This project has spun-off from this Gaff Yawl design, Katherine Ann.
Tabloid Cruisers, the name given to small boats that pack a big punch, are not for everyone. I see them as something like a floating tea-house, or a hermit’s lodge; but one that’s fit to sail upon the sea. They celebrate a particular relationship to practicality – after all, when was any pleasure boat practical in the sense we usually hear the word used?
You need to enjoy your own company – that second berth will mostly likely be for a visitor to sit of an evening for dinner and a gam. These boats are well-suited to single-handed sailing. You need to appreciate having everything close at hand. Down below you are nestled in the cabin. Some might say you wear the boat…. But not like flip-flops and shorts! A comfortable and snug Tweed Suit would be more like it!
The type’s features are useful for a single-hander. The sails are small and sail area can easily be reduced in a variety of ways depending on the situation. Tying in a reef, or just simply dropping a sail, brings the rail back out of the water and takes the weight out of the helm. The variety of sails and reefs available – the Stays’l and Mizzen reef, along with the Main – make it easy to keep the boat manageable and also trimmed well enough to self-steer.
When short-handed on big water the Tops’l can remain stowed, keeping top-hamper to a minimum. In light air you can pile on sail. As I found sailing Tart, these deep boats with a lot of wetted surface can be fast, so long as there’s enough sail in light air when friction-drag predominates. Once it’s blowing enough to reduce to working sail wave-making takes over. That’s when hull form and a good Prismatic Coefficient help. Tart would easily surpass seven knots with very little wake. This boat should have a good turn of speed as well – though with a 21′ – 8″ waterline, seven knots might be a stretch….
In light air the fact that the jib-stay is on a traveler-ring means that it can be stowed aft at the mast, out of the way of the Genoa in tacking. The same for the stays’ stay. It can be rigged to a Pelican Hook.
Off the wind, with the Yawl rig, a Mizzen Stays’l can be set. On longer reaching passages it can make quite a difference. It’s one way the Mizzen pays for itself, though its basic value is fine-tuning the helm and holding the boat’s head into the wind while at anchor or underway. The Mizzen and its Boomkin provide a lot of security aft. It’s why I like to have a stout Boom Gallows on a boat without a Mizzen – Check out the one on Truth above…. It’s good to have something rock-solid aft of the cockpit that you can hold onto….
The Cutter Rig does simplify things. For one, the tiller doesn’t have to get around the Mizzen. Although a curved tiller, or a wheel as shown below, gets around that…. With the Cutter you avoid the expense of building, rigging, and maintaining another mast and its sails. The cutter rig still has all the other advantages of incremental sail choices. Either way, the boat will handle quite well under just the Stays’l. It’s good to be able to get everything else down and not have to go forward of the mast when it gets rough.
The interior is minimalist, but not without its charms. The Galley wraps around from port to starboard and extends aft under the Bridge Deck. There’s standing headroom, 6′ – 3″ under the hatch. The settees and pipe-berth combination give you a good seat and a good bunk. I particularly like the Concordia Berth style.
Instead of a pipe frame there are two molded aluminum end-frames with wooden poles on the edges and wooden slats spaced across its surface running longitudinally. The slats are thin enough to be giving. A cloth cover holds a thin mattress in place. The end-frames are curved. This provides a good backrest when the berth is stowed and a good nest to lie in when sleeping. As with any pipe-berth, they can be adjusted to hold you in no matter what the angle of heel.
Forward there’s a Head with a Sail Storage bin to port, under the bowsprit. Since the sprit is offset to port, the hatchway shifts to starboard. There’s 5′ – 10″ headroom under the lid. We haven’t specified a head. I recommend a composting toilet. The commercial units I’ve found tend to be too large, but it should be possible to fabricate one that can handle the light usage of a single-hander.
The engine shown is a Buhk Diesel. A hefty piece of iron. Simple and rugged. It’s weight isn’t a concern. Open the bridge-deck hatch and remove the galley panel and counter for great access. Tankage is port & starboard under the Bridge Deck.
The Cockpit has a footwell. The seats are at deck level. There’s a sit-on coaming similar to the one on Truth. This maximizes the Cockpit. The top is boxed in. It provides storage and a comfortable seat up high with good visibility.
A tender is a problem for a small cruising boat. I do not appreciate the now ubiquitous inflatable as an answer. What’s the point of having a vessel crafted to please the eye and cleave the seas with aplomb if you’re going to tie yourself to a rubber raft that can neither be sailed nor rowed, and can barely get out of its own way. Can we escape the obligatory outboard motor? We sail to get away from worshiping at the throne of gasoline. That inflatable keeps you’re nose and hands in it no matter what you do.
On a small coastal cruising boat or weekender, I prefer a larger tender, say a peapod. Something that won’t fit on deck, but will tend for itself astern and provide sport in a quiet anchorage. A quiet anchorage….
A boat that sets out to sea has to be ready for anything. A boat towing astern easily becomes a liability. A small pram that can be stowed aboard, in this case over the cabin top tied firmly to a bronze-pipe rack, is a good solution. A Tabloid Cruiser’s master will appreciate the care needed to row, and even sail, such a little boat. It provides shade to the cabin-top, a good thing in hot climates. Ashore, a little pram such as this one, 6′ – 6″ long, can be carried inverted on your back like a Coracle. A bit like an oversized overcoat worn with the bow-transom pressing against the forehead. Its weight spread across your shoulders. Carry it up beyond the high-tide mark, or all the way to the nearest Pub!
- LBP 24′ – 0″
- LWL 21′ – 8″
- Beam 7′ – 9″
- Draft 4′ – 6″
- Displacement 10,163 lbs.
- Main 194 sq. ft.
- Stays’l 81 sq. ft.
- Jib 96 sq. ft.
- Mizzen 55 sq. ft.
426 sq. ft.
- Genoa 228 sq. ft.
- Tops’l 58 sq. ft.
- Total (Light Air*) 535 sq. ft.
- Mizzen Stays’l 65 sq. ft.
- Total (Off-wind*) 600 sq. ft.
- Main 249 sq. ft.
- Stays’l 81 sq. ft.
- Jib 96 sq. ft.
426 sq. ft.
- Genoa 228 sq. ft.
- Tops’l 58 sq. ft.
Total (Light Air*) 535 sq. ft.
Questions? Read the Plan FAQ
What’s in the Plan?
Kathleen Gee Plans PDFs to build one boat for personal use.
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