Sunday, 29 April 2012

Inflatable Sailing Boat!

Being a minimalist sailor, a couple of years ago I decided to build a sailing dinghy I could pack into my car boot. I got the inspiration of the basic rigging concepts from a great site called Here are a couple of low quality phone pics of my attempt at putting together a boat that would fit in the boot of my small car!

The shape of this particular inflatble kayak makes for an excellent sail boat. This was my first attempt at using a steering oar and I have to say it was fun to use instead of a rudder. One of the advantages of a steering oar is that you can very easily tack by simply lifting the oar out of the water to help spin the boat around on the lee board axis.

Look closely at the mast step: A round mast going into a square section mast step!!! I went out one day off Exmouth in rather windy conditions and when beating into wind I experienced a mast failure, surprise surprise it was at the mast step. Lesson learnt :)

That being said I had some fun with this boat - thanks Jim Lucket at for the inspiration.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lay down Sailing boat!

For a while I have been toying with the idea of building a lay down sailing boat, and here are a couple of pics of my prototype on her maiden voyage!

The cut out in the transom is so I can kick with my legs for propulsion if needed (I have a couple of flippers I took on the boat with me) This also makes tacking a very quick process.

I am using an Optimist rig, stayed with some dyneema rope. The hull itelf is made from a foam core sandwiched between two sheets of 3mm plywood so the hull is very light!

I made a hand stearing mechanism for the rudder using two cables lead through some pulleys to a lever where my right hand falls naturally. The main sheet leads to a cam cleat in easy reach of my left hand.

There was very little wind on the day (a good thing), however I was rather nervous on my first launch as this is a pretty whacky concept. The idea is that although she is never going to be that fast, as I will be so close to the water it should give a good sensation of speed!

I was pleased at how comfortable it felt laying on my front - this was one of my worries. The steering mechanism did not work well but I managed to steer by just using my foot on the rudder. The boat seemed balanced well, with maybe just a little too much weather helm.

I need to add a little more buoyancy on the sides and aft, I shall do this with some closed cell styrofoam. I am also going to change the steering mechanism, I am thinking at the moment to change to a foot controlled mechanism.
Happy days!