design by John Bell
I got an email with these photos
of one of my "Blondie" dinghies this weekend. I've
been jazzed about these since I got them. This is the second
one of these that I'm aware of having been completed. Some of
your readers might recall this design as one of the also-rans
in one of your design competitions a couple years ago. (I still
think the judges placed me too low in the final rankings, but
hey, it was fun!)
The builder, Peter Simmons, made
one minor change that I wholeheartedly endorse. He moved the
daggerboard case off to the side, clearing the best part of
the boat for people and stuff. My old Windsprint had a similar
arrangement that I thought was wonderful. Most people have an
aversion to asymmetry. Only until people sail a boat so equipped
they realize it doesn't really make a difference. I've got 13'
sharpie on my board right now that if I can talk the builder
into it that will get the same treatment. Peter also fabbed
a nifty removable rowing thwart.
The idea of this boat was to
get the most boat out of two sheets of ply and an 8x10 piece
of tarp. Looking at it now, I think my obsession with freeboard
may have gotten a bit out of hand and cutting it down a couple
of inches might be more pleasing to the eye. But all in all,
I still think she's a pretty neat boat. The builder is enthusiastic,
and that's what matters most to me.
Here's what he had to say about
"Here are a few pics
of the Blondie I built this past summer. I don't have any shots
of her sailing, but I am very impressed with her sailing qualities.
She tends to stay almost straight up and down, even in stiff
- 12-18 mph - winds, and would be even faster with something
superior to my first ever sailmaking effort. I offset the dagger
board case as we discussed, and this created a lot more interior
volume. I made a removable rowing thwart which has a tab that
fits into the dagger board case and rests on a narrow sill on
the opposite side. All very satisfactory. Great design! No surprises
in the build, but a boat of surprising ability in the water!"
Plans for Blondie are still free
and on my website,
John Bell <><