70443RE: [bolger] Raise sheer height of Work Skiff?
- Jul 24, 2014
Every boat is a balancing act between conflicting desires. Some things to consider:
Work Skiff has vertical (plumb) sides, so a five foot beam equals a 5 ft wide bottom. AF4 has flared sides and while I don’t have a set of AF4 plans, I think that AF4’s bottom is somewhat narrower than it’s six ft beam—somewhere between 5 ft and 5 ft 6 inches, so the loss of floor space is probably somewhat less than 10 sq ft and may be zero.
There is an adage in risk management, “There is no sense in trying to make things foolproof because fools are so ingenious.” This is true of small children as well. Small children start by climbing out of their cribs (how high are crib sides?) and end up on the roof with a couple of friends seeing who can pee the farthest. Buy good PFD’s for your children and make sure they wear them. If they go overboard, they will float until you can pick them up and they may learn from the experience.
Boats like Work Skiff and AF4 draw very little water and are subject to being blown around by the wind. This is particularly true at slow speed as dictated by a 9.9 hp engine. Increasing the sheer height by 25% will increase windage by 25%.
Having said all that, one of the advantages of building your own boat is that you get to have the boat you think you want.
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Subject: [bolger] Raise sheer height of Work Skiff?
In pouring over the designs of Work Skiff and AF4 further, I thought about the beam to length ratios of both boats. Work Skiff is 18' x 5' whereas AF4 is 18' x 6'. With the HP restrictions on my lakes (9.9 Max) I need all the help I can get, so I believe Work Skiff has a slight advantage. Of course I lose about 10 SF of cockpit space and the associated buoyancy, but it may end up being worth it. Work Skiff does bring up another issue though-sheer height and freeboard.
At 1400lbs displacement, my expected load, Work Skiff should draft about 4". At the lowest point, this yields about 14" of freeboard-not a lot, in my opinion. Increasing sheer height 6" across the board would give me 20" of freeboard and a 24" deep boat at the lowest point, which would give me peace of mind for two reasons. First, the increased freeboard as we'll be out on lakes where the wind can kick up unexpectedly at times, and next, because I'll have little ones in the boat. Higher sides will help to keep curious toddlers from toddling overboard.
This will definitely increase plywood usage, though the side planking is only nested with some components of the shoe, but I may have another idea for that (to be discussed later)-the transom and bulkheads will need to be higher of course. What I am not sure about is whether or not this will affect the boat in unforeseen ways that I'm not experienced enough to anticipate. For example, with a 6" increase in sheer height, how much more of a factor will the wind become? I've heard many AF4 owners complain about wind when they're at anchor, but not so much when they're underway. I'd love to hear some thoughts on this.
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