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Jeff

so many to build...but which one?

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Can anyone help  ???...

I've been trying to decide on which design to build for quite some time now- Vacationer? a Glen-L Fancy Free? a John Welsford Penguin?  I've seen the owner sites on the Vacationer, and like that you can order a DVD from Stevenson for newbies like myself (although I've remodeled kitchens, installed new roof's and reconstructed entire load bearing walls...boats are new to me!) - I also like the design and layouts of the Fancy Free and Penguin (and the fact that Glen-L will supply full size patterns). 

Does anybody have any experience (or know someone that does) with the other 2 designs? How hard is lofting the Vacationer?  Is the build cost for the Vacationer similar to the other two?

I'm looking for a larger, trailerable design with cabin accommodations to make sailing as comfortable as can be for my wife and two small children - so these seem that the would fit the bill. If anybody has another suggestion..I'm all ears!

Thanks!

Jeff

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Vacationer would be much easier to build and lighter to trailer than the Penguin.  However, the Penguin would be a superior boat for the comfort of your family on the water having much more interior volume and good headroom.  I believe both the Penguin and Fancy Free are very ambitious builds for a first-time boatbuilder.  By the time you finish either the kids might not be all that small  ;) .  Much better to build something simpler to learn the process and gain confidence in yourself and from your family that you can build a boat. 

I would suggest looking at the Navigator or possibly pathfinder both of which could have cockpits shaded by a bimini.  Another possibility is Mickalaki's designs (go to the store at www.duckworks.com).  One of the birdwatcher variants would be particularily easy to build and good with small kids though unconventional to look at.  I myself built a Pocket Cruiser which is a smaller Stevenson design with a cabin though its broad beam gives much more volume than the longer Weekender.  At the time I finished it I had two very small kids and it ended up being a great boat!  It is a very stable boat allowing the kids to wander where they wanted to.  It was able to handle four adults and three kids for day sailing.  I put opening doors and portholes on the cabin making it a wonderful retreat for the kids and a little fort on the water.  There wasn't enough room for the family to sleep on-board. 

I sold the Pocket Cruiser and I kinda regret doing so though I have moved onto some other homebuilt boats.  I was determined when I moved to Georgia to build a boat big enough for the family to sleep on comfortably and Welsford's Penguin was at the top of the list.  However, knowing the complexity of the build and my general speed in building, I figured I would miss out on too many adventures with the kids (they grow up very fast) while building the boat so chose to buy a MacGregor 26D (classic---pure sail) for the family.  I still look with some longing at the Penguin but have enjoyed sailing the Mac as well as building other small boats.  Currently I am building two flying mouseboats (8' prams) for the kids and will be building a Toto for the wife (I have a self-designed 12' dory).  I can use these in conjunction with my bigger boat and/or just have a small boat adventure on another body of water.  I also have a 12' V bottom catboat (bateau.com C12) that I have rigged with a cloth cabin for my own sailing adventures and plan on building a larger open boat eventually to replace it.

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I'm guessing the build time on the Penguin would be a good deal longer than that for a B&B Bellhaven.  Means you'd be sailing sooner!

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I appreciate everyone's help! 

Although I like the classic look of the Fancy Free/Vacationer, I'll look more closely at the B&B designs.  As much as I want a certain 'look', I also want to engage in something that won't leave me scratching my head all night and end up having my kids grow up before I get the boat wet for the first time!

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Big thumbs up on my part for a V bottom over flat.  My "Little Gem" is a V bottom catboat and she is both surprisingly fast and able to handle rough water.  The V shape acts like a shock absorber in waves or motorboat chop and she seems to get up on plane fairly easy.  BTW, being comfortable in motorboat chop is a big one on the lakes around us and the flatbottomed Vacationer rode like a car with no shock absorbers.  Granted, when there is wind all boat settle down and cut through waves just fine but when there isn't it can get uncomfortable.  This has always made me wonder a bit about some boats that have multichine shape but a flat bottom.  Welsford's boats do have a nice V entry at the bow though.

The downside to V bottomed boats are that they have a little deeper draft than flat and they don't rest upright when pulled on shore or drying out.  Despite these downsides, my next "big boat" I plan on building is currently a 16' Chincoteague Skiff designed by Selway-Fisher (http://www.selway-fisher.com/OtherDB.htm#CHIN).  I love everything about this boat and I already have a brand-new Northsail gaff that would fit (another big influencer on the choice).  The deeper draft gives her more hold on the water and directional stability for scooting along with the board up.  I plan on creating "legs" that hook in to the rubrail to hold her upright if I dry her out on shore. 

Chincoteaguep4.jpg

Graham's designs excellent performing boats but a little to modern looking for me.

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I have seen the Core Sound in person (both a 17 and a 20') and they are handsome boats.  In fact, I think there is a beautiful picture of one finished with bright deck in Small Craft Advisor.  However, I want something that screams of an age before outboard motors.  Thats what I mean by too modern for me.  However, I am really glad that not everyone has the same taste, otherwise, going to the Cedar Keys non-mess-about wouldn't be near as much fun  ;D . 

Thanks for the info on multichine flat bottomed boats.  I was kinda wondering if they would have enough bite in the water to avoid bouncing on the rougher surface.  However, I am curious if they have the same smooth ride of V bottomed boats through waves or chop?  I imagine something ballasted, like the penguin, would but what about something unballasted like the Navigator?

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I love the walkabout!  Beautiful looking boat and one that looks like it could cover some miles.  Have to get that client of yours to post pictures and a report when he gets the sailing rig on it. 

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