S-12 Club, new dinghy design launched (very light wind)

UPDATE – The S12 Club plans are in preparation now – we expect they will be available around Christmas ’13.  They will probably be offered as prototype plans at a discounted price – as you can see from below we have run out of time to test before the onset of the Canadian winter.  Two sails is not really enough to test a new boat.

We are sure it is strong enough for normal sailing, that it floats, and reboarding after light weather capsizes is possible for healthy men in their mid to late 50s.  We are also sure the building method works with care.  But we are not sure of the boat’s handling in different conditions.  It will not be a extremely stable boat, and some parts of the rig will need tweaking.  We are pretty sure the mast is too stiff and that the synthetic rigging is an experiment. We are also not sure of the achievable weight over a number of builds.

The last few weekends it’s been storms, rain and strong wind warnings in Rick’s part of Canada.  Last saturday saw 4 inches of rain and 100km/h winds (that’s strong for the non metricated).

But yesterday there was a window of opportunity so Rick got the boat wet.  There’s little new data except for everything working OK. And that the Amsteel Blue Spectra stays bedded in a bit more (as you can tell by the mast rake … should be a touch further aft.

.s-12 sailing dinghy first sail - light simple plywood sailing dinghy

Rick has called the boat STORM – so I’ve named the class the S-12.  Once there was a tradition that following boats would have names that use the same first letter.  But no pressure at all.

Balls Laser - first sail 04


The reason we are using a high spec spectra for the stays is that wire stays are problematic for worldwide home boatbuilding.  Not everywhere has the right materials and tools.  But using synthetic stays means that all the bits including the one tool (a fid) needed can be shipped in a light envelope.

Fid tool is cheap for making up synthetic rigging for sailing dinghies

Click image for video link

The fid is only 9 bucks and very light … click the image for more information and to see a video of the simple method (bottom video of two)

Rick had a bit of rigging assistance.  Less expensive boats are accessible for normal people with families.

s-12 sailing dinghy - fast build in plywood and light

The usual argument about synthetic stays is a problem with stretch and creep.

Stretch … most people know what that is, but creep is when something changes shape over time.  Think of the sag in old timber roof rafters or a bookshelf – they were both straight a few years back.

Balls Laser - first sail 06

Rick heads out and pushes the rudder blade down.  It’s a standard system I use – purloined from the Paper Tiger catamaran rudder system when I was 14.  Dagger rudder that will flip up if it hits anything and flop back down after.

s-12 home built sailing boat - light and simple with good performance

The normal way to overcome stretch and creep for synthetic standing rigging is to choose a bigger size.  Which is what we do.

We also think that because the rig is a simple three stay setup with all stays going to the same point that it is less affected by stretch than, say a boat with spreaders or diamond stays.

By the way … the hull will have several rig options.  The designed rig is a simply stayed deck stepped rotating mast, but the structure of the hull is set up is also set up to take a free standing mast or keel stepped mast – though I won’t be doing the drawings for those options until the standard plan is done.

Balls Laser - first sail 10

The puff of the morning.

s-12 light simple plywood dinghy

So it is a small step forwards.  If the weather holds out there will be more sailing.


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2 thoughts on “S-12 Club, new dinghy design launched (very light wind)

  1. Michael:
    I wonder if plans will be released soon for this intriguing boat? I don’t see them at Duckworks or other suppliers.

    • Hi Ken,

      I owe lots of interested people a reply about this.

      We ran into some problems getting the rig sorted. I more or less grew up with the type of over rotating rig using a winglike (but bendy) mast , so I know how it works. Usually the distance between me in Australasia and Rick in Canada is no problem at all with four prototype boats he has done in the past. But it has stumped us with the existing rig. Want to know more about how the boat handles before releasing it. We might look at swapping rigs this winter for just a simple freestanding or maybe stayed with spreaders to get it going.

      Sorry it is not available yet.


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