Duckworks/Small Craft Advisor
- Design Contest #7 -
Class IV Everglades
I have been fascinated with the idea
of ‘box boats’ ever since I first encountered
them back in the seventies. The idea is simply so
enticing. Two straight sides (not necessarily vertical)
and a fore and aft curved bottom between them. Ones
first impression is that such boats would be suitable
only for the most protected waters. Driven level under
power. their flat sectioned bottoms sections would
pound ferociously in the slightest chop. But what
if one were heeled over under sail? Then it would
present a ‘V’ bottom to the sea. The greater
the rocker and the narrower the beam, the more true
this would be. If it could be made to work, it could
provide a surprisingly seaworthy platform with deliriously
simple construction. And since all the bends would
be gentle, less than perfect material could be used.
I’m so in love with the idea, that I have designed
three such craft including this one.
I thought that a competition such as
the ‘Everglades Challenge’ offers would
be an ideal proving (or disproving) ground for this
boat type. I came up with a ‘wish list’
- 1.) It had to be able to easily carry me plus
at least 150 lbs of supplies and provisions.
- 2.) Have a long enough cockpit to lay down in.
- 3.) Have an elevated cockpit platform to keep
my butt out of the water that may slop aboard.
- 4.) Have dry storage compartments for most of
- 5.) Have a sail rig that is easily accessible
from the cockpit and straight forward to reef.
- 6.) Have constant access to the helm.
- 7.) Have foils that can kick up when hitting
- 8.) Have water tight compartments.
- 9.) be able to be human propelled even while
These nine requirements dictated much
of the design dimensions. The beam was kept small
due not only to the concept itself, but to be easily
righted in the event of a capsize. The freeboard was
kept somewhat high to provide a decent range of stability,
to allow for an open cockpit, and to keep most of
the water outside of the boat.
The sail rig is an experimental design
meant to keep the center of area from moving forward
as the sail is reefed, to keep reefing as simple and
straight forward as possible and to keep the spars
reasonably short, The yard is lOft 8in long, the mast
is lOft 6in long, and the boom is 7ft 8in long. The
long, single, leeboard is meant to make adjusting
the boat’s balance under sail straightforward
and easily done from the cockpit.
The human propulsion system is not
really oars, but short sweeps. One is to be used at
a time with one hand on the rudder line. My butt is
to be shifted far enough to one side to heel the boat
over some which will both lengthen the waterline and
present a more easily driven shape to the water. Both
sweeps can be used at once, of course (There will
be three aboard), if something should happen to the
The deck design is meant to shed water
efficiently. This is not only to make sure rainwater
stays out of the forepeak and the stem compartment,
but to help prevent the bow from digging into the
sea. The l2in x l2in hatch covers are to be plywood
squares held on by bungee cords. The will also have
lanyards attaching them to the hull to keep them from
I am generally happy with what I came
up with, though it did end up disheartenly heavy.
It seems that light construction just doesn’t
run in my DNA. The aircraft fabric deck is an attempt,
as feeble as it may be, to keep the weight down. Since
its only purpose is to shed water, I feel it’s
OK if it stretches under load as long as it springs
So here it is folks. My grand, noble,
(and perhaps foolish) venture in small boat design.