Though Strange's Cherub II had a hinged and
sliding cabin top with side curtains, a sort of pop top, I've never to
this day figured a good way to make a door work in one of these. The
only one I ever designed that I liked was fitted as an overgrown hatch,
separate from the companionway, and it was replaced by a solid house
after two seasons. Also, I wanted this boat to be seaworthy, which I
define as "able to keep the sea in a gale with reasonable safety."
The trunk shown is high, to allow sitting up straight on
top of the ballast tank and centerboard trunk, but it has a low coaming
in keeping with her style. It's a simple shape to build, yet strong and
stiff without great weight. Wind resistance is small (it's not that
important compared with the wind resistance in her rig), it will shed
water well, and the grab rail is ideally placed. To keep the trunk
light, and incidentally to make it less obtrusive, no hatch is shown.
The cuddy is entered through a 2-foot-square opening in
the bulkhead. You slide your legs in first, then lower your butt to the
sole with hands on the lip of the trunk. Hands and knees will work best
to get out. The reward of being limber enough to do this is that
there's a good chance that the cuddy will stay dry.
The cockpit is self-draining with the hatch closed, but
the space below is sealed off watertight from the rest of the hull with
bulkheads. Shipping a green sea with the hatch open wouldn't be
disastrous. The advantage of a footwell of this type is that it can be
made fully self-draining if, for instance, you left her out in the rain
or were about to run a breaking inlet. But it allows you to put your
feet down most of the time without having to sit clear up on top of the
boat. The stowage space at the sides and ends is much handier than with
a tight, built-down footwell.
You can stand up to row, as diagrammed. The rowlocks are
misplaced on the sailplan; they should be about a foot farther aft.
With one foot up against the after bulkhead, an oarsman should be able
to pull strongly and see well.
I first tried a jib-headed cat-yawl rig, that being a
favorite of mine, but the mainmast came too far forward for a boat with
no forefoot, and was too long and too difficult to unstep for a real
Next I looked at a balanced lug like Cherub II. I
once designed a canoe yawl, Windfola, with this rig, and her
owner likes her, but this rig has some bad habits for a seagoing boat.
The long yard slung on a single halyard can be something of a menace in
a crisis. I notice that Strange never repeated this rig in his later
Then I sketched a gaff-cat rig, much like the mainsail
shown here, with the mast unstayed and jib and mizzen eliminated. This
is a good rig for ocean passages if the boat is long enough to have the
mast well back from the bow and the boom inboard of the stem. But it's
not so good for control in tight places or steady riding to an anchor.
The unstayed mast is hard to unstep and, in any case, I doubted that
you'd like the look of it.
I settled on the classical yawl, except for a more
practical mizzen than used to be customary. The mast is stepped on
deck. It's short and light enough to pick up horizontally, slide the
heel slit onto its pin, and walk upright even with the boat afloat and
the water not smooth. To get an effective spread, the shrouds can't go
higher on the mast. This locates the height of the throat. Not wanting
to clutter the mast with upper shrouds and spreaders, I put the jibstay
not far above the shrouds. This made the jib a handy size to sheet with
a single part. To give her a boomed jib would call for a bigger head
angle, a longer base to the foretriangle, a longer bowsprit and a
bigger mizzen to balance it, and poorer aerodynamics not worth it to
save shifting one light line in tacking. Besides, a boomless jib with
two sheets is better for heaving to and maneuvering.
I made the gaff just shorter than the boom here, but my
afterthought is that she looks oversparred, even with the good reefing
properties of this rig. If I went on to working drawings, I think I
would take a foot or more off the gaff, which would allow shortening
the mast by half that. I've had two embarrassments in the past few
years from making rigs too big and tall; consequently, I'm slightly
I take it the bowsprit and boomkin have to be removable to
meet the length restriction. I've thought about how to do this quickly,
but haven't decided just how to handle it, hence the vagueness of this
I see plenty of ways to make her faster, roomier, and
cheaper, but they all result in a less striking ornament at an
anchorage. As a bonus, she looks more expensive than she is, and while
she won't be a very fast boat, I'll warrant she'll have good and
from Small Boat Journal May 1986; this never
seems to have been developed into a finished set of plans.