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By Jim Michalak - Lebanon, IL - USA

Hapscut - DarcyBryn - OliveOyl


Hapscut, Sailboat, 18' X 6.5', 450 POUNDS EMPTY

In 2010 I was lucky enough to sail the TX200 with Chuck Leinweber in his Caprice. Chuck had me design Laguna just for this event and the Laguna fleet did quite well with the mention on the side that apparently in 2010 the winds were abnormally light, the veterans complaining about how mild it all was even though we were at hull speed pretty much all the time. What a great time I had!

The first stop on the trip is at a place called "Haps Cut", a large drainage channel really from a large shallow lagoon to the intercoastal waterway, which is a man made ditch in this area. By this time Chuck was already talking about some sort of minimal cabin for Laguna, at least in the bow cockpit.

As we sailed along I started getting ideas about another possible TX200 boat. I play this little mind game all the time while I am boating - how could this boat be better?, etc. Well, the thing about the TX200 that I noticed was that the sun is a real killer. I noticed some of the local fishermen are totally covered, even though the daytime temp is in the 90's, right down to gloves. Some were wearing what looked like full body stockings, right up over the face and head, sort of like a super hero costume. All of the veteran boats on the cruise had serious bimini tops and such, Chuck's included, and for a new TX200 design that would be a must.

I thought shallow water beaching was important too, especially at Hap's Cut. If you could run your bow ashore you might be able to step on dry land and avoid the totally repulsive mud there, at least knee deep, at least that is how far I sank in when I tried it.

And some sleeping shelter like Chuck was talking about, mostly to avoid the land tenting situation. All the night spots had good places to tent but I know for experience that with a small cabin you can leave the tents behind, your comings and goings become much quicker and easier. And if you have a crewman you can maybe flop down inside for siesta while the copilot follows the ditch.

Another impression I got was that a crew of two was about ideal, much easier going overall than a solo effort. It's a lot like taking a long driving trip where the ability to swap drivers regularly means you can almost carry on forever.

There was almost no sailing to windward. Only when making ports did one have to do that. And maybe while running up the Aransas ship channel. So I thought a really refined hull shape was not required. A simple scow might do it, at least in 2010 winds.

So I drew up my best guess and called it Hapscut.

Simple scow flat bottomed square toed hull. Narrow on the bottom so like Laguna it could be planked with 4' wide plywood. Wide on the top, a lot more flare than I normally draw, because I was quite impressed with the small San Francisco Pelican on the trip as it handled 2 grown men in its 12' length with seemingly no problems. Square bow to make beaching easier mostly. The idea is that you can easily stroll through the cabin and out over the bow to avoid stepping at all in any nasty yuck.

The cabin itself is long enough to sleep on the floor but really only wide enough for one person. It is high enough to sit up in and read. It is minimal but I think a big advance over a land tent. Two people could wait out a storm in there. It has the usual slot top so with top stowed it becomes an open boat allowing one to walk from cockpit, through cabin and out the bow without climbing over anything more than 2' tall. With luck the cabin will prevent swamping of the entire boat in a knockdown, another good thing about a large amount of flare in the sides.

The crewmember is supposed to sleep in the cockpit but that requires the quick removal of the two large seating flats. Given a good sun top this might be the preferred place to sleep. On the 2010 trip there were no bugs or mosquitos but if needed you could quickly net in the sides of the cockpit. By the way, the length of the boat is really determined by the need to sleep two on the narrow bottom, thus you need 13' minimum just for that.

Aft of the cockpit is the buoyancy/storage volume. This buoyancy will save your butt in a knockdown since it will support the stern, float the boat level on it side until you recover. Don't compromise it.

One thing I goofed on maybe in Hapscut was that I did not draw a motor well as I did with Laguna. I know if I were building one of these for myself I would have it. Extend the stern back another 18" with the open well ending with a transom angled 15 degrees. Then you could easily mount a motor and store a lot of messy gear back there. The motor sounds like cheating but it can save you butt on occasions and in general you can cover a lot more water even if you seldom use it because you won't play light winds so cautiously. But I don't know if a motor can save your butt in really rough going.

Although Hapscut was designed for a long cruise, it clearly has the makings of a good daysail family boat as long as you stay out of rough water. It has the room, shelter, and ease of use that make for a good family boat. Finally, although designed to take two men on a long trip, it clearly is not too big or complicated for single handing.

It is all simple nail and glue construction needing nine sheets of 1/4" plywood and four sheets of 1/2" plywood.

Plans Here in the Duckworks Store


DARCYBRYN, Cabin Sailboat, 15' X 6', 800 pounds empty

Darcy Bryn is the new name of the "Billsboat" project that was discussed here a while back (see the November 2009 back issues). The idea was for a solo cruiser with good rough water capabilities. The issue of self righting was explored rather deeply back then. The trouble centers around the fact that a small boat like this can need ballast similar to a larger boat because the critical weight that needs to be counteracted can be that of the crew, and that doesn't scale down with the boat. The number you see all the time for ballast in a small cabin boat is 500 pounds. Then for a small boat the problem becomes getting enough buoyancy in a short hull to just deal with the weight of it all, etc. You usually end up with a boat that sits quite deep in the water both to get the ballast down low and to get the hull volume required to float the ballast. And after you've used a boat that floats in 3" of water you will have little interest in one that grounds out in 18" of water and that is about how it goes.

Darcy Bryn is a compromise here because the builder didn't really want the above solution. So what you have on the drawing is 200 pounds of lead bolted to the bottom of the hull, enough we figured to right the boat from a knockdown as long as the crew has jumped in the water and thus removed his weight from the capsize equation. Then the boat will right on its own and should be free from swamping of any sort since she is decked over all the way. Then the skipper needs to get back up and in somehow. Not always easy and you must be prepared for this both with a ladder of some sort that you can grab while swimming, and also with the sail's sheets released so the boat won't sail away without you, which many rigs like this yawl rig can and will do. If it sounds too risky then you might add another 300 pounds of lead and hopefully it will self right with you still on the deck. If this all sounds pretty wild I can tell you I know of two Bolger box cruisers that behaved exactly this way in real knockdowns. Boat tipped and was stable on its side, crew jumped in the water, boat righted and crew reboarded. I think Darcy draws about 12" of water at full weight partly because the ballast extends about 3" below the bottom.

woobo sail

To make the hull take rough water I shaped it with multichines and a pointy bow. It is pretty curvy. The multichines reduce the internal volume and the pointy bow pushed the effective cabin back to the point where a long floor sleep space is acquired by having the sleeper's feet extend past the main bulkhead and under the aft deck. But even with the pointy bow she may not be too comfortable sleeping anchored in open water.

The rig comes right off a Mikesboat because Bill already has a Mikesboat. It looks a bit large on the drawing but lug sails can reef nicely and quickly with practice. The mast is mounted on a tabernacle but whether it is safe to swing the mast up while afloat is a good question, at least I don't think it can be done safely by standing on the deck. Maybe by standing in the front hatch with your feet on the floor. Best done with the boat on the trailer or beached, I'd say.

Well, I guess I've given you all the negative warnings. In the end it might be a tough little boat capable of staying out in the rough stuff after everyone else has given up. With a cozy cabin.

Construction is taped seam.

Plans Here in the Duckworks Store


OLIVEOYL, Cabin Sailboat, 15' X 6', 500 pounds empty

OliveOyl was designed for someone who liked AF3 but wanted more cabin room and comfort, but not more length. So I actually had some AF4breve drawings handy when I drew the lines for the new boat. Although Olive is the same length as AF3 the cabin is deeper and the bottom a foot wider. One thing the owner did not want, which made the larger cabin possible, was a large cockpit. So I've drawn a bridge deck which extends into the cockpit, reducing foot space there, and also just borrowed length from the cockpit and put it in the cabin. So the floor length in the cabin is over 8'long but you will probably sleep with your feet stuck under the bridge deck. I suppose the downside is that the cockpit is less than 5' long so two adults would fill it. I am guessing an empty weight of 500 pounds but it will take 2000 pounds to put its stem in the water so she should take a fair load.

woobo sail

I suppose I've learned a bit since I drew AF3 a while back. One thing I've learned is that when beached a boat like this is much easier to board if the bow is not too high, thus on this boat I've cut down the bow enough so you can sit on it and swing your legs around right into the cabin entry in the bulkhead, I hope. The owner did not care about that and I don't think she beaches much in her area.

Now, the owner wanted a conventional cabin with sliding hatches so I drew that. And with it went a mast mounted on a tabernacle. I drew the mast off center as I normally do, attaching it to one of the main cabin deck beams. That moves it out of the center of the boat where you will be sleeping. But this boat could be simpler if it had my usual open slot top with a one piece mast. Such a layout would be a lot better I think for a boat which would be sailed off a beach too since it would allow the skipper to hop on the bow after pushing off, and then run upright back to the cockpit. As is he would have to creep down and tHrough the cabin or go over the cabin but I should warn you that, with AF3 at least, standing on the cabin top is an invitation for capsize. After all, these are not large boats.

The rig shown is pretty much right out of the AF3 experience, in particular with AF3's balanced lug rig. The spars are short and cheap and the mast short enough that the tabernacle won't be required if the open slot top is used.

But I doubt if OliveOyl would stay with an AF3 in a race. She has the same rig but she is wider, deeper and heavier and bound to be slower. On the other hand she is a much better overnighter since the AF3 has a minimal cabin suited for a backpacker.

In a lot of ways I think OliveOyl is more of a shortened Normsboat and if you don't mind the extra length and the weight and cost that go with the extra length, Normsboat would be I think a lot more boat for the buck.

Conventional nail and glue construction. She needs seven sheets of 1/4" plywood, two sheets of 3/8" ply, and four sheets of 1/2" ply.

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