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post #1900 of Old 10-27-2013
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

Originally Posted by desert rat View Post
I know nothing. I have wanted to mention this for several days. On page 153 of sailboats and auxiliaries you can build - Coot - a 27 foot skipjack schooner, a build it yourself plan by William Atkin. Would this look beautiful at 32 or 34 foot in modern materials? Forgive my foot in mouth, but everyone else is doing it. The more beautiful ideas I see (like silver) the happier I am. Feel free to throw rocks.
One of the virtues of the skipjack hull form is that they are very easy to construct using conventional wood construction with a cross planked bottom. This made the type fast and cheap to build. While they can be adapted to sheet materials (plywood, steel, aluminum) it is very difficult to achieve the subtle shapes at the bow which were literally carved out of a big block of wood.

It would not make sense to build a skipjack in anything more exotic than simple sheet materials because the skipjack hull form just is not that well rounded or suitable for a cruiser a shape for a boat. It's important to understand that the skipjack is a highly evolved type that was developed for a very specific purpose that required a lot of initial stability, shallow draft, the ability to beam reach very powerfully with minimal heel, and an ability to deal with a short chop.

It is a hull form that has limited applicability, and which really is not so great when exposed to big waves, or the kinds of condition that are likely to be encountered on a cruising boat. Smaller skipjack types tend to have an uncomfortable motion, limited angles of positive stability, and very limited seakeeping capabilities. They do not tolerate a lot of freeboard and have shallow hulls making it very hard to get headroom and tankage.

Over time as skip jack hull forms were adapted to cruising yachts they became narrower and better ballasted. A good example of that type would be something like the Seabird Yawl or Wittholz's Destination.

While the schooner rig is beautiful to look at, it's very hard to get well rounded performance out of one, and they are comparatively expensive to build and maintain.

There have been a lot of attempts to evolve oyster boats to cruisers but some of the more effective attempts have been based on the sharpies. You might look up 'Badger'.


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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 10-27-2013 at 10:09 AM.
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