Ebben Flo(EF) is a single hard-chine ply/epoxy pocket displacement yacht,
home-buildable in garage or yard, & affordable on an average salary. She is built from
6mm marine ply (2-layer bottom), on 9mm ply bulkheads and laminated ring frames. She is
sheathed outside by paint-protected fiberglass, with epoxy alone used on the interior.
A comfortable coastal cruiser for two, she is smaller than her profile indicates, being
not so much narrow as stretched. A 16ft pocket cruiser has been made a much faster and
more seaworthy boat by adding a motor well and a swallow tail. The stern arrangements not
only provide power and protect the removeable kick-up rudder from its only possible means
of damage (a lateral blow), but add WLL without increasing displacement. At 3100lbs EF is
readily towable by a strong vehicle, but watered, fueled & provisioned will have
enough momentum to expect comfort whilst belting along in a seaway. A full 45% of her mass
is bolted to the stub twin keels, which provide a level resting position between tides for
a trip ashore or some maintenance. Yet EF needs just over two feet to float off, and can
roar along a full-blooded reach in three feet of water.
Features fron stem to stern,,,,,
1/ The laminated ply bowsprit travels lying on the foredeck, pivoted on a strong bolt
thru the caaming.
2/ Behind the stem is an anchor recess (drained) with flotation under.
3/ Mast travels pivoted back from tabernacle to traveller bridge (over tiller) to
overhang stern by less than 2ft.
4/ Large forrd cabin contains stowage and head, which has full HR under a front-hinged
hatch with canvas fold-in sides. Access by this deckhatch or screened bulkhead door behind
starboard berth pillow. Full privacy using head is afforded by cabin height. A shower rose
on the underside of the hatch gives a sitting shower,
4/ Longitudinally curved cabin sides eliminate sidedecks, providing roomy interior
seats. Foredeck access is by stepping onto the bed bench & thru cabin front hatch.
5/ 56" cabin contains just two bed benches with stowage/tankage under. Bed
bases @ WL lvl 15* above sole, & are extended to 7ft via 15" high trotter boxes
which have vertical sides to cockpit sole to seats.
7/ Two bed/seat cushions are removed from bed benches to form backrest opposite. Freed
up space is used for a cooking, eating & chart worktop.
8/ Cockpit sole @ WL level (15" above cabin sole), & widens via undercut seats
aft of trotter boxes.
9/ All areas aft of the trotter boxes have stowage under except for flotation in
swallow tail. One under-seat locker is a glass-epoxy sealed well for washing clothes (dump
them in with water & soap while underway! Drain thru side.).
10/ A 2ft per side square hatch in the evenly curved cabin roof slides forrd to provide
full standing headroom in the companionway beneath the boom.
11/ A boom tent can easily be rigged.
12/ Sails look well tan or maroon. The main is prmanently threaded on the mast by a
foot long wrapped around stitched pocket which creates a wing shape. The pocket merely
bunches up around the mast on reefing or lowering. Gaff mains of this size and design have
proved their mettle on James Wharrams cruising cats.
Ebben Flo can be really pushed along by the intended working crew of two, as sails can
be handled easily alone. Manageable areas make sail and halyard winches optional. The high
prismatic coefficient, narrow beam, lack of overhangs, relatively low wet area and
canoe-like line give a projected hull speed of 6 knots. The well balanced sail plan, even
on the first slab reef, eliminates weather helm & enables the boat to self-steer. This
little ship ghosts well, yet will bash along in a force 5 blow before reducing sail. These
characteristics enable daily distances in defiance of EFs apparently pedestrian
The side-deck free cabin & four 6ft long 440lb cast strips of lead ballast bolted
either side at the bottom of the stub keels enable the boat to self right. Keels are fixed
to long 300 x 25mm ply planks let into the bulkheads with another 25mm thickness between,
creating an extremely rigid hull. Removing the ballast plus adding racing headsails &
trapezes enables the boat to plane, & race offshore in the manner of JOG founder
Patrick Ellams famous sloop "Sopronino". The clinker Sopronino (same size
WL footprint as EF), designed by Laurent Giles in 1950, was fast but no gimmick, safely
depositing her strapping 2-man crew on the other side of the Atlantic. Add a MH Genoa the
same area as the main, strip cruising gear, fuel & motor; EF now tips the scales at
1700lbs with a crew of 2. This returns a Disp:WLL of 111 with a SA:Disp now a whopping 40.
EF has powered up 250%.
A 5hp OB is handy, ample for manovering, & fits snugly in the 2ft square well. The
motor, with Efs 10 gallon gas tank, is economical enough to return you from any distance
you can sail in a day. The tiller crosses the well, but thus obtains ample leverage for
the rudder size and boat mass. Motor removed, the well can used for fishing; fitted with a
wire cage,for underway bathing or cooling the beer.
Ebben Flo is a whole lot more than a cute traditional replica that looks good behind
your car on weekends. Shell take you around any coast in comfort and style, and is
tough enough to look after herself and you in the process.
Copyright Jeff Gilbert Design