Plans are complete!
I completed the drawings and finished writing and editing the build manual just before the holidays, and this morning I mailed out the remaining drawings and completed manual to everyone who bought the plans before they were done. I want to thank those brave and decisive souls who took a chance, bought the plans, and had faith that I wouldn’t move to Timbuktu before the plans were ready.
When I first thought about building Slider, the idea of selling plans seemed a little goofy to me. The reactions I’d gotten to my idea, from friends and in the various online boat-design forums were dubious at best, and among those critical reactions was one that struck me as possibly accurate: “Okay, so if, as you claim, a little cat with in-hull seating would be so easy to design, why hasn’t a real designer done it? Maybe it’s harder than it looks.”
Maybe it is, I thought, but fortunately, this sensible view of sailboat design did not deter me from trying. It did, however, keep me from taking a lot of pictures of the many elements that make up a little sailboat, nor did I keep acurate records of everything I did. I guess I was afraid that the little boat, when I completed her, would be one of those eccentric creations, like a pram rigged as a brigantine, that everyone enjoys seeing when one comes sailing by, but only their owner really wants.
In the end, Slider turned out to be quite a bit more appealing than I’d feared.
During the 19 months that I spent building the boat, I got a number of inquiries about plans, which made me feel that perhaps my idea wasn’t completely out of line with what other sailors wanted in an open microcruiser. However, since I really had no idea how the boat would turn out, I generally responded to these inquiriess with the observation that drawing plans seemed like a lot of work, for not a lot of money and, more importantly. that I didn’t think it was ethical for amateur designers like me to publish plans for boats, unless they’d built a prototype that was something special.
Slider’s been sailing now for nine months, and I’m convinced she’s pretty special. Whenever I’ve taken anyone out, the reaction has been uniformly enthusiastic. The boat is handy, goes well to windward, has a lively turn of speed, and above all, is unbelievably comfortable, for a 16 foot boat. She’s remarkably dry in a seaway, the seats are luxurious, visibility is perfect, and steering is easy. She tacks effortlessly, unlike many catamarans. She’s sturdy too; we’ve rammed docks and chipped the paint a little, and once we hit a sandbar with the daggerboard down, doing six knots, and neither case nor board was damaged.
With the posting of a few videos on Youtube, and then the publishing of this site, requests for plan information increased markedly.
It’s very difficult to find an entry-level multihull cruiser for a decent price– it’s not like the monohull market, where thousands of trailer-sailers are available for a small fraction of what they cost when new.
Slider, I thought, would be an excellent introduction to the pleasures of multihull cruising, though on a very small and reasonably-priced scale. In Slider, the sailor gets most of the advantages of multihulls– stability, comfort, safety, shallow draft, light weight– everything except fearsome speed (and high costs.)
I got to thinking about how nice it would be to see a few more Sliders sailing here and there around the world.
The result of all this is that I talked myself into offering plans for Slider.
Because I kept imperfect notes during building, my estimate on materials needed and costs involved may not be accurate. However, here are a few honest guesses:
Plywood: I believe Slider can be built with 14 sheets of 6mm or 1/4″ marine ply, plus one sheet of 3/4″ and a half sheet of 1/2″. 4mm ply would do for planking the topsides, if glassed on both sides, but I’d stick with 6mm for decks and hull bottoms. I used a high-quality birch underlayment called Multiply, because it was available locally, and was a lot cheaper than marine plywood.
Solid timber usage is more difficult to estimate, because I was completing a number of home improvement projects during this time. I used construction grade timber for the most part in all projects. For example, my stringers, chine logs and sheer clamps were all ripped from 3/4 inch southern yellow pine, which is strong and rot resistant, but heavy. A prettier, lighter boat could be built using clear Douglas Fir, which is widely available from local lumber yards, but is more expensive.
I used approximately five gallons of Epoxy, but this included glassing the hulls to only two inches above the waterline. Were I doing it again, I would probably glass the outside of the hulls completely. I used a 2:1 epoxy packaged by Fiberglass Coatings, Inc. of St. Petersburg, Florida. It never blushed, even in our humid Gulf Coast climate, and the service was good.
I believe I used approximately 20 yards of 6 oz fiberglass cloth, 60″ wide. This covered glassing the hulls to just above the waterline, and glassing the decks. I cut my own tapes from this material, because a tape without a selvage makes a smoother joint.
For the center deck and the duckboards in each cockpit, I used unfinished cedar, both for low maintenance and for good footing. I used about 10 pieces of 1X6 cedar, 8 feet long.
For the strongback on which each hull is assembled, I used 2 16 foot long 2X6s. I supported these on short saw horses, so that the hulls were at a good working height. Other large timbers were the beams– 10 foot 2X6, and the mast, which was laminated from 2 16 foot white pine 2X4s, then rounded and tapered. Again, these would be prettier and lighter in Douglas Fir.
No permanent fasteners were used on the hulls, but I went through a couple boxes of drywall screws, which were used to hold the planking to the stringers until the epoxy kicked. The only permanent fasteners were 3/8″ bolts holding beams to the beam webs and rudders to the rudders stocks, U-bolts for the forestay bridle, and various stainless screws used to attach deck and rigging hardware.
Rigging is 3/32″ 1X19 stainless. There are no turnbuckles– shrouds are tensioned via 1/8″ Dyneema lanyards. The forestay is tensioned in a similar manner, but the lanyard is taken aft to the forebeam, so that the mast can be dropped just by casting the lanyard off a cleat.
The cost of the full plans is $80.00 in United States funds, postage included. My feeling is that for an inexpensive boat, plans should also be inexpensive.
Send me a check for 80 dollars US, made payable to Ray Aldridge, and your mailing address to:
389 Gardner Dr.
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
If you live in another country, a Moneygram is best, since my bank charges a large fee to accept checks drawn on foreign banks and to accept international money orders. If you would prefer to order using a credit card, you can do so via Duckworks Boat Builders Supply.
Slider is not only a little faster, more seaworthy, and more comfortable than most 16′ open cruising boats, she’s also a little more complicated and expensive in time and materials. Still, she’s well within the reach of anyone who can come up with a couple thousand dollars and a few hundred hours of spare time.
Copyright 2008 Ray Aldridge