Monday, April 05, 2010

10’ Ocean-going Sailboat Designs



'Fafnir' internal views

'Micro 10'

Matt's Boats

As you can imagine there are only a few boat designers who have tried to satisfy the needs of ‘cranks’ who want to circumnavigate the Globe in 10’ boats. There was a flurry of design activity when the Around-in-Ten race was first proposed, i.e., a race for 10’ boats around the world.

The first well-known designer to put his neck on the block was John Welsford. When I say ‘put his neck on the block’, I mean that he was prepared to accept the criticism of those who were not well-informed and of those who were not as knowledgeable as him. He had the guts to propose a design, but not before thoroughly researching the subject, because he realised his responsibility as a designer. Primarily a designer has to consider the seaworthiness of his boat for the waters where she will be sailed, and that’s a very tall order for 10’ foot globetrotter.

Well, he came up with ‘Gimli’. She looked a bit like a scaled-down version of a Mini-Transat racer. John had already designed such a boat. On the face of it ‘Gimili’ was a flyer that would need a skilful skipper to get the best out of her. Because of her potential to sail faster than most ten foot sailboats, her skipper could get away with carrying minimal stores. Her longest leg would be 1,800 miles of downwind trade wind sailing. To make the boat competitive she had a canting keel, daggerboards for directional stability and a battened, carbon fibre rig. (I believe this design is still available from John.)

After designing ‘Gimli’ he produced drawings for ‘Fafnir’. She did not qualify for the 10’ LOA restriction, since her overall length was 13’ 1”, and unlike ‘Gimli’ she was a heavy displacement boat. The advantage was being able to carry a load of 880 lbs which included the weight of her crew. Scaling this boat down to 10’ might be a solution for the wannabe, but if you are serious, I suggest you first contact John.

Another designer who committed himself to a 10’ around-the-world boat was Paul Fisher. He had already designed the Micro 8, which was a minimal, downwind drifting capsule for the ‘nutter’ who enjoys being tortured for months at a time in total isolation – a great way to lose weight, but extreme, and not recommended. However, Paul’s Micro 10, a development of the smaller boat, looks like a practical solution for the guy who ‘must’ sail around the world in a tiny boat. Please don’t think Micro 10 has my stamp of approval, because in truth I do not know. Maybe she could make it in the right hands? The sailor is the key. As far as I know, no one has built a Micro 10, but I think she would be a comparatively easy project that could be undertaken in a typical household garage, and as expense goes, she would be cheap by comparison with high-tech solutions.

Outline drawings of designs for Matt Layden’s own boat for the Around-in-Ten were published on the Net. To me they looked appropriate, but they did not show their rigs. One illustration portrayed a round-bilge micro-yacht with a deep fin keel and the other depicted a more typical Layden sharpie hull resembling his ‘Paradox’, except she lacked chine runners. I liked both of the designs, but for doing an ocean crossing, I preferred his round bilge version. Matt has only made his Paradox plans available for general distribution; therefore if you were interested in getting him to draw plans for one of the boats illustrated here, you would need to contact him, but I doubt you would be successful. Maybe if you offered enough he would do it!


Mini-Transat Designs

MITEC School of Boat Building


John Welsford Boat Plans

Paul Fisher Boats

In the Boat Shed – Paradox Article


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Ocean Going Yachts

William Serjeant said...

Fantastic adventure JoJo. Hope you will have the opportunity. Drop me a line if you manage to make it to the start line.