Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by greenwater, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yes, as I mentioned there are other designs, that have the charm of a spray, but the original poster wants a Spray.

    I have 10's of thousands of miles under my assorted keels and with the exception of a few occasions, when very near to shore, I've not be able to out run storms. When you're 300 miles from anything dry, you're not out running crap in a cruising boat.

    Any serious cruiser will quickly tell you that a large portion of their actual "underway" time is motorsailing or purely motoring. Sure it would be nice if we're in the trades all the time and everyone had lots of maneuvering room, but this isn't the case. Most cruisers are near shore, trying not to venture to far out a channel for fear of scrapping bottom with their fin. The ICW has gotten so shoal in the last few years, that it's nearly innavigable in spots. The same is true of many canals and rivers we use to connect to destinations. I've had to go around Florida for a number of years now, because the Okeechobee Waterway isn't trustworthy any more. Hell, you have to motor 90% of it's length anyway.

    The fellow wants a Spray, so let him at it. What would you suggest? Another full bellied, gaffer, like a Collin Archer? Please, what's the difference.

    Personally I'd opt for a shoal version of a Mobjack with a gaff rig, if I wanted this type of yacht, but that's me.

    Most I've met, loved their Spray, Ingrid or other hefty cruiser. Who are we to suggest they're wrong, getting contentious about it even . . .
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    SCOWBOY Junior Member

    Thank you Steam Flyer,

    High praise indeed.

    when I catch my breath I'll add a little about the Stratford Man hoax and why it's relevant to boat design, politics (by inference only) and other disciplines that affect the way we think and perceive.

    I've also got to do a little doodling (designing some might call it) and after all this here about Spray I'm working on a shallow draft vessel and not for the first time. having discovered the joys of jumping off one's boat with one's dog of course, into water knee deep or less I'm kind of hooked. also it let's one get away from all those awful loud raucous raft up parties going on into the late night when one is cruising in the first place to get away from other bipedal creatures not noted for uber consideration.(I know Aussie's you've got your own bipedal issues down there).

    I'm informed that something like 97% of the east coast of the US is shallow water... who wants to be following intricate turns in channels just to get anywhere?

    of course there's the new crop of ignorant owners with money to buy some towering montrosity with engines and all manner of instruments and position finding stuff so they can maneuver successfully from Florida to the Bahamas through winding channels then not be able to dock the effing things... makes my skin crawl just thinking about it...

    what are they called?? Boobus Americanus.. they're a danger to all of us, I just read another horror story the other day about a large Chris Craft skipper towing his anchor around an anchorage all payed out hoping to fetch up on something so he could anchor, not knowing how to go about it...

    the straits of Malacca are starting to seem attractive, only pirates to deal with..

    thank you all and to all a goodnight...
  3. Gilbert
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    This might be a good spot for me to upload a freeship file of the Spray. A couple of years ago my uncle started on a project to make a Spray model and since he was working from a small lines drawing from a book, I offered to draw and fair up the lines with my drafting software and print out templates for the waterlines for him. And I couldn't resist the temptation to use the sections I had arrived at as markers for making a model in freeship, and via freeship making it available to anyone at no cost, assuming they have a computer. This is a fairbody model only, with no planked up deadwood as in the original and no representation of the centerline timbers or bulwarks. Otherwise, I believe it is a very accurate representation the hull of Slocum's Spray.

    Attached Files:

  4. greenwater
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    greenwater New Member

    I would just like to say how much I appreciate all these very interesting responses and have been really enjoying hearing from so much experience.

    Even if I am now confused more than ever about how to decide on a boat after so many years of going back and forth trying to find the perfect boat knowing I've only got one chance at it and none to see. I do want to build whatever I go with, and hope I choose something seaworthy (from the reference to the seaworthiness post).

    This is awesome.
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Greenwater, the design selection process can be quite painful and drawn out, as I'm sure you've tasted by now. How do you weigh the many, mostly convoluted aspects against each other, so you can make a rational decision, can be very difficult.

    I always tell folks to make a few lists. The first is the perfect world list, which includes every possible contrivance and an unlimited budget. The next is a list of only the elements you just can't live without. The honest answers to hard question part of the process comes in and you have to access what each element means to you, prioritize them in order of preference and importance. Eventually, using up several sheets of paper, you come to a new list which has the things you just can't live without, plus the things you can afford and/or are willing to accept.

    Were not talking about depth sounders and radar here, but the stuff that makes each design unique. Things like; draft requirements for your average sailing areas, rig preferences, performance envelope expectations, maneuverability, number of crew on an average crew, stowage, tracking, aesthetics, headroom, build materials, your ability to work with the construction methods, general reputation of the particular designs you're interested in, bridge clearance, dinghy stowage, re-entry from the water, type of propulsion, general use expectations, single handedness, etc.

    Refining you desires, wishes and needs takes time, with many spending as much time selecting a design as building it.

    Cruising experience usually forces us into rather opinionated categories (as you've seen here). Each trip focuses your experiences, so that you have a pretty refined idea of what makes a good sea boat after a while. I can't tell you how many boats I've been on where I said to myself, "I'll never have one of those one my boat" or conversely, "now that's a cool idea, maybe I can incorporate it into my next project".

    Get on as many boats as you can and look around. Hit the boat shows, for ideas and beg rides on other people's boats, to get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

    Each cruiser is a very specialized machine, specifically patterned around the owner's needs and experiences. None are the same and all will defend their choices with well practiced discussions. From a design stand point, the cruiser is about the most difficult craft to design, as it has to fit so many different situations. A racer needs to do only a few things well, to hell with food storage for a month's worth of cruising. A good cruiser is the ultimate in compromises, doing nothing especially exceptional, but managing to do much quite well. It's this that makes the true cruiser a difficult design proposition for a prospective builder/owner.

    Keep swinging at it, you'll find something that "clicks".
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    SCOWBOY Junior Member

    I've had your comment Greenwater in the back of my mind today and was thinking about a response. Just read Par's post and I agree with everything he said. I would add if you're building yourself it's a slow process unless you're doing it full time.

    The first scow we built took 1600 hours. it was only 30 feet long by 12'6" wide by 3 feet deep. no cabin. just a cargo hold and a foot well for the helmsman. these were framed out. otherwise decked over and oh yes a hatch into forepeak. this time included the making of the jib. we were able to come up with a mainsail. this time included heavy two inch thick lee boards with a lead plug poured in each, a heavy oak barndoor rudder and an oak wheel and steering gear. she was planked 2 inch thick on the sides, deck and fore and aft on the bottom which required frames which were 3X8 spruce. everything was spruce except the chine, clamp, rubrail and a few other parts like the transom frames. there was methond to this, we wanted to build as close to what someone would have built in the 1800s with local timber, galvanized ship spikes, and tar in the seams (along with cotton of course). we premade the frames and transoms during the winter. once we set up the frames in April it was three and a half months tile we were done and launched her. as I recall we set up April 18th and launched Augst 15th.

    There were two of us, and two other guys came over from one of the islands for two weeks to help with the bottom planking. A laborious labor intensive process since the bow planks curved upward (actually downward as we built the hull upside down) and required soaking in a pond for ten days, then we had to kerf the foward ends several feet so as not to break them, and then epoxy glue them and clamp them in place before later spiking them. I would have preferred cross planking.

    during the building we took off ten days or so to launch another boat a 32' Atkin Eric, which we had to skid across a soft sand beach, (don't ask), which took three days and then we sailed to that island for the fourth of july full moon celebration.

    but the point of this is it was a very simple vessel, meant for island cargo basically. two of us worked 6-7 days a week 8-10 hours a day and sometimes more. that included the mast, boom, gaff and bow sprit, all cut in the woods and shaped by us by hand. (we did cheat and use an electric plane on the spars)..otherwise everything was hand planed, bottom, topsides and deck. plus the leeboards and rudder, just for the experience.

    building alone part time, is different. unless you have a locked building or private location, you're going to spend time setting up each day and putting everything away at the end. it slows you down. if you're working a full time job on top of it, you can quickly see how many hours you'll have a week. that same boat, built by one guy on weekends, let's say two 8 hour days would take one hundred weeks, or two years.

    so take into consideration the building method and remember, the hull and deck is only about a third of the job.

    years before that first scow I'd rebuilt a 23 foot sloop while working in the city. it was a 45 minute drive each way to City Island. It took me three years. though the second year I didn't do that much, year 1 and year 3 I was gung ho and worked many evenings as well as weekends, rigging tarps in the rain and lights for night. I later realized I could have built from scratch in the same amount of time and had a better more suitable boat.

    Par mentioned head room, I'm 6'4" which makes finding head room difficult esp in shallow draft.

    So whatever design you find that meets your needs, I'd look for something that reduces building timie of the hull. Because all the finish work, interior spars etc take a lot of additional time. engine installation, tankage, wiring etc also eat the hours.

    based on my experience since I'd say it's better to go simple and go sailing.

    just some thoughts. good luck on whatever you choose. btw if you can weld steel is a good option for simplicity and speed of build except for moving the plates around...

    again very good luck. whatever you build you'll be rewarded. I'm sure everyone on here who's been fortunate enough to build any kind of boat will tell you there's no thrill like that first few sails on a boat you built yourself.

  7. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Have a look at this of some interest on the traditional Spray.


    As Crag says stability can be an issue with this type of hull-form particularly with smaller vessels.

    Studies regarding a beam on significant breaker have shown that hull form alone has little to do with the first part of the response if struck in such a way. Vessels neither trip over their deep keels nor give harmlessly with the breaker. All the hull-forms were knocked down to at least 90 degrees before recovering, or they were completely inverted. What happened to the model could be most accurately predicted by considering the positive area under the GZ curve beyond 90 degrees (This was either the Wolfson Unit or Andy Cloughton, I have it somewhere). This was just a hull-form comparison sans mast. However other issues do come into play that can add considerable variation as well.

    It is important for skippers to learn the need to avoid the beam on condition at all costs in any boat, but particularly in one with a low AVS which is the old seamanship vs seaworthiness trade-off .

    Also as Par has said
    Outrunning bad weather is an interesting one. There’s a big difference between coastal hopping and ocean passages.
    It requires very detailed weather routing information well in advance, and interestingly Steve Dashew says he has found that it requires a SOG of 15 knots or more to do this effectively (and that is in a powered vessel). He says that the performance cruiser Deerfoot was too slow to outrun a gale unless they were close to a shelter .

    Storm fronts and low pressure systems can travel at 25-30 knots and their paths are often only accurately forecast with less than 24 hrs. They can be preceded by calms and light air , contrary winds, even with an existing sea state far from conducive to fast sailing.

    The boat often only start moving well when the gale pre-cursor arrives and then the low is too close behind to avoid. In the South Pacific Convergence zones the gales arrive unexpectedly and they are seldom accurately forecast if at all.

    You also need to have somewhere viable to go that suits. For the Australians the Tasman Sea Hobart – Invercargill (NZ) or Hobart-Wellington(NZ) is a good passage to simulate a few times with real weather info.
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    For any cruiser I would be very reluctant to go over 16 ft beam.

    In the smaller places thats all an old travel lift can haul.

    If you need something to yank a 20ft beam boat , the yard may be new and expensive , and not allow DIY.

  9. waterrunner
    Joined: Nov 2014
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    waterrunner New Member

    Looking for The Spray

    I sailed on Ed Davis's Spray out of Bar Harbor Maine in the early 1980's.

    My father designed a steel replica, with 2 chines and set up for twin lug sails. Bruce Roberts made a joke out of the Spray.

    Around 1986-1988 my father built his "Spray" in Northern NJ. He finished the hull and ran out of money. Last I know of it was on the hard and dry in NJ near Linden.

    The best way to Identify it: To 1/2" thick 18" diameter steel rings to hold the stayed mast. One at station 1 ( first rib ) and the other at station 8 in the cabin top. The keel shoe was 1" thick steel all the way up the stem.

    He is gone now and I would like to find his boat if it has not been cut up for scrap.
  10. WindRaf
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    WindRaf Senior Member

  11. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    Buy a small cheap boat with a good reputation and spend a year cruising. Then you can form your own opinions without sinking a bunch of money into a boat you may not like. Building a cruising boat before you have cruising experience often ends in heartbreak.

    I will add that almost every sail boat in the Antarctica charter trade is a fin keeler with the few exceptions being center boarders. Few cruising boats get tested to this level and I think it is worth looking at the these boats that are being chosen by highly experienced sailors who see more gale force winds in one season than most cruising boats do in 10 years.
  12. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    BERTIE is a modified SPRAY designed and built by me launched in 1984 with about 20,000 miles of cruising on her now, all on the rough US/Mexico west coast from Puerto Vallarta to Prince Rupert. Her construction and stability have been severely tested, putting the masthead in the water off the Northern CA coast one very windy and rough day and at least 5 big gales we've weathered at sea. She is slow to windward, so we don't plan our trips to windward unless we are willing to pay for fuel, but we always get where we are going, rested, well-fed and comfortable. Read the past threads on this site regarding BERTIE and JUNK RIG ON WESTERN HULLS.

    Attached Files:

  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Junk rig on modern hulls I mean.

  15. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    One strange thing I have noticed about BERTIE's stability and would like to share. Her shallow keel and generous beam seen to allow her to 'curtsy' away from a breaking wave over and over. Imagine if you will, 2 am, gale force winds have blown for several hours and a breaking sea has developed. Standing on deck, look up and see a phosphorescent white breaking wave towering over you, when suddenly the boat heels then zips off to the side, and the crest breaks where you just were. This happens over and over and over until the gale gives up. The ways of a ship at sea are mysterious. John Guzzwell, pitch-poled twice off Cape Horn in Tzu Hang with the Smeetons, told me a deep keel can tend to hang on in still water and trip a boat when a breaking sea is acting against the topsides. I don't know since I've never been to Cape Horn, but I've watched BERTIE do her trick of keeping the decks dry in a gale many many times.

    Attached Files:

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