Design Contest Entries  

Duckworks/Small Craft Advisor
- Design Contest #7 -

Class IV Everglades Challenger



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I have been fascinated with the idea of ‘box boats’ ever since I first encountered them back in the seventies. The idea is simply so enticing. Two straight sides (not necessarily vertical) and a fore and aft curved bottom between them. Ones first impression is that such boats would be suitable only for the most protected waters. Driven level under power. their flat sectioned bottoms sections would pound ferociously in the slightest chop. But what if one were heeled over under sail? Then it would present a ‘V’ bottom to the sea. The greater the rocker and the narrower the beam, the more true this would be. If it could be made to work, it could provide a surprisingly seaworthy platform with deliriously simple construction. And since all the bends would be gentle, less than perfect material could be used. I’m so in love with the idea, that I have designed three such craft including this one.

I thought that a competition such as the ‘Everglades Challenge’ offers would be an ideal proving (or disproving) ground for this boat type. I came up with a ‘wish list’ of specs.

  • 1.) It had to be able to easily carry me plus at least 150 lbs of supplies and provisions.
  • 2.) Have a long enough cockpit to lay down in.
  • 3.) Have an elevated cockpit platform to keep my butt out of the water that may slop aboard.
  • 4.) Have dry storage compartments for most of my gear.
  • 5.) Have a sail rig that is easily accessible from the cockpit and straight forward to reef.
  • 6.) Have constant access to the helm.
  • 7.) Have foils that can kick up when hitting obstacles.
  • 8.) Have water tight compartments.
  • 9.) be able to be human propelled even while under sail.

These nine requirements dictated much of the design dimensions. The beam was kept small due not only to the concept itself, but to be easily righted in the event of a capsize. The freeboard was kept somewhat high to provide a decent range of stability, to allow for an open cockpit, and to keep most of the water outside of the boat.

The sail rig is an experimental design meant to keep the center of area from moving forward as the sail is reefed, to keep reefing as simple and straight forward as possible and to keep the spars reasonably short, The yard is lOft 8in long, the mast is lOft 6in long, and the boom is 7ft 8in long. The long, single, leeboard is meant to make adjusting the boat’s balance under sail straightforward and easily done from the cockpit.

The human propulsion system is not really oars, but short sweeps. One is to be used at a time with one hand on the rudder line. My butt is to be shifted far enough to one side to heel the boat over some which will both lengthen the waterline and present a more easily driven shape to the water. Both sweeps can be used at once, of course (There will be three aboard), if something should happen to the rudder.

The deck design is meant to shed water efficiently. This is not only to make sure rainwater stays out of the forepeak and the stem compartment, but to help prevent the bow from digging into the sea. The l2in x l2in hatch covers are to be plywood squares held on by bungee cords. The will also have lanyards attaching them to the hull to keep them from getting lost.

I am generally happy with what I came up with, though it did end up disheartenly heavy. It seems that light construction just doesn’t run in my DNA. The aircraft fabric deck is an attempt, as feeble as it may be, to keep the weight down. Since its only purpose is to shed water, I feel it’s OK if it stretches under load as long as it springs back.

So here it is folks. My grand, noble, (and perhaps foolish) venture in small boat design.