An 18' Leeboard Cruising Knockabout
By William Atkin
A Lovely Eighteen Foot Auxiliary Sloop
Gretchen is a unique little ship designed for the man who must cruise on shallow water. She is 18 feet over all, 16 feet 6 inches on the water line, 6 feet in breadth, and draws only 1 foot 4 1/2 inches of water fully loaded.

The rig is about as simple as it can be; one shroud each side, single head-stay, single topping lift and lazy jacks. It is moderate in area. The mainsail spreads 131 square feet and the staysail 44 square feet, a total of 175 square feet. The main and staysail halyards lead to the cockpit, also the staysail sheet. Thus everything is handy to the helmsman.

Small center-board craft for cruising are badly cut up inside by the center-board trunk, and, too, the trunk is always a troublesome thing. It will leak sooner or later, and because the inside of the trunk cannot be painted after the boat is finished worms and decay begin their deadly work all too soon. Lee boards are the answer to this particular problem. Lee boards have been used for ages by the Dutch, the Germans, and the British, and have proved entirely satisfactory for various types of working boats and yachts. One decided advantage the lee board has over the center-board is that it can be shaped so as to form an airfoil section; the leeward face being concave, the windward face convex. This accounts for their remarkable efficiency. Another advantage is that the boards stand away from the sides of the hull and so when the hull is heeled down under a press of sail they are approximately perpendicular to the surface of the water, and so much the better for it.

A very casual study of the plans will show how roomy this little shallow draft cruiser is, and how handy. The cockpit has seating room for four persons and its floor is enough above the water line to permit fitting a scupper so as to make it self draining. There is no bother then with rain water getting into the bilge, or danger from a sea rolling in and filling the little hooker.

The cabin is, considering the very small size of the boat, roomy. Here is room for two to sleep. Then there is a generous sized table for a stove, this being nearly 3 feet long. Opposite the stove there is a good sized locker. The bunks are 6 feet 1 inch long and amply wide for comfort. The headroom in the cabin is 3 feet 6 inches,fine for sitting up under. It is impossible to have full headroom in a very small boat, and I can assure you from my experience of nearly 25 years, not at all necessary for comfort. Most of the loveliest small cruising craft I have been aboard have only enough headroom for sitting down.

The lines show an easily driven hull having rather hard bilges and a straight floor. I have studied over these lines a long, long time, making changes here and there in an effort to produce a hull that will sail especially well, and at the same time have a form that will propel easily with a small outboard motor.

I should not use an outboard motor of over 6-8 h.p.; one of these excellent units will urge Gretchen along at a good 6 miles an hour. I should not hang the outboard directly on the stern; it will be too high here and the propeller will not be sufficiently submerged. Use one of the metal outboard motor brackets as sold by The E. J. Willis Company, New York. These brackets are removable from the stern and in a few moments can be stowed in the boat when the motor is not in use. The secret of outboard propulsion in boats of comparatively heavy displacement is submerging the propeller just as deeply as possible; you cannot get results with the propeller near the surface. An outboard efficiently fitted makes ideal power for a small auxiliary like Gretchen, because when under sail the drag of the propeller is entirely eliminated. The outboard bracket will, of course, be fitted to one side of the rudder in a boat of this character, and the boat steered with the rudder rather than with the outboard motor.

Plans for Gretchen are $100




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