Benn Gunn
A 25' 8" Motorsailer
By William Atkin
A Little Motor Sailer
A long time ago plans of Ben Bow Too appeared in MoToR BoatinG; an 18 foot by 5 foot, 6 inch beam motor sailer. Many boats have been built to this design. I have had the fun of sailing on one of the boats built to this design and owned by W. J. MacElroy, whose paintings and illustrations have appeared on the covers and in articles from time to time; just a grand little boat for two. Despite the limited sail area and the shallow draft (2 feet), Ben Bow Too sailed very well on the wind, thus upsetting the predictions of the shore-bound so-called experts that, "she'd slide off to leeward like a crab." Of course Ben Bow Too is small; all eighteen foot boats are small, and in their smallness have a lot of charm. One just has to put up with limited headroom, limited elbow room and limited deck room on a very little boat; but it can be a lot of fun sailing these just the same. Having sailed many, I feel I know somewhat of the fun. Ben Bow Too having been so successful, I thought it would be good to redesign her in a larger size and with various modifications. And here is the result, Benn Gunn.

Benn Gunn is 25 feet, 8 inches over all; 25 feet, 6 inches on the water line; 7 feet, 4 inches in breadth, and 2 feet 10 1/2 inches draft. The freeboard forward is 3 feet, 9 inches, freeboard at the stern, 2 feet, 10 inches. The little boat carries 810 pounds of lead on the keel, and there must be stowed in the bilge 1,200 pounds of inside ballast. It is a well known fact that a considerable amount of inside ballast properly distributed fore and aft assures a very comfortable boat in any kind of weather. And that a lot of ballast concentrated in one place produces a quick acting hull in any kind of sea. However if speed and quickness in stays is the first consideration, all ballast outside is best.

The sail plan shows 263 square feet of area; 61.6 square feet being in the staysail, 201.5 square feet in the mainsail. Halyards and staysail sheets are led aft to convenient cleats on the cabin top. The entire rig is as simple and efficient as it can be and has been tried out repeatedly in many existing boats of my design. No need to have jumper strut, spreaders, additional shrouds, topmast stay and permanent back stay. Benn Gunn is not a racing boat and it is very bad taste to rig a cruiser or motor sailer after the manner of a cup defender; and ineffectual as well.

The deck plan shows a flush deck with a well for a cockpit and a small deck house. It will be especially noticed that the height of the deck house is designed so that it can be conveniently looked over from a sitting position in the cockpit. The value of being able to see ahead is often unappreciated by designers and builders, the temptation being to get full headroom under the deck house at the expense of full vision ahead. As it is, Benn Gunn has 5 feet, 8 inches headroom under the cabin house beams, and 5 feet, 11 inches headroom under the companion slide, excellent, they tell me, for a 25 foot water line boat having moderate freeboard. The cockpit well is 2 feet wide by 5 feet, 3 inches long and the cockpit from deck house and aft, 6 feet, 8 inches long by 4 feet, 6 inches wide. There is unusual deck room in the waist and forward.

The cabin is laid out for two. The galley is 4 feet, 4 inches long, the built in table therein being amply large for a two burner galley stove, sink and wash tray. The ice box is beneath the wash tray end of the table with lockers under the sink and stove end. A separate toilet room is opposite the galley. Two berths are built in, 6 feet, 4 inches long, and full width, and forward of these open storage for supplies. The fresh water tank is in the bow. There is 5 feet, 8 inches headroom under the cabin house beams, and 4 feet under the forward deck. With the large hatch in the fore deck it is easy to stand through this reaching all ground tackle and halyards without walking over the forward deck, and this is how it should be with a small boat in rough water.

Benn Gunn is a narrow boat, and by the same token one that can be propelled at fair speed with low power, either sail or motor. The boat has long smooth lines and will pass through the water with a minimum of disturbance; no big stern wave to consume power, nor a big hollow each side amidships; the result of bad balance and faulty entrance. The bilges are firm affording excellent stability, and ability to stand up under sail. There is nothing more uncomfortable than the deck of a small boat sailing on one ear, so to speak. The motor shown in the plans is a Universal Blue Jacket twin. The speed, motor turning two thirds open, will be close to 6 miles an hour. Gray Sea Scout, Kermath Sea Cub, Redwing Model D Thoroughbred, and several other motors of approximately 10 h.p. will be entirely suited for this little motor sailer. The motor will be installed under the cockpit; but is readily get-at-able from under the bridge deck.
Plans for Benn Gunn are $100




+1 (860) 572 5360