Action Stations
by John Welsford 

My friend Stuart Reid is best known for small, flat bottomed and sharpie style open boats, traditional and historic replicas, and his stunning marine art prints. But the man has a restless imagination, and during my last call at his home just a few steps off the estuary shore in Katikati, he showed me the plans for this tiny teenagers' tearaway.

With all of the charisma of million dollar ocean racers and performance potential enough to create white knuckles in the crew, she should just about be achievable on a newspaper run or after school job plus some second hand bits. The hi-tech styling is anything but cheap, and she should not only be a striking addition to the club fleet, but also a great adventure machine for a couple of 15 year olds to escape in for long weekends.

Here are Stuart’s words on her:

Remember when teenagers used to cruise and camp in their “Zeddies” or other club dinghies? If you do, then you are far too old to be sailing one of these, but do read on.

ACTION STATIONS is a modern beach cruiser/camper which will prove easy to build, light, and thrillingly fast to sail. She will be easy on the bank balance as the rig is from a windsurfer (the slight mods required to fit the stays would not prevent it returning to the normal duty when needed by the other brother), and most of the few fittings could be made in a home workshop or scrounged off a derelict dinghy.

The extreme beam allows even a lightweight skipper to get weight out where it will help the boat without fatigue, the wide side decks form comfortable seating. Inside the cuddy cabin, there is space for enough camping gear to keep both crew warm and fed for a week or more. The self-draining raised floor makes a good bunk space under a tent supported by the mainsheet “Radar” arch over the aft end of the cockpit. This arch also acts as a support for the lowered mast, a frame for the tent, a stowage place for the daggerboard and rudder, as well as the support for the mainsheet block.

Her rig, so easily raised and lowered that it can be done in a seaway, includes a flat cut reaching spinnaker on a retractable prod which adds substantially to the boat’s off wind speed. A screaming reach in fresh weather should be huge fun for a couple of young hoons!

Construction is simple. Plywood over stringers and permanent light frames and a light fibreglass skin ensures a boat which when turned over has much of its “interior” in place. This construction method is much easier than those which just leave a bare shell.

The hull, cuddy cabin, and “radar arch” are all designed around a “master curve” which makes drawing the boat out for construction a breeze. This is a boat for first time builders and needs only about the space that a single car garage would provide. What are you doing this winter, dad?

Sea Scouts, Naval Cadets, and other organized groups still venture out in open boats, learning real seamanship while enjoying the open spaces. Many other teens spend their days watching one or another square screens, having virtual rather than real adventures. PLAY STATION was designed to provide an alternative!


Length on deck 4.000 m (13' 1")
Beam (at deck level) 2.000 m (6' 61/2")
Sail area (sailboard rig) 7.5 / 9 sq m (81 / 97 sq ft)
Weight (approx) 65 kg  (143 lbs)
“Cool factor” Very high


$175.00 post and pack included

John Welsford Small Craft Design 
P.O. Box 314, Ngongotaha
New Zealand
Ph/Fax 07 357 5354


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