Saturday, July 14, 2012

Little Egret - Launching

I am very excited to report that my Little Egret design, built by John Hockings, has been launched.

For those who don't know about this boat, you can read her history here, and here, and here, and here.

John has done a wonderful job of building his boat, showing that a determined first-timer who reads the correct books, and approaches things in a methodical manner can achieve first-class results. You can read about John's building journey on his Woodenboat Magazine Forum thread here.

Launching day was overcast, rainy, and almost totally free of a sailing breeze. However, we did get a few short-lived breezes off the edges of passing showers, and were able to experience a little bit of resonable sailing - enough for me to form some opinions about stability and hull-balance. At this stage of the game I am very happy indeed with how the boat performed. In particular, I am delighted about the ergonomics of the internal layout. Here are some random photos: -

John just after arrival at the boat ramp. The rudder appears to be small, but it does comply with the rules-of-thumb regarding required area. However, I have given details for an alternative blade in the plans, which is somewhat larger. We had hoped that the use of end-plates would render this small rudder effective, and so far it seems to be very good. John has incorporated the old-time sharpie trick of being able to lower the entire rudder-post about four inches so as to drop the rudder deeper when clear of shoal water.
The hull-form of Little Egret is a cross between a sharpie and a dory, with a bottom panel wider than a pure dory, and with more flare in the topsides than is common in a sharpie.

Although it was early in the day, John and I indulged ourselves in a celebratory shot of rum and coke before the launching. That is John on the left, and a very nervous me on the right!
Moments after launching, sitting high on her lines as she has no load on-board. You will notice that she is very slightly down by the head, which is what we wanted, because the addition of crew weight should get her sitting level if my calculations are correct.
That is John and me on the very first sail. She proved to be very comfortable, with one person sitting beside the centreboard case and leaning against the forward coaming. The helmsman sits with back braced against the side-deck carling and with feet against the opposite side of the boat. This is a secure and effective way to travel. You can see in this photo that the fore-and-aft trim is just about perfect.
In from the first sail. The wind has dropped out, but we had encountered enough to discover that she sails nicely. That is me giving the 'thumbs up' to my wife who took the photo.

This boat is very lean, and has fine entry lines

With two people aboard, the boat trims with the top of the rudder just below the surface.

John with his wife on launching day. His face tells a story about he feels...

Building plans for Little Egret are complete, but I won't be releasing them until a basic assembly guide has been written.

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