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Carlson Design

I took some lines in 1998 for this little frameless Whitehall Wherry from a 16 footer drawn by Platt Monfort. I entered it into the Hulls program, creating a multi-chine version and shrinking to 12 feet. Built over temporary frames of 1/4″ luan and epoxy/glass both inside and out. Mahogany gunwhales and thwart seats stiffen it right up. Light enough at about 65 lbs, rows fast and tracks well with the small skeg. There is no real stem; I epoxy-filled and sanded the segmented/chined stem into a nice curve.

Her only fault on initial launching was a tad low freeboard (my fault), although she shed waves well with 2 adults under a 2 hp kicker, stayed dry, and looked beautiful.

Since first launching, I made several changes. I added 1-1/2 inch mohagany inwhales, which improved the freeboard just about enough. I also opened up the centerboard slot through the thwart seat and added mast partners for a 10′ mast and full-battened lug rig. Just ahead of the mast is a sealed box of almost 1 cubic foot providing about 50 lbs of flotation. Foam under the seats also.

Having never tried a balanced lug, I was very pleasantly surprised. The rig provides plenty of power and speed with a low center of effort, scooting the boat along quite quickly. The full-length battens seem to greatly improve the weatherliness; the sail sets well even on the” wrong” tack. Raise and lowering the rig takes less than 5 seconds, and the whole rig stows in the boat. No boom, no gooseneck, no sail track – utter simplicity.

I positioned my rig well forward to keep the boat open, but wanted to keep the centerboard within the thwart seat (the rowing postion) for simplicity. With this much lead, the sailing rig is not technically perfectly balanced, but with the right centerboard and rudder, control is excellent. More weather helm could be added with a small mizzen, a longer foot, or by pushing the rig and centerboard closer. I haven’t found a good solution to seal the centerboard slot when not sailing, so the better solution might have been to move the slot just forward of the seat.

Recently, I added some benches to the sides to make sailing easier. We’ll see.

With its faults, this little boat really does motor, row, and sail well, though it should for its 12 feet. I’ve been thinking about building a new model, moving the board forward, increasing freeboard, and combining a recessed deck and seats in one. However, unless a way could be found to channel the water down the decks and out, maybe a real deck makes more sense for sailing. At the same time, I think the keel panel needs to be flat to give you somewhere to rest your feet…

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