Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Tiny Voyager

Many years ago I was commissioned to design a boat for a young guy who wanted a very small cruising sailboat that he could build for small cost. He was going to sail the world on this little boat, so it had to be capable of crossing oceans. That is a tough ask for a small boat because the smaller it is the slower it will sail, the longer it will be on the water for trans-ocean passages and the more weight it must carry in stores and water. She was to be named "PIEPOWDER", an old English word derived from the French for "dusty feet" and meaning wanderer. See more info on the Piepowder design.
Piepowder "Nano" on launch day.
 As it turned out, his father found him before his plan came to fruition and hauled him off back home, put him into a suit and absorbed him into the corporate world. As far as I know he never did get to build his little boat. We have sold a few sets of plans for it over the years but it isn't one of our amateur-friendly designs, so the numbers have been low.

Joachim Fontaine in Muster, Germany, has launched a new "Piepowder" that he built for himself. He named her "Nano" because of her tiny size, as in nano-tubes being minute carbon structures.

""Nano" on the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, England
She is a very pretty and rather cute little boat and he is delighted with her. He launched her in April 2012 and a month later set off for a 3-week cruise to England and back. Joachim sent me the following report on the sailing qualities of his little boat.

"She is a very good sailor and always absolutely dry, there is rarely water on the deck. Three Meter waves and wind blowing with seven Beaufort in the channel has been no problem for this small boat. On the way back through the Netherlands inland waterways she sailed in calm water conditions just under genoa only a fraction over 6 knots. We sailed her around 50 nautical miles a day and we calculated (with her 5 HP Motor) an average speed of 5 knots. We hadn't any difficulties at all with this small boat. It is a tough little traveller - well a piepowder."

I don't think that I could expect a better review of this little cruiser. It is always a pleasure to know that an owner is so very happy with his boat.
"Nano" in Zwijndrecht, Netherlands.
 It appears that Joachim has made a good job of building "Nano", so he has a strong and capable little boat. I don't know if he has intentions of crossing oceans with her but I think that they will have many adventures together in the future. Thank you Joachim, for building her well and enjoying her. A designer cannot ask for more. Now I look forward to some sailing photos of "Nano".

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