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Pocket cruiser

Pocket cruiser

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A pocket cruiser, microcruiser, trailer sailer or pocket yacht is a small lightweight sailboat
Sailboat
A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails. The term covers a variety of boats, larger than small vessels such as sailboards and smaller than sailing ships, but distinctions in the size are not strictly defined and what constitutes a sailing ship, sailboat, or a...

 with a cabin
Cabin (ship)
A cabin or berthing is an enclosed space generally on a ship or an aircraft. A cabin which protrudes above the level of a ship's deck may be referred to as a "deckhouse."-Sailing ships:...

, designed for recreational cruising
Cruising (maritime)
Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

. Pocket cruisers can be readily loaded on a trailer and towed by most passenger automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s. Both commercially made and designs for home built pocket cruisers are available. In spite of its name, this type of vessel is completely unrelated to the pocket battleship.

Description



Pocket cruisers range in length from 10 feet (3 m) to about 26 feet (8 m), with some variation, depending on individual requirements. Most are in the range of 15 feet (5 m) to 20 feet (6 m) long, with a beam around 6 feet (2 m). Commercial models generally have either a short, ballast
Sailing ballast
Ballast is used in sailboats to provide moment to resist the lateral forces on the sail. Insufficiently ballasted boats will tend to tip, or heel, excessively in high winds. Too much heel may result in the boat capsizing. If a sailing vessel should need to voyage without cargo then ballast of...

ed shoal draft keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

 or a weighted centerboard, while home-built designs often use water ballast and leeboard
Leeboard
A leeboard is a lifting foil used by a sailboat, much like a centerboard, but located on the leeward side of the boat. The leeward side is used so that the leeboard isn't lifted from the water when the boat heels, or leans under the force of the wind....

s. The short length and low weight of most pocket cruisers (and short keels on models with fixed keels) allow them to be trailered easily.

While the short overall length keeps most of these boats to inland waters or onshore sailing, many have keels or other forms of ballast (often water ballast) that allow them to be self-righting from angles of 90 degrees or more, which is usually not the case for similarly sized day sailer
Day sailer
A daysailer, day sailer, or dayboat is a small sailboat with or without sleeping accommodations but which is larger than a dinghy. Dayboats can be monohull or multihull, and are typically trailer-able. Many dayboats have a small cabin or "cuddy" for storage and to provide a shelter, or for...

s. Many people have sailed pocket cruisers long distances across open ocean, including a number of Atlantic crossings. There has been at least one circumnavigation of the globe by a pocket cruiser.

The cabin also makes it possible to keep the pocket cruiser out for extended periods of time. They will generally provide enough space to sleep two adults, with the larger examples sleeping up to six--though at that point two of the berths are generally under the cockpit seats (and known as "quarter berths" and are often only suited for children. The ability to sleep aboard makes weekend outings popular.

Qualities


Pocket cruisers are popular for a number of reasons:
  • They are inexpensive; popular designs such as the Montgomery 15 or West Wight Potter 15 sell new, with trailer, for around US$10,000 or less.
  • They are easy to build out of easily obtained materials such as plywood
    Plywood
    Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

    , using stitch and glue
    Stitch and glue
    Stitch and glue is a simple boat building method which uses plywood, epoxy glue, and "stitches" and eliminates the need for stems and chines. Plywood panels are cut to detailed profiles and stitched together to form an accurate hull shape, without the need for forms or special tools...

     or more traditional methods.
  • When working on smaller boats the inevitable tinkering away on various modification projects is often cheaper and more quickly gratifying.
  • They are small enough to sail single handed, yet the wide beam gives them the capacity to hold more people.
  • They usually weigh less than 2000 pounds (900 kg). This is light enough to be towed behind most cars.
  • They are suitable for overnight trips.
  • The wide beam and common use of ballast makes them very stable.
  • The small size means they can be stored out of the water, which negates the need to rent expensive marina slips.
  • Many of the small cruisers have active chat groups on the Web where tips, ideas, and sailing stories are freely shared.

Performance


Pocket cruisers are, in general, not fast boats; the short waterline and wide beam required to provide the basic accommodations generally limit the speed that the hulls are capable of. Since the short, beamy hull of the pocket cruiser is not suited to speed, designers are willing to sacrifice some performance for ease of use. Traditional rigs, like gaff rig
Gaff rig
Gaff rig is a sailing rig in which the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak and, usually, its entire head by a spar called the gaff...

s, are not uncommon, compared to the nearly universal high aspect Bermuda rig
Bermuda rig
The term Bermuda rig refers to a configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat and is also known as a Marconi rig; this is the typical configuration for most modern sailboats...

s found on other modern sailboats. The lower aspect rigs lose some windward abilities, but make up for it in superior downwind performance and ease of use. The West Wight Potter 15, for example, uses a unique sail design that is a cross between a gaff sail and a Bermuda sail, which gives it more sail area on a shorter mast than would be possible with a true Bermuda sail; this gives a greater sail area with less heeling force than a taller, narrower sail. Still, it is not a performance craft, as evidenced by the fact that it has the lowest Portsmouth handicap (138.1) of any production centerboard boat listed. The Sunfish
Sunfish (dinghy)
The Sunfish sailboat is a personal size, beach launched sailing dinghy utilizing a pontoon type hull carrying a lateen sail mounted to an un-stayed mast....

, which is by far the most popular day sailer ever made, has a Portsmouth handicap of 99.6. This means that the Potter 15 would take nearly 1.4 hours to sail the same distance under the same conditions as a Sunfish could in 1 hour.

Pocket Cruisers, though not generally considered especially fast compared to longer waterline boats, however are still quite exciting to sail much in the same sense that a go cart "feels" faster when riding on it as compared to a longer wheelbase automobile going the same speed. Closeness to the water, smaller relative size compared to the wave height, and (as is in the case of some trailer sailors) a lighter ballast to dispacement ratio can combine to make for a thrilling sailing experience nonetheless. Some selected small cruisers are designed with flat profiled aft bottom sections and are capable of actually coming up on a plane in breezy to marginal wind conditions in which specific case they may become (if briefly) quite fast indeed even when directly compared to somewhat longer displacement hulls under the same conditions.

Examples



One of the smaller commercial pocket cruisers was the Guppy 13, made by Melen Marine Ltd. in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. They made about 300 of them in the period between 1974 and 1975. The Guppy was a fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 boat with a shoal draft keel
Keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

, and would sleep 2 adults in a 6 ft 8 in (2.0 m) cabin. Overall length was 12 ft 6 in (3.8 m), beam was 5 ft 7 in (1.7 m); displacement was 480 lb (218 kg) with 150 lb (68 kg) of ballast
Sailing ballast
Ballast is used in sailboats to provide moment to resist the lateral forces on the sail. Insufficiently ballasted boats will tend to tip, or heel, excessively in high winds. Too much heel may result in the boat capsizing. If a sailing vessel should need to voyage without cargo then ballast of...

 in the keel. It drew 1 ft 7 in (480 mm) empty, and flew a Bermuda rig consisting of a 32 square feet (3 m²) high aspect main sail
Sail
A sail is any type of surface intended to move a vessel, vehicle or rotor by being placed in a wind—in essence a propulsion wing. Sails are used in sailing.-History of sails:...

 and a 48 square feet (4.5 m²) jib
Jib
A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bow, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast...

 (technically a genoa
Genoa (sail)
The genoa or jenny was originally referred to as the 'overlapping jib' or the Genoa jib, being named after the city of Genoa as explained below. It is a type of large jib or staysail used on bermuda rigged craft that overlaps the main sail, sometimes eliminating it. It is used on single-masted...

 since it overlapped the main). Length at waterline was 11 ft 10 in (3.6 m), giving a hull speed
Hull speed
Hull speed, sometimes referred to as displacement speed, is the speed of a boat at which the bow and stern waves interfere constructively, creating relatively large waves, and thus a relatively large value of wave drag...

 of just under 4.5 knots (8 km/h). The shallow V hull was not designed to plane
Planing (sailing)
Planing is the mode of operation for a waterborne craft in which its weight is predominantly supported by hydrodynamic lift, rather than hydrostatic lift .-History:...

, but is generally considered very capable at cutting through choppy water.

In Australia, the best known and most popular pocket cruiser is the locally produced Savage Nautilus, a shoal draft yacht of 19 ft 4 in length overall with a 7 ft 10 in beam and a full length keel that draws only 2 ft 9 in. Fitted with an 8 hp
Horsepower
Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

 Yanmar
Yanmar
is a Japanese diesel engine manufacturer with more than 90 years of history. The engines are used in a wide range of applications, including seagoing vessels, construction equipment, agricultural equipment and generator sets.-Company description:...

 diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 inboard motor
Inboard motor
An inboard motor is a marine propulsion system for boats. As opposed to an outboard motor where an engine is mounted outside of the hull of the craft, an inboard motor is an engine enclosed within the hull of the boat, usually connected to a propulsion screw by adriveshaft.-History:The first...

 (an unusual feature in a boat so small) and capable of sleeping four adults, they were produced in large numbers and have proved incredibly popular with Australian pocket cruising enthusiasts. Loosely based on a lifeboat
Lifeboat (shipboard)
A lifeboat is a small, rigid or inflatable watercraft carried for emergency evacuation in the event of a disaster aboard ship. In the military, a lifeboat may be referred to as a whaleboat, dinghy, or gig. The ship's tenders of cruise ships often double as lifeboats. Recreational sailors sometimes...

 design, they are sufficiently stable and heavily constructed to sail offshore and some have made long distance blue water crossings, such as the notorious waters of Bass Strait
Bass Strait
Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the south of the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.-Extent:The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Bass Strait as follows:...

, between mainland Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and the island state of Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

 (including the pictured example, "Bullwinkle", which was sailed from Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

 to Hobart
Hobart
Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony,Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as...

).

See also

  • Day sailer
    Day sailer
    A daysailer, day sailer, or dayboat is a small sailboat with or without sleeping accommodations but which is larger than a dinghy. Dayboats can be monohull or multihull, and are typically trailer-able. Many dayboats have a small cabin or "cuddy" for storage and to provide a shelter, or for...

  • Newport 16
    Newport 16
    The Newport 16 is a yacht that was originally designed by William Lapworth as a daysailer, and called the Columbia 15. It was later modified by Lapworth, at the Request of Dick Lindsey, by adding a cabin and turning it into a pocket cruiser named the Newport 16. This a very stable boat for its...

  • PocketShip
    PocketShip
    PocketShip is a stitch-and-glue pocket cruiser sailboat designed by John C. Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft.-History:The first PocketShip hull was built by Geoff Kerr at Two Daughters Boatworks in Westford, Vermont. Commencing in mid-January 2008, it took Kerr 525 hours to complete the hull and...

  • Sandpiper 565
    Sandpiper 565
    The Sandpiper 565 is a sailing sloop with four berth accommodation. She is one of the popular compact cruisers in eastern Canada and in the Great Lakes region....

  • Trailer sailer
    Trailer sailer
    A trailer sailer is a small yacht or large dinghy style of sailboat that is moved to sailing locations and stored on a road trailer. It is neither a Day sailer or a Pocket cruiser but may be used for either purpose depending upon design suitability...

  • Com-pac 16
    Com-pac 16
    The Com-pac 16 is a popular sailboat produced by Hutchins Yachts. It was first built in 1974 and there were over 2,800 produced.It is a small "pocket cruiser" sailboat. Com-pac 16’s are 16 feet long with a beam of 6 feet . They have a shoal draft keel and draw 18 inches . They are generally...


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