Exterior Design Elements
Here are some design issues and solutions on the exterior of the schooner.
I will start with the swim step. Many modern boats have a sugar scoop transom which makes it easy to get in and out of the water or a dinghy. They work great. However, I am partial to the look of traditional transoms with a traditional rake, especially on a schooner. Unfortunately it is difficult to hang a swim ladder off a stern like this and have it look good. So we designed a hinged swim platform. This kind of swim platform has been done before but each boat is a little different, so we borrowed pieces from here and there. Perry, Jespersen, and I worked on this design which in the end came out great. The trick was to have part of the aft deck become the lowest step of the platform.
Above you see the transom with the step closed. We couldn't hide the hinges completely but in most lighting conditions you don't see the step at all. There is a small canvas bumper just under the caprail. This protects the transom when the step is down.
To the right is the closed step viewed from above. There are two sliding latches just under the rail that keep the step secure. To the left and right of the step are the lazarette hatches. They can be opened with the step up or down. (The small plate on the starboard lazarette is to feed a propane hose to the BBQ when it is mounted on the pushpit.)
Here you see the step being lowered. There is a line that catches the step when it is partially down. This reduces the chance of it falling quickly and damaging something. You then unhook the line and lower it the rest of the way. A 2:1 purchase on this line makes it easy to raise the step.
The swim ladder is on a track and can be slid to the edge of the step, flipped over the edge and lowered.
The entire step can be raised and lowered with the dinghy hanging on the davits. This allows you to stand on the step when lowering and raising the dinghy. The box in the well is a shower head.
The biggest design issue on the boat was the single halyard system. I spent a lot of time designing this and talking to people trying to determine if it could done. Despite some reservations the design works well. There are several components. One is, the gaff and sail need to be on a track, not jaws and hoops. Because of this, when the sail is trimmed at different angles there is no tendency for the twist to change. It helps that the sail is super low stretch.
Next, a double track car with a sheave is mounted on the sail track above the gaff. The halyard runs through this sheave and is shackled to a line fixed to a bale 2/3 of the way out on the gaff. This bale is on a small track on the gaff so the angle of the gaff can be adjusted if the sail is re-cut or changes over time.
Finally, there is a fixed line running from the bottom of the double track car to the track car holding the gaff to the mast. This fixed line, plus a stopper on the halyard, plus the gaff itself define a triangle. You can think of this triangle as a large headboard.
When the sail is lowered, this triangle is maintained until the gaff hits bottom. Then the halyard rolls through the pulley (as seen at left) and the gaff lies flat on the lowered sail. With carbon fiber spars, light weight sails, full battens, track cars, and lazy jacks, the sails go up and down easily and do not need gaff peak adjustment while under way.
Putting the fenders and dock lines away when leaving the slip was always a pain on my old boat. Visitors had to stand while cushions were removed and dripping wet fenders were lowered into a cockpit locker. On the schooner I designed a fender locker in the bow. It is big enough to hold 4 large fenders, a fender board, a wash down hose, and all the dock lines. The locker drains overboard.
Hanging fenders is also a pet bother of mine. We do this often and sometimes we have to switch sides at the last minute. 99% of the time they are hung at the same height, but it isn't always easy to get it right.
Since hanging and moving fenders is such a common task I made it easy to do. Each life line stanchion has a small metal loop welded onto it. The loops are all the same height from the water.
By stitching a small loop of line onto each fender tether it is trivial to quickly hang any fender on any stanchion at the correct height.
There are two lazarettes on either side of the swim step. Both drain overboard. The starboard one holds propane canisters plus other nasties such as oil or thinner. The port lazarette is for a small stern anchor we use when tying to shore in the California Delta.
Eric Jespersen devised a simple scheme for leading the line out of the locker with the lid closed (yet not letting water in). The line enters and exits the drain channel at two different locations.
I borrowed the idea for the cockpit table from a boat I saw at a show. It has a fold down leg with two stubs that snuggly fit into holes in the grate. The leg allows the table to be longer than those that are held up with a brace from the pedestal and it is sturdy when deployed, strong enough to brace against when heeled. We came up with a nice design for the leaves. With the leaves folded in, there are fiddles. To open the leaves you first rotate a bar under the table (not visible in photos). When the leaves are opened the bar fully supports the leaves and is kept from turning by the gap in the middle of the fiddles.