Design Discussion Continued

The plan is to build the boat using 1″ thick EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam with fiberglass and epoxy on the inside and outside. The advantages are: EPS is easy to work with, the hull will have good impact resistance, the EPS will provide flotation, and it is lightweight. The disadvantage is I am having difficulty finding high density EPS. I’ve previously used EPS with a density of 4lbs. per cubic ft., but the suppliers I used are no longer in business. I’ve searched all over the SF Bay Area and the highest density EPS I can find is 2lbs. per cubic ft. For reference, Douglas fir is about 33 lbs. per cubic ft., and steel is about 490lbs. per cubic ft.

The problem with the low density EPS is it’s more difficult to shape, doesn’t allow as fine a finish, and doesn’t have good impact resistance. The fiberglass will delaminate from the EPS where there is high stress, and this will weaken the boat. So I really need to find high density EPS, and that is what is holding me up right now. Continue reading

Sailing Canoe Design Discussion

Here is some of the numerical data regarding my sailing canoe design: design displacement = 500lbs.; LOA = 146″; LWL = 134″; Beam = 32″; BWL = 32″; Center of buoyancy = 78″ from bow; Center of lateral area (hull only) = 75″ from bow; Lateral area = 3.32 sq. ft.; Prismatic coefficient = 0.56; Hull speed = 4.5 knots; Sail area = 36 sq. ft.

After studying the designs of other sailing canoes, kayaks, and small boats I’ve decided to build my sailing canoe with a flat bottom. The advantages are that it is easier to build, has good initial stability, and the sharp chine, or rail, will prevent side slip without the need for a keel or centerboard. The usual objections to a flat bottom are more wetted surface area, less strength than curved sections, and a rougher ride in choppy conditions. However, in this application I believe these objections are somewhat mitigated. With a flat bottom there is more usable interior space, so the boat can be shorter, reducing the wetted surface area (I want the boat to be short anyway so it will fit in the back of my pickup). Sure, a shorter boat has a lower ultimate hull speed, but this boat is for cruising around, getting some exercise, and having fun – it’s not a race boat. The bottom is only flat in regards to the longitudinal axis. There is significant rocker, so the bottom is curved along its length, adding strength. And because the hull is narrow, the bottom is buried six inches  in the water which will help produce a smoother ride. In addition, this is a low speed vessel so it will not be skimming across the surface of the water like a speedboat. Continue reading

My Sailing Canoe Design

SK1232 Sailing Canoe Sketch

I have been refining my sailing canoe design and this is my latest revision. I began by doing some concept sketches. This gave me an idea of the approximate size and proportions of the hull. I then used Carlson Design’s free Hulls software to optimize the hull shape. I went through probably two dozen hulls, each with minor variations in length, beam, rocker, and other variables.

I don’t have much boat design experience so I found the book ‘How to Design a Boat’ by John Teale to be very helpful. Between the book, Google, Wikipedia, and a few other resources I was able to figure out what the prismatic coefficient is, where to place the sail center of effort, and, most important, if the boat would float. Continue reading

I’m Designing a Sailing Canoe

The last few days I have been working on a few changes to my sailing canoe design. Since I am starting this blog several months after I started working on the sailing canoe, I’ll be doing some flashback sequences to get the two in sync.

I’ve sailed since I was eight years old, and it is something I really enjoy. The last couple of years I have also started kayaking. It is good exercise and paddling around in a small boat is great fun. I kayak on San Francisco Bay, and last summer I started paddling from AT&T Park out to the Golden Gate Bridge and back  once or twice a week. If you live in the Bay Area or are here for a visit I highly recommend this route. You can rent kayaks at South Beach Harbor (in front of AT&T Park). Anyway, on the return to AT&T Park in the afternoon the wind is always howling in from the Golden Gate, and I am always a little tired of paddling. So I started thinking it would be great to have a kite or sail on my kayak so I could paddle out and sail back. Continue reading