a VolksCruiser shortlist of sorts…

So, the other day, a reader of this blog dropped me a line asking…

“What do you think the best VolksCruiser design to build is?”
Which, sorta/kinda, stopped me in my tracks.
First of all, I don’t really truck all that well with the concept of “best” where boats are concerned. It’s a fool’s game to try and quantify something that, at best, is a compromise and, in case you haven’t been paying attention; All boat are a compromise.
That said, I do like a good conundrum so I decided to make a list of elements that I consider to be needful for inclusion on such a beast:
  1. Small with a livable (spelled comfortable) interior.
  2. Shoal draft
  3. Simple rig (spelled inexpensive)
  4. No expensive systems
  5. Quick to build
  6. Affordable

Pretty simple when you think about it. Oh yeah, I expect I’ll get some emails saying why wasn’t “seaworthy” on that list and in my defense I’ll just say that, as far as I’m concerned, seaworthiness should always be a given in any boat you build or sail so not exactly something for the need/want list.

Considering that I don’t think there’s a boat that would be “best” given the need/want list a few boats do pop to mind.

  1. Jessie Cooper
  2. Laura Cove
  3. L’ Étroit Mousquetaire
  4. Pop 25
  5. Skrowl 900
None of them are perfect but they all will do the job and are worth taking a closer look to ascertain what comes closest to your idea of what would work for you.

More soon come on the Ranger 26 front…

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4 thoughts on “a VolksCruiser shortlist of sorts…”

  1. Surprised the Triloboat(s) series from Dave Zeiger didn't get a mention. Can't imagine a boat that beats a Triloboat in any of those 6 categories. If you added "Sexy Curves" or some such, that *could* sink it down a bit in the ratings, depending on your tastes. But a Triloboat (box/barge shape) has:

    1) Most interior for a given length/width boat, thanks to the rectangular foot-print. My 16'x4' I am building will have 32 sq ft (4'x8') perfectly flat interior. Easily enough room for 2 to spend a weekend, or even an entire week out. Not something I would remotely consider in a 16' curvy/pointy boat.

    2) Shallowest draft for a given length/width. Again, due to rectangular footprint. Generally talking about inches, not feet of draft.

    3) Free standing mast made out of a tree + junk rig = least expensive rig. Found cheap/free mast and battens + easily made sail(s) anyone remotely familiar with a sewing machine could make (flat cut, though shaping the sail helps a bit with windward performance).

    4) Of course, you can blow as much money as you want on any particular system, but the design doesn't ask for anything beyond the bare necessities.

    5) Can't get much quicker to build then all 90 degree angle interior with (optional) curves at either end. Heck, if you were in a big hurry, you could even have just straight angled ends instead of curving, with a slightly higher chance of pounding + not as quick.

    6) Dave does a pretty good job outlining how to build cheap & using common man's materials. Don't even require fiberglass! 98% plywood + Sikaflex/5200/Titebond III + bronze nails (the only "special" order material, though you could potentially get away with galvanized or stainless) + Plexi-glass + Exterior house paint, materials most home-builders would be comfortable approaching. The copper plate is mostly a long term investment in not needing haul outs, but you could revert to copper embedded epoxy or standard bottom paint if you prefer.

    While it does have some other compromises, Triloboats are definitely highly optimized for that particular set of criteria.

  2. I'm attracted to hull forms (vs particular designs… scale up or down as desired). Regardless of the hull-form, I favor a mix of flexi-space and simple (Beuhler-like) interiors. Multi-mast junk rig for me.

    Among them (all but the last are ultra-shoal, offshore capable and able to take the ground with an armored bottom):

    Bolgers VOLUNTEER style (Boats With an Open Mind)… flat (rockered) bottom, arc sides (quick-moldable). Sides rise quickly, reducing damage potential when grounding. Should be good sea boats and fast sailers.

    Two chine, flat bottomed designs. Much like VOLUNTEER, but all sheet materials. Probably tape n' glue construction.

    Monroe EGRET style hulls. Single chine in sheet materials.

    Benford Dories. Single chine in sheet materials. Can be built shoal (but not easily ultra-shoal).

    Bolger BIRDWATCHER approach is, I think, a front running candidate, though I've not yet seen a design that I think would make a fully qualified VC (offshore, that is). Bolger's WHALEWATCHER seems a good start for in- and long-shore.

  3. I have to give a plug for my little SibLim design here. Sure, I've been as slow as a wet weekend building her, but a competent builder, who only wanted a very simple finish could do it a lot more quickly.

    Of course, I am biassed …

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