Dragon
A 32' Colin Archer Type Double-Ended Cutter
By William Atkin
Dragon, another Eric

Never has man built any kind of vessel that will ride out any kind of sea. The sea is a most tremendous thing. It smiles today; tomorrow, scolds! All of which holds true of water anywhere lake, river, harbor, bay, or pond. And men who find a livelihood by working the sea know this; man, child and wife. Down at New Bedford they know this; as well as at the fishing town of Whitstable; and also where the tide rushes past The Skaw; here's a rough old spot anywhere north of the stone lighthouse that marks the end of the sand; seamen know it all too well! There can be a nasty sea here, and little wind. Or there can be a nasty wind, and not so much sea. A rough old place to be sure.

Just about around here, and to the north in the Skagerrak, and to the east in the Baltic, and to the west in the North Sea the late Colin Archer cast bread upon the waters in the form of his able double-end fishing cutters and ketches. Just ask the man who owns one! Big and little; winter, summer, spring, and fall, boats of this type sail around, fish around, slop around; and it's damned rough going when these fail to come home.

For nearly two years after William Nutting and Arthur Hildebrand poked into the worth of this particular kind of yacht and then sort of wished the job of drawing the thing on me, with the idea of having a 32-footer of this kind built, I had hundreds of letters asking for more information and more particulars of the type. And in the course of time, which I take lightly, I finished the drawings of the 32-footer as a cutter, and later as a ketch. All quite like the original Colin Archer original with an exception or two. Mr. Nutting once said that to change the lines of one of the originals was equivalent to painting the lily; so, [with Eric] I painted the lily.
Dragon is like the older Eric; but we kept the water-lines full after the manner of the original Colin Archer design, having, in a manner of speaking, cleaned the paint from last year's lily. Her general dimensions are 32 feet overall, 27 feet 6 inches on the waterline, with an 11-foot beam. We increased the draft by 6 inches to 5 feet 6 inches, and rigged her up as a cutter, putting 6,500 pounds of iron on the keel and approximately 1,500 of ballast inside, the latter being Portland cement filled to the tops of the floor timbers. We reduced the freeboard to the edge of the deck 4 inches and increased the height of the rail 2 inches, making the rail 7 inches in height, and yet the cap is 2 inches nearer the waterline than it is in the first double-enders built. Those who remembered the older boats will notice many minor changes such as running the rail to the eyes, using chain pipes rather than chocks, a round bow-sprit, a Colin Archer yacht-type rudder with 30 pounds of lead ballast to prevent its floating to port or starboard while at anchor; and the cabin house, a foot or so longer.

I reason that if the main mast of a schooner can step through the middle of a cabin trunk there is nothing out of order in stepping the mast of a cutter through the fore end of the cabin house; so thus it is. Dr. Claude Worth says the mast of a cutter should be set two-fifths the waterline length abaft the fore end of the waterline, which is approximately as we show it on the plans herewith. This gives a generous foresail. The end of the main boom overhangs the stern just 2 feet, making an easy reach of it when reefing or putting on the sail cover. Then there is a permanent boom frame on which to lower away. The jib is set on a wire luff rope fitted with roller reefing gear. The three lowers spread 685 square feet, and the topsail and jib top-sail have 146 feet more, a total of 821 square feet. Dragon also carries a balloon jib and spinnaker.

There is a lot to be said for the cutter rig and it is a pity we know so little of its handiness on this side of the Atlantic. However there are more in the offing, and I find that the things we become used to are the things we favor the most.

I think the drawing showing the cabin arrangement tells its own story. Except to add that there is more room in it all than the plans convey, let's pass this by with the concluding remark that if you happen to stand 6 feet 3 inches, you can be an upright man while living aboard anyway.

The engine is nearly level, and it is peculiar that when under power there is little if any helm from the wash of the propeller.

 
PHOTOS OF DRAGON
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