First of all … welcome to those who have picked up a flyer from the Vancouver wooden boat show where the S12 Club prototype is making a first public appearance.
When Rick, who is building the prototype in Canada, delivered it to the show the comments were positive;
Everyone seemed to love the boat.
Comments like ‘art deco’ and beautiful, and love the curves, and ‘if that would have been painted, I’d swear it was plastic’
Judging is tomorrow. We will see what the experts think of it. (see initial sailing trials)
The ideas behind the boat are to show what one of the wholesome low cost, highly efficient, self build plywood dinghies from Australia and NZ in the 1970s might have evolved into if everyone hadn’t got sidetracked by composites, carbon fibre, ball bearing fitouts – for an incremental increase in performance but a huge increase in boat cost.
So this is something lower cost that doesn’t dumb down any of the essentials.
Modern tech has some advantages, even though real innovation will apply to any type of boat equally – things like sail twist control or lighter construction methods (the OZ/NZ standard for plywood boats is between 8 and 10 pounds per foot of length – there are plenty of composite and even carbon sailboats that exceed that substantially.
One example of using modern tech to advantage is the square top mainsail. Normally a way of cramming sail area up high, here it is used to reduce the mast length to;
- Save cost of materials by making the mast a foot and a half shorter
- Save labour
- Reduce the length of the mast when towing or roofracking
- Reduce the difficulty of rigging the boat – it should be easier than some 10 foot long boats.
One unusual thing is that the sail must have a reef built into it as standard. This will allow the standard sail to be reduced down to the popular 4.7 sq metre area made popular by the Laser and other dinghies. A great idea for learners and lighter sailors (but the lighter sailors are going to be very tempted to use the full sail I think 🙂
Despite being a svelte looking boat the starting point for the structure is a simple box – much like one of my very nice sailing OzRacer box shaped boats. This is also the building frame. It doesn’t look cool at all … right 🙂 There are a couple of modifications from this photo already incorporated in the plans.
The building method is an advance over the normal stitch and glue type build. Stitching is very laborious and leads to an ugly interior join as the epoxy fillet or glass tape has to hop over all the copper wires or cable ties. In this case the build uses a similar method to the OzRacer RV and the Quick Canoes – the hull is assembled and held together using gaffer tape.
The advantage of this method is that the interior is very clean making the glass taping or epoxy filleting very simple as you have a clean go at it … it is easy to just go through almost the whole boat and fillet/tape everything in one session. The only timber used is to put the deck on, stiffen the top of the transom, fit the centrecase and the stem. Everything else is filleted.
Now there’s little point of promising easy building if the result is nondescript … so more photos.
Deck is not trimmed yet in these two photos.
A photo from Rick varnishing the boat. He extended the wings from my original drawings “go wide or go home” he said.
I think he was right. It has catalyzed the appearance. He is the test pilot anyhow, so if he gets a big dunking … then it’s all his fault! 🙂
The boat has to be rigged and sailed to make sure everything works OK and to get the basic sail design and mast design to co-operate for the gust response we are looking for. We jump some extra hoops with all my designs to make sure they will sail exceptionally well out of the boatshed/garage/living room.
Then compiling the plans might take a few months. My advantage (and disadvantage) is the plans are highly detailed and offer a step by step instruction book into building a lean and efficient boat. Someone once called my plans “A boatbuilding course in a book” – which is pretty accurate. For this boat they will be about 100 pages and price will be the normal $100 for my more expensive range of cartop/trailerable plans.
I think this boat offers something quite different from the normal building project.
And something quite different on the water. I think it will kick up a lot of interest wherever it is sailed.
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