Sub 20' pocket cruising (cabin) sailboats

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by lewisboats, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    I would like to start a thread to collect information related to the subject line. These are boats designed for one or two people to easily trailer, setup, sail for periods of time of generally a couple of days to a couple of weeks. I would like to catalog the various designs that are out there and discuss the merits of each along with an anecdotal observations and recommendations as to what creature comforts should be included or excluded. I have perused various threads but there hasn't been an all inclusive one for all the designs out there.

    What should show up here:

    Between 12ft and 19 ft 11&15/16 inches
    Cabin for two or two plus... realistically just two.
    Primary propulsion should be sail with motor and/or oar back up.
    Trailerable as in it resides on a trailer ready to go rather than only able to be moved a couple of times a year to and from a mooring.
    As easy to single hand as with crew... especially if crew is dog.
    Basic amenities... somewhere for food in and somewhere for food out.

    Looking to discuss interior layouts, trailering issues, performance issues rigging and derigging, Pros and cons of just about everything that you might bump into with this size of boat.

    Boat should be able to be transported and launched into lakes, estuaries, salt water bays and coves and should be able to fair weather sail along coastal shores within 3-5 miles of land... It should also be easily retrieved and trailered to the next lake, cove or whatever. As the boat on a trailer is kinda close to a camper... it should be able to work as that too with little difficulty.

    I know performance is always an issue but there are different kinds of performance...
    Speed of course... at an average of 16 ft of waterline... these aren't race boats and shouldn't be expected to be. We're talking fractions of a knot differences.
    Comfort... Wet or dry, stiff or more lax, amenities which help or hinder
    Upwind ability vs other considerations such as grounding (deliberate or not), maintenance issues of various bottom configurations, all the multitude of rigs available and possible. Setups of the rigs to facilitate single handing. Tips on line routing, leveraging (blocks and tackles, winches etc) and the pros and cons of use and maintenance.

    That's a lot of stuff to start with but filtering it with the restriction of less than 20 ft will sort out some of it. The whole aim of the thread is to try to distill some of the best of the many designs out there into a few optimal boats that incorporate what folks would want in something that small with the most desired performance features (all kinds of performance... not just speed and upwind but motoring, possibly rowing or skulling, drainage, ballasting etc.)

    Pictures of work-arounds or neat solutions to various problems or issues are especially welcome. I would like to hear the worst of the problems of this category of boats and see and hear about the solutions people have come up with to address them. I would prefer to keep this sub 20 ft however if a solution to an issue has been applied to something slightly larger that is fine here. I really am not interested in the "just go longer or here's one that is perfect at 25 ft or other comments along those lines.

    I am a firm believer in the saying "The smaller the boat, the more it gets used..." thus I believe that a capable "change pocket cruiser" of 20% under 20 ft would get 50% more use than something 20% over 20 ft. If it is sitting in your driveway ready to go to any lake you pick rather than sitting at a single lake on a dock... you have much more freedom to go where you please for as long as you please.

    Oh... and wood, plastic or other materials... all OK. I have a preference for building my own but I have no problems with commercially available stuff. They can be gutted and done properly in wood too ;)



    One of the reasons for this thread is that "you can't know about what you don't know about..." and I know there are many designs out there of which I have no clue (I don't know they exist)... so I can't research them. I am hoping to learn all about them in the coming responses that I am also hoping will come pouring in.
     
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  2. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Great premise for a thread. And I agree with you that as a general rule the smaller a boat is, the more likely it is to get used - although there are obviously plenty of exceptions.

    I'm reminded of something I believe Phil Bolger said: that the ideal boat is either big enough to live aboard, or small enough to carry home. Maybe someone will start a sister thread, about the ones big enough to live on...:D
     
  3. lewisboats
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Well... back a few years ago Guillermo ran a thread about pocket sailing cruisers... under 30 ft. Over it's many pages I didn't find one reference to anything under 20 ft... although I might have missed it if there was one. I am very fond of things smaller... Hot hatches, small SUV's (Tracker, Vitara, Rav4, Samurai (have one) etc) and of course small boats that require less money, space, effort, etc. 80% of the boat and 50% of the grief with 90% of the enjoyment... I like those numbers.
     
  4. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    There are many many designs to meet the qualifications but only some are both comfortable and perform decently. Usually, in order to have a livable interior you have to give up easy launching and performance (Flicka, etc.).
    The Bolger 19 ft Micro is actually pretty close to ideal if you can get past the strange bow, squareness, etc..
    Water ballast is a way to achieve some goals. So are limiting sleeping capacity to two adults, simplifying toilet arrangements, galley setup, and eliminating rigging complication.
    Plywood construction allows light weight with open interior spaces except for bulkheads, Epoxy makes plywood as practical as fiberglass so my feeling is that a plywood design is right up there in terms of major plusses.
    Again, Bolger has nailed it with the 19 ft Micro.
    There are others but these examples come immediately to mind.
     
  5. SteveMellet
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: South Africa

    SteveMellet Senior Member

    This one is right up my street..
    I sail a 16ft racing catamaran, but to have a family boat I bought a Jeanneau Microsail, not quite 18ft long, 600kg lifting keel trailer sailor.
    We've had from 3 aboard (2 adults 1 kid) to 7 - 4 adults, with 3 kids playing pirates down below, popping up through the forehatch. typical bermudan sloop rig which is not ideal to singlehand but solo sailing is not my thing.
    Self-draining cockpit.
    Sleeps 4 easily, realistically 3 with one berth used to store luggage.
    Lifting keel means we 'anchor' stern to shore in ankle-deep water and walk to the ablution facilities at the yacht club. I'd get a porta-loo and keep it under the stairs if I needed to. Might do so if I sail in waters that don't have access to a yacht club.
    We have a 'Cobb' portable bbq cooker on board and do a decent roast chicken in the thing, out in the cockpit. Camping gas cooker in the cabin if it's raining.
    Ours lives on it's trailer mast up so from arriving at the yacht club to launched with sails up is around 20 minutes, but mast raising / lowering is a 15min. affair, so we could keep it at home and travel with it easily.
    Performance ? it doesn't compare to the 16ft catamaran, but we've had 15knots on the GPS downwind with the assymetric kite up, while upwind it does around 6knots comfortably.
    The only thing I dislike about it is winding the keel up when coming ashore, it's quite a bit of work.
     
  6. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Pocket cruiser

    This is an 18 footer I designed in 1974 and 88 of them were produced by Thomson Sail craft. She was fast and very roomy....
     

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  7. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Doug I didn't know you flirted with monohull :)
    Looks nice.
     
  8. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Cacker 15

    Here is a 15 footer found on SA-absolutely amazing and seems very well done.
    Imagine sitting headroom inside and room for two adults to lay down!
    Heres the guys blog-with some video's: http://4ekel.blogspot.com/2013/08/blog-post_25.html
    I think he is from Ukraine.
     

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  9. Doug Lord
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    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ==============
    Thanks. It was my first "break" as a designer. I took one of the hulls 5 years later and converted it to a 20' motorsailer! It was designed to resemble the Fisher motor sailers and had a lot of room and range for such a small boat. Inside steering in the pilothouse but when it was nice it had a center cockpit with wheel steering so you didn't have to look thru the pilothouse
     

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  10. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    this my current project. it is an investigator563 trailer sailer. this is a good seaworthy design. has long keel with 350 kg of lead, fully self righting. swing centerboard drops down for lateral resistance. 2 berth , room for portable toilet up front plus 2 more berths for children. 19 ft long. needs 2 ft of water to launch. these boats were built in the 80,s and are still quite popular. there are lots of different trailer sailers here in aus but most are fairly old because their popularity waned in the late 80,s and most production stopped. a victim of our fast paced society. i believe they are coming back into vogue though as fuel prices increase and the retired population is on the increase. perfect boats for retired people. they can camp in them , travel long distance using a small amount of fuel or none at all. i have mostly owned power boats but i now like the trailer sailers better. if i want to go fishing in mine i can leave the mast and sails at home , if we tow it to new cruising grounds it will double as a caravan along the way. what more could you ask for.
     

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  11. Doug Lord
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    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  12. Ike
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

  13. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Nice... I like the way the "wings" on the cabin cant inwards. It uses some space that isn't normally used for something useful... interior room. What is the displacement on that? What kind of appendages? Are plans available? Could it be built in strip rather than 'glass? What's the interior like? Could it be adapted for strip building at home? More info please...
     
  14. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    [​IMG]


    any new info on this intriguing goody?
     

  15. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Sounds like it fits right smack dab into this thread. I don't know if they are available other than in Oz but I am sure there are similar ones if not exactly the same. Got any shots of the interior per chance?
     
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