Design by Robert W Stephens Commentary by Mike OBrien

Here we have something different: an easily trail-ered beach cruiser that should provide the thrills of high-performance sailing during the day and, yet, offer reasonably comfortable accommodations after the sea breeze fades.

The fully battened mainsail catches our notice at first glance. This configuration might be common on catamarans and trimarans, but we don't often find small monohulls rigged in this manner. Designer Robert W. Stephens drew full-length battens because they can support substantial roach and, therefore, carry adequate sail area on a relatively short mast (desirable for ease of trailering and rigging).

Fully battened sails provide another benefit: silence. These sails don't flog wildly when luffing, but they do take some getting used to. They will not telegraph word of improper sail trim in the immediate fashion of unsupported sailcloth. Until we're accustomed to handling this rig, we'll want to stitch a forest of yarn telltales to the sails.

To a reasonable extent, fully battened sails offer positive control of their shape. We can fuss with the compression and thickness of the battens to alter the amount and location of draft (camber) in the mainsail. To throw more curve into the sail at a particular height, we simply tighten the line that secures a batten's after end to the leech (thereby forcing more of the batten into its pocket). For more precise and permanent control of shape, we can thin down the batten stock selectively along its length, or replace a batten with one of different flexibility.

When sailing beach catamarans during the 1970s, I habitually kept the battens slightly too long — for no particular reason. Now, it seems there might be sound logic in letting battens extend an inch, or two, beyond . a sail's leech. Writing in Natural Aerodynamics (Amateur

Yacht Research Society, Publication No. 117,1995), Ian Hannay discusses vortices and drag. He explains that a sail fitted with battens that protrude from the leech generates a series of separate trailing vortices, similar to those formed behind the feathers on a bird's wings. These vortices eventually combine to form one large, but ill-defined, vortex well behind the leech. This vortex, Hannay says, causes less drag than the more tightly wound vortices that tend to form close behind conventional sails with smooth, uninterrupted trailing edges.

Theories of shape and flow aside, typical short battens make sails difficult to handle when setting and furling; in a minor (but pleasant) paradox, full-length battens lie neatly parallel to the boom for efficient reefing, furling, and transport.

Given the above advantages, why — except for reasons of prejudice and inertia — haven't all monohull sailors switched to full-length battens? There are items on the debit side of the ledger: Short batten pockets cost money; long batten pockets cost more money. Of course, battens can be lashed to a sail that has no pockets. As may be, full-length battens tend to be heavy. Their weight can make a small, initially tender mono-hull feel tiddly even in a slick calm. But, all said, perhaps more single-hulled boats should be fitted with fully battened sails.

Aboard this light cruiser, the midship location of the mast will allow us to hoist and lower sail from the safety of the cockpit, and it results in a big headsail that will generate plenty of lift. Keeping the headstay from sagging might prove difficult, but Stephens has given the shrouds considerable drift — that is, the chainplates are located well abaft the mast — which should help us crank more tension into the headstay. In any case, if a sailmaker knows that the stay won't

Particulars Ultralight Cruiser

LOA 17'0"

Beam 7'1"

Draft Weight

(cold-molded) 600 lbs Weight

(strip-built) 630 lbs Sail area 182 saft

This lightweight hull, with its straight run, will plane easily. Firm bilges and generous beam provide stability and room for camping.

This lightweight hull, with its straight run, will plane easily. Firm bilges and generous beam provide stability and room for camping.

The cuddy offers uncluttered space for stowage or sleeping. Large cockpit benches can serve as berths on pleasant evenings.
The cold-molded hull (left) weighs less than the strip-planked alternative, but the latter will prove simpler to build and easier to clean.
How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

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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