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CS-20 Design questions: Centerboard and combining "marks" features

Andy B

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Hello all, I've really enjoyed reading this forum over the past few months.  The expertise in sailing and building discussed here is staggering!  Early last summer I purchased Steve Warfle's Sea Pearl from him, and my family has enjoyed many adventures on it.  I saw from a distance, but didn't appreciate, Steve's CS 20 MK3.  The Sea Pearl is great, but a family of 7 is a little crowded on it :)  Thus, assuming the admiral of the treasury and the driveway space could be convinced, I'd be interested in purchasing a second boat.  The CS boats check a lot of boxes for me: easy to trailer, capsize recovery, fast, and cat-ketch rig.  For space purposes I would choose a CS 20.  Because most of our sailing is daysailing, I would prefer the open version, not the MK3.


So, here are my questions. 


First, could the CS 20 be built with the centerboard offset even further, so that it right next to or aligns with side benches?  A great attribute of the Sea Pearl is that the middle is open (due to the leeboards).  Christopher Cunningham has a great article on moving the centerboard on his Caledonia Yawl (among other boats)(https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/out-of-line/).  I think, but can't quite tell, that maybe the MK3 version does this.  Has anyone tried in in an open version?


Second question, there's no doubt the water ballast and self-draining cockpit of the mk3 are desirable features.  The inability to recover from a capsize is the biggest flaw of the Sea Pearl.  Could those features be added to the CS 20 mk1?  I think, from reading the B&B site, that they were part of the now-abandoned MK2 design (which I really like that design).  Stated otherwise, perhaps I'm asking if anyone has built an MK3 without the cabin?  And to follow up, would it be worth it?  The CS-20 looks pretty stable and recoverable as-is.  We sail in cold water, but our crew is healthy and good swimmers.


I apologize if these have been asked before, I searched the forum and didn't see anything, and I can't find pictures on the B&B site that answer the questions.  I'm also still squarely in the tire-kicking stage, but in my experience that's never kept anyone from discussing boat design on forums like this!

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Hi Andy.

A CS20 is much bigger than a Sea Pearl. 7 seems a lot on it though. But as your crew gets older the times you can get them all together will dwindle. It happens fast. Any CS is much more sable than a SP and people who went out with me once on WildCat and were uncomfortable with the tenderness have no problem on Skeena.


Things I miss on my SP:

  • Quick rigging. I'm still working to make launch faster but I don't think my CS can ever be as quick as the SP rig.
  • Infinite reefing. The sail shape suffered, but I loved how you could dial in as much neutral or weather helm as you wanted by how many turns. 
  • The tenderness. People that grew up in canoes like me love Sea Pearls. Other didn't.
  • Looks....it's subjective, but the SP was a pretty boat.
  • Light wind ability. I sail with a lot of traditional boats. On light air days the SP would really shine.
  • The rear Bimini. Hot days in the shade are superior. I haven't figured a solution for Skeena....

Things I don't miss.

  • The Lee-boards. Tacking a Cat Ketch with a centerboard is just sort of a non-event.....nice!
  • The tenderness. many of my passengers were not canoeists....
  • The center tent. Sleeping aboard was tight for one. I took each kid independently and suffered for it.
  • Anchor rode storage. bringing the rode on deck and having the water run the length of the deck....ugh!
  • Length. With the engine mount it's a pretty long package.
  • Lack of pointing. The CS points much better, especially when reefed.

A CS20 is a big project, but they do come up for sale once in awhile!


Take Care,


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Steve!  Great to hear from you, and I appreciate the comparison of the boats.


Just to clarify, I wasn't thinking of sailing routinely with 7 on board.  The goal would be to have both boats (Sea Pearl and potential other small boat) at the same time.

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Maybe I had too many of my kids aboard… but I was the photo-taker (last fall) leaning back on the transom in my CS15.  I’d think five more feet could make it possible for a couple more of the family.  I really like the openness and space of this boat.


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8 hours ago, Andy B said:

First, could the CS 20 be built with the centerboard offset even further, so that it right next to or aligns with side benches? 

I think the answer to this is yes.

If you look at the Belhaven 19 on the B and B website you will find construction photos - looking through those you can see the centreboard case well offset and built into the bench upright. On the Belhaven the centreboard extends below the hull in the retracted position and is matched by a small bilge keel on the other side so it sits level- see the design notes on the website.


Peter HK

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Hi Andy B,


We do indeed have a boat with everything that you asked for. We are currently calling it the SR20 for self righting. Hull #1 is finished and we hope that it will be sailing at the messabout in October.


It was a difficult assignment and we went through many iterations to get it right. Here is a cutaway view.


We previously updated the Bay River Skiff with the centerboard moved to the cockpit side and raised the freeboard to increase the down flooding angle. Travis sailed it in the Texas 200 and reported that it went very well.


Here is a link to the build pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/74WXsZVnrM9mAXkv9

cutaway view.png

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Hmmmm….  ??

Must… resist… wanting… this… boat!!

Well, I’ll just look at the photos. ?



I just went through the photos of build #1 of the SR20 (Graham’s link is above).  Wow!!  Wonderful workmanship on what I think is a sensational design for a family friendly daysailer… that likely could easily be used for camp cruising. 

This one has more appeal to MY interests than a cabin type accommodation and it gives a huge amount of cockpit roominess.  Ok, I’m still not done with my second retirement boat build (I’m waiting on the marina’s installation work of controls, motor, etc.… c’mon, guys), and I vowed that I don’t need to do another boat-build.  And, I’m REALLY happy with my CS15 that I built last year. My family loves it.   
But…. ?

Well, maybe in some future. 

I know, I can name it after my wife. THAT would justify it don’t ya think?


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A few more pictures added to the gallery.  Rolled out of the shop and with masts!  Wow that is such an awesome boat.  I would join PadrePoint in saying it looks like it would fit my needs perfectly.  Please keep us updated with availability/plans/kits as you can.

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Rowing must be done gently… and down the stream… and with a merry attitude. 

I’m not so sure I’d have a sufficiently merry attitude about rowing, especially since I’d make a motor part of the whole thing (and, it’s a great looking motor well in the photos.)  And if I had to row (as a backup) because my motor was not WORKING… well, merry I would not be.  Just saying. 😁

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The boat was never meant to row. The sides are just too high to make it work. This is by necessity since we're trying to get the maximum volume we can above the CG for self righting also why the coamings/side decks are sealed volumes with hatches, so they don't scoop water. These volumes seen below in green. She will also float quite high in the water on her side but won't be on her side for long with the ballast tank full. It's a pretty big trade off not being able to stow anything under the side decks like on the standard CS-20 but the full self draining cockpit is certainly nice. 


She was just weighed in at 743lbs empty. The ballast tank is 550lbs




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