Design by Antonio Dias Commentary by Joel White

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Antonio Dias designed this little cutter, Annabelle Two, for a customer who lives in Indiana and who sails on the medium-sized lakes in that area. The boat will be used for daysailing and occasional weekend cruising. Concern for the pollution of these lakes led the owner to consider an unusual auxiliary propulsion system for the boat.

This handsome little vessel shows an interesting contrast between the new and the old: She's old-fashioned looking, with plumb stem, round-fronted cabin, and gaff-cutter rig; new thinking is reflected in her modern construction methods (strip-planked and fiberglassed hull) and her electric-drive auxiliary power plant.

It is high time that we begin to see more use of modern electric technology in powering boats. The auto industry is reluctant to face up to demands for a deaner power source. Dragging its feet into the twenty-first century Detroit has still only a smattering of experimental electric cars on the roads. Why shouldn't the marine industry step up boldly to seize the initiative in the electric-drive field? There may be a lot of potential customers out there waiting to back an environmentally clean marine power plant.

There is one tremendous advantage we have in the marine industry compared to automotive designers when planning an electric drive unit. In an automobile, the considerable weight of the batteries required to power the car is a pure loss — a dead weight that has to be moved up hills, adding to the amount of horsepower required to propel the automobile. In a boat, the road is basically level at all times, and weight (displacement) is less of a drag factor. In fact, we deliberately attach large hunks of heavy stuff to the bottoms of most sailboats (in the form of ballast keels) to improve the stability of the boat and her ability to stand up to sail. Why not utilize the weight of the propulsion batteries as ballast?

Dias has done just that in designing Annabelle Two. The batteries are as low in the boat as possible with this sort of shallow-draft hull and are located close to the longitudinal center of buoyancy. In addition, the boat has an external lead ballast keel of 477 pounds, and a heavy centerboard weighing 538 pounds. Dias calls for 12 batteries, each weighing 48 pounds for a total battery weight of 576 lbs. Adding these three components together, we get 1,591 lbs of total ballast. This gives a ballast/displacement ratio a bit in excess of 50 percent, which is very good for a small cruiser of this type.

A couple of quick calculations indicate that the center of gravity of the total ballast will be 15 inches below the designed waterline with the centerboard lowered, and the center of gravity of the entire boat, including ballast, will be only a few inches above the waterline. With her firm, high bilges and generous beam, the boat's stability should be quite good for her type. Remember, too, that one-third of the ballast weight carried is serving as the auxiliary power source.

The lines plan shows a burdensome, shallow-draft hull, with a cutaway forefoot sloping down to a long, straight keel, which draws only 18 inches of water with the board raised. This feature will allow the boat to be run up on a beach for picnicking, and will make her easy to load onto a trailer. Her firm bilges and wide stern will improve stability and give good room aft.

The designed displacement of only 3,000 pounds puts Annabelle Two in the light-displacement category; her long waterline gives her a low displacement/length ratio, 152.3. Her 298 square feet of sail yields good horsepower numbers: A sail area/displacement ratio of 22.9 will ensure that she performs very well under canvas.

XXIV An Electric Auxilliary Cutter

The rig is a low-aspect gaff cutter, with the jib set flying on a long bowsprit. This jib is tacked to a big ring, which encircles the bowsprit and can be hauled in and out — a rig much used by English cutters a hundred years ago. This boat is so small that both the jib and the forestaysail are quite tiny (63 square feet and 52 square feet, respectively), and I wonder if it wouldn't be handier to have a single, loose-footed headsail. The forestaysail with its boom and traveler is self-tending, but the foredeck is badly cluttered by its gear, an impediment to picking up the mooring or lowering the anchor. I like the look of the double-headsail rig, but it will be less efficient than a single jib and requires a lot more hardware — sheets, sheet blocks, boom, boom gooseneck, and traveler. Either way, the center of effort of the rig is low — a desirable feature in a shoal-draft boat.

Hull construction calls for the boat to be strip-planked of %-inch bead-and-cove cedar strips laid over seven structural plywood bulkheads. After planking and fairing, the hull is to be fiberglassed inside and out with 24-ounce biaxial cloth set in epoxy. Deck and cabintop are cold-molded from three layers of cedar covered with Dynel and epoxy. The cockpit and coamings are constructed of plywood. The area under the cockpit is cut up into several compartments, and it is not clear from the plans what access there is to these spaces.

I had some concerns with the construction details of the boat, particularly the strength of the centerboard trunk, and the hoisting mechanism for lifting the heavy board. I have spoken with Mr. Dias about these points and believe that he is making some minor revisions in these areas.

The layout of the boat is very simple, as it should be for such a small vessel. The cockpit is nearly 8 feet long, with wide seats all around and a small, self-bailing footwell. The companionway to the cabin is offset to port because of the centerboard trunk. Below, there is a flat counter on either side of the companionway, and there is a V-berth forward under the deck. The mast steps on deck in a tabernacle, with a compression post underneath, from deck to keel.

The banks of propulsion batteries are grouped around the after end of the centerboard trunk — four on either side of it, and four more just abaft the trunk. The propulsion motor is shown behind the batteries. It turns the propeller shaft through a belt-drive. The motor controls are located in the cockpit, within easy reach of the helmsman.

While electric drive is an option I firmly believe should be explored, the prospective owner ought to be aware that certain facilities must be available in order to take advantage of battery power: There must be a convenient place to bring the boat in close proximity to 110-volt shore-power and a suitable battery charger. After the 12 boat batteries are discharged to the point where they need recharging, it will require a stretch of time hooked up to a powerful battery charger to bring them back to full charge. It would be well to determine the power and time requirements for charging up the batteries before deciding that an electric power plant is compatible with your boating needs. If it is feasible for your situation, you can be content knowing that turning on the auxiliary aboard Annabelle Two will have minimum impact on our increasingly vulnerable marine environment.

You can reach designer Antonio Dias at 193 Tillson Lake Rd., Wallkill, NY 12589.

Annabelle Two

Annabelle Two

The strip-planked hull is light and tight. Dias positioned the heavy batteries deep in the bilge, where they serve as ballast.
Paul Gartside Designs


Annabelle Two LOA 22'7Y2"

LWL 207%"

Beam 7'6"

Draft (cb up) 1'6" Draft (cb down) 4'6" Displ 3,000 lbs

Sail area 298 sq ft

Joel White Boat Designs
Designer Antonio Dias gave Annabelle Two a shallow-draft hull, with a cutaway forefoot sloping down to a long, straight keel.
Layout Boat Design
Annabelle Two's simple layout: a conventional V-berth and generous counter space. The offset companion-way hatch allows easier passage around the centerboard trunk.

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