19-foot Canoe Yawl - William Garden Eel Design.

OTTER
Year: 1982
Designer: William Garden
Builder: Steve Rander, SCBW
LOA: 18 feet, 6 inches
LWL: 14 feet, 10 inches
Beam: 6 feet
Draft: 13 inches, cb up
30 inches, cb down
Displ: 1350 lbs. (light)
Ballast 400 lbs. lead
Sail Area: 201 square feet
Auxiliary: Oars and gas outboard
Location: San Juan Islands, WA
Click on any photo to enlarge.

At the Woodenboat Festival
Canoe-stern and mizzen
Sailplan and lines
Cockpit and deck
Helm
Rowing in a calm
Cabin facing aft
Cozy cabin facing forward
Comfy cockpit
Cockpit tent
At anchor
From astern
Beached

Construction: All construction by Schooner Creek Boatworks, supervised by Steve Rander. Hull is 3 layers of cold-molded western red cedar and WEST System epoxy. There are short skegs either side of the keel-shoe amidships which allow the boat to stand upright on a low-tide beach.

Decks are quarter-inch marine plywood with dynel and epoxy overlay, providing a textured non-skid surface similar to painted canvas. Cabin sides and cockpit coaming are laminated ash. Cockpit seats and trim are mahogany. Floorboards are teak. Main cabin bulkhead is mahogany marine plywood, finished bright.

Lifting bronze rudder and shaft with tiller steering. Bronze centerboard and lead keel shoe. The cockpit is not self-bailing. The hull and deck are watertight. The ingenious centerboard pivot-pin arrangement is strong and watertight also. The bilge is always dry

Sails and Rig: All spars are bright-finished, solid Sitka spruce. Sliding gunter mainsail rig, marconi mizzen. Roller furling jib. Standing rig is stainless 1x19 wire. Running rig is 3-strand dacron rove through all bronze blocks and cleats.

Carol Hasse tanbark main, jib, and mizzen in very good condition. Main has 2 reef points. Where gaff jaws contact mainmast in each reefed position, the mast is copper-sheathed. Main and mizzen have lazy-jacks.

Auxiliary power: 1997, 3 hp. Mariner 2-cycle gas outboard motor on removable bracket. Motor stores under aft deck. Ten-foot leathered oars for rowing or sculling.

Tanks: Fuel - 6 gallon plastic removable, under rear cockpit bench. Water - Two 3 gallon plastic removable, under cockpit seats amidships. All concealed and secured in place.

Accommodations: Starting all the way forward, v-berths on each side of mainmast and centerboard truck. Sitting headroom at aft end of bunks, with footwell. Dickinson solid fuel heating stove on cabin bulkhead to starboard (smoke-stack removes from deck when not in use).

Gimballed oil lantern with smoke bell on bulkhead to port. Storage shelves outboard port and starboard and under bunks. Cedar bucket head can be used in cabin or cockpit. Cabin finish is high-gloss white enamel with bright finished mahogany trim.

Galley: The small galley consists of a butane stove, dishes, utensils, and dishpan. This all resides in matched mahogany boxes which slide from under the port and starboard cockpit seats. The box tops serve as workspaces.

Dry food storage is in dry-bags lashed under the side-decks, on the outboard edges of the cockpit seats. Cool food storage is against the hull under the cockpit floorboards and berths, in tupperware bins.

Navigation: 4-inch, bulkhead mounted, compensated, Ritchie compass. Silva hand-bearing compass. Handheld Garmin GPS.

Deck: All fittings are bronze. 20-lb Bruce anchor secured in roller on side of bowsprit, ready to deploy. Ten feet of galvanized chain leader with 250-feet of 3/8 three-strand nylon rode. Rode stores in a reinforced mahogany box which secures on the foredeck or under the port cockpit seat. There is a spare Danforth anchor and rode stored under the cockpit floorboards. Closed-cell foam Bottomsider cockpit cushions.

Safety Equipment: Fire extinguisher, horn, flares. Throwable type-I seat cushions. Two auto-inflatable Sospender type-III life vests with built in harnesses. Each vest hip belt has a small bag containing rocket flares, strobe light, and whistle.Two standard type II life jackets. Brackets on deck for clip-in, battery powered running lights. Anchor light. Small parachute-type sea-anchor which keeps her bow or stern pointed into wind and seas when hove-to.

Maintenance: The boat is in immaculate condition, showing no wear. Stored dry, under cover, 5 months of each year. The bottom has been cleaned and painted annually. Topsides and deck have been repainted every third year (last in March 2004). The epoxy finish on the hull below waterline has never been breached by water.

Owner's Comment: Otter has been featured in WoodenBoat and Cruising World magazines.

Otter is similar to the 'canoe-yawls' which were popular for cruisers in Britain in the early 1800s. I first saw Otter in the boatbuilder advertisements in WoodenBoat magazine, and fell in love immediately. In 1996 Otter came on the market, but she was located in Southeast Alaska. I couldn't resist her though, and bought and sailed her down to Puget Sound, with many excursions along the way.

Over the course of the single-handed, 42-day, 1300 mile trip, most of it in the Inside Passage, we faced the gamut of sailing conditions. From motor-sailing into a gale of wind with steep, 15-foot breaking seas, to rowing for miles in calms, Otter always exuded strength and good character.

Although I had always admired William Garden's drawings, by the end of that first trip I realized that in Otter, Schooner Creek Boatworks had created a masterpiece from Garden's Eel design.

She feels much larger and more seaworthy than her measurements imply. Her motion is predictable and the helm is balanced. She will sail unattended under full sail, with reefs in the mainsail, or with just the jib and mizzen.

The sliding-gunter mainsail rig works beautifully. The long upright gaff (see sailplan, above) serves as a mast extension under full sail, and lowers as the sail is reefed, which brings spar weight lower. Less weight aloft improves the stability of any boat. This rig also means the mainmast is relatively short, making it handier to un-step for maintenance or trouble-shooting.

In the cockpit, you sit on comfortable bench seats with high backrests. The cockpit is deep, so you feel very secure, and there is plenty of leg-room. The cabin is tiny but comfortable for camp-cruising. In a snug anchorage...sipping a glass of wine while reading by lamplight...coal-stove warming and drying the cabin...storm whipping the towering spruce trees nearby and driving rain against the cabintop...the cabin is the coziest space imaginable.