Home>>> Motorboats, boats, yachts>>> «Drascombe» boats. Motor-sailing dory «Drascombe Lugger»

«Drascombe» boats. Motor-sailing dory «Drascombe Lugger»

The Drascombe flotilla

«Drascombe» boats. Motor-sailing dory «Drascombe Lugger» «Drascombe» boats are well known to every English yachtsman. These deckless vessels are available in large numbers in almost any sailing center on the coast of England and on the vast majority of inland waterways. Often, «Drascombe» can be found in the sea quite far from the shore, where they perfectly recoup on a steep wave, tacking under their characteristic low and wide sails in a 4-5-point wind. The company «Honnor Marin» in Totnes (County of Dovon) succeeds by producing six models of plastic boats «Drascombe», differing only in small details from the main and very first model — «Drascombe Lugger». The secret of the success and popularity of boats of this type is in a successful project that has provided high seaworthiness of «Drascombe», in attractive appearance and high quality of manufacture, in the strength of the hull and the unpretentiousness of the vessel in operation, in the ease of sail control and the economy of sailing under outboard motors of low power.

This project was developed by the former owner of the shipyard in Totnes, John Watkinson, in 1964, when he decided to leave small-scale shipbuilding and engage in agriculture on his farm in Dartmouth near the town of Drascombe. But John could not completely say goodbye to the sea and soon began to think about building his own boat for sea trips and fishing (by the way, now Watkinson, as he said in his letter to the editor, is back on the water — he works as a captain of the river harbor in Plymouth). The future vessel had to be roomy — the whole Watkinson family wanted to go out for walks at sea — stable and seaworthy, easy to manage, have a relatively small weight and size so that it could be transported on a trailer behind a passenger car. In addition, John wanted the boat to be sailable and develop sufficient speed with an outboard motor to overcome the current of the Dart River.

In 1965 «Drascombe Lugger», as the designer called his brainchild, the Dart was launched and successfully tested in voyages along its estuary (an estuary subject to strong tidal currents) and in the nearby sea bays of Southern England. Watkinson did not expect to launch the project into mass production, so the case was of wooden construction. The contours resembled one of the varieties of the famous dories used in the past in cod fisheries in the open ocean, but the bottom in the stern was widened in order to obtain a sufficient support surface for swimming with an outboard motor in transition to planing mode. In addition, the increased waterline area was also necessary to ensure stability when sailing.

Basic data of the boat «Drascombe Lugger»
Longest length, m 5,72
Width, m 1,9
Draft by hull, m 0,26
Draft with shvert, m 1,22
Shaft weight, kg 55
Sail area, m²  
           general 12,26
           staysail 3,34
           grotto 6,88
          mizzen 2,04

The 5.72 m long and 1.9 m wide hull is sheathed with strips of waterproof 9 mm plywood, 4 belts on each side, so that in appearance it looks more like a round-spangled than a multi-cheeked one. Inside, wide longitudinal seat banks are fixed along the entire perimeter of the case, giving the structure special rigidity in combination with several frames, also cut from waterproof plywood. These banks are very convenient for opening the ship under sail, a kind of bulwark always rises behind the backs of passengers, enhancing the impression of being on a large ship. Holes are made in the sides at the level of the seats — scuppers for draining water overboard, so if the Logger was covered by a wave or had to be put on an even keel after tipping over, the bulwarks always remain above water. The space under the cans was filled with foam blocks, ensuring unsinkability in such cases. Thanks to this layout, there is enough space in the cockpit to accommodate the party going for a walk and the necessary equipment for the trip. The boat was equipped with a heavy shvert, cut from a 13 mm steel sheet. The shvert weighed about 55 kg and in the lowered state, when the draft increased to 1.22 m, significantly increased the stability of the vessel. From the same steel sheet, but 4 mm thick, the rudder feather was cut out, which was welded to the baller and, like the screw, lowered into a separate well. In shallow water, the rudder could be lifted and controlled by a steering oar, for which a special socket was provided in the transom. The draft in this case did not exceed 0.26 m .

The third well was made at the transom for the outboard motor. The engine was thus completely located inside the hull and was well protected from damage and flooding by the wave coming from the stern. In the event of a motor breakdown at sea, it was convenient to repair it without hanging over the transom, and when setting sails, the motor reclined so that the propeller was located completely above the water.

The boat was equipped with a triangular staysail, mizzen and rake mainsail with a total area of 12.26 sq. m. The mast of a solid section was glued together from slats, and the mizzen mast had no standing rigging (the mizzen area was only 2.04 sq. m.), and the mainmast was loosened by a staff and a pair of shrouds. Such a «half-mast» armament is very convenient when fishing on the track: under the staysail (3.34 sq. m.) and the mizzen, the boat goes steeply to the wind at a low speed, can lie steadily in the drift. The mizzen is also useful when sailing under the engine and when anchored, when it is important to ensure a stable position of the boat with its nose against the wind and waves, to reduce the side pitching.

The sails did not have booms, which made it easier for a not-quite-experienced crew to control them. When turning, there is no need to be afraid that someone will hit a geek on the head. Random turns on the fordewind course are also not so scary: if the sails with a boom are thrown sharply, with a dynamic jerk transmitted to the mast and rigging and often accompanied by the capsizing of the boat, then the sail with a free lower rack goes from side to side much calmer. This is familiar to every yachtsman who had to change the mainsail for a trisail in a storm.

Wiring of the mainsail on the «Drascombe Lugger» and on the «Dragcomb Longboat»

Wiring of the mainsail on the «Drascombe Lugger» and on the «Dragcomb Longboat»
1 — tubular shoulder strap fixed on the sides; 2, 3 — mainsail blocks; 4 — running end of the mainsail; 5 — duck; 6 — rudder well.

The mainsail and mizzen were fastened to the masts with the front shackles and turned on the masts when cleaning. The staysail was also equipped with a device for twisting around the staff. In order to start sailing, it is enough to pull the staysail sheet, release the canvas on both masts — and the ship is ready to gain speed. The operation of cleaning the sails took no more than three minutes. It was even possible to completely remove the masts with the sails wound on them and put them in the boat. The mizzen sheet was carried out on the stern shot.

The «Drascombe Lugger» turned out to be an ideal family boat — a day cruiser for sailing in the rough coastal waters of Devon. She was very stable. With sudden squalls, the Logger tilted only to the level of the scuppers in the sides, then the roll did not increase even with increased wind. The large width of the hull and the heavy mooring, as well as the low windage, affected. With a 6-horsepower outboard motor, the boat developed a speed of 5.5 knots; it turned out to be light enough when rowing, especially if a person sat on each oar.

Watkinson's former shipyard companions, who had visited him more than once and made a number of trips on the «Lugger», were so delighted with the qualities of this vessel that they persuaded John to give them drawings for the construction of several boats at the shipyard. The first industrial design of the «Drascombe Lugger» (also with plywood sheathing) appeared at the annual exhibition of yachts and boats in London in January 1968. Less than half an hour after the opening of the exhibition, the «Lugger» was sold, and the representative of the company barely had time to place new orders of interested visitors. Just the characteristic appearance of this boat with a large saddle of the side line, the collapse of the sides along the entire length, practical rigging with low wide sails said a lot to an experienced sea eye and promised excellent behavior of the vessel at sea.

«Drascombe Lugger» was bought both for family walks and for long-distance sea voyages. The first of them was made by Jan Brinkworth, who in 1968-1969 cruised on a «Lugger» in the Aegean Sea between the islands of the Greek archipelago. And in April 1969, the same plywood «Lugger», operated by two Englishmen — D. Pyle and D. Carrick — left Chichester Harbor (near Portsmouth) on a fantastic and seemingly impossible voyage for such a boat, the ultimate goal of which was the Australian port of Darwin. But Pyle was no stranger to the sea: he was preparing to take the start in the Transatlantic Race of Single Yachtsmen and even made the 500-mile qualifying voyage required by the rules on a small yacht. He chose the «Drascombe Lugger» with an understanding of all the possibilities of this vessel and the problems of such a journey.

The travelers crossed the English Channel, ascended the Seine to Paris, then crossed the whole of France to Marseille through the canal system. In the Mediterranean, they sailed 150 miles through the turbulent Gulf of Genoa without entering ports, and their Logger sailed 100 miles in 19 hours. The average speed is 5.3 knots — an excellent figure for a boat of this size! Next, Pyle and Carrick sailed along the western coast of Italy, rounded the «heel of the Italian boot», crossed the Strait of Otranto and got to Athens through the Corinth Canal. After a short rest, they left the Greek capital and, moving from island to island, went across the Aegean Sea. During one of the crossings, the «Lugger» got into a strong storm, the tiller was broken, and Pyle got to Kalymnos Island for several hours, driving the boat with the help of a running motor.

From the Turkish city of Mersin to Mosul on the Tigris River, the «Lugger» was delivered by land, first by tractor, then by rail. From here began a rapid rafting downstream through the rifts and rapids of the Tigris to the exit to the Persian Gulf. Here the travelers had to go to the island of Bahrain and repair the hull damaged during transportation by land at the local yacht club.

At the end of October, Pyle and Carrick sailed into the Arabian Sea and, making up for lost time, made a non-stop 900-mile voyage along the coast of Pakistan. But it was not possible to enter the planned travel schedule and, arriving in Bombay on November 22, they decide to cross the Bay of Bengal on the deck of the ship. In Port Dixon, the «Lugger» is launched again and continues its way south. Pyle and Carrick celebrate the New Year in Singapore, and on April 2, almost a year after sailing from England, the «Drascombe Lugger» is moored at the wall of the Australian port of Darwin.

This voyage, which took place without any serious accidents at sea, despite sometimes very harsh circumstances, is considered one of the outstanding examples of traveling on small open boats. His success and the book later released by Pyle largely contributed to the popularity of «Luggers». Already in 1969, the production of wooden boats could not meet the expanded demand, and the company «Honnor Marin» began serial construction of «Luggers» made of fiberglass.

The contours and overall layout of the plastic hull are completely preserved the same as on the first Watkinson boat. The characteristic «clinker» skin with four belts on each side was left. The edges of the belts provided the necessary rigidity to the thin plastic lining, in addition, they are excellent splash guards. The entire internal filling of the hull — longitudinal cans, locker walls, outboard motor well, deck sections in the bow and stern — is also molded from fiberglass as a whole. Both parts are connected along the upper edge of the side and are decorated here with a wooden lacquered planchier and a privalny beam. All the front surfaces of the case, made in polished matrices, are glossy, and the buyer can see the rough surface of fiberglass only by lifting the payoles or opening the covers of the lockers on the sides. A wooden false keel, equipped with a metal shackle, protected the outer surface of the bottom from abrasion when pulling the boat onto the sand. Thanks to fiberglass, the boat has become even more attractive and practical, it is easy to keep clean, and it does not take much time to prepare for navigation.

In 1970, Watkinson offered a version of the «Drascombe» increased to 6.63 m — a plastic «Longboat». The contours and layout of the new boat are identical to the «Lugger», but due to its large size, the «Longboat» has a larger capacity. The boat is especially convenient for group training of young yachtsmen in marine practice and the initial course of the art of sailing. It is equipped with a pair or even three removable transverse banks, sitting on which six young rowers can tell the «Longboat» a good speed.

Basic data of dory «Drascombe Longboat»
Longest length, m 6,63
Waterline length, m 5,50
Width, m 2,00
Draft by hull, m 0,30
Draft with shvert, m 1,27
Weight with sailing armament, kg 475
Sail area, m²  
           general 15,69
           staysail 4,92
           grotto 8,73
          mizzen 2,04

Theoretical drawing, sail pattern and general layout plan of the boat «Drascombe Longboat»

Theoretical drawing, sail layout and general layout of the boat «Drascombe Longboat»

Three years later, Jeffrey Stewart chooses this boat for his voyage across the Atlantic. Following the path of Pyle and Carrick, Stewart crosses France and enters the Mediterranean Sea, and then from Gibraltar begins his 59-day crossing of the ocean to Jamaica Island, stretching 1,000 miles. Like other trips on «Drascombes», the transatlantic crossing is completed successfully.

Taking into account the interest shown by fans of long-distance travel to the «Drascombet», in 1973. the company demonstrates a new modification at the London exhibition — «Drascombe Cruiser», equipped with a small plastic shelter cabin in the bow. There is a full-size bunk on the port side, a portable galley and a place for a portable toilet on the starboard side. The mainmast stood in the standers fixed on the roof of the cabin, and the mainsail was equipped with a boom — due to the too high position of the lower shkatorina, it is difficult to get the correct draft of the sheet from a sail with a free shkatorina. A removable awning is attached to the boat, which can be used to close the aft part of the cockpit and get an additional cabin for 3-4 crew members. In order to keep the stability of the «Cruiser» the same as that of the open version of the boat, it was necessary to reduce the sail area by 2 sq. m. The halyards of the mainsail and the staysail are carried to the aft edge of the roof of the cabin, so that, if necessary, you can remove the sails without leaving the cockpit.

Sailing armament and general arrangement of the dory «Drascombe Cruiser»

Sailing armament and general arrangement of the dory «Drascombe Cruiser»
1 — rudder box; 2 — metal rudder pen, reclining when stranded; 3 — rudder well; 4 — outboard motor well; 5 — mizzen shot; 6 - poduklyuchina; 7 — mooring well; 8 — mooring hoists; 9 — standers masts; 10 — foam.
The dimensions of the hull are the same as those of the open version; weight — 545 kg; total sail area — 13.56 m².

The new version of the popular boat enjoyed such great success among visitors to the exhibition that the administration found it necessary to mark its designer and builders with a special award.

The «Drascombe» flotilla began to expand not only towards larger boats, but also more compact and cheaper models appeared, in principle preserving all the positive qualities of the «Drascombe Lugger». «Dabber», for example, has a body a meter shorter and weighs 135 kg less, it is especially convenient for swimming alone or together, is quite seaworthy and comfortable. The small size and weight of the boat allow you to pull it ashore in case of a sudden deterioration in the weather. Watkinson copied the contours of the «Dabber» from ancient surf boats that usually stood on a sandy beach and collided into the water to go fishing. Characteristic of such boats were almost the same bow and stern, which guaranteed that the vessel would not be found on a steep surf wave when approaching the shore. In addition, it was not necessary to turn the boat's nose into the sea when departing. The keel line on such vessels was made almost straight for better stability on the course.

Basic data of the dory «Drascombe Dabber»
Longest length, m 4,72
Waterline length, m 4,14
Width, m 1,78
Draft by hull, m 0,18
Draft with shvert, m 0,91
Weight with sailing armament, kg 250
Sail area, m²  
           general 10,96
           staysail 1,95
           grotto 7,71
          mizzen 1,30

Sailing armament and general layout plan of the boat «Drascombe Dabber»

Sailing armament and general layout plan of the boat «Drascombe Dabber»
1 — shvert in the well; 2 — foam; 3 — wooden rudder feather; 4 — mizzen-shot; 5 — mainsail-sheet; 6 — rigging; 7 — slats; 8 — hook; 9 — rope lanyard; 10 — bowsprit; 11 — ring for fastening the tack of the staysail, sliding along the bowsprit; 12 — cut-out hatch of the side locker.

The designer upgraded only the surface part of the hull, making a V-shaped transom in the stern, necessary for placing the outboard motor in the well. The device of the boat inside is identical to the «Lugger», as well as the «half-mast» rigging. However, a short hull was not enough to accommodate the wide sails — the mizzen mast had to be installed at the transom itself, and the tack angle of the staysail was fixed on the bowsprit. The rake mainsail gave this small vessel an even greater resemblance to a real sailboat of the last century, on which cod and mackerel were fished in the North Sea.

The «Drascombe Dabber» turned out to be a perfectly balanced vessel under sail. A small wooden steering wheel hung on the transom is sufficient for control, the boat perfectly tacks under one mainsail with an area of 7.71 sq. m., and under a staysail (1.95 sq. m.), working in tandem with a mizzen (1.3 sq. m.). The well for an outboard motor with a capacity of 2-4 hp is shifted to the left side from the diametral plane of the boat (thanks to this eliminates the influence of the hull on the operation of the propeller). Also, the mizzen mast is slightly shifted to the left side, so as not to interfere with the control of the boat using a straight tiller. When sailing under the same mainsail, the bowsprit and stern shot can be removed and laid on the deck — so there is less chance of «ramming» any boat or embankment that turns up when mooring.

«Drascombe Dabber» under sail

«Drascombe Dabber» under sail

If the 5.7 and 6.6-meter models attracted travelers and are widely used for family holidays, then the «Dabber» are more loved by fishermen who go fishing on coastal shoals. Many of them would like to have a similar seaworthy and relatively light vessel equipped with an economical four-stroke gasoline engine or even diesel. And in 1973, the «Drascombe Lonch» appeared — a purely motor modification of the «Dabber». It has an air-cooled single-cylinder Vatermot engine with a capacity of 7.0 hp. driven by an adjustable pitch propeller. Thanks to the gearbox, which reduces the number of revolutions on the propeller shaft by 4 times (up to 875 rpm), a large diameter screw can be placed on the boat, giving a good stop at a relatively low rotation speed. This 360-millimeter screw is located in the cutout of the deadwood, which reliably protects it from damage when swimming in shallow water (the draft of the boat increased to 0.43 m). The designers also provided additional splash protection in the form of a lightweight nylon awning that can be placed in front of the engine.

And, finally, the latest model of the «Drascombe» — «Driver» was obtained in 1973 by transforming the hull of the «Lonch» to a length of 5.5 m and installing two masts on a new boat with a total sail of 11.92 sq. m. It turned out very a compact motor sailboat with approximately equal running qualities under sail and under the engine (all the same «Watermot» with VRSH). The aft part of the hull has not changed in comparison with the «Lonch», but in order to provide additional lateral resistance when sailing, two zygomatic keels were molded together with the hull lining. Along the way, the boat received a new property — to stand steadily on the ground at low tide, which is of no small importance for most unequipped parking lots on the English coast. «Drascombe Driver» is equipped with a rake mainsail with a mast strongly tilted back and with a free lower cabinet: the rigging allows you to control the sails alone. Of course, the maneuvering qualities and stability of the «Driver» are lower than that of the «Lugger» or «Longboat» — after all, there is no shvert on it. But this is a boat for those who do not like tedious maneuvering and prefer to use only fresh tailwinds.

Such is the flotilla of «Drascombe» — reliable seaworthy vessels that embody the best qualities of traditional boats of the past. Fiberglass, terylene and stainless steel gave them a rebirth and ensured competitiveness in the market on a par with the most modern motor boats and boats.

For drawings and a description of the process of building the motor-sailing dory «Drascombe», see Projects of boats for self-construction.

In the section «Motorboats, boats, yachts — miscellaneous, reviews, tips»

Share this page in the social. networks or bookmark:

bookmark this page