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Excerpt from: Build a Fifteen-Dollar Sailing Canoe

From: HOW TO BUILD CHEAP BOATS. No.7

By PADDLEFAST.



Scientific American Supplement
,
September 23, 1876.

 


In this series the ever-playful Paddlefast tries to make offsets simple. In previous installments he invents a sort of universal system for making molds and planking and proceeds to build a Whitehall-type boat. Huh.

Plus he refers you back to the Sailing Skiff installment for the rig details. Well, it's very confusing. So I'll just present offsets and some helpful diagrams below. Good luck!

My xerox of the original is pretty poor, so it's impossible to simply scan the text. I will type up the interesting bits and add them when time permits.

The canoe is 13 feet by 31 inches, but no great harm can result from making it a little shorter or stretching it to 15 or 16 feet. Nowadays we'd add watertight bulkheads in the ends for flotation.

 


Half Breadths - Bow and Stern Alike


Base Line ("0")
1-in ("I")
2-in ("II")
3-in ("III")
5-in ("IV")
7-in ("V")

CM

8.5

13.3

14.6

15.2

15.5

15.5

1

5.6

12.25

13.75

14.5

15.25

15.3

2

5.25

9.7

11.5

12.7

13.9

14.5

3

1.7

5.9

8.3

10

11.7

12.6

4

1.2

3.4

5.25

6.6

8.5

9.4

5

.7

1.6

2.8

3.3

4.7

5.25


"0"
"I"
"II"
"III"
"IV"
"V"

Frame 5 is closest to Bow and Stern.
"CM" is Center Mold. Make 2 of every other mold.



Offsets for top of ribs (i.e., Gunwale).

Height (Vertical)
Half-Breadth (HB)

CM

9

15.5


1

9.3

15.4


2

10

14.9


3

10.9

13.5


4

12.125

10.7


5

13.4

6.25


Bow & Stern

14.5

width of material



The keel plank is completely straight. No rocker to this baby. Practically a 1x6x16 plank cut down to 13 feet less the curve of the stem. The sternpost is vertical so a rudder can be attached.

Keel Plank
Full Width, inches


 

I'd be inclined to call the measurements "B" 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8-inch.


Bottom
Top
"B" (for bevel)

Stempost

width of material
--

--

5

2
1.3
.35

4

2.8
2.4
.22

3

3.6
3.4
.1

2

4.2
4.2
0

1

4.8
4.8
0
CM
5
5
0

1

4.8
4.8
0

2

4.2
4.2
0

3

3.6
3.4
.1

4

2.8
2.4
.22

5

2
1.3
.35

Sternpost

width of material
--
--

 
 
How Paddlefast recommends spacing the molds.

An old trick for making longer boats is to increase the distance between the molds in the midbody and then tweak their location a if need be so the planking is easy.

Something equivalent is adding another pair of molds on either side of the Center Mold, adding 28 inches to the boat.

I can't see anything wrong with a 14, 15, 16 or even 17-foot canoe built from these molds spaced further apart. It's a very simple hull shape.


Spacing (in) Between Molds
Running Distance, inches

Bow

--
0

Bow to 5

11
11

5 to 4

12
23

4 to 3

13
36

3 to 2

14
50

2 to 1

14
64

1 to CM

14
78

CM to 1

14
92

1 to 2

14
106

2 to 3

14
120

3 to 4

13
133

4 to 5

12
145

5 to Sternpost

11
156

Construction



Here is a view showing the rowing seat and outriggers for oars. The mainmast partner is 22 inches back from the bow and the mizzen partner is 36 inches aft of the center frame in the 13ft boat.

 


For sailing with but one sail there is another step 5 inches forward of frame 2 or about 45 inches back from the stem. You would use this in a hard wind, but it's not likely you'd get far to windward with a single sail (main or mizzen depending on the wind) stepped here. So it's for running or reaching to the nearest beach.


Isometric of inwales or clamp, decking, etc. Decking is canvas with two longitudinal boards acting as a "roof peak". Too involved to detail.



Outriggers for rowing. Too involved to detail.

Leeboard



Leeboard and mounting. The size and shape are good but the mounting seems like it would give trouble. It seems to be a rotating double eye (so the board can be set on either side) and a vertical metal pin type thing.

A rope lanyard would work just as well over a cleat or stout pin. See the E.F. Knight excerpt.

 


 




 


 

Mainsail:


Mizzen:

Luff

9ft

 

Foot

6ft 8in

Cut straight.

Rise of Boom

16in

 

Leech

--

Cut with a slight hollow.

Mainmast:

10ft 7in long

2in diameter at bottom

1in diameter at top


Luff

7ft 4in

 

Foot

5ft 4in

Cut straight.

Rise of Boom

14in

 

Leech

--

Cut with a slight hollow.

Mizzenmast:

9ft long

2in diameter at bottom

1in at top

 

Old Paddlefast recommends a boom (with jaws) on the foot, like so to the right, and a single sheet held in the hand but that's a lousy idea. You have to wonder what he was thinking.

You'll have a great time trying to keep that boom from lifting. The mizzen will be as bad or worse. if you're doing this you'd be best advised to go with a lateen sail, since its boom will lift too but it's much simpler.

Halyards are led forward and down - a good plan - with the main halyard led back through a bullseye or little block to a cleat within reach of the skipper. Nowadays a plastic clam cleat is ideal for this... or be a stickler and make 'em from wood.
  


So instead, use the sprit-boomed 'sharpie sail' in his Fig. 34, above. The sprit can be wood, bamboo or part of a castoff windsurfer carbon mast (or wishbone). It is usually somewhat longer than the foot of the sail, but the exact length will depend on the angle you give it. It should angle down at least a little bit. The straight foot and boom will keep the foot of the sail down and a single sheet is realistic with a sprit boom. The mizzen is normally sheeted to suit the course you are steering, and then the sheet is cleated off. The mainsheet is held in the hand.

Attach the tack to the mast with a loop of line through a plastic bullseye located on the front of the mast. Use hoops, rope loops, or a lacing to attach the sail to the mast.

The snotter controls the sprit and thus the sail tension. With a sharpie sail we need a snotter. Paddlefast describes the old style small-boat snotter, which isn't worth fooling with and won't work well with synthetic rope anyway.

The mizzen is so small its snotter can attach to the boom at the end, run through a bullseye on the side of the mast a little bit above the end of the sprit (same side as the sprit), and down to a cleat on the mast. In fact, the mizzen is so small that you don't really need a halyard at all - just a snotter. Tie the head of the sail to a hole at the top of the mast and lace it on.


In this drawing, a and b can be either small blocks or bullseyes (a.k.a. fairleads). One is on the front of the mast and the other is attached to the deck for the sheet.

c is a bullseye on the front of the mast to tie the tack of the sail to.

d represents cleats. Clam cleats work fine but you can use horn cleats or Butler cleats or something.

The green represents your lines. The lower line runs from the end of the boom, through the block or fairlead, and up to a cleat the skipper can reach.

The upper green line runs from a hole in the fore end of the snotter, into the block or bullseye on the mast, and down whatever convenient distance to a cleat. The sail is tied to the mast with loops.

The main is a little more complicated. Sharpie spritsails are difficult to hoist with a halyard because there's something on the mast which might catch the sail: your snotter and its associated hardware. In the olden days this wasn't much of an issue, because the snotter was all rope which would shrink when wet. So you'd haul up the sail, push up the snotter, tighten, and keep it there by keeping it wet.

But wait! There's a solution. Actually, several.

 

One is to accept the fact that the sail will only drop as far as the snotter stuff and bundle it in place on the boom. With a small sail on a shortish mast, this won't be too obnoxious to cope with. When removing and stowing the sail, you just work it over the glob of tackle by hand after removing the boom and snotter rope.

Another is to have a simple, tapered wooden bullseye for the snotter to pass through on the mast so that lacings or ties or hoops (if big enough) will slide right over it once the snotter rope is slack and the front of the boom has been let down to the deck.

Another is to use jaws on the boom, and put the snotter at the clew end of the sail. This is the Commodore Munroe approach which he used on his sharpies, and it must have worked because they came in large sizes.

 

Finally, there's one I prefer which is one of the more obscure ways: you attach your snotter tackle to a mast hoop, and hoist it with the sail... you can see this on some of the large sharpies in Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft.

On the right is the mainsail.

Blue dots are blocks.

One block lashed at the top of the mast for the halyard, though this can also be a simple tapered hole or "dumb sheave".

One block well forward to lead the halyard away from the end of the sprit boom and then back to a cleat near the skipper. Can be lashed to the stemhead.

One block at the base of the mast, on the side away from the sprit boom, which leads the snotter rope back within reach of the skipper. A jam cleat is best here.

The reddish dot is a bullseye for the tack.

The sheet attaches to the end of the boom as with the mizzen.

 

Now, the snotter setup. You can use sail ties or hoops or an upper and lower lacing to attach the sail to the mast, except a X, which must be a mast hoop. Believe it or not, PVC pipe is a good material for a mast hoop.

The idea is for the snotter line to be tied to the front of this hoop, or to a becket on the block on this hoop; pass in a slot, hole, or through a block lashed to the sprit boom, come back through the upper block from the sprit side, and then run down alongside the mast on the opposite side to a block at deck level which sends this line back to the skipper. The mast-hoop-block is nominally mounted across rather than fore-and-aft. Since it's on a hoop, it will turn as the sail turns.

 

Here are a couple more ways to lead the snotter tackle and get a 2:1 purchase. A 1:1 purchase simply isn't enough except on something like a mizzen sail.

The one on the left comes from a New Jersey garvey builder. Your rope acts something like a bowstring. There is either a hole, well rounded (B1) or a chock (B1) to engage the snotter line, or a V-shaped, smoothed notch in the end of the sprit (B2) with a reinforcing band to prevent splitting. Or any other way you can think of to let the rope create force on the boom without binding.

A is a bullseye; tie the line here, run through B, through a block C attached to the mast, through a block D and aft to a cleat E.

The system on the right uses the English "tye and whip" system. Knot the rope to the boom somehow at A. Pass through a block or bullseye at B. Tie to the shackle of a block at C. A second rope runs from the deck (D: can be a becket block but I show the separation to make it clear) through the block C and back to a block, E, leading to a cleat F.

Both use the same amount of good ol' Harken stuff though the "tye and whip" uses a little more line. I've used the New Jersey system quite happily. I've used the second system as well, but on a gunter-rigged yard rather than a snotter.

 

Rigging Stuff

You might as well buy tiny Harken blocks, or else use the Holt-Allen stuff made for rigging Lasers. Use prestretch dacron, or Spectra line, for everything but the mainsheet. Splurge a little. The sail will set better.

 

Steering

I'm not sure how the guy in the drawing is supposed to sail while holding two sheets and an endless-loop yoke rope to the rudder. No matter. Use a push-pull tiller, which I'll describe when I next update these pages.

..

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