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A Motor Cruiser with
— Design by William Garden —
Commentary by Maynard Bray
approached our college library differently, to say
the least, than did most engineering students. This
was where I could look forward each month to the
arrival of The Rudder magazine, for me an event of far
greater importance than discovering solutions to dif-
ferential calculus problems. Not only did the new issue
bring the next installment of L. Francis Herreshoff 's
serialized "Compleat Cruiser," or a new marlinspike
project by Hervey Garrett Smith, but design after design
appeared from the drawing board of William Garden.
Bill Garden's work had undeniable charm. The boats
looked salty, as though you could move right aboard.
You could, in fact, be a little jealous of the pipe-smoking,
bill-hatted sailormen that Bill drew lounging in a bunk
with a book, standing at the helm, or just admiring the
view from the deck. He would occasionally include a
wonderful perspective of his newest design, perhaps
grounded out for bottom painting with a sketch of the
proud owner, brush and paintpot in hand, standing
in the mud and taking in the lovely lines of his new
craft. How I envied those happy little stick-figured
As time passed and styles changed, Bill Garden's
boats became generally larger and more sophisticated,
and included state-of-the-art megayachts — dooms-
day boats, as he sometimes calls them — and The Rudder
went out of business altogether. Several years ago,
through the generosity of Orin Edson, one of Bill's
patrons, all of Bill Garden's drawings up to 1967 were
donated to Mystic Seaport Museum. These included
all of my favorites from The Rudder days as well as
many more that had never been published — a total
of some 2,500 sheets all told, representing nearly 500
individual designs. To admit that I was pleased when
my wife Anne and I took on the task of inventorying
them, in situ at Bill Garden's West Coast office, would
be a gross understatement. Being able to examine each
of the drawings, as our limited time permitted, and
question Bill about the backgrounds of various boats
was about as good as it can get. Those plans are now
at Mystic, and you'll have to go there to see the orig-
inals; but, believe me, the trip is well worth it.
Alternatively, you can order copies by mail.
What this story is about is an entirely new design,
but one that is obviously based on Garden's earlier
style. It came about in the fall of 1992 while I was again
at Toad's Landing (the name of Bill's island office/home
near Sidney, British Columbia). We "just got to talk-
ing" about salmon trailers and halibut schooners and
good, common-sense cruising craft for the West Coast.
Out came a paper napkin (this was a conversation over
lunch), and, before I knew it, here was a sketch of a
37-foot round-sterned powerboat laid out for cruising
but with workboat character. We faxed that great lit-
tle sketch back home to Anne, who wasn't with me on
this trip, and I thought that would be the end of it.
But the wheels kept turning when everyone who
saw the sketch was very enthusiastic, so Bill went into
gear. High gear, in fact, which is his usual way of
designing, anyhow. We pretended that Anne was the
absentee client and that I was her on-site agent, paid
to keep an eye on the designer. In about 40 hours over
the next two weeks Bill went on to produce complete
plans, and I'll feel forever privileged to have observed
LOA 38'6" LWL
34'6" Beam ll'O"
Draft 4'6" Displ
The accommodations will provide
pleasant living aboard for a couple.
— 241 —
Dynamo displays a stem profile
with tumblehome, a sweeping sheer,
and a raking round stern.
LXIX A Motor Cruiser with Workboat Character
nearly every pencil line and to have shared in the excite-
ment of turning four blank sheets of tracing paper into
working drawings for the halibut schooner-cruiser
that we called Dynamo.
Dynamo ended up with a raking round stern rather
than the tugboat stern of the preliminary sketch, so
she grew to 38 feet 6 inches in final form. Her draft
was kept to 4 feet 6 inches as the reasonable minimum
for seakeeping and the practical maximum for coastal
cruising. From the start, the deckhouse was to be aft
like a halibut schooner's and contain the galley and
mess table as well as the steering station. We imag-
ined this as a liveaboard boat for Anne and me (dream-
ers that we are), so our sleeping would be way forward
in a double V-berth, which could be curtained off from
the rest of the cabin. There'd be a couple more sleep-
ing possibilities in that cabin, however, for occasional
Arranging the cabin — sometimes called the main
saloon — offered the greatest challenge and took the
most head-scratching. The last of several versions,
shown here, satisfied the requirements perfectly. This
was to be the place where friends gather to enjoy each
other's company in a snug and good-to-be-in space.
When alone onboard, it was to be our living room.
Comfortable seating — a low table, a fireplace, and
plenty of natural lighting — was the chief considera-
tion. Beyond that, a toilet room and lockers had to be
worked in. I think the result is a cabin that most any
sailorman or woman would enjoy being in.
Dynamo's hull shape features hollow waterlines, a
nice flare at the bow, a perky sheerline, a stem pro-
file with tumblehome, and a sculpted pad that fairs
the overhanging counter into the rudderstock. We're
totally in love with it, and find that the inset waist,
freeing ports, and lower guardrail add even more
to this vessel's charm. Drawing the lines plan was
almost a knee-jerk operation, since there seemed to
be never a question in Bill's mind about what the gen-
eral characteristics should be. He drew the lines plan,
complete with table of offsets, in just over seven hours.
Six-cylinder Chrysler Crown gasoline engines used
to be the power of choice — the old standby — for
working vessels of this size before, say, 1960, when
diesels came into widespread popularity. Bill, of course,
grew up with them. Thus, the recently overhauled, but
not yet committed blue-painted Crown that sat in his
shop became the logical engine for this fantastic fan-
tasy. Less noise, vibration, and smell are a gasoline
engine's advantages over diesel, and Bill claims it will
be years before the considerable added cost of a diesel
could offset its greater fuel economy. So we're all con-
tent with gasoline and plan on a safe installation and
careful management to mitigate its inherent hazards.
(If a diesel were to be installed, one could hardly go
wrong with an engine built by Bedford.)
There'll be an abundance of small craft carried aboard
Dynamo for excursions. A pair of canoes will ride on
the housetop, where they can be dropped or raised by
davits. In chocks forward of the deckhouse will rest
some kind of sailing dinghy or pulling boat that the
main boom can handle, and a little tender can be
snugged up under the stern davits as shown. This fleet
of small craft should greatly enhance the big-boat cruis-
For anchoring, Dynamo carries a roller chock and a
drum-type windlass on the foredeck in the usual West
Coast fashion. A typical long-shanked, Babbit-type
anchor will be used, along with a good length of chain
rode, so that anchoring will be both easy and secure.
For steadying the roll in a beam sea and boosting her
along in a brisk, fair breeze, she'll carry some sails in
a rig yet to be fully worked out. But she'll probably
carry just enough sail area to qualify as a motorsailer.
Dynamo will be a very comfortable sea boat that can
take about any weather. She'll push easily at 6 or 7
knots, using about 3 gallons (or 2 of diesel) an hour. At
that rate and with 500 gallons of fuel equally divided
between two wing tanks, she can cruise almost the
entire length of either the East or West Coast without
taking on fuel.
Construction is rugged, to say the least, since Bill
gave the boat the same scantlings as her working coun-
terparts might have had. There's plenty of wood
(Douglas-fir, yellow and red cedar, and gumwood) for
withstanding an occasional grounding, and she'll be
able to lie alongside an exposed wharf without fear of
damage. The keel is 5Vi inches by 9Vi inches, the beams
supporting the foredeck are TA inches by 3% inches,
and the planking is 1% inches thick. These heavy tim-
bers are quite different from the delicate Herreshoff-
built yachts that I've come to know so well, but the
service demands it, and the wooden-hulled commer-
cial boats of the Northwest have proven how neces-
sarily robust a hull must be. She's designed to be built
utilizing the West Coast practice of bending the frames
outside permanently installed fore-and-aft stringers,
with a notched harpin along the forward sheer.
Dynamo represents low-key, leisurely cruising. She's
not a boat for everyone, but she's a design with a lot
of visual appeal and a load of practical utility.
More information from Maynard Bray c/o WoodenBoat
Publications, P.O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616.
Robust scantlings will
reduce anxiety when
Dynamo takes the
ground or lies along-
side exposed wharfs.
Close inspection of the
section reveals the
author at the wheel.
Dynamo can carry
a fleet of small craft.
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