Topsy
A 28' 2 1/2" V-Bottom Knockabout
By William Atkin
The Stem Head Sloop Topsy
From time immemorial hosts of readers of MoToR BoatinG have asked for a design of a useful small auxiliary; not too difficult for amateur builders; of not too much draft; not carrying too much sail nor overpowered; without centerboard; quite without outside ballast and above all, shipmates, not too expensive. Which leads me to believe there live legions about the waterfront tremendously interested in wholesome, and what my friend James S. Pitkin calls, cruising-cruisers.
Not ordinary in any manner is this sloop Topsy. I have borrowed from a magazine of my friend Maurice Griffith a most excellent name for this kind of rig -- a stem-head sloop. A real sloop always has a bowsprit, you know. Stem-head sloop describes this rig far better than our non-descriptive term, knockabout! The rig shows a gaff-head mainsail and staysail; the former spreads 272 square feet; the latter 110; a total area of 380 square feet, enough for comfortable cruising. The simplicity of the gaff-head sail plan is one of its many advantages. I, among others, am not so sure of the superiority of the very tall and narrow jib-head sail plan. I feel we take too much for granted when we consider the modern triangular, sail plan the best.
So this stem-head sloop is 28 feet, 2 1/2 inches in overall length; 24 feet on the water line; 8 feet, 6 inches in breadth; and 2 feet, 10 inches draft. She is of V-bottom form modified in certain ways which I feel from experience will produce a very remarkable boat. If eddies follow the boat in its progress through the water resistance is set up; therefore it is better practice to round the corners of every underwater appendage, the keel as shown, the cutwater, the deadwood, the rudder. To be sure we have the chine corner; this is not vital because it is close to the surface and above and furthermore has a tendency to smooth the wake and to reduce topside skin friction. Topsy carries all her ballast inside, 2,000 pounds of it imbedded in cement laid between the floor timbers. The wooden keel is broad and there is therefore room, and to spare, for the necessary ballast.
For power use a small motor. The 10 h.p. twin shown is ample to provide a speed of 6 miles an hour. There are numerous excellent motors on the market today. I should not recommend a motor much in excess of 20 h.p.
 
PHOTOS OF TOPSY
Plans for Topsy are $65
Study Plans are available for $20
(Refunded when full plans are purchased)
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