Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Beth the Kamikaze Canoe Yawl
Can you believe this is just a box? It's SquareBoat from Michael Storer Design, Australia.
Beth is a box boat after Phil Bolger's "Box Boats", with their flat bottoms and hull sides set at 90 degrees. A hull shape of this sort is easy and fast to build, and Beth is essentially a sailboard with a cockpit. Check out the fully battened lug sail!
Beth is based on American 1870's sailing canoes (think Dixon Kemp or Paul Butler) but with an Instant Boat construction method. She sails fast because she is a modern boat. Good foils and a good rig, light construction, good sail controls, but costs a fraction of what a modern performance boat does because she is so simple. Beth is easy to cartop and rigs in five minutes.
"Beth is simply the most elegant small squareboat we know. She was given the "kamikaze" label by those who watched her soar out over Lake Alexandrina in a big wind, with a white rooster tail matching the white knuckles of the white-faced Michael Storer on his first major proving run. What that run proved was that all the cynics were wrong! Beth and Mike appeared at the other side of the Lake unscathed and untroubled, and early." (Tim Fatchen of Square Boats)
Michael is happy with his design and thrilled with her performance:
"Beth is fast, performing at a similar level to a club-racing Laser dinghy. She is a little slower upwind but requires a much smaller physical effort. As the waves and wind get up, she does comparatively better as the waves tend to slow her a lot less than the blunt shape of the Laser. Downwind, there are no excuses as she will pass almost anything, picking up and surfing down the smallest waves."
"The rig is particularly forgiving when gybing in strong breezes. In 25 knots I would expect to ditch a Laser about one in four gybes. With Beth I would expect a capsize about one in 20 gybes. Part of the forgiveness seems to be the flexibility of the rig (the "boing" factor), and some is due to the fact that the balance lug mainsail is not all on the same side of the mast."
25 knots!!?? Can you believe that?! Most boats of this size would be headed home! Here's Beth on a broad reach, up and planing, apparent proof that boat design need not be complicated. Simplicity of build paired with dynamic performance add up to hours of home builder/ sailor fun.