I found a lot of conflicting information in researching my electric vs diesel post for part 2. So while I am doing further research I decided to write more about sailing.
I was considering building a sailboat over the winter hoping to find a client by the time it is finished. In weighing the pro’s and con’s of various boats I have decided on a particular type.
I wanted a big boat feel with and outside ballested keel. I also wanted a traditional type and of course, built of wood. A comfortable cockpit where you actually sit in the boat feeling safe and comfortable and where small children would be safe is also a must. I wanted to keep her under 2000 lbs. and less than 3 feet of draft to make her easy to trailer. The two boats I came up with were the BB Crowninshield Dark Harbor 12 1/2 half and the Joel White Haven 12 1/2. The 12 1/2 refers to the length of the water line of the boat.
The Dark Harbor would be a very fun boat to sail:
Her long overhangs are quite pretty and would effectively make her a longer boat when heeling in a breeze, making her a faster boat. She is said to be fast even in light air and able to take as much punishment in a breeze as her crew would care for. She has a self bailing foot well and won’t be overwhelmed if waves wash over her deck. You should expect to get wet though. Sailing this boat with her long narrow body may be fast and easily driven but will allow you to get splashed as well. She would be fun and exciting to sail.
You can see by the construction plan below she has no real cockpit though as you would sit on her deck with your feet in her self draining footwell.
I have actually thought of building this boat for a long time and have gone as far as to lay down the lines on the loft floor. But I think I would prefer a boat with a real cockpit to sit in and to bring my dog Wolfie and any children in safety.
There are larger versions of this boat with comfortable cockpits and a cudy cabin deep enough to sit upright under. The Dark Harbor 17 1/2 and the Camden Class are truly beautiful yachts. Here is a Dark Harbor 17 1/2 illustration. To give some reference to the difference in size, the 12 1/2 is 20′ 2″ long, displaces less than 2000 lbs with 3 ‘2″ of draft and carries 211 square feet of sail while the 17 1/2 bellow is 25’10” long, displaces 3500 lbs with 4’3″ of draft and carries 311 square feet of sail.
The concept for the Haven 12 1/2 is a wonderful boat designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1914 called the Herreshoff 12 1/2 or Buzzards Bay 12 1/2. This was the most popular of all of the Herreshoff built boats and is still very popular today. Joel White took the basic design of the Herreshoff 12 1/2 and modified her slightly to reduce draft by a foot. This allows the Haven 12 1/2 to be more easily trailered as well as to float in less water. Apart from adding a center board instead of a full keel Joel increased her beam by 3″ amidship and and inch and a half at the stern. But once in the water she looks and sails like the Herreshoff 12 1/2. The only noticeable difference is the added centerboard trunk in the cockpit. Here are two illustrations to show the hulls difference. The Herreshoff is on the left and the Haven is on the right.
I am in the process of pricing the Haven 12 1/2 and considering building her next since she meets my criteria of weighing less than 2000 lbs., easy to trailer and having a safe comfortable cockpit as well as a big boat feel. Bellow are the drawings from the plans.
Her lead ballast keel weighs in at about 585 lbs and and gives her that big boat feel and helps her cary her sails well.
The Haven 12 1/2 will be a nice boat to sail alone or with family and friends. She can be rigged with a gaff rig as shown or with a more modern marconi rig. It’s just a matter of preference. Both rigs are self tending for ease of handling. There is a reason this is one of the most popular small sailing boats of all time! If you are interested in this or any other type of wooden boat please don’t hesitate to call me at 504-319-1460.
*The prints in this post were on the internet and had no credit line. I believe they are the artwork of Kathy Bray. She has produced many beautiful color profiles of classic wooden boats. Her website is no longer working.