For many years, I had in mind to draw a Mediterranean boat, named pointu or barquette on the French Med coast. Michel Aubert, living in the countryside near Fréjus and Cannes, gave me the chance. As most of my designs, I did not try to draw a true replica of a given traditional boat, but to create something inspired from tradition, but suitable for both home builders and present days use. In particular, the boat had to be trailerable and easy to launch, such that it not necessary to have a permanent mooring. The hull length is 5 m for 1.75 m breadth, making the boat built and maintained in a current size garage. Dimensions and hull lines are close to existing barquette.
These Mediterranean hulls have a pointed stern. So, it is difficult to use the strip planking building method. Plywood clinker is very far from Mediterranean tradition and was not an acceptable way. Therefore, we have decided to build as a carvel hull, but using plywood boards. We use in fact the stitch and tape method, but with a high number of planks, 10 per side. All planks are CNC cut. Holes for stitching are also drilled by the CNC machine. The up-to-date 3D design software allows getting a very high accuracy, planks not requiring any adjustment, except to cut both ends. The hull is planked over a plywood egg box: backbone made of several layers of layers and bulkheads/frames. Buoyancy compartments are made at both ends.
Gabian is lateen rigged, with mainsail and jib. The lateen mainsail stands always on the same side of the mast. The mast is short and easily stepped. It is possible to use the “Catalan” type rig, with the lateen sail only which is changed from one side of the mast to the other when tacking. Then the mast is raked forward, but using the same mast partner. Using the Catalan sail is more complicated but allows to learn all the wealth of this rig used all around the Mediterranean sea in the past.We gave up using a centreboard, not consistent with a mast stepped close to mid-length. The keel has been made high (15 cm), with rocker, to get good upwind performance. Lead ballast (40 kg) is inserted into the plywood keel, which is only 36 mm thick to reduce drag. A water ballast, about 160 litres, gives the boat a displacement hull behavior, very useful if singlehanded. It is suggested to use a trailer without centreline rollers, allowing the hull to lay as low as possible and easing launching and retrieving. The rudder fittings allow to raise the rudder it when beaching.
We gave up using a centreboard, not consistent with a mast stepped close to mid-length. The keel has been made high (15 cm), with rocker, to get good upwind performance. Lead ballast (40 kg) is inserted into the plywood keel, which is only 36 mm thick to reduce drag. A water ballast, about 160 litres, gives the boat a displacement hull behavior, very useful if singlehanded. It is suggested to use a trailer without centreline rollers, allowing the hull to lay as low as possible and easing launching and retrieving. The rudder fittings allow to raise the rudder it when beaching.
The pointed stern makes difficult a motor arrangement. Most Med boats have fixed engines, but they are now very expensive and add weight, not desirable on a trailerable boat. We have studied several way to arrange an outboard, using 3D design. We have finally chosen an off-centered motor well of simple geometry. The owner preferred an electric motor, which is an excellent choice. The Torqeedo travel is light and is easily moved and stowed under side deck when under sail.
The deck arrangement is typical of Mediterranean custom, with a hatch of a moderate width allowing to close the deck with covers. It is possible to sleep on board, as the floorboard is 1.2 m wide. As the boat is almost decked, a simple tent is enough. A large locker is fitted ahead of the mast.
The first Gabian was built between February and July 2015 by Arwen Marine boatbuilder. Then Michel Aubert has made the rigging job. The boat, named Hasta Cipango, has been launched at the end of summer. Her behaviour at sea is very satisfactory, including with bad weather conditions as the Med is able to offer. The 2016 season will show how Gabian compares with other boats.
My intention is to work out this year the building instructions for home builders. If you are interested in building the boat, do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Please note that he study plan is an extract of the building plans and instructions. Therefore, it is not presently available.