PDRacer - A new one design racer for messabouts
What Is It?
are starting a new one design racing boat that is based on the
Bolger Brick sailboat. We have defined a hull shape that all boats
must use, atleast the lower 10" of the hull must conform
to the shape with flat parallel sides, just like the Brick. Now
the fun part is everything else on the boat - you can put on any
type of sail rig, under water fins, hiking board, bow sprit, multiple
masts etc. Get out with others and run a race. If you didn't win,
head back to your secret garage laboratory and make a new sail
rig to try on the next race. Possibly you will have several sail
rigs, and fly the one that works best in the wind conditions of
the race day. And just for fun, crews of the boats are allowed
to throw waterballoons at other boats during the course of the
Where the idea came from?
We had a $50
Sailboat Race at the last Conroe Messabout. It was
so much fun, we talked about it months in advance. Taunting each
other on who would be the fastest, who would sink first, hinting
at what secret designs we were building. Nine boats showed up
on race day, and we finally saw what the others had created. Some
where fast designs, some where
slow, some where built completely from free materials. We were
towed out to the starting line, and when the starting gun rang,
the waterballons started to fly, because lets face it, there is
no way that 3 guys in a 6' diameter hot tub shell are going to
win, so might as well fire off a few rounds before everyone else
sails away from us. After the trophies were passed out, there
was that yearning for more. Having another race was pointless
because the results would have been the same - the designs of
the boats were so different that they would have probably sailed
back in the same order again. We started thinking and came up
with this concept.
Why We Picked Brick Like
All boats are compromises, and we put a lot of thought into the
reasons for picking this design boat instead of using another
instead of 12 or 14 -- We wanted a very light and
small hull, something that can be cartopped or tossed into
the cockpit of another boat. Most of us visit messabouts and
take other boats, so it was very important to have this racer
be as small and easy to transport as possible. Additionally,
most garages have an 8' ceiling, so it is possible to build
a hull and stand it upright in the corner so you can protect
it from the weather when not in use.
Shape -- The part that takes the longest to build
is the hull. We talked about having a limit where the hull
would have to fit in a 8' x 4' footprint, but the problem
with open hull designs is that if someone comes up with an
obviously superior hull shape, then to stay competitive, everyone
else has to build a new hull. Sail rigs and other attachments
are much easier to change, and their performance changes with
the wind conditions, so one sail configuration might win on
one day, and loose on another - giving everyone a good chance
Type Hull -- The Cape Cod Frosty, and the One Sheet
Skiff were other obvious thoughts, but these both are more
complicated to build than a Brick. Not even seasoned builders
can argue with how easy a brick is to build. A couple of sheets
of plywood, some titebond II glue, latex house paint, a few
hours in the driveway and presto you have a boat. If you have
another sailboat, consider borrowing it's sail rig and fins
for an even quicker route to getting your racer into the water.
Besides being easy to build, the Brick has an incredible carrying
capacity. For some racers, this will be their first and only
boat, so being able to have a secondary use as a recreational
boat to take another passenger is an important factor.
(click image to enlarge)
Differences between PDRacer
The PDRacer has a slightly different shape than the Brick. It
has a maximum rocker of 6" which will carry 630 lbs at the
point where the bow and stern transom touch the water. This is
less rocker than the Brick so it carries less weight, but considered
to carry enough. With the shorter rocker, it has a longer water
line length making it slightly faster. Also there is a fair sized
flat spot in the middle, this will make it a little less like
sailing a rocking chair. For me, I like the flatness of the PDRacer's
rocker because when I camped in my Brick, the extreme rocker really
did a number on my back.
All boats must use the above
section for the sides. (atleast, the lower 10" of the
hull must conform to the above shape)
All boats must have flat
parallel sides, and flat bow and stern transoms like a Bolger
All boats must be atleast
48" wide and have a flat, solid bottom all the way across
like a brick does.
All boats must have enough
emergency floatation to be self rescued.
No external floatation chambers
(such as cutwaters, pontoons, amas etc.)
No lifting foils (hydro
Hand thrown biodegradable
water balloons and squirt guns may be used by the crew of
boats against other vessels during the course of the race.
Ideas For Your Boat
There are just tons of different things you can do to your boat
to make it competitive and fun to race. You could add a very tall
high aspect sail rig, a short lug sail, chinese junk sail, put
a bow sprit and jib, fly a trysail, 2 mast with mizzen, ... and
the list goes on. Personally, I have been eyeing an old bedsheet
as a spinnaker, and will try a borrowed Sunfish lateen. John McKissick
is going in the opposite direction, he plans to build a "6
Armed Galeon" as shown here in this sketch. He will sit in
the middle, wife at the bow, and daughter on the stern castle,
all of the arms needed to control the sails and lob waterballoons.
Starting A Local Racing
If you would like to start a fleet locally, or would like to join
one in your area, send me an email and I'll add you to the PDRacer
info page. With your name on the list, others can
find you, and you can get a fleet started in your area. In the
Houston area, we are having our first race on Feb 28th, 2004.
The "We" I keep talking about in this article is the
club. This is a free club promoting group daysailing, weekend
overnighting, and messabouts in small rowing and sailing boats.
There is no entry fee, and everyone is welcome to join.
For Additional information
and a list of people interested in racing, see the PDRacer info