Building light or heavy?

The schooner can be built heavy or light. Tropical hardwood ply and Douglas Fir give a fairly heavy boat. At the other extreme, gaboon and cedar framing, with spruce masts, will give a very light boat. Light is faster, but... Phil Bolger has written that he piled the sail on, and has told us that the boat could be seen as overcanvassed by present day standards (that's why it looks so stunning).

Flying Tadpole II was built on the heavier end of the scale. The extra weight means we're slower in light airs, but also that two or three of us can hold her up with all plain sail up in 25 knot winds, at which stage she's planing furiously.

If you are sure of having a larger or heavier crew, build her light for the speed by all means. If you are going to be cruising two- or three-handed, consider either a heavier boat or the possibility of carrying ballast when necessary (the old sandbags or PVC pipe which can be filled with water and laid along the chines inside the cockpit).

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