Custom Search
   boat plans
   gift certificates
Join Duckworks
Get free newsletter
on this site
by Jim Betts - Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey - USA

Here is a doodle of HMS VICTORY. This is fun to think about. If you agree, maybe this could run as a fun item. If anyone is interested I will go ahead with plans. I can draw up something better than the enclosed so it looks fairly serious. As I look at things at the Messabouts, this would surely be outstanding. A fun boat that does not do anything but be fun. Adult toy. The square sail can be made to sheet in and be a little handy on a reach, but it would not really work very well. Just a novelty. - Jim

While I was visiting London and in Trafalgar Square, Admiral Lord Nelson spoke to me and said his great victory over the combined fleets of France and Spain in 1805 should be kept alive as a Messabout event. (I was not aware that the term was known in those days.)

And so l took to the task of redesigning VICTORY, Nelson's flagship, but in a more affordable form. Not having cannons and swords, I looked to the ship itself and then thought of all the master's cabins from old movies; Mutiny on the Bounty, Two Years Before the Mast and the honeymoon voyage in Gone Withthe Wind. Let's face it, between battles the captain had a nice life.

Design and building simplilied

Because a 14-foot ship will have a small crew, it is necessary to simplify many factors. When you do not have a crew of 380, you have to simplify. And so the single sail is the most you can handle. As a square-rigger, it is really only good for downwind work, so you need a way to get back. For this we have a small outboard motor in a well amidships. It is not necessary to have it hung on the stern where it will be ugly, and it is easily controlled by the helmsman who can reach the controls from his seat. The motor is not used to steer as there is a rudder to serve under sail and power.

The Off-watch Accommodations

The Master's Cabin has sitting headroom and seats four in a rain-storm. Well, the ship will be a bit down by the stern, but we can't have everything. If you are cozy with someone you sleep sideways (or athwartships if you are salty) since the cabin is six feet wide. The table lowers to make into the bed.

On deck, the off-watch sits forward where there is room for three, but that's really one too many at sea, but OK in port.

Pesky details

Wheel steering is by cables to rudder. There is room on the cabin top for gear. Supplies are stowed under seats and bunks. A small motor (say 3 to 35 hp) will most likely have fuel tank integral so carry spare fuel in a can. A small skeg ahead of the motor protects 1t from underwater obstacles. The motor may be on a rising bracket or fixed. When in port the sail maybe used as an awning over the deck, area. Use the booms to support it.

by Jim Betts
May 2014
LOA 14 ft.
Beam 6 ft.
Sail area 100 sq.ft.
SCALE: l/4 in =1 ft.

Access to the cabin requires that you step over the helm seat, but the hatch in cabin top makes that fairly easy. The lantern on the cabin top is simply to show the world you are there. Hull is 3/8 plywood over four frames.

Planning Your Trip into Battle

You will want to sail downwind and motor back up. You can reach to some degree by trimming the sail. You just have to play with it. There is no keel nor centerboard so such a course will not be very efficient. If you insist on windward ability add a centerboard next to the motor well or put leeboards outside the hull. My thought is to take it easy and just go with the motor and simple sail. This is a fun boat and you are not sailing around the world.

Frankly, navy ships - now as then — spend most of their time in port. This is a great ship for just enjoying the luxury of a great cabin and a nice deck area and forget winning a race or a battle. (Admiral Nelson did that for you.)

The Mission of HMS VICTORY

This is a fun ship. It will not win races and will not sail around the world. It will give many hours of pleasure just messing about with boats.

It is cheap and easy to build and quite simple to operate. No sail-trimming lessons needed!

A major goal here is to have a vessel that you can build, afford and haul on a simple trailer. You can stay on board in Spartan comfort and light a candle and have dinner and even have a small stove, ice chest and toilet. You can have battery lights. You can beach the ship by pulling up the motor and rudder.

It has built-in flotation (as th USCG requires) and it is beamy enough to be quite stable under foot.

Others will see your soft light from the large cabin windows and wish to sign on for your next voyage!

For ideas about painting and decorating, see the web sites under the subject Battle of Trafalgar. You may surely fly the British colors. (If you are an Anglophobe, you may fly the French or Spanish flag and bring your own bandages!)

To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit one of the following:

our Yahoo forum our Facebook page