12' Keelboat

Design Number 93

In the early '70's, when it was socially acceptable to be designing in ferro-cement, we did quite a number of designs in that medium. The ones done under our supervision, with our techniques and methodology, turned out quite well, usually with such a fine finish on them they often were taken for nicely built wood boats.

Then, within a few years, the results of Samson Marine's marketing caught up with even the good ones, ruining the resale value for one and all. They'd claimed that anyone could build in the medium and do it quickly and cheaply. Unfortunately, the results looked like they'd been taken literally. Crude finish work and detailing abounded. They were difficult to sell for even the cost of their materials. The boating community at large assumed that anything that was built of ferro-cement must, by definition, be one of those crudely built boats and didn't want to be associated with them.

We'd always done designs in other materials. These other materials are what we're working in today. We still sell the occasional ferro-cement plan (almost always overseas), but I won't do it without raising my concerns about the resale situation.

12' Keelboat in ferro-cement
built by Jay Benford.
This 12' Keelboat was designed while we were heavily involved in doing ferro-cement designs and was part of an ongoing materials testing and design evolution program. Samson claimed that building a boat under 30' was not practical, but we'd already done a 17' Catboat. The data we'd gotten from the test lab work proved correct in the success of this boat too.

Living in the Pacific Northwest at the time, we had no concerns about draft. We thought we'd try out a small keelboat that would be a good performer. The shell thickness was well under " and she was quite flexible without the gunwale reinforcement.

Today, I think something like this ought to be cold-molded, and the structural detailing of the 11' Oregon Peapod might work well for her. Living on the shores of the Chesapeake now, I appreciate more of the virtues of shallow draft, and would think about a centerboard or daggerboard.

Length overall12'-0"3.66 m
Length datum waterline12'-0"3.66 m
Beam5'-0"1.52 m
Draft3'-4" 1.03 m
Freeboard:Forward1'-7"0.50 m
Least1'-0"0.30 m
Aft1'-10.34 m
Displacement, to DWL860 lbs.391 kg.
Displacement-length ratio222 
Sail area125 sq. ft.11.61 m2
Sail area-displacement ratio22.0 

Note: The displacement numbers are calculated to the arbitrarily chosen DWL.
The calculated ratios of displacement-length and sail area-displacement will vary widely depending on the loading of the vessel.

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