miniature long range cruiser
Swaggie: (Australian slang)
A tramp, or itinerant who carries his bedroll, or “Swag”
upon his back.
My client loves small craft and has long had an ambition
to cruise a very small cruiser that would be capable of blue
water voyaging from his home on the Southern Coast of Australia.
For those not familiar with the area that’s roaring
40s territory and there are very long stretches of coast without
shelter or refuge. In a storm the best option is to get as
far out to sea as possible, close the hatch and get into your
bunk but of course few very small cruisers are designed to
survive this sort of treatment.
We’d corresponded about ideas for more than a while,
and we seemed to have similar ideas if slightly different
approaches so I drew a study proposal and sent it off to see
what he thought.
Bingo, a cheque arrived by return! Hit the jackpot and rang
(click to enlarge)
So here is Swaggie!
The basic premise of the boat is that she is sailed from
inside. Her Junk rig is the key to this, the sail being able
to be hoisted, reefed and sheeted from the main hatch means
that a conventional cockpit and sail handling areas are not
really required. This is a huge help as at less than 18 ft
she is not big enough to have both a useful cockpit and a
spacious cabin, seeing as she is a cruiser and needs to be
comfortable the cabin is the priority.
Her accommodation is as follows:
Double bunk forward, sorry but the big free standing mast
intrudes but the bed is still better than most you will find
in a boat this size. There are large lockers underneath the
double with room for a substantial battery bank, 25 gals of
water and dry storage for extra clothing and stores.
There is sitting headroom over the after end of the double,
a small locker port and starboard, a galley bench one side
at the after end of the bunk and a general purpose bench on
the other with storage under both.
There is a lot of storage in this area, a long voyage with
two crew needs a lot of stores and provisions, so I have designed
in enough space for lots of water, stores, equipment and spares.
Aft of that, and still under the low part of the cabin are
port and starboard armchairs, its important to have some really
comfortable places to sit when off watch or just relaxing
and these are as good as you will find, handy to the bookshelf
and the galley stove, near the on watch person but separate
enough to nap in when taking a break from the helm.
Step aft slightly and there is a single bunk down each side,
sitting here your eye will be up at window level, with your
hand on the inside tiller you have 360 deg vision and a view
of the sail through the Polycarbonate “astro”
dome in the main hatch. You can sit in here in full control
of the vessel and be totally sheltered from sun, wind or rain.
(click to enlarge)
More water tanks and extra storage goes in under those bunks
and the armchairs, I’ve allowed for 180 litres of water
which is consistent with the boats planned 30 days with 2
Cruisers spend a lot of time anchored in company, the boats
functioning as floating accommodation while their skippers
explore paradise, and such mundane issues as privacy for body
functions need to be considered. I have drawn in a portable
heads of the type sold for caravan use, stowed in under the
after deck it can be drawn forward into the cabin, used and
slid back without disrupting the rest of the boats functioning.
Similarly it would be practical to divide the boat across
the fore and aft cabin sections with a curtain to allow a
sponge bath for a modest crew.
There is also space in the same area for a valise packed inflatable
liferaft, compulsory for some countries if the boat is to
be sailed beyond territorial waters.
Her deck layout has a large anchor well up at the sharp end
in which the main anchor and warp can be stowed, a cabin top
organised so that a custom designed 6ft 6in dinghy can be
carried on the forward part of the cabin top where it protects
the big skylight while at sea, and a flat between the cabin
and the transom which is large enough to lie down and stretch
out on, or to sit up and steer with the outside emergency
and self steering tiller if the weather is clement. For nice
weather I would carry one of those little folding beach chairs
and fit some cleats to stop it sliding around, real comfort
in any sized boat.
She has a permanent pushpit railing aft which not only reduces
the chances of man overboard, but trebles as the mainsheet
horse and the self steering vane mounting.
I have drawn wide enough side decks to allow access forward
and suggest that a secure line be run forward around the mast
and back so anyone going on deck can be secured by a safety
harness at all times.
hull form is that which my smaller Houdini design has so well
proven, a narrow flat bottom, steep deadrise chine panels
and well flared topsides, the fine entry gives a nice easy
motion and the cross sectional shape gives a gentle roll with
very high ultimate righting moment, both safe and comfortable
in a boat that is intended for long voyages where one cannot
duck into a sheltered spot when the weather turns foul.
Construction is simple two skin ply over sawn frames and
stringers, very easy to build and extremely tough, there is
nothing here to bother a keen amateur with reasonable tool
skills, Her ballast is 450 kg of lead some 550 mm down below
the waterline, and heeled to 90 deg she will lift something
like 60 kg with her masthead which is a huge righting moment
for a little boat.
Swaggie's plans are detailed for real beginners, very basic
woodworking skills, a good attitude and an ability to read
is about all a Swaggie builder will need to begin with and
the other skills will come as the project progresses. I anticipate
a lot of builders will be people who find themselves trapped
in a soulless desk job which condemns them to commuting for
hours in heavy traffic, living in a thin walled and crowded
apartment and dreaming with longing of the freedom of the
seas, golden sands and warm breezes.
The space and resources needed for building a Swaggie are
not beyond the city dweller, and with determination the dream
can become reality. I am really looking forward to reading
of the adventures of Swaggie builders who have made the voyage
to paradise. Its not so far away!
Plans prices include packaging and an
allowance for surface freight. If you would like a faster
means of delivery we can send by courier or airmail at extra
cost. All credit card sales are in New Zealand Dollars.
If you pay by check, you may use the price in your prefered
currency as below.
Note that we sell sails and are pleased to quote a
freight inclusive price to anywhere in the world, we have
tan or white, the sails come with sailbag, one reef and
are completely ready to go. Prices fluctuate slightly so
we prefer to quote each sail as the demand arises but you
can bet that we are competitive even with the freight included.