Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A look at my Pilgrim design.


Its Thursday today, here in New Zealand anyway as we get the new day before anyone else.  I’ve promised myself that I’d do my best to get a post up here every Thursday, even if its not about a major happening, so here goes today.

Dinghy cruising is a sport that is growing steadily worldwide, I was just reading today the latest edition of "Dinghy Cruising", the quarterly journal of the Dinghy Cruising Association.  The assn is based in the UK but has members worldwide, is interested not only in the sailing but also the safety, the design, the equipping and the whole philosophy of cruising in small open boats.
You can contact them "here".  Good people, dedicated and helpful.  president@dinghycruising,  or join their forum "here" to get involved. 
I can recommend their magazine by the way, a quarterly glossy publication of professional standard.

Some of those little boats are minimalist, some are almost luxurious, me, I am old enough to like a decently comfortable bunk, good food, shelter when it blows up and a boat that will take the heavy weather if I've decided that the forecasters are wrong and its going to be a good day in spite of what they say, so I tend toward a slightly bigger boat, and am pleased that the bigger boat is such that my dearly beloved will come with me because she feels safe and comfortable.
But I still like to be able to creep up creeks, into the skinny waters where the big boats cant go, I like to tow at highway speeds and get the boat launched and away sailing in waters that would take me days to get to if I had to sail a bigger boat from home to there, so the compromise is a trailerable but capable boat that I can manage on my own, but which is roomy enough for me and the family when they want to come out for a day.

I’ve noted that there is lots of interest in both Pilgrim and her larger sister Pelegrin with “proper” cabin, and thought I’d put some Pilgrim pics up for your entertainment and information.  There are several of these in and sailing now, and more in build which is great. 

A hearty thank you to the owners who were kind enough to send these pics to me! 

Pilgrim was designed to be a really comfortable dayboat / camp cruiser, one that would be much more capable than most open boats and which would be able to cope with serious blue water along an exposed coast.

 Reports back from those who are sailing this design are very favourable, the owners tell me that she’s a treat in rough water and high wind as well as being much faster than expected in very light winds.  She is dry, handles well, and has a huge amount of space including a big flat sleeping space for two and storage for enough to keep those people comfortable and fed for a couple of weeks away.
Writing this has been almost enough to persuade me to build one for myself, but I’m working on Long Steps which is based upon a whole different philosophy and intended for a quite different purpose.

More information "here"

Upside down, being planked up.  That tricky area around the lower stem is made much easier by planking it up with two layers of thin plywood rather than trying to force the 3/8in ( 9mm) plywood that the rest of the boat is planked in, around that tight curve.  There is more than a hint here of the space inside this big comfortable boat.
Inside, looking forward.  Lots of room for airbeds and sleeping bags if you are into camping out, or a couple of deckchairs if you are wanting  comfortable day out sailing.
You can see that the main part of the centercase is hidden under the bunk flat and down inside the external keel, water ballast is an option shown in the plans and the tanks are where those two rectangular hatches are, the benefit being that the boat is lighter to tow on its trailer than with the lead ballast that is otherwise used.  A 2 litre 4 cylinder car will tow this boat quite comfortably.

Inside looking aft, big comfortable seats with good leg space, the seats and backrests are angled for comfort, the seat on the "other" side is just the right distance to put your foot against when the boats heeled over a bit, and you can see that there is storage in all of the air tanks that provide a huge amount of bouyancy.

Sailing, moving along nicely in a gentle breeze, there is enough sail area there to make good progress even in very light weather, while she still handles the rough with little fuss.
Coming through, you can see that the boat is deep enough to offer very sheltered seating for both crew and skipper.
Moving on.  There is the option of an outboard motor well, or mounting it as shown here. Note the very clean wake, no energy lost there.


  1. I enjoyed reading that while eating my lunch...thanks John, as always for an entertaining read.