A 14' 3" Flat-Bottom Sailing Skiff
By William & John Atkin
A Lapstrake, Flat-Bottomed Racing Skiff
Here we have put together the lines of a smart little flat-bottomed skiff combining in her the time-proved characteristics of the hand-raking boats of many years ago and the up-to-the-minute features we have found desirable in a fleet-footed racing and day-sailing boat of today. We had first in mind the complete plans of a superior kind of boat in which to learn; this in combination with an ideal boat to be used in a yacht club one-design class. Furthermore, we thought that she should be one that would serve well as a comfortable and safe day-sailer; one that will propel easily with a low-power outboard motor, yet could be easily transported by trailer, and require a minimum of time and expense on the part of its owner. And, greatest of all good features, this new design, Lark, can be built for a fraction of the figure needed for a firstclass, oak-and-white-cedar round-bilge or V-bottom boat of equal dimensions.
The sail plan spreads a jib-headed mainsail of 67.3 square feet and a staysail of 33.7 square feet; total area, 101 square feet. The sails should be made of 4-ounce yacht canvas. In the mainsail there are two rows of reef points, in the staysail, none. If and when the sail area is shortened, take in the large staysail and set the small one indicated by dotted lines on the sail plan. If one expects to get the most in the way of speed and general performance from Lark have the finest possible suit made -- sails for a sailboat cannot be too expertly cut, sewn and stretched, and, by the same token, too well cared for. Sails in a boat like this are power.
Lark is a chic one, 14 feet 3 inches overall; 13 feet 3 1/2 inches waterline; 4 feet 10 inches beam; and with the centerboard up 5 inches draft�with it down, 3 feet 6 inches. The freeboard at the bow is 1 foot 11 1/2 inches; the lowest point, 1 foot 7/8 inch; at the stern, 1 foot 4 3/8 inches. She is a biggish boat and belies her overall dimensions. The breadth on deck is carried well forward, the stern somewhat narrower than usual for a boat of this type, and the breadth of the bottom for its entire length, narrow. We thus have in the topsides generous flare and the assurance of a dry boat, the flare and the plank laps keeping down spray. She has a big, pinned centerboard which, unlike a dagger board, will take care of itself as the water shoals; a practical skeg and a rudder that has the capacity to steer the skiff easily in any kind of weather.
Some of the advantages of a flat-bottomed skiff: a boat of this type is easy to build; requires a minimum of materials; there is little waste in its construction; it can be fastened with either copper or galvanized iron boat nails; can be drawn up on any reasonably smooth beach; if grounded, can be gotten off with ease and without damage; is the easiest kind of boat to keep clean inside because there are no hidden, unreachable places for dirt to collect; its smooth inside bottom permits a wooden scoop to be used for freeing the bilge of water; there are no foot boards to make or take care of; when the time comes to repaint the inside, there is nothing in the way of the paint brush and no obscured spots; if, after fifteen to twenty years of use, the athwartship planks become scarred or damaged it is a small matter to remove these and replank the bottom of the boat. Here, then, are some of the advantages one finds in flat-bottomed boats. There are others of less obvious nature. Shipmates, do not for a moment conclude that flat-bottomed skiffs are indifferent sea boats or that they slap and pound when poking into a lively head sea. A little common sense will show that, under these conditions, the sharp corner at the bottom and the side of the boat forms an easing V. In this respect the flat-bottomed skiff is the equal, if not the better, of the V-bottomed form. The same holds true of flat-floored round-bilged boats.
Plans for Lark are $100




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