| By Craig Gleason - Shalimar,
Florida - USA
A brief study
in sailboat miniaturization
Stuart James, from southern Florida,
arrived at the Gulf Region Trailer Sailors 2006 BEER
Cruise with a most interesting vessel. Stuart's sailing
dingy; aptly named NANO, was an instant hit with everyone
there. Fashioned from an ancient dingy this novel
craft proved to be an extremely seaworthy addition
to the diverse BEER Fleet.
images to enlarge)
Stuart’s much larger Grampian
Cruiser has carried him to diverse locations from
the Florida coast, out to the islands, and even to
down Granada. She is a seasoned blue water traveler:
however, not really suitable to tow from his home
up to Pensacola. If memory serves correct, Stuart
told me someone gave him this ratty little glass dink.
Ratty it may have been but Stuart viewed it with a
more imaginative eye. Needing a trailorable knockabout,
Stuart saw in the little boat the potential to meet
|Here is NANO,
ready for anything at Quietwater Beach
He set about to create a unique cruising
boat. The weathered wood (read kind of rotten and
not altogether there) on the miniscule foredeck was
cleaned up a bit and left in place. This wooden trim
gives the impression of the age of the vessel and
provides a contrast to the white ventilator stack
mounted before the mast. An off center dagger board
was fitted amidships and infinitely adjustable trim
is maintained using an orange woodworkers spring clamp.
A stayed aluminum mast and boom hold a salvaged jib
to provide motive power cat boat style. Large pool
noodles; attached with white zip strips, running down
each gunwale provide emergency flotation and protection
from barnacles and other marine life that turn pilings
and dock edges into wood rasps. Auxiliary power is
provided by large sweeps, the handles of which convert
into a type of litter rails that when set longitudinally
over the hull. Stuart removes the sweep blades and
slips on a webbing over the handles that make up into
his berth when night falls.
along, note the dagger board elevated
to reduce drag in light air.
The hot Florida sun and inclement weather
pose no problem for our intrepid inventor sailor.
Stuart’s innovative craft converts into a sort
of Conestoga Boat with the addition of his custom
made cover. Using thin
fiberglass rods as a frame the cleverly
made cover fits over the hull from mast to transom
keeping Stuart and his gear comfortable and dry. I
believe there is even provision for keeping flying
irritations out of his berth by the use of no-see-um
netting when the back flap of the cover is open.
|A little more
cover detail, note the triced up boom..
All in all this is one of the most clever
and utilitarian sailboat designs I have encountered.
It the BEER folks gave out prizes for the best engineered
boat, Stuart James’s NANO would be the hands
down winner. ( Photos courtesy of Jeff Gegner and
other BEER Fleet members.)