A lightweight beach cruising and expedition boat for sailing, rowing and motoring, which can also be built as a motor launch without the sailing rig. An 11 foot 7 inch clinker style pram dinghy that performs beautifully when rowed, sailed or motored. A pretty, light, tough, roomy and easy to build 7 foot 9 inch pram dinghy that can be rowed or sailed. An easy to build rowing and sailing pram dinghy that splits into two nesting sections for compact storage. A popular v-bottom pram dinghy that is perfect as a tender, a pond utility boat or for just messing about in. An innovative 15 foot canoe stern yawl with a large sail area and a fast, lightweight hull. A pretty little demountable trimaran designed for speed and easy handling by one or two people on lakes, rivers and bays.
I flew over almost the full length of the Maine Islands a few years ago, on my way to Europe to do some seriously humdrum non beating work. I'd read Pete Spectre's story some years before, about the Maine Island Trail and the prospect of a series of miniature harbours and camping grounds that would run for several hundred miles. I think that some parts of my native New Zealand are pretty good places for cruising an open boat, but this, at least in summertime, was unreal!
Some years and a lot of miles in my own boats later, Stephen Paskey who lives an hour or so from the Chesapeake wanted a camping capable cruiser. That coastline is Dory Country, every little port had their own variations on the theme, and I wanted to produce something that would at least look as though it belonged, so a lapstrake dory style hull was the starting point for the pencil and graph paper sketches that are the beginning of all my designs. To explain, sleeping in a small boat is too often a fraught affair, requiring the sleeper to balance on rickety contraptions of floorboards balanced across seats, his centre of gravity too high, no headroom under the saggy tent, and no possibility of turning over in his sleep without tipping the boat, sliding sideways and getting wedged under the gunwale as the water pours in over the side. With some experience in that line under my belt, I drew the sleepers position on the plan, added a couple of inches extra for the sort of shoulders that go with that height, and swore a big swear that I would not trespass on that sleeping position no matter what.


I made more than a passing nod to John Gardner even though being for amateur construction and dry sailed she is plywood over stringers and epoxy rather than cedar planks and copper rivets. She has lots of buoyancy built in under those decks, and in under the side seats that run the full length of the cockpit. To row, there is a seat that simply drops in between the side seat tops, and an adjustable foot stretcher. I imagine a night at anchor with the spruce looking ghostly against the almost black water, the clatter of a pair of ducks getting up and perhaps the curious sharp cough of a deer the only sounds.
The builder will have to purchase the soft and hard wood and some further sheets of ply wood. This part kit does not contain the plans since you are advised to purchase the plans first before deciding to take the kit. I'd had a couple of days of the worst hay fever I'd ever had but that didn't stop me from almost climbing out on the wing of the little twin jet to get a better view of the wonderful sea and landscape unfolding before me.
It would never be too far from one island to another for a small boat, always have a sheltered cove or a beach and campsite within reach, and having a mix of the completely unspoiled, the inhabited once upon a time and the occasional tiny settlement.
I even put the centreboard offset into the face of one of the side seats so the boat is clear right down the centreline. To move a biggish boat for hours on end, no matter how slippery she is the rowers position has to be near perfect, so that too was an inviolable premise and this sometimes does not work well with the boats requirements as a sailing craft but we've managed here to get a really effective marriage of the two. I stood the stem and stern up straighter to gain waterline length, rolled the sides out like a Swampscott for heeled stability, decked her ends over to keep her dry both under way and at anchor and made the ends long and fine so she would row well even when loaded up for a month away. They get in the road, especially in the light of the other functions that the boat has to fulfil, so I put one at each end of the cockpit. I've noted with interest that dingy tents have not kept pace with their land based counterparts, most look like a cross between a Hong Kong apartment on washing day and a dismasted square rigger in a gale! Memories of a booming reach with both sails pulling like a train and the boat riding like a duck over the long ocean rollers, of rowing silently a few yards off the shore in glassy calms and of the crunch of tiny waves on a shingle beach, memories of sunsets, of deserted island and unspoiled coves, of morning birdsong and the splash of a fish all combine to make that other world seem very far away.


The boat has been designed to be built with a minimum of lofting but, where there is no option, we can supply the parts ready cut to size. This guy would stand out anywhere except in an NBA dressing room so the boat got wider to accommodate not only those long legs but the wide shoulders as well. I also needed to consider how a tent might be best organised, the boats sailing qualities maximised considering that some of the passages that might be attempted would be long enough for there to be a good chance of being caught out, and seaworthiness had to be toward the top end of what is normal for an open boat.
I put a tunnel in under the afterdeck and pivoted the tiller on the mizzen mast step in much the way that the Royal Navy's Montague Whalers did, then ran tiller lines back through the tunnel to a removable yoke on the rudder head. For sleeping simply lift them out and roll your airbed and sleeping bag out in a space almost 10 ft long by 2 foot, 6 inches wide. They will help you decide whether or not you can build the boat but do not provide sufficient information to actually do so.
So a preliminary drawing was done, Stephen said don't change a thing so I was off and running. This cat yawl rig is one of the best small cruising rigs about, its directionally stable, close winded and self tacking, has no stays and very few strings to pull. The tiller folds up against the mizzen when not required, and will not need to be dismounted when unrigging the boat for trailering or storing her. A clear section is built in forward and another roll up curtain aft, and I can imagine rowing quietly into a cove while the misty rain drifts down, sheltered and comfortable under the flexible roof, and within a few minutes having the stove roaring away and the bedding organised.
That mizzen is big enough to hold her head to wind while the coffee brews, the chart is consulted or a reef is tied into the main. Both masts can be struck while at sea, both rigs can be stowed within the boat without interfering with her rowing position, and she can be rigged and unrigged in just minutes.



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