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Thinking about a modified Spindrift


Viktor Steimle

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My apologies for the long post.

I have been thinking about building a Spindrift (10 or 11, non-nesting) with a few modifications.

Background and intended use:

I live in southern Quebec and am freshly retired, so I have lots of plans for sailing in summer and boat building in winter.

We have recently moved to a house with lake access with a hand cart/dolly at about 200-300 yards distance. There is a little hill on the way and testing with a weighted canoe on a cart showed me that I should not go over a total all-up weight of about 60-70 kg (130-155 lbs).

I want a sailing/rowing dinghy that rows well with one passenger in the stern and also sails well (mostly single handedly).

I am also thinking about possible camp cruising with the possibility to sleep aboard.

The boat should also be very easy and quick to set up for a quick sail, when I don’t want to go to the trouble of trailering my main ride (an Iain Oughtred Caledonia Yawl) to the sailing club and rigging her, which takes me about an hour all told.

I am also dreaming of cruising in Maine and using the dinghy as a tender for my CY would be very practical.

I have looked at many different designs and on my shortest of shortlists it comes down to the new Duckworks Scout and the B&B Spindrift 10 or 11.

First, what I like about the Scout:

It’s featherlike weight of 75 lb (empty hull?). I would probably be able to single handedly cartop this weight, but it's at the limit.

Mobile thwarts that can be positioned at will to balance the boat for rowing with or without a passenger.

Offcenter daggerboard

Due to the mobile thwarts and the offcenter DB, the cockpit is open and it is possible to sleep in the open footwell.

What I don’t like about the Scout is the fact that there is an awful lot of fiberglassing in the construction that uses ply and foam to keep the weight down. I have watched the “Magic Carpet” Youtube videos documenting a Scout build and I don’t think I would enjoy it very much. I have to admit that so far, my fiberglassing experience is very limited. However, this winter I am going to build a CLC S&G kayak, so we shall see how the fiberglassing goes.

Now to the Spindrift

What I like about the Spindrift:

It is a very well-proven design with an impeccable reputation as a tender/sailing dinghy.

It is still fairly light. The B&B website gives the weight (again, is this bare hull weight?) for the S-10 with 90-110 lb and for the S-11 with 110-130 lb. This would still be in the weight range I would consider acceptable for towing on a handcart/dolly to the ramp. Single-handed cartopping would only be possible with a contraption that takes half of the load during loading I have seen such a thing somewhere, can't remember where). This adds some complexity.

The build looks also fairly easy and I am interested to try the B&B “butterfly” method because I am considering a Coresound in the more distant future.

The problem is of course that the fixed thwart does not permit longitudinal mobility of the rower to balance the boat and thwart and daggerboard prevent sleeping on the cockpit sole.

By now you’ll be able to see where this is going. Looking at the plans and pictures for the Scout and Spindrift, it is evident that it would be relatively easy to do a “Scout treatment” on the Spindrifts.

That is, have the longitudinal bulkheads run parallel and straight and move the daggerboard offcenter into a side bench. This would free up the footwell for eventual onboard sleeping and allow free positioning of the thwart to balance a passenger in the stern. I don’t think these modifications should have any impact on the weight of the boat. Offcenter boards are standard in the mk3 series of B&B boats and are found in many other designs (SCAMP, to name one). I saw parallel bulkheads on a Spindrift in an older thread here on the forum (Greg Luckett). Maybe they were a standard feature in older versions of the plans, I don’t know.

So I would like to consult the wisdom of this forum to see what you think of these modifications. I think they are both quite conservative and should not negatively affect the stellar performance of this design. It is of course quite brazen for a complete newbie to want to outthink an extremely experienced designer, and I apologize in advance.  On the other hand, building your own boat gives you the possibility to get what you want (within reason).

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Viktor

 

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These are interesting modifications, Viktor.  I had a similar thought regarding moving the daggerboard trunk to the side.  Occasionally, I think that an Amanda 12 is going to be my old man’s boat.  Doing this on the Amanda would allow leg room for sleeping aboard.  I wonder how much torsional rigidity would be sacrificed by eliminating the seat as a structural member.  Maybe it could be screwed in place, and relocated & repositioned when the need arises.  
A friend of mine built a Scout. I was amazed at all the bonding and sandwiching he did.  I’m not a fan.

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Thanks Don,

I think in the Scout the thwarts are screwed into longitudinal cleats of the side benches.

 

Concerning the torsional rigidity there is the point that the Scout has a flat bottom whereas the Spindrift has a Vee. Naïvely I would think that the Vee has more stability than the flat bottom, which I would expect to flex more.

 

Cheers,

Viktor

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Hi Viktor,

 

We have done most of the modifications you want on different boats over the years.

 

Here is a link to the "Kendrift 9" build log. She is a Spindrift 9 that we modified for Ken to be a lightweight tender for his OB26. Ken said that she weighed in at 66#. If you want the S10 or S11 modified so that it has the dual rowing station and offset dagger-board I would be happy to modify the plans.

 

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Dear Graham,

Thank you so much, this is great. It is much more than I had hoped for.

The thwart arrangement in the Kendrift is exactly as I had hoped. I missed that thread, although I searched pretty diligently in the B&B Forum, but of course it does not come up in a “Spindrift” search.

Now I have to decide whether I want a S10 or S11. The S10 would be lighter, but the S11 has a bit wider beam, which would be interesting for cruising. I would hope that it would make the experience of sleeping on the cockpit floor a bit less “coffin-like”. Another consideration is trailering the dinghy on top of my Caledonia Yawl, if I want to use it as a tender. I have to measure the distance between the two mast steps for main and mizzen on the CY, which serve as mast crutches for trailering. I am pretty sure I have more than 10’, but I am not sure I have 11’. The boat is all packed up for winter, so either I unpack it, or I wait until spring. There is no rush anyway, this build will not happen before next winter, since I have a project already going for this winter (it is snowing outside at the moment).

 

Since you have been so positive about my ideas, I dare come out with a second idea for a modification. The dinghy would be used mainly for rowing and daysailing at my local lakes. For this, the standard Cat-rig would be ideal and I would initially go with this. However, if I want to seriously consider cruising, I would be concerned about the difficulty in striking the rig on the water (see Pete McCrary’s “Seabiscuit” thread). Incidentally, the problem is the same for the DW Scout, as has been discussed on the relevant thread on the Wooden Boat Forum. On my Caledonia Yawl I have a balanced lug main and I like it very much. So, my question is: would it be possible to use the Amanda lug rig as an alternative rig on the modified S11 (it would probably have to be the 11, otherwise the size difference of the two hulls would be too big)? Could the lug rig go into the mast step and partner of the S11, or would it be possible to build in a second, alternative mast step and partner? I have no clue whether this is a crazy idea, or whether this is quite feasible. Clearly this needs the input of an expert.

Thanks so much,

 

Viktor

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I use two different rigs on my S11N. One is fairly close to the one specified- basic dimensions are correct- but the mast itself came from a different dinghy and is pretty heavy. I've found that whilst the performance is excellent, I'm not happy leaving the mast up with the boat afloat in anything but the calmest conditions. It's also 'interesting' moving around, and going up forward.

 

The other rig is a 5.5m² wind surf, which I use without a boom. It's been a revelation. Obviously lower performance but it's still pretty good, and it's just bombproof. I can furl it up and put a sail tie round it, and often leave it like that at docks or with the boat afloat. One tug on the sail tie and I'm off again.

I can easily drop or raise the rig at sea, and being a four part mast it stows away to nothing. I've even taken one section out to shoot a low bridge, which was fun.

It's now become my default choice for daily runs ashore. I hardly use an outboard any more. The small rig has made sailing a practical everyday option.

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Hi Viktor,

 

You are in luck. We have had a number of requests for the Amanda rig on the Spindrift and I have been working on it. The problem with just sticking the Amanda rig in a Spindrift is that the dagger board needs to be moved aft about 6" to balance properly. This is not a problem with the offset board with the trunk going through the side tank. If someone wanted to use both rigs they could just make the trunk 6" longer and have a plug positioned forward or aft for the rig they wanted to use. This may not have much value except for nuts like me that like to experiment.

 

I sailed the Small Reach Regatta in Maine in an Amanda a few years ago and was well pleased with her functionality and performance, beating the whole fleet except for a pulling boat rowed by Tom Jackson to the lunch time beach one day including a Caledonia Yawl.

 

If you have the plans for your CY you should be able to measure what size boat she can carry.

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Hi Graham,

Thanks again, this sounds super.

An adjustable dagger board slot sounds great. It would be very easy to build and it would allow easy fine tuning of the helm balance. Much easier than alternative mast positions. I would definitely do this.

In fact, I would in this case probably  start with the Amanda rig as a first rig and see whether I am content with that or whether I would want also the cat-rig for the days when I feel sportier. I am as such not a very competitive sailor, but hey, who does not want to go fast?

 

Unfortunately I don't have the plans for the CY, they did not come with the boat, when I bought it. I'll be travelling for a while, but I'll unpack and measure when I am back, I am too impatient to wait until spring.

 

Thanks so much again, this is all great,

Viktor

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So, I have measured my caledonia yawl and I would definitively have space for an 11-foot boat between the two mast steps. So far so good.

However, I am still hesitating whether to go for an S-10 or an S-11. The S-10 would be lighter by about 20-25 lbs, but the S-11 would have about 4 1/2" more beam, which I would hope would be mostly in the cockpit width. Both are important to me.

I can't make up my mind right now.

Graham, I'll be in touch via the B&B contact site about the practical side of this.

Cheers,

Viktor

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I had the choice of 10 or 11ft, and decided to go bigger. Almost the same amount of work, materials, and costs, for a more stable and roomy boat.

I've not been aboard an S10, but tbh in hindsight I would probably build the 10 if anything ever happened to my 11. It is a pretty big boat. We've carried nine people, we've carried huge loads of shopping, folding bikes, etc etc, and never felt like we were running out of room.

Handling the dinghy on deck would surely be that little bit easier with the smaller version. It's not all about weight, it's also the bulk. If I assemble my S11N on deck, vertical, I'm standing on tip toes working blind trying to get the bolts in to the bulkhead. Which is why I usually try to assemble it on the water, but conditions don't always allow that...

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