Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A New Idea

Paul and I are members of the Carolina Sailing Club, their focus is one-design buoy racing, which hasn't really interested us much, and of course "Dawn Patrol" doesn't fit the classes.  A couple of years ago Paul and Alan did enter thier large Govenor's Cup Race in the 'all comers' category, but they didn't know how to handicap our sailboat.

This year the club started a new Day Sailors division and forum.  It's a group that's still finding it's way, but it's the reason we joined.  One of the more active members, just posted about having made a Puddle Duck Racer.  I've read about these sailboats in races like the Texas 200, and I believe one is expected in next years WaterTribe Everglades Challenge

A Puddle Duck Racer or PD Racer is an 8 foot long, one-design racing sailboat or day sailer.  It is billed as "the easiest sailboat in the world to build", and about the cheapest. The scow hull is a simple box, usually built of plywood.  As simple as making 4 side panels and attaching a bottom. The rules require that the lower 10" of the hull must conform to a particular shape with flat parallel sides.  But the fun part is that everything else on the boat is up to you;  you can put on any type of sail rig, under water fins, hiking board, bow sprit, multiple masts etc...  Some owners have attemped a very teeny tiny small cabin, one designed his to look like a pirate ship with pretend cannons. 

I've always thought they looked like a simple fun sailboat. These little boats have quite a following, with regional and even international competitions, there are racing clubs everywhere.  I've actually asked about them at home for quite awhile.  I won't bother to tell you what Alan and Paul have said about them, nothing very good.

The one below is David "Shorty" Roth's (the original creator) first PDR.  And yes I'd describe it as a particularly ugly one, with a mast made from a tarp.

I've just recently noticed that John Welsford, the designer of Steve's beautiful Pathfinder "Spartina", has a design he calls the Kiwi PDR.  His webpage about this design is very interesting. It appears that he has attempted to stay withing the hull shape rules (to keep it official), but has tried to give the boxy little boat some graceful curves. He says it's a 2 weekend build.  

Hmmm, now that I'm a sailor :) I kind of want my own sailboat, something small and light, that I can single hand on our lake.   Welsford's drawing of his Kiwi PDR (below) looks pretty good to me.

So how surprised was I to see a posting on the Day Sailors Forum that a member just finished making a PDR, and plans to make another.  In fact, he's investigating with a local builder for kit builds.  He describes the kits as "A kit that would allow one to build a first class boat  that one would be proud to own.  The kit would include marine ply and made with epoxy coat but construction would be Tight Bond 2 with silicon bronze nails / stainless steel screws."

This sounds pretty good to me.  I'm already thinking about the color, and the mast style (Welsford suggests a sun fish style sail).  Of course it'll have to go on the list after the wooden kayak and skin-on-frame kayak builds are finished.  And I don't think Paul will help me with this one.   He's had his eye's on the B&B Yachts Spindrift series, much prettier, and faster.
The PDR is much more than a sailboat, it's a whole community.  And if there is a local fleet starting, maybe the racing will be fun and help improve my sailing skills.


Anonymous said...

You should have Paul build you a Nutshell Pram. They have a little more class than the PDF. More difficult to build but way easier than Dawn Patrol

Kristen said...

Which Spindrift is he thinking about?

Captn O Dark 30 and Super Boo said...

wow... I'm still working on that bird house from cub scouts; the Stewarts got skills!!

Landlocked Sailor said...

A PDR has all the class in the world. More if you ask me, much more then a Nutshell.