A Sailing Life Dinghy for a Small Yacht

Miranda_Profile2.jpg (24395 bytes)

The clients for this little vessel, which is the smallest we have ever designed, had corresponded with me for many months on various matters connected with choosing and outfitting a modest ocean voyaging yacht. They finally chose to buy a beautiful Vertue class sloop. Since my wife, my daughter and I lived aboard Vertue number four Charis for many years and traveled about, I have a great affection for this well regarded small voyaging yacht.

Nevertheless, tough little voyager or not, we all worry that someday we’ll lose our ship at sea. Never mind that you are much less likely to die on a boat than on your average trip to the corner store in an automobile. In the case of these clients they initially asked us about life rafts and what we would recommend. I have watched five test inflations of life rafts only to see three of them fail to inflate, one blow up, and only one actually inflate correctly. Further I can recount endless horror stories about life rafts that have been recounted to me. Also, you can't sail a life raft home. You can sail a proper sailing life dinghy.

After a lot of work here we came up with Miranda. She is named after the daughter of Prospero in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" who extracts from her father a promise that the shipwrecked sailors will all survive.

Miranda has foam flotation and is shaped to carry a good deal of weight. Since she must be very short to fit on the bow of a Vertue, we used a nearly vertical forward transom. Fully loaded with survival gear, two people and whatever you can grab from a sinking yacht she should float with the bottom of this transom slightly immersed. She should get you home and  should even work to windward when sea conditions permit.

The hull lines show an unusual section shape. She has a good deal of curvature in the topsides which gives some tumble home. This is unusual in dinghies but is used here because of the unusally hard use this vessel may have to endure. An open boat is hard to keep rigid enough to minimize fatigue. By giving her a lot of "shape" we increase the rigidity enough to hopefully make her extremely long lived even under very heavy prolonged usage if required to fullfill her emergency situation functions.

Miranda can be used on any modest cruising boat, with a crew of two, or two adults and a child. Larger boats and larger crews might want a larger version.

Construction is kept simple. We used sheathed strip construction so Miranda should be a good solid neglect resistant little vessel.

The plans are on two sheets and include a list of recommended survival gear. The cost includes the right to build one boat and any construction advice or explanatory sketches needed to complete construction.

Study Plans $66
Complete Building Plans $195

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