Modification in Design – Nichiko becomes a Yawl – May 2013

I am going to modify the design of this sharpie somewhat. The cockpit is quite large, and without an outboard well, too big for my use. I hate being thrown about the cockpit. After modifying, the seats in the cockpit are seven feet long, and that’s enough, for me anyway. Ideal to sleep on, and I’ve made a board to insert between the cockpit seats or lazarettes which make the entire area a flat bed. So, we’ll extend the cabin back a sixteen inches, making the cabin larger, of course. This makes the galley larger on the starboard side and on the port side, a hanging locker. The mizzen mast in the original design is just aft of the cabin which would put it in the companionway so that is a problem.

I asked my friend Stanley Woodward what he thought about this.  Stanley built among other boats (perhaps 50), Moccasin, designed by Phil Bolger, which is a shallow-draft yawl.

Here is a short note about Stanley and his Moccasin taken from Phil Bolger’s book, The Folding Schooner:  “Stanley demanded headsails (he’s a demonic sail-carrier; I vividly recall beating out of a narrow inlet in his old Belasarius with a huge mizzen staysail taken in and reset every tack.) I suggested the log canoe topsail as more appropriate to the unstayed mast and more effective as well. He liked that, but in addition to the jib and later, the masthead reaching jib-cum-spinnaker as well. I never knew him to carry anything away and expect that he’ll always take in that balloner just before the top of the mast would otherwise break off. She (Moccasin) set over twelve hundred square feet of sail and should be a great spectacle reaching in light airs.

mocassin2 (1)


So, Stanley took out a pencil and drew up what he felt might work right then and there on the trunk of our car. Lots more sail area and a much more flexible sail plan here.



Stanley Woodward’s sketch

Above is Stanley’s sketch of the yawl configuration. Notice the mizzen is very large, almost as large as the main – Stanley likes plenty of sail. Stanley also threw in an additional portlight. Reuel Parker drew up this plan as a yawl for me with a sprit boom mizzen. Note that the mizzen is quite a bit smaller than Stanley’s version. It is below.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Egret Yawl Sail Plan – Reuel Parker

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Egret Yawl Plan Design – Reuel Parker

There is a boomkin similar to the bowsprit with a bobstay for reinforcement. The sail plan has the mizzen with a sprit boom leg-o-mutton sail. It could also be Bermudan but, according to Reuel, the sprit boom leg-o-mutton sail should allow a flatter sail shape (no lift), when reaching or running. This yawl version has more sail area than the original ketch version, is a somewhat more flexible sail plan than the ketch, has a slightly smaller cockpit yet a larger cabin interior making room for a wet locker. Here is a quote from Reuel about the rig which he had originally thought would have a Bermudan mizzen:  “I also drew a second Yawl sail plan with a sprit boom mizzen option (best for single-sheet point, and eliminating the need for a vang).”

A Bermuden mizzen has the advantage of being easy to reef, whereas with the sprit boom rig, this seems more difficult. Reuel doesn’t believe there will be need to reef, but I’m in favor of it, although don’t have any experience compared to him.

I asked Reuel about making this version with a flush deck, and his response was “I don’t think there would be a great advantage to a raised deck on EGRET, although it has been done. My boatbuilding partner Bill Smith put a raised deck on LAHOMA (28’er), and it certainly made the interior larger. But that was a very moderate modification (low). With the high cabin height on your EGRET, a raised flush deck would be quite high, and you would lose your side decks for going forward. You would have to crawl over it carefully in any kind of seaway. It would also change the cockpit coaming arrangement (not much of a problem), and the round cabin front would be eliminated in lieu of a flat front, with the cabin sides extended forward slightly (like my Sea Bright 33 and 36). But the weight consideration is a problem also, again because EGRET is somewhat tender and sensitive to weight above LWL.”

A note about the high cabin on this particular boat, it has its pros and cons. It is unattractive being so high, and it gives the boat more wind area to slow it down. However, it does give a little more headroom inside, and especially with the foam insulated roof, it gives a good bit buoyancy in case of a knockdown.

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