6 ways to the best boat design?

All over the internet you will find blog entries and web site articles with catchy titles like the one above. It’s a much used device that catches reader’s attention and implies they are about to get real information. In the internet world many people seem to think that solutions come in neatly ordered sets: six ways to lose 60 pounds, 40 days to spiritual enlightenment, 25 sure-fire recipes for franks & beans…

I find myself faced with a search for just the right, for me, sailboat design to build. The considerations involved are numerous but let me see if I can distill them down to the number stated in the title. By the way the number six was a completely arbitrary choice. I claim no divine guidance. No paid consultants were involved.  First I will borrow a question from my aviation experience.

What Is The Mission?

The quick and dirty answer is relaxation under sail.  Having been without a boat 8 years has been difficult.  Nothing takes me away from it all like the wind singing in the rigging on a broad reach.  I want to pass that feeling along

loving the beach, lets try boats too!

to my Grandson and Granddaughter.  They are three years old and should make a dandy crew with all their energy.  My Grandson is a born tool-lover and would have a great time helping to put together a small boat.

My local waters, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, can get a bit lively. The tidal range is greater than the Chesapeake Bay and a lot faster.   I want something that will not sink when capsized and has a secure cockpit that will hang onto it’s occupants in a hard chance.  I don’t intend to stand into danger but it is possible to be blind-sided by the weather.  There could even be some beach-cruising somewhere in the future.

How Big is Big?

I will be building in a two car garage and see 18 feet as a maximum overall length.  You need some room to walk all around the boat without opening the door. I am in The Pacific Northwest where rain is a frequent feature of the climate. It needs to fit well on a trailer pulled by a Chevy Trailblazer.

As a lower limit I would want at least 14 feet.  This should be adequate for two adults and a couple of children for a comfortable day’s sailing.  I used to have a San Francisco Pelican at 12 feet long she almost fit thee requirements but I’m looking for a little more elbow room. A small foredeck or handy locker would be good for stowing a picnic basket and small cooler in a seamanlike manner.

In future posts I will consider more pertinent questions and consider some particular designs that meet the basic criteria.

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