Plus Plus - A New Single Handed 14 footer.


* LOA 14 feet
* Beam at chines 3ft3" approx
* Hull beam 6ft6"
* Overall beam probably 9ft
* Prismatic Coefficient .68 (at a sort of average trim).
* UK Portsmouth Yardstick Club Trial Number 966
* Sail area something over 130 sq ft

Sail Carrying Power to weight ratio

(for Bethwaite readers)

current est. around 40% plus

Picture - PlusPlus Racing Dinghy

Photo - Alison Wilde

Latest News...

Not much - the last couple of seasons I've been campaigning the Cherub much more than previously so there's not much emphasis here. Some thoughts on rig changes on the sailing page. A particularly good Cherub Nationals in 2004 didn't result in any glassware (sore point!)

Links - This Site

Sailing the Boat Last Updated 16th Feb 2005
Plus Plus mk1a/2 Last updated 18th October 2001
Hull Surgery in Progress Last Updated 1st January 2002
Building the Hull Last Updated 19/5/1999
Hull Design - Overview of the Hull Design Process - Last Updated 10th July 2001
Rig Design Update on upwind performance with the small rig. Last Updated 12th July 2000
Rig Issues I posted some thoughts on the rig problems in a number of places.
Here are some of the replies. Many thanks to all for your input. Last Updated 24th May 1999
FAQ With a note on the Heatwave 18th Jan 2004
Picture Gallery New shots showing the short rig, 11/5/99
Close ups of the boat, showing gear layout

Other People's Comments Andy Paterson tests capsize recovery in adverse conditions... Last Updated 5th July 1999
Class rules. Draft 1.3, 19/3/1998, comments welcome.
Main Page

Links - Other Sites

Bloodaxe Boats built the basic shell, and are building the mast and foils.
Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club is where the beast will mostly be sailed.
International Moths are the major influence on the boat above the waterline.
U.K. Rules Cherubs are the major influence below the waterline.
Norfolk Heritage Fleet Trust The only relationship these magnificent 1930s wooden yachts have to this project is that I like to sail them from time to time. I notably don't have too much time for half-baked updates of old boats to produce something that's neither flesh nor fowl. These, on the other hand, are the real thing, with the only mods from 1930s spec being practical ones - terylene sails and ropes, and a bottled gas cooker instead of a Primus. There's just an oil lamp for light, no electricity, and no engine.
International Skiff Club - Based in Germany, with a variety of skiff related resources.

Links - Other Performance Singlehanders

I'm not going to bother with links to the mass market boats - they're easy to find. These are more obscure and perhaps a bit more interesting...
Bucko This is an asymettric equipped 14 footer based on a 14ft skiff hull. Good sized wings plus trapeze - serious stuff!
NS14 Singlehanders are, of course, a variation on the influential Australian NS14 Class. No trapeze or wings, but a very efficient hull.


Andy Paterson of boatbuilders Bloodaxe Boats, Gurnard, Isle of Wight, U.K.
has contributed much helpful advice and information from his experience in the International Moth and Cherub Classes.
Graham Caws of Caws Sails took my crazy ideas, modified them with his experience (notably in the development of very fast Moth Sails) and produced a practical sail.
Charles Crosby, Dept of Mech and Aero Eng, University of Pretoria, South Africa,
has frequently acted as a sounding board for some of my crazier ideas and contributed ideas of his own.
Andy Champ, Bracknell, U.K.
has also acted as a sounding board at times, especially when I've wanted to get a viewpoint that's not steeped in high performance and development classes.
Dave Roe, Winchester, U.K.
designed a revolutionary Cherub, the Italian Bistro, one of which I own and which has influenced this boat significantly.
Mike Bees, Cambridge, U.K.
has given me the benefit of some of his experience with 18 footers in European conditions.
Adrian Kiely, Sydney, Australia
has similarly given me helpful information from the Twelve Footer fleet there.

And Less Directly,
I've bent the ears of many Cherub sailors over the years about what makes boats work. I suppose Dave Roe, Simon Roberts, Chris Forman and Simon Robinson have the sorest ears...
Iain Murray, Sydney, Australia has designed some of the best Cherubs and 18 footers of the last twenty years, and I looked very carefully at some of his dinghy designs.
Mark, Frank and Julian Bethwaite, Sydney, Australia, have had significant roles in the development of the lightweight planing dinghy over the last 25 years or so, and I had a good look at a 49er's bow sections too!
And finally, had it not been for the late Uffa Fox (Cowes, U.K.) and the late John Spencer (New Zealand), I'm not sure that the modern planing dinghy would have developed anything like as far as it has. Mr. Spencer especially is very much a personal hero and was a very influential and underrated designer.

I give the above full credit for all of their ideas that I've plagiarised, but none of the blame for anything that doesn't work because I failed to implement and combine the ideas successfully! Apologies to others who I've missed off!

Why a One Off Boat?

So why does the world need another dinghy class? Well, I don't suppose it does, but after twenty years on and off sailing Cherubs to Open Meeting level (and even winning one three) I came to the conclusion I was getting to old, slow and fat to be forward hand in one any more. This combined with a job that involves a fair amount of unpredictable weekend work, so the option of forward hand in a bigger two handed skiff type wasn't really there. Bearing in mind that my helming skills are such that I long ago took up being forward hand, the obvious solution was to sail some sort of single hander at club level (Open level being too embarrassing). I also figured that I might be more likely to cope with decreasing fitness with a sit out boat than a trapeze boat, simply because in a suitably powerful sit out boat one can just sit on the side and sail it, whereas a trapeze boat always demands a good level of agility. When you're younger of course the decision for the lazy goes the other way, since a trapeze boat is undeniably far less hard work to drive flat out that the "boil your tendons and break your back" school of extreme hiking.
So I bought this old single hander for the hardly excessive sum of £90 (UKP), and proceeded to sail it - or at least break it, which is what you expect when you pay that for a boat, but given a few odd bits of foam and epoxy I managed to get the thing working. This experience has taught me a few things

  • I'm an even worse helm than I remembered, at least in very light airs.
  • Spending twenty years in a development class makes you very impatient of design flaws that subsequent improvements in the state of the art have improved on.
  • Lugging an obscenely heavy boat around the banks of the reservoir I sail at now is no fun at all.
    Given these three points I started to consider a different class. It rapidly became obvious to me that I actually had no choice at all. The only single handed classes available that could possible fit my philosophy of sailing were the International Moth, which doesn't fit my waistline, and the International Canoe, which whilst a boat I admire, has never appealed to me. So I was either going to have to compromise or build a one-off. The available compromises didn't look too clever either, since whatever I picked on was going to be, to a greater or lesser extent, all three of too heavy, too old-fashioned and too slow. So I started sketching, and this site documents the results. It seems to be working out as a diary of the project, and I hope this might be of use to other amateurs considering similar projects.

    · Page Last Updated 18th January 2004

    · Email Jim Champ (Webmaster)