Tom Thumb 24

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by urban sailor, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    I know that there are a few folks on here that have both built and sailed a Tom Thumb 24. I am in the process of possibly buying the plans of the TT24. Can any of the folks on here who are experienced with this design write some info on how it sails, how builder friendly she is and possibly post some photos of other TT24 already sailing?

    Best,
    Urban Sailor
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are several Tom Thumb designs, which are you interested in, the Bruce Roberts version (it's actually a Graham Shannon design, as Bruce really doesn't design anything)? If so, it's not much of a sailor, though lots of internal volume for parties. Chuck Paine did one and it's a far better boat.
     
  3. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    I apologize for the delayed response, I have been out of the country and away from any access to the internet. PAR, thanks for responding. Yes, the boat I am interested in is the Graham Shannon design, I know that Roberts did not design it. A few years back I corresponded with a guy who bought one and loved it's sailing qualities. Of course, it's not going to do 150 mile days. My primary goal is to build a small, tough boat (aluminum) that will take me around the Caribbean. I wonder how thorough the plans are? I really like Chuck Paine's designs but I'm looking for an easy to build design that can be constructed of alu, not to make it lighter, but just because I think it's a better building material. What do you think?
     
  4. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

  5. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    JosephT, thanks for the reply. I like Chuck's Frances, but I'm not really interested in a double ender or having to convert the plans to aluminum. I suspect that would be a bit pricy.

    Best,
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A Tom Thumb in steel is a pretty tough boat, not not so much in aluminum. I'm not sure how the lines differ between the two, but if the aluminum version is the same, just with more ballast, I'd look else where for a little sea boat. Paine has other transom designs in this size range.
     
  7. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    Thanks, PAR. Like I said before, I really like Chuck's designs. I've been on his site several times. But, I want to build in alu and the cost of converting plans to a different building material I think would be pricy. Also, I'd like to know why you don't think the TT24 built in alu would make for a good, small sea boat? I'm planning on moving to the Caribbean (Dominican Republic) in a few years and am essentially looking for a tough little boat for island hopping.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Steel is heavy, so an aluminum version of a steel design will be an overburdened version of something that doesn't need to be. I lived in the islands for a few years and you don't need an especially tough boat, though shoal draft is handy. I had a 6' 6" draft ketch and managed to plow a keel wide groove, though most every sandbar. A conversion isn't that costly, much less so than a custom design. Give him a call and see what he says, though in the size you want, 'glass and wood are better choices, because by the time you make an aluminum boat tough (in this size range), you lose the advantages of the material and quadruple the costs. Lastly, he isn't the only one that can do the conversion.
     
  9. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    Thanks again, PAR. My reasons for alu are simple, let me explain. I am familiar with the material, it can be welded pretty quickly, low maintenance and can survive a grounding on a reef. I have basic woodworking skills but there is no way I could properly build a timber boat on my own and a glass boat is out of the question, I feel as though it's a dirty process. But, I take your advice seriously, and if you feel that building a TT24 in alu is a really bad idea, I will look somewhere else for a boat within this size that can be built of alu.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    An aluminum Tom Thumb may be available, though it'll have less beam, less rocker and less displacement than a steel version, if designed as an aluminum boat. It's sort of like making a boat designed for concrete (yeah, they have these) out of carbon composite. You can do it, but the hull volumes will be all wrong for the material change.

    Finding a wholesome pocket cruiser designed for aluminum may prove difficult, mostly because this material doesn't come to the viability table, in terms of economics, until you get into much larger yachts. You see, each building material has a range where it's well suited. Steel and concrete need larger sizes to justify their mass or a particular use, such as racing, where carbon/Kevlar composite might be considered for the weight savings or maybe ice breaking where the stiffness of steel is helpful. 300' yachts can be done in wood, but steel and aluminum are much better and cheaper choices in this size, comparatively. The opposite is also true, where you'll be hard pressed to find a more economical choice in a 10' dinghy than wood. Steel is just too heavy, aluminum is too thin and costly, carbon composite is really costly and some might need the weight savings, but a wholesome cruiser isn't one of these so it's out, leaving wood and 'glass. A 'glass boat will be considerably heavier than wood and probably more costly, so wood is the most common choice.

    I think you'll find you could build in both wood and 'glass and do so with surprising neatness and success, if you're willing to follow plans and learn some new stuff, that any trained monkey can perform (hows your juggling?).

    Timber boats can be a pain in the butt, though we now have new methods that eliminate 60% of the wood working, cutting, fitting stuff, replacing it with a glue and screw approuch. No ribs, no frames, no stringers, now rows of planking, none of the usual stuff seen in a "timber" boat.

    [​IMG]

    Though this is a small boat, normally it would have a few dozen ribs from side to side, some structural floors, stringers, etc., but note there's nothing there. Those seats are cane, so not doing much to support anything other than a skippers butt. This is what I mean with a whole lot less to building a modern wood boat.

    [​IMG]

    This is the same deal, though you can't see inside, there's no frames, floors, ribs, etc., just diagonally molded plywood. Then there's the plywood type of builds which are even easier, mostly because huge hunks of hull can be skinned with a sheet at a time.

    Before you give up on wood, remember there's more than "timber" boat building. I have a strip planked, also available as a hard chine plywood design that will make your day, if you like Tom Thumb. It's a wholesome cruiser, stout, lots of stowage space, can handle deep water, full gales and lots of options.
     
  11. urban sailor
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    urban sailor Junior Member

    PAR, can you send me a link to your strip planked boat available in hard chine. Maybe I should give wood another look.

    Thanks,
    Eeli
     

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

    You can strip plank a hard chine boat, though this building method is better suited to round bilge hull forms. Hard chine designs tend to favor sheet goods methods, though some that have certain traits, like Carolina flare or lots of stern tumblehome might take advantage, of a strip plank construction.

    This is a typical powerboat hull being done in strip planking.
    [​IMG]

    There are several distinctly different types of strip planking technique, so a little research is necessary for a good grip on it's potential. The nice thing about strip planking is anyone can do it. For example, if you look at the image above, you'll see tile spacers being used, to hold the strips apart. Some designers prefer this approuch and it permits the planking strips to lay flat on the building jig. Later these gaps will be filled with epoxy. This particular designer also prefers each strip take a natural path along the hull, so there's no "edge set", though I have doubts about it's usefulness and it does complicate the process a bit, the end result is less fairing.

    [​IMG]

    This is a more traditional approuch to strip planking, where each strip is glued to its neighbor. This is faster and messier than the tile spacer method, but each method has good and bad things to consider, just like finding a good wife. Simply put, anyone that can cut a strip and tack it to the building jig, with some glue on one edge, can make a strip planked hull. It's very novice friendly.
     
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