" To: Alden Smith. Fwd: Canoe Yawl "Autumn Leaves " Update! :
The design of the canoe yawl "Autumn Leaves" is the sort of undertaking that exercises my brain in the midst of dreary instruction manual work, magazine deadlines, and (most of all) answering email. As such it has been hard to keep Autumn Leaves on the front burner. But there has been so much enthusiasm and feedback that I have made completion of the plans a priority and we are ALMOST there.
So many emails have arrived, in fact, that I've abandoned hope of answering each and every one. I am resorting to that most lugubrious of dispatches: the form letter.
I did read every single email I got about Autumn Leaves and pulled out your questions, which I hope to answer here.
When will plans be available?
We're down to a few weeks. If Jay and I weren't headed out on CLC's West Coast Tour the final drawings would be done next week. I will ping this list with another email the moment we stick a fork in the plans.
What will the plans look like?
At present the plans comprise 18 pages on 11x17 paper. They will be offered as a downloadable PDF. Here are some snippets of the plans to give you a taste of the detail:
The cost for the PDF download will be around $50.
Will there be a pre-cut kit for Autumn Leaves?
Sure, we can cut a kit for you. All of the CNC-cut marine plywood parts, shipped on a pallet, would fall in the region of $4000.
Has a prototype been built?
No, not yet.
What is the plywood thickness for hull sides and bottom?
The sides are 1/4", reinforced with four stringers and six bulkheads. The bottom is 3/4", with an additional 3/4" doubler running down the center. (So you're grounding out on 1-1/2" of plywood.) Decks are 3/8".
Do you think "chine runners," a la Matt Layden, would work instead of bilge boards?
This has been a common question. I'm an unabashed fan of Matt Layden's designs and admire everything he does. Chine runners as on his "Paradox" design simply aren't very effective upwind, however. The canoe yawl philosophy requires that the boat have EXCELLENT sailing qualities on all points, and can be sailed in and out of tricky spots, including dead to windward. For this I think the specified bilge boards are the best solution.
Would this be a good Everglades Challenge boat?
It would be the most comfortable Everglades Challenge boat on the course. It's heavy, though, something like 1300lbs rigged, so getting it off the beach during the Le Mans start of that race would be a real challenge. (I note that Autumn Leaves is still light enough to tow easily with a 4-cylinder car.)
Could you sail Autumn Leaves to the Bahamas?
Yes. At this displacement, any such cruise is going to be mostly about the skill of the crew. Given a good boatman at the helm, I would have no reservations about sailing this boat from Miami to the Bahamas on a good weather report.
Could there be an engine?
However, it may be impossible to use the boat in some scenarios without an engine of some sort. In this case I would rig a side-slung mount near the stern for a 2hp 4-stroke Honda.
How tall are you?
This from several folks contemplating the published drawings and lamenting the absence of a scale. I am 6'1" tall. In the process of making this sketch I actually mocked up the interior of the boat with cardboard and scrap lumber. It's a small cabin but extremely ergonomic.
No plans for other rigs, no. I think I've got "engine" and "chassis" matched up pretty well. If compelled to do something different, it would probably be a cat-yawl with balanced lug sails for main and mizzen.
Are you going to do a larger version? What would that look like?
The second-most common question after "When will plans be done?"
Short answer: No.
Long answer: I'll do it if someone commissions the work. There's only so much time and money available for speculative designs like Autumn Leaves. It'll be a couple hundred hours of naval architecture work for Team CLC.
With so many requests, I did take a few hours to sketch out a larger Autumn Leaves. The big version is 21'4" long and has pleasant accommodations for a pair of consenting adults. Here's a drawing; the original Autumn Leaves is shown at the top for comparison.
John C. Harris "
Chesapeake Light Craft
"The Best Boats You Can Build"
[ Personally speaking, even if the larger design was available I would build the small version (below) . I think one of its many attractions is its diminutive size - Alden Smith ]