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It's been 13 years since I completed my CS17 and 5 years since I sold it. I'm now newly married, living in a new house by the Columbia River in Bridgeport, Washington. Our property includes a two-story, six-car garage/shop. My new wife is passionate about boat building and sailing, and I'm eager to embark on a new project and pull the trigger.

I've had discussions with Alan once and a few other boat designers in this area about potential boat projects. Recently, I finished building a Storer Electric Canoe for river fun, although it doesn't sail yet. I'm particularly drawn to designs like the ECO 55 due to their efficiency in incorporating an electric engine on a multihull. Based on my experience, electric outboards are less efficient, and a 2:1 direct shaft drive is more effective. I also have a great appreciation for Core Sound boats and their ability to handle 50-knot winds and 12-foot waves. The biggest pro for me of multi-hulls  is their ability to traverse local long lakes and reservoirs at higher speeds.

I have a few remaining questions about the Core Sound 20 MK3 because the website lacks information on newer upgrades and options:

  1. Keel: In Alan's build video, he removed the wooden keel. My only positive experience with it was on the east coast, where it helped with beach sail offs. However, I also had to replace it due to damage from trailer rollers.

  2. Ice Box Under Seat: Does it obstruct someone sleeping? How is it drained?

  3. Masts: Has anyone added a VHF antenna to the mast for emergency use with a portable radio?

  4. Pre-shaped C&C Rudder/Centerboard: Is it worth it? I noticed some posts about adding lead; is this specific to the C&C cut ones? I modified my centerboard by adding 1.5" of lead shot on the bottom, mixed with thickened epoxy, and attached it with glass and lag screws because the weight called for in the plans wasn't sufficient to lower my centerboard completely.

  5. Cabin Bunk-board: Is it comfortable for a couple to sleep on? Many have suggested the Belhaven 19 before, but it seems like it hasn't received the same level of upgrades or development as the MK3?

  6. Recessed Outboard: Is it worthwhile? Does the boat have a mechanism to fold down the bottom when the outboard is not in use, similar to a T-bird 26? This idea makes sense to me, especially if I'm using a shaft with an electric engine and replacing water ballast with lithium batteries.

  7. Centerboards on the C&C Version: Are they in the correct position? I've noticed some discussions about relocating them.

  8. Retractable Bowsprit: Goal Zero?

  9. Staysail: Does anyone still use it, or has the Goal Zero replaced it?

  10. Rowing: Is it a practical addition?

  11. What is everyone doing for navigation lights?

  12. Raspberry Chartplotter??

  13. Is anyone using wind/direction/speed gauge combo?

    Lots of questions, lots of time here at work waiting for stuff to break...





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That's quite a view from your break room and lunch seat. Several areas comes to mind as it relates to your list, I created a custom shallow water sailing skiff and I inlaid wheel weights in epoxy in a recessed section of my centerboard. then glassed over the unit with biaxal glass.  It worked super.  I also added a built in drink cooler with a drain overboard in my helm seat of a cruiser. Of course waterline for the drain and bottom of the cooler comes into play. But you really don't need a deep box as long as you generate a longer than deeper one.


Of course plan for insulation thickness . I used close cell foam, which received epoxy and glass and bonded really well. This is an example, but can be modified to fit any shape and form for an area. Create a crude mold for your box and taper the unit so it comes off easily when you create a solid glass skin for the inside.  Formica is great for the outer skin and just wax the surface really well before glassing. 


I also used portable bunk board inserts from side seating for sleeping. attachment.php?attachmentid=62384&stc=1&attachment.php?attachmentid=62385&stc=1&


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I can answer some of your questions,  some of my ideas have worked, some kinda and a few we don’t discuss!


Nav lights, I have had excellent results with NASA nav lights (not the NASA everyone initially thinks of).  2 wires up the mast with switching diodes to select anchor or navigation lights.  I now have 2 of their lights and they work well.  

My Flinders know to us as Kalos uses RPI4B with OpenCPN.  Basically it works fantastic,  with an inexpensive  hockey puck GPS and a dAISy AIS.  I have charts on the system that would tax and chart table on any small boat.   Don’t scrimp on the monitor.  Handheld GPS on our CC20.3 has largely been replaced by iPhone with Navionics.  

I have a mast head antenna on Kalos, on our CS20.3 just using a Icom handheld.  Kalos has SSB/Ham etc so quite avionics intense.  I use a Garmin InReach for longer range weather guesses and forecasts.  It also is a good security blanket (I recently used the emergency mode, worked fine) 


‘Once upon a time we had a Tripp designed Columbia 26 with the outboard in a well in the cockpit. That soured me on outboards in a cockpit well.  Well it was an old 2 stroke Everrude.   Our CS20.3 has a small outboard mounted on an easily removable socket type mount.  Kalos is electric pod drive that has proven to be excellent. 

B&B’s preshaped hydrofoils are sooooo worth it.   As you know any time you can have better or equal results with less work, a win!  YMV

We have a NASA brand (same brand as nav lights) depth sounder on Kalos, not found a particular need in our CS20.3.  When it gets that shallow it’s obvious.  No speed or wind speed instruments. The boat tells me the wind by its motion. 

Kalos has onboard refrigeration and our Core Sound uses a quality ice chest.  Load it at home, clean it afterwards at home. 

We have stayed on our CS20.3 up to 3 weeks at a time (with frequent shore visits) and were quite comfortable.  It is an excellent design for a 20 ft easily trailerable,  Carol an I both sleep very comfortably aboard.  Kalos is luxurious.  

Hope some this helps…



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Nice write up, Jay. Thanks. Though I don’t have much of anything to do with boat electronics and pathetically little experience with camping aboard (I do have some hopes/plans for next season) your comments are helpful… and lift my already high appreciation of my Core Sound 17mk3. 

Edward, you seem to be a very capable person with building, sailing, your vocation, etc. I offer only novice level thoughts:

I appreciated the CNC foils I got with my B&B kit (CS15 Norma T).  They made the tasks of “building” the quality centerboard and rudder an easy project. 
My purchased CS17 mk3 is the #6 hull. My friend, Don Silsbe, sailed it with me and thought the centerboard being moved forward by 10 inches or so would benefit the boat’s handling,  He offered to do the project for me, since I let him use the boat for six months (thank you, Don). He found it made a positive difference.  I think I notice it somewhat as well. Doing this moved the centerboard trunk into the cabin along the side of the port bunk (about ten inches.)  I understand that plans and kits were changed to include the modification. (Graham indicates that many design details are compromises… the original placement to keep the trunk completely out of the cabin might be an example.)

I am playing with a small jib as a staysail (I got two for free) and I think I feel a power difference sometimes (again, I’m not a very perceptive sailor) so I’ll keep experimenting with this. Trying the sail ahead of my mainsail (a short “bowsprit” for the purpose of experimenting) seemed less effective with the mainsprit impeding moving the tack from one side to the other. Also, it seems to me I saw that the jib/bowsprit approach can override the centerboard’s effect to some degree. Graham experimented with installing in his mk3 an additional small “centerboard” forward of the regular one to manage this… as I recall.  I like my experience playing with the jib as a staysail and will keep experimenting.  One guy indicates a staysail’s usefulness in low wind conditions. 
As I recall, a few folks cut down the coaming in the Mark 3 a few inches to accommodate rowing, sort of a notch. 
That’s the little bit I have to offer. 

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Hello their

New to the BandB web site welcome

My name is mark and I live in Spokane building a CS 20 mklll she is all but done I have done all the mods that you asked about the thread is hull build #24, I would very much talk over the project you have taken on 

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As a CS 20.3 owner I'll try to answer some of your questions:


1.  Regarding the keel (actually I think a better term would be a skeg since it isn't a proper keel):  Alan approaches his boat builds from a racing/hydrodynamics mindset, so he left the skeg off for a slightly faster hull.  Most CS 20.3 builders attached a small one, myself included (I added a stainless steel hollowback to it as well).  My thinking was that it could take some abrasion from beach landings and also register in the grooves of the trailer rollers.


2.  Ice chest:  it is drained through a small tube into the self-draining cockpit.  I would highly recommend building in the ice chest.  I did not and regret it; my portable cooler keeps getting in the way.  I actually asked Graham about it yesterday; he said on his last trip the ice lasted 5 days.  Lastly the ice chest does not in any way interfere with sleeping.


4.  Buying CNC machined foils from B&B versus shaping your own:  given the importance of good foils I would buy the CNC machined ones; it will save you significant time and you are guaranteed good ones.  I made the centerboard myself using templates that B&B kindly provided me, and bought the rudder, but as a handplane collector I wanted the opportunity to put them to use.  If you are not an experienced woodworker I would just buy them.


5.  Bunks: they are comfortable and very long.  I just spent 6 days sleeping on the boat and slept well.  There is plenty of footroom, and I like the space behind the bunks; when you wake up in the morning you can just stuff your blankets behind the bunk for the day and they stay clean, dry, and out of the way.  For reference I am about 6' tall and weigh 165lbs.


7.  Centerboard location: your kit or plans will have the updated location.  It was only us very early builders (we started building before B&B even really finished the complete plans) that were affected.  I just finished a 5 day sail with another 20.3 with the updated location; he was able to point a little higher than me.







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Amos, I REALLY wish you hadn’t mentioned that the board forward mod was that effective!  I was lurking to see if either one of you intrepid sailors would mention it.  Our Core Sound 20.3 was the first completely home built and …….  well you know.  Carol said she loves the way it sails,  I just put my new Fein Multimaster 500 back on the shelf.  

 Our Core Sound has a little skeg. Both for pin striping the shallows, and though a little more lateral plane would be ok.  I clamped some duct taped plywood strips on either side of my skeg and made my protective shoe with epoxy thickened with lots of woven roven scraps chopped into 1 or 3 inches.  10 years and still good. 

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I hated having to repair the skeg area, twice in my ownership. Once from a towtruck dragging it up after getting hit by drunk lady prior to 2012 everglades challenge. That Kevlar reinforced carbon fiber cover repair, only lasted 2 years, and the actual solution involved grafting in new wood, and installing a SS rub piece. Alan's solution might be the way to go, I like going fast.


Moving the centerboard forward is an interesting idea. I'm going to ask Alan, about installing a second one, with rubber or something on the hull covering it to help with water flow, I would love a goal zero, combined with a staysail.

Light air stay-sail is the best thing I ever used, in heavy coastal current off of Victoria BC, we where making .5-1kt headway with a nice rooster trail behind us. Saved us from spending the night off the San Juan Islands. Just want an option for a little extra power.


So last question, bunks?? How much room in the 20 MK3 cabin is there for bunk-boards, so on cold NW nights, I can cuddle with my wife? How far under the seats do your feet go?

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I'm not sure what you mean by bunk boards (unless you are referring to a board that spans the footwell in between the two bunks?); you don't need any boards as the bunks form part of the structure of the boat.  The bunks are 7' 4" long if I remember correctly.  Your feet barely go under the cockpit seat at all; maybe only about a foot of your feet (sorry) go under the bunk. 


I got some good video last week of some 20.3s . . .








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