Shoveler

Shoveler

Shoveler (lug-rigged) – shows her paces

Shoveler – gets away from it all

Shoveler – and her sisters are easily launched

Shoveler – a home-built sailing off Antigua, photograph courtesy of Steve Mearns

The smallest boat in the fleet; a beamy but compact pram dinghy with a spacious interior, she offers overnight accommodation for the single-hander when a tent cover is fitted. Sails well with her twin bilge keels, rows well, and tows well.

Dimensions: 3.0m x 1.4m ( 9′ 9″ x 4′ 8″)
Hull weight: 47kg (103lbs) Sail area: 5.3 sq m (57 sq ft)
Plans: £25 post free (£27 outside Europe)

Shoveler is, like the duck for which she is named, most at home in lakes, ponds, rivers, and the upper reaches of tidal estuaries. She is a flat-bottomed pram dinghy with the unusual feature of twin bilge keels instead of daggerboard or centreplate, and this gives her a remarkably roomy interior for a boat of her compact overall dimensions. She is light enough to be carried on the roof of the average family car.

Shoveler has comfortable sprawling space for two adults, but if tented over makes a minimum cruiser for the single-hander. Her long bilge keels give her the feel of a much bigger boat; she tacks well under oars or sail, and goes to windward in very shallow water with her endplate rudder.

Construction is similar to other boats in the range –  (6mm) plywood is the hull material, and only three sheets are needed. Rigidity is provided by the solid gunwales and chines, with buoyancy built in fore and aft.

She can be easily rigged with a lugsail or spritsail, perhaps boomless for simplicity and to spare the crew? heads! A small outboard can be clamped to the transom.

“What could be simpler for a first boat – or a first boatbuilding project?”
Water Craft, March 1998

“A good boat for children to learn to sail in, or as a general-purpose tender & easy to use and practical both under sail and oar.”
Classic Boat, March 1997