- a true sailor already. (Boatyards love motoryacht owners and hate sailors- one spends like there's no tomorrow, the other is notoriously thrifty.)

    But you don't know where to start. So, let's see what appeals to you:

    Do you want to sail for a few hours at a time, or a few days (either sleeping on board, or camping on shore)?
    What kind of waters are near you? Protected inland lakes with not much wind, or maybe an inlet or big lake with some substantial waves, or would you be sailing in coastal areas?
    Is a trailer a possibility? You say you might want to carry it on the roof of your truck/van- many folks do this, but it does restrict your choices.

    Now, on to some suggestions that *MIGHT* fall in the category of something you'd be interested in (it's hard to say for sure until you know what you plan to do with it). All of these design shops have a good variety of small, relatively inexpensive boats. Browsing their catalogues might prove inspiring, but don't jump to a decision too quickly...
    Phil Bolger & Harold Payson -
    Glen-L - -
  7. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    Since this will be my first boat (more than likely not my last) I think I can settle for a one man sized boat.

    I'd like to have the option to sleep on the boat (luxurious accommodations aren't a necessity) just so long as I can lay out fully stretched as if on a cot.

    I'm in the state of Delaware, so it's either gonna be inland lakes and large ponds or coastal waters and I would like to be able to enjoy both.

    Trailer sadly is not a possibility. I can remove the backseats in my van and have some of the boat hanging out the back if need be, or I could possibly put it on top of the van.
  8. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    There are many identifiable types of sailboats. Many in the smaller sizes between 7 ft and 16 ft are suitable for rowing as well as sailing, and even motering with a small outboard.
    As with all things in life, you have to give up something to get something. A sailing dinghy that will plane is faster than a non-planing type, but a non-planing type is more efficient if rowed.
    Will you want to row often? Will you possibly be using a motor? Is pure sailing what you want?
    Each design will favor some emphasis.
    12 ft is a good length to carry a few hundred lbs. Maybe 5 ft in beam, a centerboard, with jib or without. Some designs, as said, will jump up and plane with enough wind and a hiked-out sailor. Those tend to be wider aft, which isn't the ideal shape for rowing, but by no means necessarily sluggish.
    Light weight means about 120 lbs if 12 ft long. Light enough to get on and off a truck bed. There are literally thousands of designs in that category.
    So question one is whether to emphasize all purpose (displacement hull) or pure sailing (planing hull). Next, capacity for two adults and gear (400 lbs, e.g.. Then, rig type. Rig, meaning sail setup, and that involves what type of sail (gaff, marconi, sprit, lug, and so forth, and then whether a jib is desired.
    Decked or not decked? A forward deck makes for a dryer boat, something of importance if sailing on salt water a mile out.
    Then there's building method, which will likely be plywood with some epoxy technology to a greater or lesser degree (even within the same design).
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Before you select a design, go to the local water ways and beg a ride on as many different sailboats as you can. If there's a sailing club, call them, find out when they meet and show up. They're always looking for extra bodies to crew and you learn a huge amount in a short time.

    Sailing is like cars, some like fast and scary, others need a mini van to carry all their stuff. You don't know what you need or what you desire yet, so lets get some basics established before you go off building. You can just as easy build a boat you'll hate to sail as on you'll love. You will not know, until you try it out. Hell, you might find you can't stand the stuff and are glad you got it out of your system before you built a boat. In all likelihood, you'll quickly develop some personal preferences based on the experiences and new sailing friends you generate. These things will help define what you'll build. Now, get out there a find a ride.
  10. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    Okay. I've been looking up some of these terms I don't understand.

    Since the primary function of the boat is going to be sailing, I'm definitely going to want a planing hull. I can still row in case of emergency with a planing hull, it just won't be as efficient.

    I would like a Jib since from what I've read it can help with not only catching the wind currents for movement, but also with the steering.

    I've figured out that a centerboard is a retractable keel and it's required to move in directions other than downwind. I'm definitely going to want a centerboard.

    Beam took me a while. The Width of the boat at it's widest point. A 5ft beam sounds good to me.

    The stern is the rear. Aft means towards the back so yeah, wider in the stern sounds good since I want the boat's primary function to be sailing.

    I did some research and I stumbled across the Bermuda/Bermudian Rig. From what I've read it's supposed to be pretty fast.

    Can someone state the advantages and disadvantages of using certain rigs over others?

    Forward deck also sounds like a must.

    So in a nutshell:

    -Boat primarily for sailing.
    -Between 7 and 12 feet in length.
    -Planing Hull.
    -A 5ft beam (unless someone can suggest something better).
    -Wide Stern.
    -Forward Deck.
    -Bermuda/Bermudian Rig (unless someone can suggest something better).
    As I was writing this post I found out this is also known as a Marconi Rig.

    How does that sound?
  11. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Sounds like you won't have a problem finding plans.
    Rig types----- each rig type was developed to answer a particular need and in recent years there has been an emphasis on bermudan sails. It's easy to see why. The rig works well with spreaders at a level about halfway up the mast, which means the mast itself can be taller and yet thinner than most other rigs. This in turn translates into a longer leading edge to the sail, and long leading edges with thin masts (made possible by the spreaders) are very efficient at producing drive.
    The downside is that the bermudan high aspect sail needs a more deeply-ballasted keel, or a wider beam, or both compared to some more old-fashioned rigs like the gaff, the lug, squaresail, etc..
    These are all things you can read about, but my feeling is you will find most designs out there have bermudan sails.
  12. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    I've found a few plans that I think match what I'm looking for.

    This is probably my favorite.

    Here are some others I was looking at.


    I think all of these have keels as opposed to centerboards though. Can someone confirm? I definitely want a centerboard unless someone can convince me of why a keel would work better.
  13. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    No keels. They have daggerboards, which are simpler and cheaper to build, a knife-like board that is slid down and through while a centerboard swings down. The daggerboard is removable with one hand. The centerboard is assembled into the boat.
    Functionally the centerboard and the daggerboard do the same thing. Practically speaking, the centerboard is self-tending, in that when it meets an underwater obstacle, it simply rides over it, or at least absorbs the impact softly. The dagger hits hard, wherapon you grab it and pull it up and hope no damage was done. Usually, there's no damage to speak of. Many popular board boats like the Sunfish use a dagger for simplicity and more foot room, lower weight, etc. Lightweight boats are perfect for daggers because they don't have enough inertia to break the case or the board.
  14. Leopluridean

    Leopluridean Guest

    That's not bad at all. That means I can swap out different sized dagger boards.

  15. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Reading your comments about prefering a planing hull and the jib being necessary for steering, it shows your total lackl of knowledge about boats. Choosing a high performance design for cruising and learning doesn't make much sense. As Par said, try going out fora sail first. Specifications like a 12 foot length will limit your beam to 3.8 feet or so, and that at the gunwale. At the bottom it will be less.
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