The NANO click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By Craig Gleason - Shalimar, Florida - USA

A brief study in sailboat miniaturization

Stuart James, from southern Florida, arrived at the Gulf Region Trailer Sailors 2006 BEER Cruise with a most interesting vessel. Stuart's sailing dingy; aptly named NANO, was an instant hit with everyone there. Fashioned from an ancient dingy this novel craft proved to be an extremely seaworthy addition to the diverse BEER Fleet.

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NANO at Navarre

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Stuart’s much larger Grampian Cruiser has carried him to diverse locations from the Florida coast, out to the islands, and even to down Granada. She is a seasoned blue water traveler: however, not really suitable to tow from his home up to Pensacola. If memory serves correct, Stuart told me someone gave him this ratty little glass dink. Ratty it may have been but Stuart viewed it with a more imaginative eye. Needing a trailorable knockabout, Stuart saw in the little boat the potential to meet his need.

Here is NANO, ready for anything at Quietwater Beach

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He set about to create a unique cruising boat. The weathered wood (read kind of rotten and not altogether there) on the miniscule foredeck was cleaned up a bit and left in place. This wooden trim gives the impression of the age of the vessel and provides a contrast to the white ventilator stack mounted before the mast. An off center dagger board was fitted amidships and infinitely adjustable trim is maintained using an orange woodworkers spring clamp. A stayed aluminum mast and boom hold a salvaged jib to provide motive power cat boat style. Large pool noodles; attached with white zip strips, running down each gunwale provide emergency flotation and protection from barnacles and other marine life that turn pilings and dock edges into wood rasps. Auxiliary power is provided by large sweeps, the handles of which convert into a type of litter rails that when set longitudinally over the hull. Stuart removes the sweep blades and slips on a webbing over the handles that make up into his berth when night falls.

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NANO cruising along, note the dagger board elevated to reduce drag in light air.

The hot Florida sun and inclement weather pose no problem for our intrepid inventor sailor. Stuart’s innovative craft converts into a sort of Conestoga Boat with the addition of his custom made cover. Using thin fiberglass rods as a frame the cleverly made cover fits over the hull from mast to transom keeping Stuart and his gear comfortable and dry. I believe there is even provision for keeping flying irritations out of his berth by the use of no-see-um netting when the back flap of the cover is open.

A little more cover detail, note the triced up boom..

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All in all this is one of the most clever and utilitarian sailboat designs I have encountered. It the BEER folks gave out prizes for the best engineered boat, Stuart James’s NANO would be the hands down winner. ( Photos courtesy of Jeff Gegner and other BEER Fleet members.)