Wild Onion
An 18' V-Bottomed Cruising Sloop
By John Atkin
My father designed the 18-foot gaff-headed flat-bottomed sharpie Red Onion in May 1938. Three months later, he designed the 18-foot jib-headed sloop-rigged skipjack Wild Oats. In 1982 I designed the 18-foot jib-headed skipjack Wild Onion in an attempt to improve the appearance of these little hookers -- which should not be hard for anyone to do!
Billy Atkin wrote about Red Onion in 1938: "Many years ago a friend of mine built a big flat-bottomed sailing skiff, built her as the work progressed without plans or model, and when she was finished, she did not look just right. A little off here and there, a lot cockeyed along her sheer. In the water she looked even worse than on land. Her owner christened her Red Onion. Asked why, he replied, 'Every time I look at her she brings tears to my eyes.' Which she did in truth. One of the world's worst looking boats. And, sad to relate, after 30 years Red Onion is still being used -- still bringing tears to the eyes of all who see her. Her name has always interested me -- honest, plain, and forthright. Just the thing for a useful little hooker made for use and not for style. Just right for the last of our neet. So, herewith, Shipmates, another Red Onion." Over the years, as I periodically pulled out the tracings of Red Onion and Wild Oats, I felt it would be a fun sort of challenge to see what I could do to maintain the basic concept yet create a boat that didn't quite bring tears to your eyes. Thus, here is Wild Onion.
Her principal dimensions are: 18 feet overall by 17 feet on the waterline by 7 feet beam and 1 foot 3 inches draft -- precisely the same as Wild Oats. I increased her sheer, which is an improvement, and I altered the shape and position of the deadlights in the trunk sides. There is 4-foot sitting headroom either side of the centerboard trunk, and she will carry 300 pounds of inside ballast.
I hope my Wild Onion doesn't bring tears to your eyes. If she is built in accordance with her working drawings, I suspect she will bring you lots of enjoyment.
Plans for Wild Onion are $65
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