NORMSBOAT, 18' X 5-1/2", 600 POUNDS
Normsboat was designed for Norm Wolf
of Washington D.C. to join a group of trailer traveling
shallow water sailors. He wanted the ability to motor
and self rescue in a knockdown. Simplicity of rigging
was also of importance. The prototype was built mostly
by Richard Cullison of Cullison
Smallcraft with some items done by Norm.
A real motor mount is the first reality
that you face with almost any boat that is supposed to
be on a schedule. Normsboat has a very short motor well
in the stern that is full width. Small fuel cans can go
there too, as can the extra anchors, boots, etc. Actually
Norm hasn't used the motoring ability of his boat (yet)
and uses a 12' long yuloh oar instead which you can see
lashed to the deck of his boat - it looks like a bow sprit
but it isn't. I show oar ports on the drawings, another
way of getting around without a motor in calm conditions.
That, by the way, is the Achilles heel of the idea of
using oars instead of a motor on a sailing boat. The oars
will work in calm conditions but they can't save your
butt in really bad going like a good motor might.
Just forward of the well is a buoyancy/storage
chamber. Very important in a knockdown, a chamber like
this is supposed to hold the stern up when the cockpit
floods, keeping the boat level and preventing flooding
in the cabin. Forward of that is a 6' long cockpit with
bench seating giving Normsboat the capacity to sail several
adults. Forward of that is a 7-1/2' cuddy cabin right
out of AF4. It has a slot top which allows you to walk
right to the bow of the boat. In bad weather you cover
the slot with a tarp. There is room to sleep two but they
have to be great chums, the idea is for it to be a solo
cabin. And finally there is a small well in the bow for
a messy anchor.
Norm did a practice capsize in calm
conditions. It worked but I think most of us hoped the
cabin slot would have more freeboard when the boat was
on its side. I thought the AF3
capsize test went a lot better in that respect.
I'm not sure why there is so much difference between the
two. Anyway, I'm hoping for an AF2
practice capsize before making any decisions about it.
Normsboat righted very easily when Norm grabbed the bottom
and very little water inside the cockpit and none anywhere
else. But I would be worried about a wave washing into
the cabin slot in rough water and would make an effort
to fit watertight hatches over the slot in rough going.
I hope to write more about this in a later issue (if I
figure it out).
The sail rig is right out of AF2 except
here it is rigged as a balanced lug sail to make the rigging
quicker. It also allows a lighter mast. On the downside,
the mast must be stepped in the cabin but it won't be
a bother to a solo cruiser. The boat could be rerigged
as a gaffer as with AF2. Pivoting leeboard and rudder
make sailing in shallows very easy.
Norm used to have a Dovekie. Phil Bolger,
who designed Dovekie, would point out that the idea behind
Dovekie was that it be non motorized and he would be disappointed
that no one wants to row and everyone adds a motor. But
almost every feature of Normsboat is something I learned
from Bolger ..... the highly rockered sharpie hull, the
double planked bottom (strength and weight where it is
needed), the draining wells bow and stern, the emergency
buoyancy system, the slot top cuddy, the lug sail with
off center mounting, and the single pivoting leeboard.
Fourteen sheets of 3/8" plywood
with simple nail and glue construction. No jigs, no lofting.