Trailer Sailer Choice

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by PsiPhi, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. PsiPhi
    Joined: May 2007
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    Location: Queensland

    PsiPhi Newbie

    Just looking for some opinions - and I know there more opinions here than there are contributors :eek:

    Looking at small Trailer Sailers, something to sail in shallow waters mostly, and occasionally up and down the coast.

    Looked at hundreds of options and the two that I keep on coming back to are:-
    Although many others would probably suite my needs, these two appear to be stable craft with shallow draft, from reputable designers, as far as I can work out.

    Would value peoples opinions on these two with regards to their ease of build (for a novice) and ease of sailing (for a beginner).

    I think either would be suitable, specification wise, for my use - 3 or 4 people for day sailing or two for a weekend.
  2. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Your choice should be an easy one between these two boats since they are so different and give very different results. Both appear to be very nice boats for their intended purpose. Sweet Pea is much more of a day boat with an occasional sleep over in a small cuddy. The Belhaven is much more of a pocket cruiser with far more room in the cabin.

    The question is, which kind of sailing do you intend? I would say that Sweet Pea would require rigging a boom tent for more than minimal room for overnights while Belhaven would have nice interior with less carrying capacity in the cockpit for daysails with passengers.

    Both are from competent designers, so there is no clear choice there. They have quite different portfolios though, so its back to your choice and what you want to do. We can't help with that.

    As for handling, I am a fan of the sprit-boom cat-ketch rig and think it is easier for relaxed sailing with no performance disadvantage.
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    There is not enough detail of how the sweet pea is built to know if it is simpler than the Belhaven. The Belhaven has fewer hull panels, so I would say it should come together faster, except that the interior structure looks quite complex. Generally the few parts in the hull build-up, the faster it comes together.

    Tom's comments are also valid about the cabin. I would add that if you intend to do only fair weather sailing, than a larger more comfortable cock-pit is better (I like spending as much time as possible above decks when sailing), if you want to sail in all conditions, than the larger cabin will be much more comfortable when waiting out poor weather.

    I personally like the simplest sailing rig possible, either single cat or sloop rig. Fewer sails to mess with, less to buy and build, easier to handle on the water, few parts and rigging to fail or foul. I want to try out a junk rig on one of my dinghys, they are supposed to be even easier to handle. lower stress in the rig, lighter materials, better control.

    It seems the small yawl or ketch rig has become popular of late, but I just do not see how all that rigging to mess with is going to enhance my sailing experience, especially when solo. A well designed single sail is more efficient, more cost effective, and more pleasant to sail in my experience. I may change my mind after I spend some time on one, but I am tending to go the other direction as I get older. Keep it simple, fewer parts, less rig time, more pleasant experience.

    Also, I might add that John Welsford has a good reputation for designing boats for first time builders, I am not familiar with the other designer.
  4. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    I wonder if that is because of a lack of experience with different rigs. A cat rig can be more difficult to handle than a yawl or ketch at times and maintaining balance in different conditions is iffy. An unstayed cat ketch can perform some maneuvers that can be very handy and very simple.
  5. PsiPhi
    Joined: May 2007
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    Location: Queensland

    PsiPhi Newbie

    Thanks guys for the feedback.

    As I am just finishing off my first dinghy, in which I will begin to learn the art of sailing, I find it difficult to determine exactly what my needs will be, but I know the next boat will take a long time to build, so want to start on it as soon as I know what I want.

    My aim is primarily day sailing with the family, over-nighting would be very occasional, the cabin would be more about getting out of the sun (or rain) and somewhere for the porta-potti.

    Most things seem to point to the Sweet Pea as the best option, and I love the look of the sailplan, but so many people echo your comments on the cat-ketch rig too, and as a 50+ year old beginner, simplicity is probably a good idea. I do lean toward an unstayed rig, but there seems to have been very few of the Belhaven's every built.
    Therefor I see-saw between the benefits of each.
  6. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    cthippo Senior Member

    Not that it's a quantifiable term, but the Sweet Pea is a heck of a lot cuter than the other one. As Tom pointed out, as far as function goes, that's where you need to decide, but for form I like the SP a lot more.

    just my $.02

  7. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Sounds to me like the Sweet Pea would meet your tentative requirements better. But I see nothing wrong with the looks of the Belhaven 19, except for the gawdawful monochrome yellow paint job in the photograph...properly tricked out and painted, it could look quite the salty little yacht. On the other hand, I've always had a soft spot for the looks of a yawl rig like the Sweet Pea's.

    I personally would probably go for the Belhaven, if I were building. But that's because I would probably be doing more solo sailing than you, and I think the cat ketch rig would be easier to single-hand. And I'd probably spend more Saturday nights holed up alone in the cabin, with a bottle and good book, than you would....
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