NOTE: Version 4.0 May 12, 2011 -- Added step 7 about a brief trimaran conversion for the Everglades Challenge. I talk more about sailing (and other things) at my blog, Tristram Shandy in the 21st Century, www.tristramshandy21st.blogspot.com --wt
According to the philosophy of "one boat for each day of the week," I built my Tuesday boat. The Monday boat was described in my instructable, Make Life Better with a Sailboat in a Closet. This Tuesday boat reflects some lessons learned from the Monday boat, some changed situations (for context always has a finger in the things we build), as well as the usual misguided notions that exist to help us set benchmarks for all human values.
What it is
This boat is a tacking outrigger sailing canoe. It is a 3-board canoe, which means, in Western boat-building tradition, the main hull (vaka, in Pacific boat-building tradition) is a sharpie-style hull. However, the outrigger float (ama), is a two-board hull (Wharram style; more on that later). The sailing rig is a Western cat-ketch made from standing lugsails.
: See it in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L4J5EKSwEc
This is the better of the videos so far, though a few more are posted under 'wadetarzia'
Materials: 1/4 inch CDX plywood, common pine for stringers, laminated pine shelving/desktop materials for boards, oak and Douglas fir for load-bearing struts, Douglas fir flooring planks laminated for akas/cross-beams, 6 oz. glass cloth, System Three epoxy, a few bronze ringnails, some stainless steel hardware, a few commercial blocks and cam-cleats, and low-stretch synthetic line for halyards, sheets, and downhauls.
Vaka/main hull: sharpie style, chine and epoxy construction, 16 feet length-overall, ~4 incnes rocker, 8 inch waterline at center with one person aboard, 24 inches main hull beam including gunwales, 14 inches beam at bottom, 23 inches depth of hull at center, ~19 inches depth at ends. Main hull weight about 160 pounds (glass and epoxy over plywood, double layer on outside bottom, single layer on inside bottom up to waterline. Open hull with partial decks and foam flotation.
Ama/outrigger float-hull: 14 feet length overall, 14 inches beam at center, 14 inches depth at center, strong rocker, V-hull style. Decked and watertight with screw-hatch access/ventilation. Weight about 70 pounds. Displacement: about 270 pounds.
Akas/crossbeams: Laminated from 4 strips of DF tongue-and-groove flooring planks (tongues & grooves adzed down), tapering to three strips toward ama-end, ~7 feet long (should be 8 feet but that's what I can scrape through my garage door). Weight about 15 pounds each.
Assembly: The parts are lashed together with 3/8 poly line (1/4 would be OK but use good quality marine low-stretch line) and tied off on plastic cleats. I use half-inch oak locating pins to lock the relationships of the aka to the main hull, but the whole lashed boat is still quite flexible, which is good for an outrigger canoe. Total beam is 7 feet.
Not so Right, Not so Misguided
So you are wondering how this canoe represents a misguided notion? I started building it from cheap materials (CDX plywood and Home Despot lumber) because I intended it to be practice for the larger outrigger I wanted to build and build properly. Instead, each hour on the job, I invested more time, and more thought, and by the time I was done, I had so much time and money invested that it had transformed into THE BOAT. His name is Short Dragon.
Lessons are to be learned here, so do what you can. Meanwhile, I will tell you how I made the boat.
Well, not yet. A few more things: Short Dragon has really pleased me. He is a good performer. If you are smarter than I am, you can build a better one easily by using better materials and having better skills. You can build it lighter by using fewer stringers, less epoxy and glass, etc. This boat weighs in fully rigged at around 280 pounds. But no matter. My economy car tows it just fine, in 5-10 knots of wind (reported from local airport weather probes, not known at sea-surface) he will cruise along at 5 to 7 knots. I have often hit 10 knots, sometimes 12 knots, and in one blaze of glory hit 14 knots, although we were probably "pushing the envelope" (blah, blah) near disaster.
Sailing not Paddling (Mostly)
He would not be the best paddling craft, of course, with his boxy hull and heavy outrigger, but often I have had to paddle home after the dusk wind dropped me a mile or two from the ramp. In flat water you can paddle at 3 knots fairly easily for an hour (and I am not a paddling athlete).
A Main Point
But my main point is, you would enjoy such a boat, I think. In medium air it will provide some fun, in light air it can take a passenger, but I recommend it as a solo boat unless you deck over the canoe hull almost completely, watertight). In light air.... you yourself can recall various bumpersticker proverbs concerning " is better than a good day at work..."
No Plans, Sorry
As with my Monday boat, this boat had no plans nor was it "designed" except for some rough sketches and rough cardboard model making. I went by some commonsense, some constraints dictated by physics, and by what I thought looked right (having looked at a lot of sailing craft over the years). Some experience with the first proa, and many conversations with knowing and kindly people on internet boating groups helped out.
A small boat ought to be well designed, I agree, but other factors have powerful influences on the way a small boat behaves -- for example, where you sit, six inches here, six inches there, will alter trim and forces on the hull enough to change handling characteristicsw. By all means, do great design work, but if you don't have the skills, don't let that prevent you from trying.
But let's grind some French Roast, brew a pot, and have a look.