Pocket cruiser and traditional gaffer 17′
|Hull length / waterline||5.10 / 4.60 m||Sail area||18 m²|
|Breadth / waterline||2.00 / 1.75 m||Outboard motor||6 ch|
|Draught||2.00 / 1.75 m||Design category / Crew||C4|
|Light weight (including motor) / ballast||720 / 190 kg||Building time||700 hours|
I had in mind to develop a new version, for those owner having a fixed mooring and not interested in easy launching. Then, this new boat has to be a keel boat, leaving more space in the cockpit not encumbered by a centreboard case, and have a watertight and self-draining “at mooring” cockpit, allowing to leave it unattended for a long period. I also decided to have a plywood cold molded hull made on the same principle as Pen-Hir which is very easy to build. The rig is a gaff sloop, but a gaff cutter is also possible.
During the winter 2013, Icarai boatbuilder found a customer for this new design, but for for a cabin version.
The lines of Koalen 17 are very close to those of Ebihen 16, but the fore end has been modified to get a developable bottom plank and the transom has more rake as the rudder is attached to the keel. That is why the length has been increased to 5.1 m. The boat is clearly inspired by the small fishing cutters of North Brittany, with the plumb stem and moderately raked transom.
Koalen 17 is planked over a crisscrossed plywood structure including backbone and bulkheads. A developed panel makes the bottom planking and the side planking is made of two layers of 6 mm plywood, laid vertically (see picture) on stringers. Once again we got confirmation that this process gives both a sturdy hull faster to plank than strip planking and even clinker plywood. We decided to have the ballast inserted inside the plywood backbone. We used off the shelf lead pigs, but the void spaces may be filled in with lead scraps and epoxy. Therefore, the keel is hydrodynamically very clean and, despite a moderate draught, gives both an efficient lateral plane and good stability.
To have a serviceable cabin in such a small boat and keep an elegant line is not easy. But not having any centreboard case allows a minimum of seated comfort, to have two normal size berths, a stowage for a Porta-Potti toilet under cockpit and enough stowage space for a small cruise with a camping stove. The aim of Koalen 17 is mainly to be a dayboat with a cuddy, but it is possible for two people to spend some nights on board, allowing to discover more remote areas than a simple day boat allows. Koalen 17 is a pocket cruiser easy to trail behind a medium sized car, but requiring some handling facilities to have it into the water.
The first Koalen 17 has been delivered by Icarai boatbuilder in mid July 2013 in Ile Grande, an island close to the harbour of Trébeurden in North Brittany. A very beautiful place! I went the day after to help the owner for the first sailing and test the boat. The weather was misty with a very limited visibility. Hopefully I had my handheld GPS both to check the speed and to be able to sail among the many rocks and tide currents. We had to wait the middle of the afternoon to be able to take some pictures and have a look at the close coast.
Wind was light but enough to check that the boat performs well and the helm was properly balanced. Since then, the owner confirms he is very happy with her Koalen 17.
Since then, I got an order for an other Koalen 17 presently under construction in Scotland.
Of course an open version of Koalen 17 may also be made and will require only some design complements. Another boat, Koalen 26, 8 m long, is under construction on the Mediterranean coast by a home builder and is to be launched this autumn. Koalen is the name of an island near Bréhat in the Trieux estuary. I give this name to boats in the same North Brittany spirit and I am ready to draw new boats between 17 and 26 feet in length..
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