Buster, Construction Profile

Buster is a twenty foot electric auxiliary Hampton Boat.

Buster is a new kind of motorsailer
with an electric motor and six second-hand
He’s intended to act as a tender to a fleet of small boats –
more on that in a while….

The first idea was for Buster to be a Yawl Boat, but there won’t be a boat in the fleet large enough to carry him in stern davits. Buster will need to fend for himself. It would also be better if Buster didn’t have to run the engine all the time. These concerns led to the motorsailer concept.

Electric auxiliary power worked out well in BitterSweet.

The challenge with an electric powered boat is battery placement.
Lead-acid batteries are heavy,
Buster‘s weigh 132 pounds each.
But compared with lead bars,
they aren’t that compact.
The hull needs to be able to get along
with the mass-equivalent of internal stone ballast.

BitterSweet has a large, deep, lead and steel centerboard. Half her ballast is below the hull while under sail. Buster needs to be simpler. No centerboard – the motor can provide a boost to point higher going to windward. The large prop does add drag so we need to accept that Buster won’t have ideal windward capabilities.

Compared to a traditional Hampton Boat Buster is heavier and more robust – and larger than most were. A motorsailer with other boats under his care; as well as the need to be a stable filming platform; Buster could be thought of as part Tugboat.

Buster, Construction Profile

Buster‘s interior layout is constrained by the needs of his propulsion system. The batteries lie amidships and right above the floor-timbers in two banks of three. Enclosed in a glassed, plywood box insulated from the hull by rubber washers. Acid and stray electrical current are not welcome bunk-mates! The motor is attached to a belt drive.

This allows us to reduce shaft RPM and use a prop that can throw a lot of water. It will also help to electrically isolate the motor from the shaft. This position keeps the motor higher in the boat, and out of the bilge, than if it were in-line with the shaft. Above the battery compartment is what looks like the engine box on a launch or yawl boat. This will be secure dry storage. The battery compartment will ventilate fumes over the side and be isolated from this storage space.

Helen, a 38′ – 5″ Sloop Boat, Sail Plan with Buster

These arrangements, along with the sprit-ketch rig, create a steering station aft of the thwart. There’s a deeper standing well forward. We’ll be able to stand two feet down inside the boat aft. Forward we’re three feet down. Secure and ready to work over the side or do whatever needs to be done. There’s another storage area under the foredeck. It can shelter for two or three people in a pinch. Buster‘s normal crew will be two or three. But acting as a tender, Buster can hold six to eight.

Actæon, with Buster, Profile


  • LBP 20′ – 0″
  • LWL 19′ – 4″
  • Beam 7′ – 3″
  • Draft 2′ – 6″
  • Main Sail 136 sq. ft.
  • Mizzen 59.5 sq. ft.
  • Total 195.5 sq. ft.

Buster Post

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©Antonio Dias, 2010 – 2023

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Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

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