Helga
A 20' 2" Leeboard Cruising Knockabout
By William Atkin
An Auxiliary Shoal Water Sloop
Only a few weeks ago I got the nicest letter from a man and his wife who had come upon and bought a little sloop rigged sailing boat in which they had sailed the Sound and many another stretch of friendly water. They wrote in this letter an appreciation of the little craft which I designed nearly eight years ago and which old readers of MoToR BoatinG will be interested to learn was Gretchen. Gretchen, if you care to look in back notes, is 18 feet over all and was designed for use without a motor, depending on an outboard for limited auxiliary power. Her small cabin offered no nook for an indoor motor; barely enough room for two bunks and limited locker space. Like Gretchen, Helga is designed for shallow sheltered waters, of which there are miles and miles up and down the American coasts, but she is slightly larger, with room for an inboard auxiliary engine. She is designed with the idea of being built at a reasonable figure. For the latter feature all materials are of inexpensive character, and the construction without frills and complication.

Helga is 20 feet 2 inches long on the deck; 18 feet 6 inches on the water line; 6 feet in breadth on the deck; and will draw 1 foot 4 1/2 inches of water when under way. Her sail area is 195 square feet, divided into staysail, 49 square feet; and main sail, 146 square feet. The rig is all inboard and handy and simple. Spars are all solid and should be made from clear Sitka spruce. I do not think that a jib-head sail plan would look well or be suitable for this particular design; Helga will sail best with the gaff-head rig as shown.

The cockpit is designed to supply comfort and handiness for two; it is 5 feet 2 inches long by 4 feet 6 inches wide. The floor is raised above the water line and will be fitted with proper scuppers to make it self bailing. The bridge deck contributes to the strength of the hull and adds the nook required below for installing a motor. Inside there is a table for a small alcohol stove, lockers, and room for dishes, pans, etc. This takes 2 feet 7 inches of the cabin. Then there are two 6 feet 6 inch berths; and forward of these stowage space.

Helga carries lee boards rather than a center board with its large trunk to occupy most of the room in the little cabin. It is true that with lee boards there are two of these to be made; but on the other hand with the centerboard construction there is the difficult trunk to be made, and it is very hard to build a trunk that will remain water tight permanently. It has always seemed to me that for small shallow draft auxiliaries, lee boards are the logical thing. For hundreds of years the men of Holland and in many parts of England have been using leeboards, and many of the boats these are fitted to are of considerable size. And many, as well, have made long ocean voyages. The fact that the lee boards stand away from the sides of the hull contributes a lot to the windward qualities of the boat; because when the hull is heeled down under a press of sail the boards stand approximately perpendicular to the water's surface.
The lines show a hull that will be stiff; despite the full sections the boat will propel easily both under sail and power. Inside ballast weighing 750 pounds should be stowed each side of the keel. The buttock lines, and the diagonal lines are long and flat. The character of these lines are always indicative of any boat's performance. Raising the sheer line amidships provides a lot of room in the cabin, especially over the bunks; there is full sitting room over the bunks and this without a deck house side to project into one's neck and back. And there is full four feet of head room under the deck beams. After all this is about as much as can be gotten without excessive freeboard and house heights. The motor should be one of the new type self contained units of approximately 2 h.p.; either air or water cooled.
Plans for Helga are $75
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