Design Contest Entries  

Duckworks/Small Craft Advisor
- Design Contest #7 -

Class IV Everglades Challenger



click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This is about as close as you can get to a racing scow and still run this race. The lines follow Bolger’s “bisecting chine rule”, so turbulence should be minimal. It will be fast, and might well plane off the wind, if there’s enough. Construction is jigless Instant Boats nail-and-glue with an internal chine log, just like Bolger’s Light Schooner.

The rudder and leeboards are built from two layers ½” plywood following the instructions in Jim Michalak’s Boatbuilding for Beginners (And Beyond!). Almost. The leeboards are toed in 1 degree, and splayed outward at the bottom about 5 degrees. I wouldn’t exceed either figure, but undershooting is fine. All the leeboard foil shaping is on the inboard side – outboard is flat. These features should add lift to windward at the expense of tending the boards when tacking. Short tacks could probably be run with either or both boards. It should sail in very shallow water with boards partly retracted, but you will need to slack the foresail to keep the helm balanced.

The sails are the fore and main from a Light Schooner, 112 and 68 sq ft for 180 total. Four-sided sails keep the center of effort low for the area. The benefits of using Light Schooner sails specifically are that kits are available and the sails are also useable on a less-specialized boat. Here they are balanced lug rigged to speed rigging and lighten the masts. This kind of boat likes to sail on its bottom, so with light crew it needs options in sail area. Accordingly, there are two lines of reef points. The entire rig is kept inboard to ease these adjustments and avoid “jiffy reefing” lines, which always seem to snag something when you least want them to. I’d rig lazyjacks to also work as brails for rowing in intermittent calms.

This boat is to run by two crew in watches. Off-duty crew sleeps below decks aft with a slot top and cloth cover. A low center divider (made of the sectional poles/beaching rails set between cleats) helps keep him on the windward side when heeled. The pilot sits on the bottom forward, where forward visibility should be relatively good for this sort of boat. With a remote tiller, all sailing controls are handy, including the anchor. Only the mainsheet must run a long way – forward on its boom, down to deck, then through a pipe underdeck. This helps avoid snags with the steering parts. All hands must be called for reefing, but she should heave to with the fore backed and the helm down.

The pilot can row from his sitting position in a calm, and it is possible for both crew to row if desired. It probably won’t reach hull speed with one oarsman because of wetted surface, but the hull weight of under 350 lbs helps. If you need to row into any kind of wind, the masts should be unstepped. All the rigging rides along the side decks in chocks that elevate it so the oars can work normally. Tabernacles would be an option, but this system gets the rig lower at the expense of more fiddling. Upwind speed under oars might win this race. I’d use Michalak oars forward, Duckworks “oardles” aft – both 8 feet.

The compartments must be watertight. Crew clothes forward, PVC beaching rollers aft. I’d insulate the center compartment with rigid foam – when rowing, I’d want to drink something cold.

Speaking of care and feeding of the crew, the watches should overlap by 15 minutes or so. The crew coming on should boil water to fill several thermoses for hot drinks and soup. If any solid hot meals are to be prepared, it will be in daylight when both crew are awake. Sawdust toilet buckets fit in the corners of the forward cockpit. Make sure they’re sealed! I’m assuming nobody is shy when racing, so no provision is made for privacy.

The pilot uses a light plywood “chart table” clamped to the forward toilet buckets when sailing. It can also be clamped to the aft buckets when rowing or gotten out of the way by wedging it between forward buckets and bulkhead. The remote tiller can slide up and down in its stock, or stopped in the upper position. It is convenient to have it on the floor when rowing, as the pilot can steer with his feet. The same might be true when both hands are wanted for chart work, flashlight or binoculars. An optional tiller extension adds range when wanted. The rowing seat is a ditty box with flotation cushion, and ties to the side when not in use. The pilot must sit on the floor when sailing.

It in entirely possible to capsize this boat, so reef very early if it’s gusty. Duckwork’s self-releasing cleats will be ideal for the sheets, but they should not be popping constantly. If you do capsize, the compartments should keep you afloat while you bail, and in all likelihood the aft cockpit won’t flood because of the narrow slot. In any case, both cockpits should have bailers, or preferably pumps. The masts must be buoyant to keep the boat from turning turtle. Add foam in the center if you make them hollow and don’t use aluminum. If you knock it that far over, you’ll probably have to go for a swim to right it. This is not too worrisome in Florida’s rather warm water, and the boat is light and should right easily. Uncleat the sheets, though, or it will sail away! And beware the wildlife.

The design’s name refers to my home state. If you named her CowScow, I could only imagine a hull painted with a Holstein’s black spots on white. But I’d might paint it all gray and let the name match the goal – Shark Tooth.