Duckworks/Small Craft Advisor
- Design Contest #7 -
Class IV Everglades
This is about as close
as you can get to a racing scow and still run this
race. The lines follow Bolger’s “bisecting
chine rule”, so turbulence should be minimal.
It will be fast, and might well plane off the wind,
if there’s enough. Construction is jigless Instant
Boats nail-and-glue with an internal chine log, just
like Bolger’s Light Schooner.
The rudder and leeboards are built from two layers
½” plywood following the instructions
in Jim Michalak’s Boatbuilding
for Beginners (And Beyond!). Almost.
The leeboards are toed in 1 degree, and splayed outward
at the bottom about 5 degrees. I wouldn’t exceed
either figure, but undershooting is fine. All the
leeboard foil shaping is on the inboard side –
outboard is flat. These features should add lift to
windward at the expense of tending the boards when
tacking. Short tacks could probably be run with either
or both boards. It should sail in very shallow water
with boards partly retracted, but you will need to
slack the foresail to keep the helm balanced.
The sails are the fore and main from a Light Schooner,
112 and 68 sq ft for 180 total. Four-sided sails keep
the center of effort low for the area. The benefits
of using Light Schooner sails specifically are that
kits are available and the sails are also useable
on a less-specialized boat. Here they are balanced
lug rigged to speed rigging and lighten the masts.
This kind of boat likes to sail on its bottom, so
with light crew it needs options in sail area. Accordingly,
there are two lines of reef points. The entire rig
is kept inboard to ease these adjustments and avoid
“jiffy reefing” lines, which always seem
to snag something when you least want them to. I’d
rig lazyjacks to also work as brails for rowing in
This boat is to run by two crew in watches. Off-duty
crew sleeps below decks aft with a slot top and cloth
cover. A low center divider (made of the sectional
poles/beaching rails set between cleats) helps keep
him on the windward side when heeled. The pilot sits
on the bottom forward, where forward visibility should
be relatively good for this sort of boat. With a remote
tiller, all sailing controls are handy, including
the anchor. Only the mainsheet must run a long way
– forward on its boom, down to deck, then through
a pipe underdeck. This helps avoid snags with the
steering parts. All hands must be called for reefing,
but she should heave to with the fore backed and the
The pilot can row from his sitting position in a
calm, and it is possible for both crew to row if desired.
It probably won’t reach hull speed with one
oarsman because of wetted surface, but the hull weight
of under 350 lbs helps. If you need to row into any
kind of wind, the masts should be unstepped. All the
rigging rides along the side decks in chocks that
elevate it so the oars can work normally. Tabernacles
would be an option, but this system gets the rig lower
at the expense of more fiddling. Upwind speed under
oars might win this race. I’d use Michalak oars
forward, Duckworks “oardles” aft –
both 8 feet.
The compartments must be watertight. Crew clothes
forward, PVC beaching rollers aft. I’d insulate
the center compartment with rigid foam – when
rowing, I’d want to drink something cold.
Speaking of care and feeding of the crew, the watches
should overlap by 15 minutes or so. The crew coming
on should boil water to fill several thermoses for
hot drinks and soup. If any solid hot meals are to
be prepared, it will be in daylight when both crew
are awake. Sawdust toilet buckets fit in the corners
of the forward cockpit. Make sure they’re sealed!
I’m assuming nobody is shy when racing, so no
provision is made for privacy.
The pilot uses a light plywood “chart table”
clamped to the forward toilet buckets when sailing.
It can also be clamped to the aft buckets when rowing
or gotten out of the way by wedging it between forward
buckets and bulkhead. The remote tiller can slide
up and down in its stock, or stopped in the upper
position. It is convenient to have it on the floor
when rowing, as the pilot can steer with his feet.
The same might be true when both hands are wanted
for chart work, flashlight or binoculars. An optional
tiller extension adds range when wanted. The rowing
seat is a ditty box with flotation cushion, and ties
to the side when not in use. The pilot must sit on
the floor when sailing.
It in entirely possible to capsize this boat, so
reef very early if it’s gusty. Duckwork’s
self-releasing cleats will be
ideal for the sheets, but they should not be popping
constantly. If you do capsize, the compartments should
keep you afloat while you bail, and in all likelihood
the aft cockpit won’t flood because of the narrow
slot. In any case, both cockpits should have bailers,
or preferably pumps. The masts must be buoyant to
keep the boat from turning turtle. Add foam in the
center if you make them hollow and don’t use
aluminum. If you knock it that far over, you’ll
probably have to go for a swim to right it. This is
not too worrisome in Florida’s rather warm water,
and the boat is light and should right easily. Uncleat
the sheets, though, or it will sail away! And beware
The design’s name refers to my home state.
If you named her CowScow, I could only imagine a hull
painted with a Holstein’s black spots on white.
But I’d might paint it all gray and let the
name match the goal – Shark Tooth.