by Christer Byström
In a brief article in January 2004 I wrote about the project ”Stella”, a continuation of the ”Grace O`Malley” project from 2002. This project, like the previous one, was carried out in our livingroom. It is very handy and timesaving once you get the basic permission but it does have one drawback; since the actual strip-planking process is a bit intrusive you try to get it finished as quick as possible and get the hull out of the way, up against the wall but the result this time was a very uneven strip surface, something that did not show fully until the hull was painted white.
Stella was finished in time for the sailing season and everything worked well, except a few leaks and a patch of epoxy that had not set but that was easily fixed. Since she was a development of the first design I did expect most things to work well, and they did. One of the targets was to bring down the weight, mainly by using thinner wood in the hull as well as in the framing. The resulting weight loss was not as much as I had hoped; the hull of Grace weighed 66 lbs and the hull of Stella 55 lbs. The thinner materials could however be the reason for the quirking sounds I have heard from the hull a couple of times in strong winds. Since the target is a weight that makes it possible to easily carry and car-top the boat singlehanded (for an older person, which I very soon will be) the only solution is to start a third project and this time both the length, beam and freeboard will have to be cut down thus coming very close to the size of the design that inspired the whole thing, Phil Bolger´s “Queen Mab”.
Thanks to my previous writing here I was contacted by a man in Illinois who liked the design, and now he is building a slightly stretched version of my design, but he is not strip-planking but using the plywood lapstrake method. A real boost for my boat-designing ego; I really hope it turns out well for him.
For next summer myself and a friend are planning a big adventure: We will use Grace and Stella for an epic journey in our hometown from my boatingclub into the city centre, three nautical miles upstream against the current (that could rise to 2-3 knots, should they open the gates of the dam further up). We will also be amongst a number of powerboats who will think that we are some kind of joke or hallucination and thus not divert their course or slow down while passing. Since we have to pass under a bridge with only around 13` clearance no other sailing vessel can get there and consequently, if we get there we will be the first sailboats in the city centre since the bridge was built more then 30 years ago. Could be something for the local newspaper......
Links to more pictures of Stella and other similarly sized sailboats can be found on “The really small yacht site”