LitlCootFKDesign

Lit’l Coot Full Keel Design Notes

After doing the twin bilge keel version of the “Litl Coot” design, we had a flurry of letters from potential builders around the world with their own flavor of what would make the perfect pocket type sail design and it was finally Guillermo Martinez from Spain that ponied up and really convinced me to do some changes to the design. I present Guillermo’s dream here as a completely separate version of the same hull — the intent is quite different but the expression is the same, a small pocket cruiser that would be capable of taking its skipper to places that can only be imagined in a creative mind. She is seaworthy and capable with enough space on board for the organized sailer and enough potential to keep most of us water-tyros satisfied.

The biggest change to the original design was the addition of a fixed keel with draft of 30”, a radical departure from the twin bilge keel model that I had originally designed. This would allow her to stand up to weather that the shoal draft model could only aspire to and would keep the cabin freed up of any trunk or other structure. The rig was moved aft, the mizzen was thrown away and a sloop rig was designed for her. Guillermo wanted a bowsprit but I convinced him that she (the boat) would be much safer without the extension forward of the bow and would keep the sailor safely on deck by not working in front of the boat. With a club fitted jib, she will be self tending during tacking and I feel this sloop rig fits very nicely within the motorsailer genre that the original design was fit for.

A cockpit coaming was designed that would allow better support to the back for long watches under sail and provides a bit of increased freeboard in case some really rough waters are encountered. The twin rudders and centerline mounted outboard were retained and after just coming back from a recent trip sailing a 37ft. boat (or more accurately, I should say motor sailing) down the Pacific coast from Washington to California, I am more than happy with this design feature. This will allow us to keep that motor running when she might lift her heels up and rotate the prop out of the water as might happen with a conventional mounting of the outboard to one side or the other of the transom. All other features stay the same with the exception of the pilothouse where I put in a double faceted front window instead of the single pane unit on the original design. This will keep the window sizes smaller and it looks very nice on the profile drawing of the boat.

With the fixed keel, I was able to place another 50 lbs of lead in the keel and lower than if it were in the bilge of the boat with the result of the design being able to carry sail much deeper into an increase in the wind. I usually plan on casting about 75-85% of the anticipated ballast (in this case 650 lbs) before launching and then finish off the final ballasting after checking her trim in the water and re-assuring myself that the weight is located where it is most needed to keep her floating level and on her lines.

This is a pure 50/50 motor sailer and on this size boat, I think the little 9.9 horsepower Yamaha or Honda 4 cycle engine in hi-thrust configuration is just about ideal. It’s a great little engine, barely sips fuel, is almost soundless at idle and will work very well on this design. Once we joined the two tillers together into a single link arm, then my next problem of how to allow an inside steering station to be rigged was easily assisted by having one common link with simple shackles made up to fixed lines and led thru turning blocks to a fore and aft pivoting vertical tiller that will be fixed in the pilothouse on the starboard side. If I desire to steer from this inside station, I can sit in a comfortable seat on the starboard side facing forward and steer her by either pushing or pulling on the tiller. There is enough drag in this type of steering system to keep the helm steady for short periods of time if I needed to have her self steering while fixing a spot of tea or perhaps making a snack. One of the main ideas with this design is that all functions could be done while sailing, or motoring, solo. There is room to take a buddy along but you don’t necessarily have to. In fact, there might be a lot of days when just my dog, Bella, might be the perfect crew for an adventure on the “Litl Coot”. So all the halyards, topping lifts, etc. are lead aft to the sides of the pilothouse.

So we now have a boat that can sit on a trailer (mind you a bit higher on a trailer than the shoal draft twin keel model), fit in a normal sized garage for berthage when we aren’t using her, an inside and outside steering arrangement, a couple of berths for doing some simple cruise/camping, and one that will sail or motor at a fairly efficient level whether the wind is blowing or not. And did I add that she is towable behind most of the small to mid-sized SUVs or pickups? She is a vessel that can take on some coastal waters without compromise and still be manageable size and expense-wise. I can sail her either on my own or with crew but again all systems and setup can be done on my own if that is the way I choose to use her. In final expression, I have found the “Litl Coot-Full Keel” to be absolutely beguiling during her design stages and my armchair cruises built around her platform have been wonderful. My best guess is that her real life adventures might be just as good or better and that adds a lot of spice to my life – just the ticket for a modern, busy world!

Amateur plans consist of 16 drawings printed on 24×36 inch paper and a simple building booklet. You can either buy printed sets of plans directly from us or buy a downloadable version and print on your own. We are now producing basic hull kits for her or we could build you the whole boat if you would like. I look forward to seeing many of these capable little sloops on the water very soon.

–Sam Devlin

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