DANCER Variations on a Bolger Theme
- With some talk of Windsprint as of late, I figure it is time to
do my write up of my ideas of a bigger replacement for Windsprint.
I have drawn the basic lines, and side panel expansions and built
a nice model in the 1.5" scale that sits in our living room.
I took some photos of the model but the scanner crapped out. If
I can figure out how to plug in the blasted digital camera,
I will post some photos. I am enamored by how the simple and
simply built double-ended shape can look so graceful. There was
a whole fleet of them at Mahone Bay and it was a wonderful sight.
Our current boat, a self-modified June Bug, has some great
attributes. It is simple to launch from its trailer. Boat and
trailer are very lightweight. The easy rigging of the leg of mutton
is a fast setup and it works very well. And my June Bug is a good
sailor, particularly considering her low technology and simplicity.
However, it has its shortcomings. It can not handle much at all in
the way of white caps or waves on our local lake wave tops will
slosh over the gunwale and run right into the crew's face or down
the back of their shirt. The June Bug's tied-in mast partner is a
weak link, and the asymmetric leeboard is too exposed and has been
damaged MANY times. There is also lack of adequate seating
and passengers must sit in the bottom of the boat upon a boat
cushion at best. And I always feel quite vulnerable when I consider
the consequences of a knock-down at best I will be left with a
cockpit that is full of water with gunwales awash. Its has limited
capacity for regular daysailing with family and adult-size friends.
Bolger's Windsprint is larger and has some simple good looks, but I
have been put off by several comments related to its over abundance
of sail area. Also, the Windsprint would be quite similar to my
June Bug in a knock-down tons of water to bail out while the
gunwales would be awash. What is needed is a bit more weather-
capable, simple, double-ended sharpie, with just plain good looks.
And most of all, it must be recoverable in the event of a knock-down
without outside help.
Grabbing numerous ideas from Bolger, a new boat has evolved from my
drawing board. Instead of cutting down Windsprint's sail area, this
new boat is a larger, more capable evolution of Windsprint and other
DANCER variations on a Bolger theme
A 19'-5" double-ended, balanced-lug, sharpie day sailer
A simple plywood boat. The construction is a bit like Windsprint
with addition of solid seating for comfort and buoyancy, and decking
fore and aft for buoyancy. Flair is a constant 13° with a flat
bottom, and centerboard. Beam across bottom is just 48". Length is
gotten out of 2 ½ sheets of plywood with the leftover half
for the double-thickness centerboard. But in reality the sheer line
and tombstone transom are a geometric adaptation of Bolger's 14'
Pirate Racer. She was lengthened, sheer multiplied accordingly, but
freeboard was increased to utilize the plywood and to put the crew
down into the boat, not up on the rail.
Dancer has low cockpit seats a maximum of 6" above the boat
bottom. There is lots of positive buoyancy from the decked ends,
and a watertight footwell. Following a knock-down and subsequent
righting (by the crew), it is expected that the footwell will retain
a good deal of the water low and centered, dampening the free
surface effect of the water brought aboard. The fore and aft decks
will drain over the side. The crew will board by rope ladder or
other contrivance near the stern. The footwell has parallel sides
allowing a rectangular bailing box (also serves as rowing seat) to
rapidly remove the water. The oars are stored against the insides
of the 9' long footwell.
The mast is slightly off-center, starboard of the centerboard,
placing the boom quite near centerline. The partner is a 6" x 15" x
2" plywood lamination that is secured to the top of the case and to
bulkhead #2 just aft of the fore deck. The mast can rotate in its
partner. This allows the yard to be hoisted nearer the head and the
mast to be shorter and allows the boom to be hauled down more
snuggly since no slack or stretch needs to be allowed for the yard
and boom to rotate around mast. This will help when the it breezes
Since this is to be just a more weather capable Windsprint, the rig
is identical it is proven, sailmakers have it stock, and it is
pleasing shape. With the balanced lug, there is but one sail, and
few spars very simple. She will be rigged to reef.
There is one central frame and three ply bulkheads. Seat fronts and
tops are structural, epoxy-taped in place. There is no need for a
chine if taped together.
A centerboard is chosen because it will work best for sailing our
local lakes. Beachable, and capable of being daysailed, single-
handedly, or with 3 or 4 adult-sized folks.
Lake Dardanelle, Russellville, Arkansas