You’ll need a bit of imagination here

Hampered by lack of scanner, the only way to convey the idea for the craft is to put up a series of “near” pictures and hope your imagination can do the rest.


Step 1 is to pick up a longboat such as the above or maybe below, looking at from 31 to 34 feet in length …


… looking for freeboard [distance between water and deck] and it not being too bulbous in the middle.  A shoal keel woud be ideal.  If all else failed, it would have to be built but that would be better avoided.

Next, the cabin would need to be built in, in two compartments – a shorter sleeping compartment for me and a longer living and double sleeping compartment for the others.  The weight would be kept to a minimum by sparse accommodations inside – galley and ply frame supported airbeds would suffice.

The weight of one of these traditional craft would be no disadvantage at sea and better the weight’s in the frame than in the furniture inside.

After having looked at virtually all available rigs from the Bermudan through to the crab claw, in the end, one has to revert to the classic lug [below]:

winklebrig 7

There’d be two of these, totalling 670 square feet on my design, taller than you see here, the longer mast the same length as the boat, stepped on the keel but shorter of course when measured above deck.  The halyard runs from a tying point below the starboard gunwhale, up through a block at the masthead, down to a block on the yard, up to a second block at the masthead and leading down to a handwinch below the port gunwhale.

Simplicity. Double that for two sails – no jibs, spinnakers, gennakers or genoas, no extra rigging. In a blow, the sails reef to give you a staysail/mizzen effect.

To solve the problem of the”bad tack” when the sail is against the mast …

winklebrig 6

… again it is simple.  Bolt on an extension on both yard and boom which holds the sail off the mast.  The flatness of the sail and the tautness of the downhaul would keep it in a shallow curve just off the mast.  The only other rigging would be shrouds and sheets.

Efficiency?  If allowed to lie in its natural curve, with a boltrope luff [see vid below] and with a small amount of twist aloft, you’d get 95 to 100 degrees into the wind, not unlike a big jib and provided the sailcloth was heavy enough.  Where we gain is in the luxury of a heavier hull and sail because we’re using one outrigger only for balance, at 1.5 times the weight of a standard trimaran float.  No centre or leeboard, no bowsprit with other protusions, with hull and cabin a sealed cocoon, no ballast and with an underslung rudder adding to swiftness due to lack of cavitation.

Sheets would be double-ended with wooden jam cleats.  Everything non-metal as far as possible.


Cutaway keel in wood only, tending to shoal but compromising with the need to point, with skeg and mounted rudder aft.


Even with heavy main hull frame, spars and sail, the narrowness of the hull, at 11:1 LWL, the canoe shape at the waterline, lack of debilitating ballast and the quite efficient 670 square feet [with seven reefs overall] would see this craft fairly scooting along.  On a flat reach, I could see 15 to 18 knots being possible.

Seaworthy, motion-friendly, cutting like a trimaran but solid in the traditional way, simply rigged, this boat would be a pleasure and the cheapest going as well.  Let’s not forget the pennies. 


Critical – it needs to be built in the stye of the main hull, narrower and it will contain most of the supplies which can get wet – foodstuffs in containers and water supply centre-forward, head and shower aft with a soft dodger able to be rigged quickly for privacy. Perhaps windage and weight can be conceded and a hard dodger rigged instead, especially if ladies are to be onboard.

Here’s how a dinghy runs with the lug rig:

1 comment for “You’ll need a bit of imagination here

  1. liz
    December 26, 2009 at 18:09

    I hope you had a marvellous Christmas, James, and that 2010 will be amazingly surprising for you.

    Life’s been so crazy of late that I’ve not been visiting. I see you’ve changed your lay-out from the newspaper style; I’m glad about that.

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