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btrowe
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I'm looking to build a boat and generally like the B&B designs.

I think the CS17 and CS20 look great but I'm after the utility that the BRS17 has for my criteria:

 

1. Handle rivers up to 3km wide x 20km long, inland lakes including Lake Ontario & Lake Erie plus small / shallow rivers and canals

2. Solo and up to 4 adults with fishing gear for casting & trolling

3. Solo and up to 2 adults 2 kids sailing

4. Handle motor suitable for fishing with loaded boat (800#-900# people & gear)

5. Trailerable / beachable

6. Sail camping

 

The BRS15 might do, but would be tight quarters and close to DWL with 4 guys fishing.

The BRS17 looks like it would be more appropriate given the criteria... nice to have spare room and longer water line.

What motor would suit this scenario? 20HP? Would it plane?

I saw a 15HP max listed for the BRS15 but nothing listed for the BRS17.

Is stretching the BRS17 to 19 or 20ft an option or would that really need a new design?

 

At this point I'm thinking of a BRS17 with 10HP outboard + electric trolling motor on transom.

I know it really looks like I should build 2 boats but the BRS looks like it should do the job.

Not much is written up about the BRS17 specifically. Any insight is appreciated.

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I'm not real familiar with either design, but a shop teacher told me once when I was buying a canoe as a teenager that the 2 feet of difference between a 15 and 17 foot canoe comes from the middle, which is the biggest part. The ends are the same. for four guys, I'd go 17. I've spent my share of time fishing out of a 14' rowboat with three and it's tight.

 

You must be in WNY or Ontario, right?

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Give Graham a call. He's great to talk too, and the best one to answer your questions. The BRS is a sailing boat and not designed to plane with larger motors. I believe that he does have a power boat version of it though. It is not on his website, so ask him about it. I agree that "bigger is better" in deciding between the 15 and the 17. The B&B design drawings give dimensions to lay out the hull panels as designed and would be difficult for a novice builder to stretch successfully. Graham may be willing to modify the design into a larger boat, so ask.

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Thanks Steve & Chick. I've read most of what's available for the CS and BRS. I really think the BRS17 will fit the bill... I was just looking for other opinions. I think 17ft is good for solo and could handle up to 4 adults on board. Reality is it would usually be me and 1 adult or 2 kids. So if it bogged down occasionally with 4 adults that would be a rare situation.

 

I am in Ottawa, ON and have seen a couple videos of B&B boats on Lake Ontario, and would love to see one in person to get a better feel about scale and details. Haven't seen any locally though.

 

It's been a while since I've sailed and would like to get back to that as well. Used to sail Lasers 20 years ago but would appreciate something drier now.

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Hi btrowe, I'm a happy owner of BRS17  since 2008, and I can honestly tell that she sails excellent, rows excellent, motors excellent. Just this year  cruises: late spring big lagoon cruise in Germany  and late autumn 180 km long river cruise in Poland:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/10196268@N05/albums/72157668790396046

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/10196268@N05/albums/72157660705532248

 

During years I faced conditions  from 0 of Force up to 5 of Force which I'm trying to avoid of course, but sometimes I had to go ahead (a responsible dinghy guy makes photos in 5 of Force ; ). With crew of 5  no reefs were made, with crew of 3 2 or 1 sail were reefed. I have  no solo experience in sailing, as my trailer  doesn't allow for solo launching. I'll fix this problem some day. As for a motor, I'm using 2,3 hp air cooled honda what is enough power for my adventures, as no need to plane. I've sailed her solo one time only due to More albums containing BRS17 pictures (of Polish and Finnish raids) are also accessible via my Flickr account. 

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This is a great discussion topic!  I will do my best to give you a thorough answer from my perspective, as I completed my BRS15 last spring.  I am a solo sailor, and use my boat for fishing also.  

 

To me, there are really two questions here-- 15' vs. 17', and CS vs. BRS.

 

The first question is easier to answer.  I've sailed with four adults and two toddlers on a light-airs day in my 15.  It was pleasant.  I think it wodld have been OK with more wind.  But if you're fishing with four, you're gonna need space for tackle boxes.  Casting and hook-setting activities might pose some interesting social situations.  Here are two photos of my "fishing mode".  Recently, I've added a bow-mounted trolling motor for solo lake fishing.

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PART II

The real big question is whether you should build a BRS or a CS-series boat.  I love my BRS15.  I am happy that I chose it over a Core Sound 15, but it was not because of "utility".  I believe that both designs are similar in this respect.  The main difference lies in the hull shapes, primarily at the bow, but also the amount of "V" in the hull.  The BRS designs have a sort of pug-nosed, flat entry.  I prefer this shape, aesthetically-speaking, over the CS boats.  aesthetics are a personal thing, and this is just my preference.  But the CS boats have a more rounded, deep-vee entry, which is better suited for the Great Lakes.  I took my BRS15 out on Lake Erie last May in a light chop.  I wasn't out long, because I was sailing solo in a boat I'd only sailed a few times.  And the water was cold-- not good conditions to experience my first capsize!  I wasn't out long, but I did manage to take this video.  

 

If the waves were any heavier, I believe she would have pounded through the waves like a flat-bottomed boat.  There was also more spray/water entering the boat than I preferred at the time.  The CS boats are better-suited for bigger water.  The lion's share of my sailing will be day-sailing on inland lakes, so this is not an issue for me.  

 

On the other hand, the flatter (less v-shape) of the BRS15 makes for a super stable platform.  This isn't an issue with sailing so much as it is for fishing.  Your typical v-hulled sailboat toggles from port to starboard when the sails are not up.  I do not have a good photo of my boat from a straight rear view.  That would drive the shallow v-hull argument home, I think.  I will take that photo later today, and post it.  But here's a shot of my BRS15 alongside a CS17.  Perhaps you can learn something from this photo.  (Note that the v-shape at the transom is not indicative of the vee amidships.)

 

As far as motors are concerned, a 5hp outboard is all I need to move my boat and me.  Pushing four adults around is another matter, however.  I will defer to Graham on that subject.  Chick Ludwig is correct, though.  Since these boats have much more rocker than an aluminum fishing boat, they will not plane in exactly the same way.  If you study that old black and white BRS15 photo, you will notice that someone is sitting way forward in the boat.  When I'm motoring with my 5hp and even when using a tiller extension, the bow is higher off the water.  This is due to the rocker that is designed into the boat for sailing.  To be sure, I could put a 15hp motor on my transom, but the 5 gets me on plane just fine.

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I've built quite a few of Graham's designs and helped build others.  The BRS remains a favorite and the utility of the BRS as well as the classic skiff look are all part of the appeal.  My BRS15 is LOON of the B&B website built over 22 years ago and well traveled since.  LOON has sailed in NC, SC, the Chesapeake, Maine, Quebec, Ontario,and Lake Superior before going to the Great Salt Lake and several weeks camp cruising in the Sea of Cortez. The BRS15 will plane at 10mph plus with 10hp but is happier with an 8hp motor and the CS cannot do these.  Grahams explanation of how and why the CS was developed covers the subject well.  The CS is a better sailboat in more open water while the BRS is better for fishing, powering and is a better work boat.  Graham and I along with Jim Brown with crews in our three BRS15s once held a wild plane from Bonner Bay to Vandemere in a northeaster for at least 4 miles that was great fun, if a bit wet.  A CS might have been a bit dryer but no more fun.

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Graham told me about that legendary ride from Bonner Bay!  I still haven't pushed my boat as much as I should have this summer.  Wait'll next year...  In the meantime, here are some photos of her lines.  From these, you may be able to see the relative flatness of the bottom in her beamiest sections.  Zoom in on the first one (7708), because the reflection on the hull hides the true lines.  The other two photos do a good job of showing the bow/entry lines.  While these lines are not the most wave-friendly, I must bow to Tom Lathrop's experience(s).  Cruising on the Sea of Cortez???  I guess I have a lot to learn about my boat, and that is a very good thing!  Thanks for sharing your views with btrowe and me.

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   I should mention that the CS17 in the side-by-side photo Don posted has a relatively small cockpit for a CS17.  They can be built without the rear compartment and if you look at the front of the coaming you'll see there is space under there.  The curve of the coaming takes up quite a bit of room at the front of the cockpit, too.  The foredeck could be squared off and made almost 3 feet shorter to increase sitting room at the front of the cockpit.  With the extra space fore and aft the cockpit would be huge.

   That boat was built for solo daysailing and camping for two.  It has in the past carried a shocking amount of food and gear stowed in the lazarette, under the foredeck, under the raised floorboards and under the tiller.  One labor day weekend we were camped at Cape Lookout and a sailing club stopped at the beach for a pot-luck.  All the sailors from the big boats brought salads and cold cuts and other portable foods and my friend and I provided the hot food because we had the stove and cooler and table and chairs and lantern and... :)

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Graham told me about that legendary ride from Bonner Bay!  I still haven't pushed my boat as much as I should have this summer.  Wait'll next year...  In the meantime, here are some photos of her lines.  From these, you may be able to see the relative flatness of the bottom in her beamiest sections.  Zoom in on the first one (7708), because the reflection on the hull hides the true lines.  The other two photos do a good job of showing the bow/entry lines.  While these lines are not the most wave-friendly, I must bow to Tom Lathrop's experience(s).  Cruising on the Sea of Cortez???  I guess I have a lot to learn about my boat, and that is a very good thing!  Thanks for sharing your views with btrowe and me.

 

Liz and I did not take LOON to the Sea of Cortez although we have camped and fished there from our camper.  LOON was sold to John and Lynn Sperry, two botanists professors from Duke University and they took her the rest of the way after moving back to Utah.  The sale resulted in the purchase of plywood and epoxy materials to build LIZ, our 24' power cruiser.  I am sure that the CS17 would be much more suitable for long camp cruises, John and Lynn have clearly had a ball with the BRS.  A BRS17 would serve their plan better also but their tale on the B&B website shows what can be done in a BRS15 in capable hands.

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Thanks for all the good information guys. Don that was the first time I saw the BRS kitted out for fishing and is exactly what I have in mind. I usually have the electric trolling motor on the transom, but the bow mount looks slick (I hope you didn't drill too many holes in that beautiful deck). The other side of the story is sailing and for the waters I have in mind the extra length / capacity of the 17' should be an asset. Think I'll order the plans now and get started on getting the material together for a spring build.

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Dave, upon a careful scientific annalization of the photo in question, it is obvious that the choice of who has to go overboard is based entirely on seniority. Sacrifice the YOUNGUNS! By-the-way, did you know that we really DON"Y have alligators up here in the mountain lakes? Now, the great northern lake shark has recently begun to be observed following trolled bait like this.

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Dave (Hirlonde):  My passengers were from the Low Country, where gators do roam.  The boy way used to being used for gator bait, I guess.  

 

Btrowe:  I did not drill any holes in my deck for this bow-mount system.  The mounting "bracket" I made has a stub of wood that drops down the hole for the main mast.  it hugs the vee formed by the converging gunwales.  Finally, it is secured to the bow eye by a fancy hinged plate fashioned out of a barn door hinge.  It's not perfect, but it works, so far.  (Sorry, no photos to date.)  Yes, I think the 17' version will be better suited for four fisher(wo)men.  Consider using the winter to build a rudder, centerboard, c/b trunk, masts, sprits, etc.  You could also build up you seat hatches, as they are a separate item.  Note that the original BRS plans do not give good details for the modern seat hatches.  Be sure to ask B&B for that additional sheet.  Great instructions for those hatches are available on YouTube, part of Alan's CS15 build.  Tacking it all together with hot melt glue was simply diabolical.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I've got the plans now, I'm officially BRS17 #156, just have to make it 3D and float. I went to the local specialty store today and got some ash for the centerboard and stem. Picked the 5/4 for the centerboard and will be laminating strips as per the plans. I found 4/4 QS for the stem and stem cap, figured QS would be better at the bow. I haven't decided on the transom yet, was considering solid wood but it would be pretty heavy. The plans call for solid wood framing and plywood skin. I estimate this would be about 1/2 the weight of a solid transom.

 

Don I noticed you used a solid transom... what thickness is it? Any reinforcement?

I plan on using a 10hp motor, so any input would be helpful.

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Welcome to the Bay River Skiff cult!  Let me throw down a few bullet points:

  • Ask Graham and Alan about the keel batten.  I built mine according to the plans, which specify a keel batten.  The Core Sound boats, a more recent development, omit this part. I asked Graham about it this fall at the messabout.  I believe he told me that he would omit it.  There are advantages to leaving it out.
  • My transom was made according to the plans.  That means that it was 3/8" (?)  plywood plus a lot of lumber glued to the inside surface.  (See photo.) It might be 1/4", but I doubt it.  I'm away from home right now, and can't consult my plans.
  • When you cut the side bevels to the transom and stem, cut them large, and trim them down with a power planer.  I lifted the angles off the drawing.  For my build, it was not the right angle.  
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Welcome to the Bay River Skiff cult!  Let me throw down a few bullet points:

  • Ask Graham and Alan about the keel batten.  I built mine according to the plans, which specify a keel batten.  The Core Sound boats, a more recent development, omit this part. I asked Graham about it this fall at the messabout.  I believe he told me that he would omit it.  There are advantages to leaving it out.
  • My transom was made according to the plans.  That means that it was 3/8 plywood plus a lot of lumber glued to the inside surface.  (See photo.)
  • When you cut the side bevels to the transom and stem, cut them large, and trim them down with a power planer.  I lifted the angles off the drawing.  For my build, it was not the right angle.  
  • Also, since I had a chunk of thick white oak laying around, I added a slightly oversize transom knee.  Sure wouldn't hurt for you to do likewise!

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Interesting detail, I like the knee you added. Plans do call for 1/4" ply transom, 3/4" solid stiffener, and 3/8" ply to complete the sandwich in the motor mount area. From your picture it looks like you omitted the ply that covers the transom stiffener and filler piece.

Thanks for the tip about the stem & transom tapers. Best to leave some extra now and fine tune during assembly.

I'll ask Graham about the keel delete to see if anything needs to be beefed up.

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