VG23 Questions : Jacques

Sail Boats 15' and up. Please include the boat type in your question.
mhd
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VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by mhd »

Hi,

So, I've spent many many hours reading this forum, read hundreds of forum posts, and the whole of Justin's website on his Just Right VG20 build, as well as reading numerous other boat-building sites on/off for the last three years. Dozens of books as well - lots of research. But now it is time to begin. Our plan was to build a pocket cruiser, but it had to be offshore capable (ocean crossing would be rare - sail plan would be mostly cruising US coast, Mexico, Caribbean - but offshore should still be possible). I came to the same conclusion as Justin - the Vagabond boats were the best match to our requirements in all respects. Far and away they fitted our broad needs better than any other design we looked at, and at the end the main decision we had to make was VG20/23/26? After reading and researching even more we decided on the VG23 and bought the plans. Our first ever boat (FB11) is now completed (apart from sails) and now we're at the point of ordering the ply for the VG23 to begin in Jan 2023 (although I may start building the keel/centre-board before then if time allows).

Just last week (29th July 2022) I went and visited Brian in the UK, another VG23 builder, to talk about his build and have a look at his work and what advice he may have. He was very very helpful and kind enough to answer all my questions, and provided many tips and do's/don'ts, and even took us out for a short sail around Preston Dock (THANKS Brian!) - so I've already had some experience aboard a VG23! Seeing it for real confirmed all my previous thoughts - it is a great design and it is the boat we are going to build.

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I've listed all the VG23 info I could find on the forum here:

viewtopic.php?t=66175

But of course, I have some remaining questions that I've not found answers to, despite searching. I'm guessing Jacques has the answers to these questions?

*Question 1* Interior space. I DO NOT want to elevate the deck - plenty of posts have covered the problems with that in regards to safety/stability. But after seeing first-hand the size of the cockpit on an actual build, I wonder if extra interior space can be gained in a different way. Rather than shortening the cockpit with the skirt/bridge-deck (as suggested in the VG23 updates for offshore use) I thought about extending the entire cabin/deck aft-wards, say to the location of Bulkhead G rather than Bulkhead F - that is ~525mm further aft according to the plans. This would kill two birds with one stone. Smaller cockpit and also provide more internal space. But of course, would have consequces for windage, balance, etc. After looking at the plans I'm seriously considering this, but want to know if it is something that chould be considered, or recommended, or if it is something you would actively discourage. I can't think of a major disandvantage, and Brian thought it might work and be a good idea, but there is a reason that it wasn't designed that way originally of course.

*Question 2* If the designer were going to sail a VG23 across the Atlantic what further modifications (if any might they consider? Any? The VG23 is an improved version of the Serpentaire so already has a great offshore reputation and capability. There were some modifications suggested in the updates for the VG23 for offshore work (bridge-deck + skirt). Does anything else come to mind? We want to build the VG23 with trans-Atlantic crossings a possibility. Both west-to-east and east-to-west. And then who knows? But our ultimate aim is to build a boat that has the ability to cross an ocean. Not regularly, and not in luxury of course, but we've lived together long enough to know the ups and downsides of that - far too much camping in a small tent in inhospitable places to not realise the downsides. Ocean crossing would be the extreme end of the sail plan, not the normality. Mostly it will be used for cruising (US coast, Mexico, Caribbean). The main thing is we're only building one more boat and after a lot of research it *will* be the VG23. And we don't want to start thinking about modifications *after* the build. If you were going to re-visit the VG23 design, is there anything else you would change?

*Question 3* Would a Prameke78 fit inverted on the foredeck to use as a tender (not for long passages, but for shorter cruises?). Plan for a spare smaller headsail to use with this in mind. Any other suggestions for a tender for the VG23? Is there *any* way to store a very small rigid tender?

*Question 4* For what is comparatively a small boat, how about simply using blocks rather than winches? I talked to Brian in the UK about this, as that is what he's set up for currently. There are pros/cons of course. Any major disadvantages or reasons to use winches from the outset?

*Question 5* The details of the VG20 lift-up rudder design (to allow sailing in shallower water) are not on the VG23 plans. Can I obtain the details please? (Rudder/keel/centre-board will built first).

*Question 6*

An earlier quote from Jacques: "We are working from a new very detailed spreadsheet and I have to make some decisions on what we call trailer weight."
...
"I may make that new spreadsheet available to those who buy the plans."

We've bought plans for the VG23 (and PK78). We've built the FB11. I am slowly educating myself about sailboat design/building and a bunch of other stuff and attempting to plan the build (and trailer and tender and interior fittings) as far in advance as I can. I'm not morbidly afraid of hydrodynamics. I'm also trying to work out in advance what weight we have to work with and whether to include internal water tanks etc. Is the spreadsheet, or a reduced version of it, available? If so, how do I get it?
===========================

And a couple of final quotes from some of Jacques' other replies...

"Bottom line, if you want a minimum boat to circumnavigate, the VG23 is a fine choice."

I hope so! Who knows! :D

"People emigrated for less than that. BTW, I did . . . that kind of garbage was a major reason for me to leave Europe and become a US citizen." (Crazy EU reguations of xyz).

Us too. At least the first part - we left Europe years ago. The second part is a work in progress.

Thanks.

Mick


Completed: FB11 (Designer Evan Gatehouse)
Current Build: VG23 (Designer Jacques Mertens)

jacquesmm
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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by jacquesmm »

mhd wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:25 am *Question 1* Interior space.
That can be done as long as you do not move or remove a frame. It would give you a very small cokpit and with two people in the cockpit, far aft, the balance would not be as good. I prefer to keep the weight of people forward. It's a small boat, sensitive to the weight of the crew.

*Question 2* If the designer were going to sail a VG23 across the Atlantic
I would not change anything. The boat is able to cross oceans especially in the Trade Winds. Many iterations of that type of design exist, many have crossed oceans. I would build the hull with the skirt, as shown on the plans and have a bridge deck. That means have the space between F and G covered by bench top in the cockpit, a fully enclosed compartment. The goal is to increase buoyancy in the stern, extend the dynamic waterline and reduce the open volume of the cockpit. I had a 41' boat with a smaller leg well than the VG23 but with a large bridge deck. It was comfortable and safe. I would not change anything but for cruising in the Caribbean, I would not extend the cabin.

*Question 3* Would a Prameke78 fit inverted on the foredeck
Sorry but the boat is too small for a rigid tender. You will have to settle for an inflatable but it can be stored on the roof.

*Question 4* For what is comparatively a small boat, how about simply using blocks rather than winches?
Except for the sheets, blocks are fine. You can do without the winches but it will require luffing to reduce pressure each time you want to adjust a foresail sheet. On the 41' boat mentioned above, I had only one winch on the cockpit centerline and sailing single handed, I was able to use a 100 m2 asymmetrical spi. I used blocks for almost everything. I had lots of tackles with snap shackle blocks. A pair of sheet winches (or one in the middle) are convenient for sheeting adjustments.

*Question 5* The details of the VG20 lift-up rudder design (to allow sailing in shallower water) are not on the VG23 plans. Can I obtain the details please? (Rudder/keel/centre-board will built first).
I will look for them. I was thinking of changing the rudder to a cassette type, give me some time.

*Question 6*

An earlier quote from Jacques: "We are working from a new very detailed spreadsheet and I have to make some decisions on what we call trailer weight."
I stayed with original spreadsheet. It does not help to go in extreme details, builders make changes and load the boat their way, move things around. 2,500 lbs is a good starting points. Some will load the trailer more, other less. I understand that it is heavy for small cars but you will not tow her often. It is possible but there is a lot work involved in launching a boat from a ramp.
Jacques Mertens - Designer
http://boatbuildercentral.com

mhd
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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by mhd »

That was a fast reply. Thanks!
I would not change anything. The boat is able to cross oceans especially in the Trade Winds. Many iterations of that type of design exist, many have crossed oceans. I would build the hull with the skirt, as shown on the plans and have a bridge deck. That means have the space between F and G covered by bench top in the cockpit, a fully enclosed compartment. The goal is to increase buoyancy in the stern, extend the dynamic waterline and reduce the open volume of the cockpit. I had a 41' boat with a smaller leg well than the VG23 but with a large bridge deck. It was comfortable and safe. I would not change anything but for cruising in the Caribbean, I would not extend the cabin.
I'll think more on the extended cabin vs skirt+bridge-deck a bit more and try and come to a decision. Even a little more interior space would be welcome, but of course everything is a compromise.

I've ordered some balsa wood and will make a scale model first, before the actual build - then see how it looks on the model before making a decision.

Cheers,

Mick
Completed: FB11 (Designer Evan Gatehouse)
Current Build: VG23 (Designer Jacques Mertens)

mhd
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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by mhd »

Okay, I made a couple of very rough-and-ready scale models from thin card...the original model was made first (not a great job I'll admit ). Second was a better attempt made with the possible changes I was thinking about. We love the original design and making it, even as a paper model, I can really appreciate even more how well the entire design works. Just to be clear, these changes are prompted by the thought that there would almost never be more than two people aboard and space on a small boat is always at a premium.

I hope it is clear what I'm proposing from the photos below...hopefully my woodwork is better than my paperwork :D

Extended deck (from Frame F to G) for port/starboard interior stowage
Bridgedeck (as Jacques suggested)
Winches moved aft

I extended the structural Frame G up to the deck level on the sides to support the extended deck port/starboard. For interior access I would cut holes in Frame F from inside the cabin - these needn't be too large. This would be compensated for by extending the cabin aft and supporting it over the original cockpit seat (cleated and taped inside). - the length of the cockpit seat would be unchanged (it would still extend all the way to Frame F to maintain the structure) and would proved a "shelf" inside the cabin. Due to their height above the waterline, the new interior cabin areas would be used for light stowage only.

Everything else (sliding hatch etc.) is unchanged. Some cockpit space would be lost (cockpit would reduce from ~2.5m to 2m in length) but interior space would be gained as a result. The extra space would come with the penalty of some additional weight due to some extra ply being needed, although some weight is saved with reduced cockpit seat backs/top.

I haven't tried to estimate how much the weight penalty would be.

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The only other issue I see is that the traveller might be impeded by the extend stowage areas when running downwind. I haven't tested this yet, but I will certainly measure up a scale model of the mast/boom and traveller. Worst situation would be moving the traveller slightly further aft, or moving the traveller slightly further aft on the boom.

If these changes would be okay then I think they will fit our needs. If the changes suggested above are in any way unsound then I won't be implementing them.

Regardless of that, I've got one sheet of 8mm ply left over from the FB11 build - it was originally going to be a roof-rack for the jeep but that is no longer the priority :D I will use that to being constructing the keel between now and the end of the year. I'll post photos as I go.

At the start of next year I'll order the ply for the hull.

Comments/suggestions welcomed.

Cheers,

Mick
Completed: FB11 (Designer Evan Gatehouse)
Current Build: VG23 (Designer Jacques Mertens)

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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by jacquesmm »

If I understand well, you want to build some kind of cabin roof extension over the cockpit benches. You will loose some sitting room in the cockpit and not gain much inside but it is feasible. I don't see any structural problems as long as you leave a ring frame where the cockpit frame is. We need a ring frame there, 3" (75 mm) wide. No weight problem. Yes, you will have to move the main sheet traveler or have the sheet on a snap shackle block for downwind sailing.
Jacques Mertens - Designer
http://boatbuildercentral.com

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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by mhd »

jacquesmm wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 12:30 pm If I understand well, you want to build some kind of cabin roof extension over the cockpit benches. You will loose some sitting room in the cockpit and not gain much inside but it is feasible. I don't see any structural problems as long as you leave a ring frame where the cockpit frame is. We need a ring frame there, 3" (75 mm) wide. No weight problem. Yes, you will have to move the main sheet traveler or have the sheet on a snap shackle block for downwind sailing.
Perfect thanks.
Completed: FB11 (Designer Evan Gatehouse)
Current Build: VG23 (Designer Jacques Mertens)

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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by rick berrey »

I am not sure what you will gain by extending the cabin -v- sail plan issues and loss of cockpit area . If you want a little more room then bite the bullet and scale up all ways say 5% or length only 10% and keep the designed sail plane while providing more space in both the cabin and cockpit . 10% length only will get you about a foot more in the cabin and a little faster boat .

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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by jacquesmm »

rick berrey wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:52 pm I am not sure what you will gain by extending the cabin -v- sail plan issues and loss of cockpit area . If you want a little more room then bite the bullet and scale up all ways say 5% or length only 10% and keep the designed sail plane while providing more space in both the cabin and cockpit . 10% length only will get you about a foot more in the cabin and a little faster boat .
I agree, good suggestion.
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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by mhd »

jacquesmm wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:54 pm
rick berrey wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:52 pm I am not sure what you will gain by extending the cabin -v- sail plan issues and loss of cockpit area . If you want a little more room then bite the bullet and scale up all ways say 5% or length only 10% and keep the designed sail plane while providing more space in both the cabin and cockpit . 10% length only will get you about a foot more in the cabin and a little faster boat .
I agree, good suggestion.
Yes good suggestion, and something I considered initially, but a *longer* boat just won't fit. 23' is the absolute maximum length that will fit in the garage, and that is already very tight in length and width. I have nowhere practical outside where I can build so I also looked into renting some place to do the build in town but that won't work either. Small town and nowhere is suitable, or prohibitively expensive.
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Re: VG23 Questions : Jacques

Post by rick berrey »

Can you not angle the boat from corner to corner and pick up a foot or 2 ? At 5% you are picking up a foot in length , if you scale her overall 5% you pick up vol. , a little head room , and still stay in legal towing width . For what you want to do the added work with possible unknown complications down the road don't seem worth it to me . There are no down sides to 10% in length only , or 5% overall , only up sides . Lay the boat out in your garage from corner to corner instead of front to back , you will pick up enough space to add a foot or two . If you can put your build frame on casters you can roll the boat outside a little on good days . Either scaling option will pay off if you do a trans Atlantic crossing or blue water . I would think mast height would not have to be scaled up and added sail area with a square top main would make up to some extent .

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