Plans and specifications by Fenwick Williams Commentary by the editors of Wooden Boat

Double-enders, from Viking longships to Pinky schooners and North Sea pilot cutters, have long been held in high esteem as seakeepers. It shouldn't be surprising, then, to see this remarkably small variation on a theme. If you're familiar with Fenwick Williams's 24-foot gaff yawl, you'll recognize the similarities to this fascinating little boat. And if the similarities carry through, there is considerably more boat here than meets the eye, for Williams's 24-footer is not only fast and weatherly, but also remarkably spacious below.

Five of these 21-footers were built in 1929, after which the Depression must have caused many to forget about such things. But we can't bear to see the design forgotten, for here could be a wonderfully versatile cruising boat.

Two rigs are offered — a high-peaked gaff and a marconi — and both provide nearly equal amounts of sail area. The taller mast of the marconi rig, of course, requires more stays (eight as opposed to three), but it also requires one less spar (the gaff) and one less halyard. Like the gunter rig, the nearly vertical gaff presents a complication in reefing, since the peak halyard must be seized or clipped all the way out on the gaff in order for the sail to set properly with reefs tucked in. On the other hand, the running backstay arrangement in the marconi rig presents its own complications (which will surely occur with more frequency) and we tend to favor the gaff.

Whatever the rig, this is a wonderfully simple boat. Her construction is rugged and straightforward, yet she is a finely modeled hull (see those hollow waterlines and that finely chiseled forefoot). Tiller steering, outboard rudder, a very simple cockpit arrangement, and spliced eyes for the standing rigging instead of tangs contribute to the simplicity.

Her layout below is simple but comfortable, with two berths, a stove, an ice chest, a dish locker, a hanging locker, and stowage beneath platforms. Indeed, she is very charming and cozy.

Having been designed in 1928, this boat's engine access hatch and bridge deck configuration were designed for a contemporary auxiliary. A modern auxiliary might require some alteration to the plan. The engine compartment is separated from the cabin by a watertight bulkhead.

This is a fine little boat.

Plans for this 21-foot double-ended sloop are available from The WoodenBoat Store, P. O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616; 800-273-7447.

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