Other PicoMicroYacht

Friday, 16 September 2016

How big a boat do you need?

According to the great yacht designer and writer, Uffa Fox, a person should have a foot of boat length for every year of their age.

But I don't believe he really meant this because when aged 50 years he was writing about the need for him to upgrade from racing 12 to 14 foot dinghies to using an 18 foot dinghy, the Jollyboat, which he designed.  He was also sailing small boats later on than this, including with Prince Phillip and his son, Prince Charles.

Anyway, I digress. I found another rule of thumb in a charming book called 'Dinghy Cruising' by A. G. Earl, a classic book of this type of genre, written towards the end of the Second World War.   His view is that for single-handing  dinghy cruising the overall length of the boat should be between ten and thirteen feet and the length of the boat should be equal to the weight of the crew in stone (what about if you are 14 stone or more -  no matter!). His reasons cited are being able to use weight to keep the boat upright and having the strength to pull the boat up a rough beach. A. G. Earl knew his stuff and was doing the same adventures of  PicoMicroYacht, but 80 years ago in a ten foot open clinker sailing boat, as shown below.  A brave man, given his boat.

A. G. Earl with an illustration of his 10 foot clinker dinghy

So how does PicoMicroYacht match up? Well, 11.5 feet translates into 11.5 stone or 73 kilograms. This roughly matches the weight of PicoMicroYacht's crew.

By the way, digressing again,  that generation knew a thing or two, being much more adventurous in dinghies. Quoting directly from the Class Boat Museum website about Uffa Fox:

UFFA Fox designed many fast racing dinghies during the 1920’s and 30’s. 
The most successful of these, which still has large fleets worldwide, is probably the 14 footer. 
Amongst the many famous names of these dinghies is his own Avenger - sail no. 135 – in which he won the Prince of Wales Cup at Lowestoft in 1928.

Five years later, with crew of Bob and Spike, he made an extraordinary voyage in July   1933 when they sailed Avenger across the Channel from Cowes to take part in a regatta in Le Havre, sailing for 29 hours, bailing much of the way.
Once there they took part in the last two days of racing, winning


K135 Avenger, and Uffa in Le Havre after Channel crossing, July, 1933
on the last two days of racing, winning on both days, and then left on 14th July, taking 37 hours to sail home, breakfasting at Seaview in the dawn. 

They arrived off Ryde just in time to race in the Regatta there, but were too tired to do more than come third.


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