TOON19, CUDDY CABIN SAILBOAT, 19' X
5.5', 500 POUNDS EMPTY
John Trussel built the prototype
Toon19 in South Carolina. He had built several boats
before this one including a Mixer
of my design. He wrote this essay about his Toon19:
For a number of years I have owned various "shallow
water cruisers" (to include a Sea Pearl, a Dovekie,
and a Marsh Hen). These are trailerable boats with shallow
draft and minimal accommodations (involving some sort
of tent). Shallow water cruisers make good day sailors
and are often towed to distant locations for a rendezvous
with similar boats and a weekend cruise.
When I hit my 60’s I began to encounter some physical
problems. Without going into detail, I have had to accept
that I’m not as strong, agile, or flexible as I
used to be. If I were to continue sailing, I needed a
boat with a combination of characteristics which did not
exist in the boats I had owned. Specifically:
- 1. I needed a comfortable place to sit.
- 2. I needed to move around the boat without ducking
- 3. I needed a boat which could be set up or taken
down with little effort.
- 4. I needed a boat with the ability to reduce sail
drastically while maintaining a balanced helm.
- 5. I needed some sort of cabin which was long enough
to lie down in.
I have a large collection of boat plans and the internet
offers many more plans, but nothing seemed to provide
all of the features which I wanted. Jim Michalak’s
design had some potential, but at 15 feet in length, its
cabin is too short for me to lie down in. I commissioned
Jim to modify Toon2. First, he lengthened the boat from
15 to 19 feet while keeping the same beam and depth. Second,
we came up with a cat-yawl* rig using a balanced lug main
and a sprit boomed leg of mutton mizzen. Jim was good
enough to respond to my needs and kind enough to gently
steer me away from my sillier ideas. He drew the plans
and I built the boat. As always, it took longer than I
expected and isn’t finished as well as I might wish.
Here is what I got.
Toon 19 may be considered to be a sharpie with the chines
cut off and replaced by "bilge panels". This
hull form is a plywood incarnation of the round chined
"non pariel" sharpies and is supposed to reduce
eddying around the chines. It is easy enough to build
in stitch and glue and has the advantage of a flat bottom
The cockpit does, in fact, provide comfortable
seating. The seats are 12 3/8 inches above the floor and
there is a nicely raked seat back formed by the sides
of the boat. The space under the seat support is open
so I can stretch my legs. However, the opposite seat is
close enough so I can either put my feet up or brace myself
as the boat heels. It is amazing that very few boats offer
comfortable seating and delightful to have one that does.
Toon 19 has a full length companionway in its cabin.
I can stand up between the seats and walk to the front
of the cabin. Tending anchor, setting and lowering sail,
and reefing are done while standing hip deep in the cabin.
The layout of the boat keeps me in the center while moving
around and minimizes the chances of going overboard.
The rig of the boat requires short, light
spars. I simply pick the mizzen mast up (complete with
sail and sprit) and drop it in its step. The main mast
drops into its step in the floor of the cabin and is easily
raised to its upper step on the side of the "slot
top". The ergonomics of this layout is such that
it takes very little strength to step or drop the mast.
I can pull up to the launch ramp and have the boat rigged
in 10 minutes. It takes about 15 minutes to furl the sails
and drop the masts.
Years ago the Windmill club had t-shirts that said "I’d
rather hike than heel". In my later years, I would
rather reef than hike. Reducing sail can change a white
knuckle sail into a relaxed sail. However, the center
of effort on some sail plans moves foreward as the sail
is reefed. This can produce a lee helm which is the last
thing I want when the wind kicks up. Quadrilateral sails
aren’t too bad in this respect, but a little mizzen
allows the skipper to dial in weather helm by adjusting
sail trim. With the main dropped and the mizzen sheeted
amidship, the mizzen will hold the boat more or less head
to wind. At anchor, the mizzen keeps the boat from walking
around the anchor.
Toon 19’s cat-yawl rig actually does
all the things described above, and with two reefs in
the main will have all the flexibility I will ever need.
However, I coerced Jim into drawing a "storm jib"
to be flown in place of the main. An English kit boat
company came up with the idea and on paper, it should
work in "survival conditions". I have the sail,
but I haven’t had occasion to use it yet. It will
be interesting to see how it works, but since I try to
avoid sailing in "survival conditions" I may
never know if it is as good as I think it is!
Toon 19’s cabin has about 28 inches
of headroom. It is long enough for me to lie down in and
deep enough to use a porta-potty in decency if not in
privacy (the user’s head and shoulders tick up through
the slot top) The cabin is suitable for one sleeper. The
bilge panels cut into flat floor space. If you need to
sleep two, a flat bottomed boat would be a better choice.
A fabric cover makes the cabin more or less watertight,
and the four deadlights make for a bright cabin. Due to
the low headroom the cabin would not be a good place to
sit out a rainy day, but for her intended use as a week-end
cruiser, this is not a drawback.
So how does Toon 19 sail? I’m still working out
details and I haven’t had a chance to sail in company
with comparable boat, but so far I’m pleased. The
boat is well balanced and responsive to rudder and sail
trim in light and moderate wind. She heels a little more
quickly than I might like (perhaps a little ballast would
slow the roll), but exhibits good reserve stability. With
a single leeboard, the main offset to port, a balanced
lug sail which hits the mast on one tack, and the mizzen
offset to starboard, Toon 19 is an extreme example of
asymmetry. I have tried to determine if the boat has a
favored tack; if so, I haven’t been able to identify
it. I can point to 45* of the wind but I generally sail
freer – somewhere around 50* -- and the boat is
much happier and faster. Off the wind, the balanced lug
acts a lot like a square rigged sail. Jibes are very gentle,
in part because the portion of the sail forward of the
mast acts to slow the jibe. Incidentally, if you want
to make a balanced lug sail upwind, you need to keep the
leading edge tight. This is accomplished with a tackle
or a downhaul. I happened to have an old Harken Magic
Box from a wrecked Windmill. It is certainly overkill,
but it keeps the leading edge tight.
In the past 40 year I’ve built 11 boats and I’ve
concluded that there are only two valid reasons to build
a boat. First, I enjoy the process (and this is justification
enough). Second, building a boat can be the only way to
get the boat you want. Building a boat was the only way
to get all the features I wanted. Toon 19 is that boat
and she should meet my needs for sometime to come. Or
until the boatbuilding bug strikes again."
Well, thanks for the essay, John.
(I should mention that John is already working on that
Toon19 is taped seam plywood. Looks like nine sheets
of 3/8" plywood and two and a half sheets of 5/8"