Virginia Pilot Boat design?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Hampton Roads, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Hello,

    I'm wondering if anyone has ever designed a small schooner inspired by the pre 1800 Virginia Pilot boats which were just under 40'. I'm looking for an authentic looking design but slightly smaller..about 32'-36' with a beam of no more than 12'. Must have unstayed masts and over-lapping "Lug"fores'l. and severely raked masts! I already am familiar with Reuel Parker's designs!

    Has Chapelle drawn such a craft?

    Attachment is a painting by George Tobin dated about 1794 showing some small Pilot Schooners of the Chesapeake type outside NY harbour.

    Second attachment is a rough sketch-cartoon of a vessel of about 33'LOD I've drawn approximating the style of boat design I'm seeking! Early Pilot schooners off New York about 1795 George Tobin painting.XA!.jpg

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Pilots 1. Pilot Schooners of North America and Great Britain has a chapter on Virginia Capes Pilot Schooners. Lines are shown for a 50 foot schooner from David Steel's Naval Architecture published in 1805, and for Swift, a 49 ft schooner who's lines were taken off by the British Admiralty. Chapelle in The Search for Speed Under Sail shows redrawn versions of both. Plates 37 and 35. Chapelle notes that Steel's original version had several error which he attempted to correct in his version. Another version by Chapelle of Swift's lines and an inboard profile and deck plan appear in History of American Sailing Craft Figures 38, 39. Copies of Chapelle's original drawings can be purchased from the Smithsonian Institution. http://americanhistory.si.edu/csr/shipplan.htm

    I haven't seen anything on Virginia pilot boats under 40'.
     
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  3. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    I've got the book:pilots 1. Pilot Schooners of North America and Great Britain and that sparked my interest in Pilot Schooners.

    Reading about the early pre 1800Chesapeake Pilot Boats one can gather that they were under 40'long and rigged as Schooners.

    I would assume no plans were ever recorded as the vessels were just built using half mosdels and the builders knowledge and eye.

    Reducing the size to about 33'LOD would mean that accomodations would be fairly limited. That's fine with me as I don't plan for any long voyages, just daysailing with the occasional overnighter.

    I suppose because of the hull shape and the small interior for the size/length of the vessel not many people would desire such a craft, therefore no N.A has designed one!?
     
  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    http://parker-marine.com/
    Ruell Parker has designed, built, lived aboard, voyaged etc on the type so his design catalog is worth a close look.
    All the Chapelle stuff is pretty good, but dated by more modern research in some aspects.
    A real VA pilot schooner of the early type was very basic, shallow, wide, large unstayed rig, cabin trunks left ashore in the summer, and not suited to being loaded down with yacht stuff.
    Ruell's boats as shown here are developed yachts with modern wood, glue laminate construction using all the best of pilot schooner development as to sailing and seagoing qualities.
    His 28' Swansea boat is very much like the early early VA boats and is quickly built in lapstrake plywood.
     

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  5. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Hi BATAAN'

    I'm well aware of Reuel's designs, late last year I had him modify his PS 45 design, reduced in size to 42('LOA) 40'(LOD),37'1"(LWL) x 12'9" x 5' displacing approx 31,500 lbs with 10,500 lbs internal lead ballast. see attachment.

    On careful reflection and some caculating I've come to the decision that the PS42 design is just too much boat for my needs and certainly too much for my bank balance at present...maybe in 10 years it would be a possibility.

    It also comes to the question of turning over the hull when built.

    In his book "The New Cold-Mould√ęd Boatbuilding" Reuel Parker states that for boats over 12' beam you need two cranes to turn them and in my back yard, the space I've got available for building I can only get one crane in!

    I wish I had his book before commissioning the design!:rolleyes:

    In all probability I will most likely get Reuel to design me a smaller Pilot Schooner Yacht...somewhere between his PS28 and PS37. About 33'LOD, 11'Beam and about 4'6"draft.
     

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  6. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    BATAAN wrote:
    "A real VA pilot schooner of the early type was very basic, shallow, wide, large unstayed rig, cabin trunks left ashore in the summer, and not suited to being loaded down with yacht stuff"

    That's just about what I'm after! I did discuss with Reuel via Email the possibility of a pop-top forward cargo hatch to give standing headroom when at anchor on the PS42 design, though as designed it does have 5'8"in the forward cabin (OK for some ) and 6'in the aft cabin.

    The "pop top" hatch was decided against as it would be too large and heavy to work well on the 42'vessel, but on a smaller 33'vessel it may still be a good workable idea!?

    I could have opted for full height trunk cabins but I just don't like the look of them on a schooner. For my usage sitting headroom is fine. Most of the time spent on the vessel will be in the cockpit or on deck anyway!
     
  7. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Ruell's Swansea 28 is a very good boat. The new Wooden Boat magazine has an article on them I think. I saw two being outfitted in Key West some years ago and was very impressed how much capable, historic boat had been built for how little money and time.
     
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  8. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Yes I've recently read the article . Compared to his larger Pilot Schooners the design while capable, doesn't look as nice to my eye. It is historically correct though in appearance to the mid to late 1800's Swansea (Wales) Pilot Boats.

    A smaller version , say about 20-22' in clinker ply, half decked would be good as a camp-cruiser, daysailer, though I'd prefer a transom stern instead of the counter stern which was only used on the later larger schooners. A small(relatively so) 20-22' version would be a good way to test out the rig and decide if you wanted to use it on a larger boat!?
     
  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Here's a couple Swansea 1840s pilot boats about 22' long. Note transom stern, very long reeving bowsprit and bilge keels. The next craft is a 49' SF bay oyster sloop re-rigged with the pilot boat schooner rig with overlapping, boomless foresail sometime in the early 1970s. This one I re-built and rigged. Masts were hewn from floating breakwater logs, framing was recycled old building Fir and planking was chainsaw milled in the Mendocino woods. Next is a Gaspe' schooner in the 1950s, last remnant of the colonial shallop. After that is a 1820s era shallop raising sail in an old ink drawing. Next is plans for a model of 50-some foot pilot schooner. Last is 1984, 96', 100-ton schooner CALIFORNIAN as built with overlapping foresail. She was altered to a boomed foresail later. I spent quite a bit of time as crew on this ship and the foresail was a real M-----F----- to handle if the sail got full of wind before you got the sheet in. I well remember the clew blocks flying and smashing things.
     

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  10. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Thanks BATAAN for those pictures.
    I've got the book Pilots Vol.1: Pilot Schooners of North America and Great Britain where that first picture came from. Those boats are (according to the book) about 35' the original Swansea Pilot Schooners of the same style were about 21'x 6'6".

    I can imagine how dangerous the clew blocks on the "Californian" could be; at her size they'd be enough to take your head off..just about, certainly potentially fatal! Hopefully on a smaller design (30-35'), with a bit of ingenuity you could do-away with the blocks by having a large becket in the clew to pass the sheets through with a 2:1 purchase? I think Reuel Parker did this or something similar on "Leopard".
     
  11. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Love the plans of "Katy", unfortunately just a bit too large!! If you scaled this plan down to 35' (not that direct scaling up or down more than about 5% is a good idea!) you can see that the interior space for accomodations would be very limited, probably just about non-existant in the aft cabin!
     
  12. Hampton Roads
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    Hampton Roads Junior Member

    Looking at the lines of "Katy"you can see that she's really fine at the stern, double-ended on the waterline. Are the stays correct or are they artistic licence? From all the information I can gather the Virginia Pilot boats had by and large free-standing-unstayed masts?
     
  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Looking over the same NMM photo of the Swansea boats I found in The Merchant Sailing Ship, a Photographic History, Basil Greenhill and Ann Giffard, I can't find anything to scale the boats.
    I see he says that the late 1700s boats were 21' by regulation, clinker, without bowsprit, and the carvel half-deck boats with bowsprit shown in the photo date from the late 1830s or so and are a transitional type.
    Really closely looking at blocks, lines etc the two vessels look like 30' or so feet long and not 35', but maybe the Pilot Schooner book has actual port registries as reference and I'm just eyeballing.
    On Swansea boats, note foremast in a stout thwart above the deck.
    Chesepeake Bay 'Pungies' are very similar to early pilot boats and Pete Culler designed one I think. Yeah, I found it.
    A classic VA pilot boat worked because the way it was built.
    Heavy oak keel, lower futtocks double and of oak, upper ones single, smaller and of cedar.
    Full enough in the bottom to be ballasted with internal 'shingle', or beach pebbles, then the sole fastened over to keep it in place. This means little hollow in the garboard area so enough internal volume for effective stone ballast.
    Frame spacing greater in ends.
    Simple log-built transom without frame.
    Oak bends, bottom.
    Cedar topsides, quite thin for the vessel size.
    Light cedar or pine deck, sometimes canvased.
    Unstayed or only one shroud per mast per side, a lot of rake to the light, heavily tapered masts.
    Wide shoal shape, curved stem and raking stern, nicely balanced ends, with great beam for the length, also carrying that beam well into the ends especially the stern, plus often quite flaring topsides for even more reserve buoyancy.
    All the above add to stability and windward ability.
    Draw up your dream boat based on your original 1790s drawing and the above info and you won't be far wrong.
    Build a 2"=1' (42" model of 21' boat) model of glued lapped 1/8 door ply and sail it on a pond and fiddle until it sails itself.
    Change the external keel exposure, ballasting etc. until it's just right.
    Scale the result up and build it simple out of glued clinker ply.
    Go sailing and have fun.
     

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  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    KATY is quite a bit bigger, more of a small ship for going further offshore looking for a ship.
    You're talking smaller earlier inshore pilot boat, shallow draft to cut across the bar and beat a rival to a ship sighted on the horizon.
    Smaller craft need more immersed transom and don't suffer for it.
    This type boat sails on its shape far more than the ballast, thus the broad waterlines aft.
    Remember, lines show vessel upright, what counts are the lines when heeled, because that is how you sail in the real world.
    Note 'powder horn' reverse curve to Pete's forward sheer line here, subtle, but it's there.
    Again, a characteristic of the early American type to give a little less windage forward yet have the shoulder to lean on when heeled.
     

  15. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    KATY's rig shows 2 shrouds each mast.
    Most boats of this size might have one hemp shroud on the main and two on the foremast, but rarely two on the main.
    Unstayed was not uncommon, but the whip can dismast you.
    Often the shrouds were mostly to stop her from rolling the masts out in a bad seaway combined with a calm.
    A 21' boat might have 1 shroud on the fore and none on the main, as the mainsail is doused completely in really bad conditions and the boat sails on the reefed fore alone.
     
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