Mar 5, 2013

The Kittiwake

Yacht mainsail
The Kittiwake is a versatile little boat designed for two people, and able to be carried on a car roof-rack. She only weighs 75 pounds and is essentially the result of stretching our Little Auk design. The stem and stern posts were also raked a little more, giving her an attractive and elegant hull form. The increased length means that two adults can sail her in comfort, easily able to hold up the 35+15 sq foot of sail area.
Like Storm Petrel, she has decked ends, with plenty of dry stowage behind huge watertight hatches. The original design was to have no daggerboard, and instead, to have deep bilge-runners. However early trials indicated that between 8 and 12 degrees of leeway was being lost, which when sailing on rivers and crowded estuaries, was considered unacceptable. A dagger board was then added which made all the difference.

The rig is similar to many traditional boats of her kind, with a balanced lug mainsail and a sprit boomed mizzen. Both sails can be tensioned reasonably flat giving her surprising upwind performance. When running, the sails can be set goose-winged, driving her to her hull speed quickly and under full control. The mizzen is also a handy maneuvering sail enabling the practiced owner to show off by sailing backwards or tacking when stationary!

The design also incorporates a storm jib that is hoisted when conditions get really bad and the reefed mainsail is overpowering the boat. The main is lowered and the halyard reattached to the head of the jib, which can then be hoisted giving a sailboat the sturdiness of a pontoon boat. Many will be familiar with how weatherly this combination jib and mizzen is.

The craft has many interesting possibilities for camping and cruising. A large tent could be comfortably rigged between the masts, and she could even be sailed under jib and mizzen like this.