Michael Storer Boat Design


Design criteria - capsize, sail trim, economy and why cleating the mainsheet is poor sailing technique


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Andrew had noticed that I slid backwards off the side of the boat in the capsize video.

The sternward slide is well nigh unavoidable.

It was my attempt to relive my youth!

The stern buoyancy tank doesn't have enough volume to support my weight.  So the stern sinks if my weight is aboard after a capsize.  Maybe it wouldn't happen if the boat was being sailed by a child - which I haven't been for some time now!

A child may have the option to simply step down onto the centreboard from the side of the boat instead of doing the slide.

But we are not going to change the volume of the tanks to allow heavier ppl to do it for
two reasons.

1/ Economy - they were the biggest tanks we could get out of the three sheets of ply.

2/ If there is too much buoyancy in the side of the boat it will float too high when capsized and blow away from the sailor if he/she loses their grip.  This is a well known problem with a number of conventional sailing dinghies that I was keen to avoid.  They do it so that you right from capsize without any water aboard - but the penalty is that the boat floats so high that it will blow away from the sailor faster than they can swim in a lifejacket – you figure!  Our boats come up with a little bit of water, but they still sail well and have almost full stability without removing it.

A cleat would be wounding as you note!  We dont have any fittings on the sidedecks of the boat - in general, wherever you put them you end up sitting on top of the blxxdy things.

It's one of those rules!

The only fitting we need to attach is the bridle across the stern for the mainsheet block - we were going to use a couple of stainless steel saddles at one point but decided just to drill holes through the gunwale either side of the boat thread the rope through and tie a knot to stop the rope from pulling out.

Whether a dinghy has a mainsheet cleat or not is one of the ways we can tell whether a newcomer to our fleet is a threat or not!  If they have a cleat they
a/ Don't pay attention to weightsaving
b/ Don't know that cleating a mainsheet is slow.

Also in smaller boats it never pays to cleat the mainsheet - their balance and speed depends a very great deal on adjusting the sheet moment by moment - you can see this very clearly on the sailing videos - the wind is never static - so the trim can't be static either - except on a run where you cant get flow round the sail.

But once again it depends on what you want a boat for.  Our PDRs are based round the idea of attracting mainstream sailors to the class - so have set them up to be good club racing boats.

Which boat is faster - Walks like a duck or talks like a duck.

We made the boats as perfectly identical as possible.  One of them is a couple of pounds heavier and one has a red flecked mainsheet and the other a green one.

Sailing in the river at Midge's place is typical river sailing - puffs from all directions, big patches of calm, sudden gusts.

The boats are so close in performance the faster will be the one that is in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

So we'll never know while we sail here - need a bigger open expanse of water and several races to know whether one is faster.  Then we could swap centreboards, or rigs, or rudders and work out what was causing the difference.

But my feeling is because we know what makes a boat fast, and because we have done everything possible in that regard for both, I suspect that on an open expanse of water it would still be impossible to tell them apart.


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