Design Consideration 5, Hull Form

Boats come in many different shapes.  To simplify we can consider flat and round bottoms.  My ideal is round bottom, wineglass sections.  The combination is classic and has been proven time a nd time again.  Besides it just looks so good. The project is  not well served by simply going after the ideal.  It’s like dating the head cheer leader only to find she looks good on your arm but drives you insane with her giggling. If I had no worries about time and money I would be inclined toward the boats of, John Welsford, Francois Vivier or Ian Oughtred.  I am to keep things dead simple here.

Let’s step back and consider something fundamental that has already been determined.  Plywood is the building material of choice for this project.  Sheet materials don’t like to bend in two directions.  You can torture it a bit  but there is not far to go before you reach the limit.  Simplicity and ease of building come to us served on a flat bottom.  I have owned both flat bottomed and round bottomed boats so I have a basis of comparison.

A flat bottom has good initial stability and does not feel tippy.  I don’t mind a bit of tippy.  I’m inclined to go with a boat that has a flat bottom with flaring sides.  The classic dory which has a rather narrow bottom and transom are very tippy feeling but once they lean over far enough they gain reserve buoyancy and become very stable.  There are some good compromises available in various designs.  My San Francisco Pelican had flaring sides but was very beamy. She would lay over quickly in a blow but only so far.  Once she had her rail near the water she became solid as a house.  I never had her capsized and always felt safe and comfortable.

What I’m thinking of is a skiff-like hull with flared sides generous though not outrageous beam and freeboard.  Several designs come to mind.  Various Chesapeake sfiff types come to mind but they tend to be low freeboard.  The Goat Island Skiff by Miichel Storer is a very interesting choice.  It looks easy enough to build and has the right sort of shape.  Videos on YouTube show her to be lively and capable of good speed.  The low aspect lug sail is a good choice which should drive her along well.

The Green Island skiff is another excellent choice with similar specifications and a more elaborate rig.  As much as I like it the added expense of more rigging and another sail makes it less practical.  Jim Michalak’s Mayfly 16 is another close but no cigar design. At least I’m at the point were I can start to consider actual designs by real designers.  Of course there is always the ultimate cheap out.  Why pay $125.00 for plans when there is a perfectly good drawing board out in the shop?  Do I dare take so much into my own hands? Let’s think it over as we consider the final consideration – the workshop.

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