Home | Articles | Links | Projects | Columns | Designs | Boat Index

A Simple Boat
Design by David Routh Shorty@ShortyPen.com
Website: https://www.shortypen.com/boats


Length Overall - 14'
Length Waterline - 13'
Length Trailering - Cartop OR trailer at 18' overall
Beam - 4'
Draught - 3"
Interior Headroom - 24' under deck, 60" under cockpit tent
Displacement - 175lbs
Trailering Weight - 375 lbs (175lbs + 200lb trailer)
Sail Area(s) - 73 sqft
Mast height AWL - 12'


Cruise in skinny water without the need for an engine, overnight 1-2 (or 1 and 1/2 in my case) in a simple little sailboat with minimum cost & construction time. The lines are borrowed from the Bolger June Bug, Michalak AF3 and the San Juan 21. Cabin space is produced by cutting the bottom out of a cheap Walmart 6' x 4' tent and snapping it over top of the cockpit. Without a companion way seperating the cockpit from the cabin, you have more space to stretch out.


1. Is for cruising safely in coastal areas normally displaying settled conditions. This implies some attention to both shoal ability and seaworthiness.   A foam filled airbox at the bow and stern provides positive floatation, while the kick up leeboard will allow exploration of very skinny water.

2. Must use sail as its primary motive power.  Four sided sprit sail.

3. Must be legally trailerable behind a family car. Design to your local laws or max beam 2.5m, up to you. Launch and retrieval should be easy for two people.  It is just light enough to car-top with a special lifting apparatus.   175lbs is about the maximum I think is car-toppable without major engineering.   At 14' without a motor, you don't have to register here in Texas. Possibly take the money saved from not registering and buy a cheapy $200 general purpose trailer at the local Home Depot to haul this cruiser to the water. You wouldn't have to dunk the trailer, just slide the boat off back and into the water.

4. Must be capable of acting as a basic home to 2 adults for up to a week. Cabins, cuddies, boom tents, beaching and shore camping, or combinations of these are all acceptable.  Sleeps 2, but would have to be cozy enough with the other person to sleep though. I don't think I would sleep in there with my sailing buddy Tim, but he could easily construct his own boat and bring it along. Backpackers, canoe-ers, and kayak-ers all seem to be able to go off for weeks at a time, surely one would be able to cruise in this little boat for the same time span.

5. Must be home buildable with normal DIY hand/ power tools .materials &  construction methods are open.  5 sheets of 1/4 plywood (with lots of odd shaped pieces left over),  make the sides, nail the stern & stem. Squeeze a 4' wide wedge in the middle, attach bulkheads, bottom & decks.

6. Must cost under $US10k or equivalent, including trailer which, along with items providing motive power, may be second hand.  All other material/fittings to be new.  All joints held together with drywall screws and copious use of titebond II glue & paper towels to catch the dripping mess. Instead of using epoxy, coat entire surface with "Thompsons Water Sealer", then paint with exterior high gloss latex enamel house paint. Then paint on a layer of unbleached muslin fabric. Materials could be under $100 if careful, but easily acquired for under $150. It won't last forever, but it is so cheap that in 5 years you could build another hull for less than the price of the epoxy you didn't use on the first. A testament to the durability of a latex paint finish is Tim Webber's June bug --heading into it's 4th season.


-- 4' width is enough to stretch your legs out fully while sitting cross wise and leaning your back against the side.

-- A 24" cabin height doesn't seem like much, but it is ample space when you add a $20 Walmart tent over the cockpit. Mostly the cabin area is for storing gear and food. The forward bulkhead has a slotted rib to allow you to secure gear with bungee cords.

-- As bow pitches up and down over swells & chop you can still see forward because of the downward angle of the deck.

-- A 12' mast and supporting sprits for a 4 sided sail fit inside the hull for transportation.


-- Dang this is a tiny boat!! Though bigger than Hugo Vihlen's 5' 4" boat "Fathers Day" that crossed the atlantic in 1993.

-- The deadrise make this boat less stable in chop, but is simple to construct.


drawing.gif (14554 bytes)

line.gif (878 bytes)

A guy who sells pens that fit in the fold of your wallet, new to boat building, believing in the motto: "Simplicity is the essence of true beauty".

line.gif (878 bytes)


Home | Articles | Links | Projects | Columns | Designs | Boat Index