Design by William Garden Commentary by Joel White

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Writing in Yachting magazine during the mid-1920s, Douglas P. Urry and F. Wavell Urry described three boats of their design called cogge ketches. These articles elicited a fair amount of interest among offshore cruising sailors, for the boats were handsome and oozed romance. All three boats (42 feet, 50 feet, and 65 feet LOA) had round spoon bows, exaggerated sheerlines, raised poop decks, and doubly curved transoms with stern windows surmounted by large, cast-bronze stern lights of eighteenth-century design. One could fairly smell the tar and watch the flying fish flop in the scuppers.

The appeal of the cogges has not diminished since the 1920s. William Garden, naval architect of Victoria, British Columbia, has produced his own version of the 50-foot ketch, drawn for a client who was unable to get plans for the original design. She is "all boat," being 43 feet 6 inches on the waterline, with a displacement of 67,500 pounds. This translates into a displacement/length ratio of 366, which places her firmly in the long-distance cruising category.

Bill Garden is no slouch in the romance department; as you would expect, his cogge is a temptress. He has retained most of the characteristics of the original boat while modernizing a few items and adding his own visions to those of the Urry brothers. The most noticeable difference between the two boats is in the sail plan, for the Garden boat has a jibheaded mizzen replacing the gaff-rigged original. The mainmast is now a pole mast, and the mainsail peak halyards lead right to the masthead to minimize sagging-off of the main gaff. The topsail sets underneath the peak halyards and is hoisted on a track. The large jib, which replaces the jib and the jib topsail of the original boat, is set on a roller-furling drum, which should make handling its 375-square-foot area easy for shorthanded crews. The forestaysail foot is on a boom, and its sheet becomes self-tending with the addition of a deck traveler. The forward end of this boom attaches to a fore-and-aft horse that allows draft adjustments and ease in lowering. All of these changes make good sense, as they simplify the rig and reduce windage; with perhaps the triangular mizzen being the only exception, they do not detract from the boat's appearance (I happen to think that ketches and yawls should be all gaff-rigged or all marconi).

Much is the same on deck, but a few things are different. Garden has drawn a real cockpit, surrounded by a high coaming/seat structure that raises and protects the crew from the water that sprays and fish that soar. The center of the cockpit is sunken, and the resulting well leads into the main companionway, which is sheltered by a pleasingly shaped booby hatch. The other major change on deck involves handling the dinghies. The Urry boat shows a dinghy in davits amidships on the port side. Garden has moved the davits aft to the stern. In addition, he has notched the forward, starboard corner of the deckhouse so that another boat may be carried on the foredeck. I don't think I would want to clutter my foredeck to this extent, but stowage for hard dinghies is a tough problem that every naval architect has grappled with, and all solutions are worth considering.

A hydraulic spool windlass shown on the inboard end of the bowsprit indicates that retrieving the anchors and stowing the anchor rodes has been provided for in good measure. Three large deck boxes are built flush into the deckhouse top, with drains through the house sides. These will provide a great deal of stowage without the clutter and wasted space of having separate boxes scattered about the deck. There is a 7'/-inch break in the deck just abaft amidships, giving more space and



In 1984, William Garden called

Garden Cogge


upon his considerable skills to

LOD 50'0"

create this big and able cogge.

LWL 43'6"

Draft 67,500 lbs Displ

Sail area 1,507 sq ft

Ketch Sail Plan

A Heavy Cogge Ketch headroom below, and the raised poop keeps the romance level up there where it belongs. The disadvantage is a lack of bulwark height. Aft, only a 4-inch rail and the lifelines keep one aboard. Forward, there are built-up bulwarks, but their height is somewhat less than that shown on the plans of the Urry boat.

The lines plan shows a very husky boat of conventional shape that follows rather closely the look of the earlier boat. The same double crown is built into the stern, adding a bit of complication to its construction, but softening and enhancing the appearance of what is otherwise a massive stern. The three windows that illuminate the great cabin also help to relieve the expanse of stern planking. The only thing about the lines that surprises me somewhat is that the waterline beam amidships is greater than the beam on deck. This was done, I am sure, to give added stability to balance the large rig and provide as much space as possible below.

The construction section is included here because I find so much of interest contained in this drawing. William Garden has been designing wooden vessels for about 50 years, and there is always something to be learned from his construction plans. You will notice that this boat is conventionally framed and planked, with 1 y4-inch cedar over 2-inch by 2 >4-inch steam-bent white oak frames on 12-inch centers. What is not so conventional is the use of seven 1%-inch by 3-inch bilge stringers spaced out between the garboards and the sheer. At the sheer, a harpin is shown rather than the clamp/shelf construction we are used to here in the East. The frame heads extend upward through the covering boards and make the bulwark timbers; again, on this coast we would expect to see separate top timbers.

The cogge's fuel and water tanks are ideally located, being dead amidships and as low down as possible under the cabin sole. There are 200 gallons of fuel in two tanks and 280 gallons of water, also in two tanks. Virtually no change of trim would occur, whether the tanks were empty or full.

When we look at the accommodation of the Garden cogge, several changes from the original layout are apparent. The engineroom has been moved aft, directly under the cockpit. This has the unfortunate effects of making the great cabin less great and restricting the view into the forward part of the boat. Also, there is no access into the great cabin from on deck, whereas the Urry layout had an after companionway, as well as a forward one into the main cabin. On the Garden ketch, the galley runs for 16 feet along the port side amidships. To starboard is a huge master state room (about 10 feet by 8 feet) with a double bunk, two bureaus, and a really large closet or wardrobe. The master stateroom has its own head, complete with toilet, wash basin, and large bathtub. When sitting in the bath, the mainmast is directly in front of you — better scenery than is around most tubs!

From the galley an angled corridor leads forward, with a single berth to port across from the master bathroom. Forward of this berth are two large hanging lockers. Then we reach the forward cabin, which is rather small, with two V-berths and its own small head without tub. This cabin is so far forward that there is almost no forepeak for storage — and, of course, the great cabin aft precludes having a lazarette.

Despite its reduction in size, the great cabin will be quite a pleasant place, with its long, semicircular settee and dropleaf table hung on the mizzenmast. The three stern windows, plus three portlights on each side, should ensure plenty of light and a view. To starboard is a hanging locker, and a fireplace to dispense cheer and dispel damp. Opposite, to port, is a good-sized chart table and navigator's station. I wish all this coziness didn't face the blank wall of the after engine-room bulkhead, but rather had a view forward to the rest of the accommodations.

My feeling is that the entire arrangement was designed around the idea of two people living aboard, mostly at the dock or on a mooring, and with the need for a lot of privacy. The layout will work well for this, but as a seagoing arrangement, it has several faults. All the bunks (there are five) are forward, and three of them are well forward, where there will be too much motion at sea. And there will not be the feeling of being on a large vessel, which she is, because the space is so cut up and partitioned off by bulkheads.

My own preference would be to open her up as much as possible below, removing all bulkheads that aren't essential. I'd do away with the double stateroom, having instead a main saloon with pilot berths each side and settees in front of them, and hope to find a spot for a bunk or two aft. In order to visually connect the great cabin with the rest of the interior, the cockpit would have to be eliminated, going back to the on-deck steering station of the original design. Different ships — different long splices.

I hope someone builds this ketch, completes her outfitting, and catches the tradewinds rolling around the earth's midsection. She will look even better anchored in the lee of a palm-fringed atoll.

William Garden Sailboat Designs

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