Boxer by John Pennefather

09 May 2021 09:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

John's very detailed introduction to his design and the thoughts behind it are in this document.  The drawings below are in order as referenced in the document.


  • 19 May 2021 03:29 | Anonymous member
    I like that John has drawn on Chinese history in choosing the name, and drawn on a somewhat arcane Chinese style of design, via Worcester.

    While the Boxer Rebellion is hardly a matter for celebration, it is makes a nice pun for a box-shaped boat, and the play on words is very typically Chinese.

    It would be nice if readers could see the “two small sampans” recorded by Worcester, which were the inspiration for the design. The software seems not to allow them to be displayed here in the comments space, so I will post them on the regular forum.

    The Chinese don’t seem to have bothered with 8’ sailing sampans, and probably quite rightly so.

    John’s is the only entry which has drawn on Chinese culture for its inspiration, and deserves credit for that.

    This entry is very detailed, and loaded with clever and interesting ideas. I wouldn’t build this dinghy because too much work is involved for too simple a hull concept – rather than eliminating everything surplus from a potentially complicated solution (as Sieve has done) John has added clever ideas to a potentially simple solution. However it has real merit as a repository of useful ideas for anyone who has special needs, such as the ability to stow the dinghy in a tiny space – or make it make it walk up a flight of stairs! John seems to have evolved some very practical ideas here and should be praised for that. Better than the wheelbarrow boat – and more sophisticated than the usual folding transom-wheels.

    There is nothing wrong with the “simple box” for a dinghy this size, and John need not be defensive of it. (Not only tiny boats either – consider Dave Zieger’s Triloboats and Shemaya’sa Great Auk. Its always “horses for courses.”)

    Furthermore, I think John has succeeded in his goal of making a “better nesting dinghy”.

    The rig? I question whether a classic Western junk rig can scale down successfully to such a small size – there have been a few - Ah Sup comes to mind – but none as small as 8’ as far as I can remember seeing. As John will be well aware, a small sampan of this size, if it had a sail at all, would probably have been rigged with a sprit sail, which might have been the obvious choice – that is, until Arne came up with his Halibut rig.

    A bare-bones version of this simple hull design could be “built on the beach”, which is probably a feature of which the committee would have approved, and might well have been have been good enough. The effort put into making this dinghy would be better applied to a more sophisticated hull design. Still, I take my hat off – well done.
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    • 19 May 2021 07:05 | John Pennefather
      I note the interest in the designs that influenced me. I no longer have access to the library that owned the copy that I read but I have copies of the pages of interest. One craft was called the Junk’s Sampan. The text gives a size of 9 ft x 3 1/2 ft. The scale on the diagram suggests a longer craft. She is illustrated in Plate 4.
      As guessed, the square-head boat (Plate 23) was the other influence.
      I agree that a sailing rig is often a waste of time and mine often stayed at home. But on one occasion, when the dinghy and sail went to a holiday house, the sail gave me a pleasant trip instead of blisters when the planned tow had a problem and I was a few miles from my car.
      Thanks for the competition. John
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    • 24 May 2021 21:29 | Anonymous member
      My dinghy Mo, admittedly slightly larger being 2.8m long (9'3"), has a sailplan a bit like this (5 panels) of maximum area 5.70 sq. metres (61sq.ft.). I sail her regularly up and down creeks, converting to oar power if the wind drops completely, or reefing to 4 (49sq.ft.), 3 (36sq.ft.) or 2 panels (23sq.ft.) if necessary. Two of the six built-in buoyancy lockers have hatches for stowage of lunch, change of clothes, tools etc. She tows well as a tender, rows well and sails well. See JRA Magazine Issue 79 pages 14 to 22 for details. As she previously had a different rig, de-stepping the mast is not as quick as it should be. If I was building Mo from scratch as junk-rigged I would have improved this (increasing the bury and redesigning the mast foot support); I would have reduced the weight by perhaps 25%: and, possibly, I would have made her slightly more stable to sail by having more hull buoyancy aft (but maybe not, as this would compromise the incredible ease with which she rows)...................I am thoroughly enjoying studying all these different JR dinghy designs and still have a lot to read and understand.
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       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
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