Design by Nelson Zimmer Commentary by Joel White

This little sloop by Nelson Zimmer has the feel of a real deepwater vessel, yet she is only 21 feet overall. A strong, springy sheer, a bold stem profile that just suits the V-bottom shape, a well-proportioned cabin trunk, and a good-looking, highpeaked gaff sail plan all contribute to this feeling.

According to Mr. Zimmer, this design, which was drawn back in 1946, has continued to draw inquiries through the years, an indication of her wide appeal. She certainly appeals to me. I built a boat for my dad a number of years ago that was very similar in size and type, and she has given great pleasure and good service — as would the Zimmer sloop.

The lines show a beamy, husky centerboard hull with considerable reverse curve worked into the bottom, aft. The buttock lines are flat and fair, and she should be stiff and reasonably fast. The chine line rises well out of the water at both the stem and the stern, and there is a very short aft overhang ending in a counter stern — certainly better-looking than a transom stern and outboard rudder would be on this design. The displacement is 3,110 pounds, and Zimmer recommends about 750 pounds of inside ballast.

All the plan sheets for this boat are carefully detailed, and the construction plan is particularly complete. She has sawn frames on each station, spaced 2 feet apart. The topsides are batten-seam construction, while the bottom has two intermediate frames between the sawn frames. Planking is to be finished 7A inch, of mahogany, cedar, or pine. The backbone is oak, and there is plenty of it — it will weigh nearly as much as the ballast, and really serves as such. Decks are specificed to be >4-inch tongue-and-groove pine, canvas-covered, as is the cabintop. She has a full set of lodging and hanging knees, unusual to see in so small a boat. I would not call her easy to build in terms of man-hours needed, but her construction is straightforward and well thought out.

I like the gaff-sloop rig, with the large main and small jib. Both sails are self-tending. There is much to be said for a gaff rig in a small boat, where the gaff is light enough to be easily hoisted and won't become a lethal weapon in a hard chance. The mast can be much shorter and more easily stayed, while still allowing an ample sail area. Best of all, the gaff rig looks right on this sloop — much prettier than if she were marconi-rigged.

Mr. Zimmer has detailed a complete rigging and block list of some 60 items, not usually seen on sail plans these impatient days. There is also an entire sheet entitled "Spar and Fitting Details" available to the builder of this little sloop. Goosenecks, boom travelers, sheet horse, masthead truck, gammon iron, and belaying pins are all carefully dimensioned and detailed, as are the spar sizes and tapers, spreader details, and gaff jaws. How nice it is to see such attention and care given to rigging a little boat correctly.

Below, simplicity is the theme. There are settees about 6 feet long to port and starboard, with the centerboard trunk splitting the cabin down the middle. Forward of the mast is a large slatted platform for gear stowage, and a single, small, built-in locker. A nice large hatch in the foredeck allows access to the storage area without having to traverse the cabin.

I suspect this little sloop would be used mostly for daysailing, or camping-out cruising. She has no engine installation shown, so I assume it was intended that outboard power could be used. I would prefer to keep her a pure sailer, counting on the large rig to get me home in light airs.

Were I to build this boat, I would be tempted to fool around with the cockpit seats — widening and slanting them a bit, and making the cockpit coaming smooth on the inside for a more comfortable backrest. What a joy she would be!

Plans for this boat are available from The WooderiBoat Store, P.O. Box 78,

Particulars Zimmer Sloop

DWL 16'0"

Beam 7'2"

Brooklin, ME 04616; 800-2737447.

Displ Sail area

3,110 lbs 261 sq ft

3,110 lbs 261 sq ft

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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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