A while back I drew up a boat I called the “Saturday Night Special”. A reference to a cheap throw away weapon used for a single job. The boat was intended for events such as the Texas 200, was to be a quick build and would have good performance with one or two aboard, and to handle the often very windy conditions that prevail there.
There have been a dozen or so of these built so far, all of them built and finished much more nicely than the original concept entailed, and several of them participated in this years T200.
For those who don’t know it, that’s a 200 mile, five day sail up the eastern coast of Texas, camping along the way in places where one has to be completely self sufficient. It blows, the hot desert pulling air in off the Gulf of Mexico, 25 knots plus, generally over the stern quarter is common. Blazing sun, big waves, shallow waters, mud, narrow channels, it’s a challenging event, one which attracts a good entry each year and I’m complimented that so many have chosen my boats in which to participate.
Booby and Kirsten Chilek took their Saturday Night Special on this event, and Bobby has written an excellent story of their journey up the coast. It’s a very good read, you can find parts one and two here.
Heres a video shot of the boat under way, moving right along, steady and stable.
Here’s his impression of the boat itself, I'm very pleased and highly complimented, thanks Bobby.
“FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE SNS
After the way the boat performed in the Texas200, I am thoroughly impressed with this design. The boat is exceptionally seaworthy, in all the conditions we faced that week, the boat never gave us cause for concern and as the week wore on I became less concerned about what waves we might encounter in the bays. She is very stable on all points of sail, I have come to believe that she will be quite difficult to blow over. I have had her pretty far over and she just holds there, with the side decks, she is unlikely to take on water when heeled way over. She is quite capable of sailing in shallow water, this opens up so many areas that are off limits to others. She is fast.....I mean FAST.....very capable of planing! I look forward to getting her to do this more as I really learn this boat. I love the way this boat is fully decked, and the front and rear storage compartments. We had everything we needed for the week packed in there. We could have put in more but were trying to give some nod to weight control. The boat is light, maybe 250 pounds??? I haven't weighed it, but my son and I can lift in on and off the trailer. I also like the the fact that you can sleep in the cockpit, this is very useful when you arrive at your camp and find it less hospitable than anticipated.
As far as my sail trim problems, I have resolved most of those. Turns out I changed too many things at once and have returned most of the changes back to design spec. The main problem is that I just need to learn the lug rig. Most of my sailing has been with the Marconi rig, I have some gaff experience too, but it wasn't a huge adjustment. I know this sail is fast because Chuck Pierce has a lug rig on his Mayfly 14. I have also seen John Goodman flying along in his Goat Island Skiff, so there is nothing wrong with the lug rig, there is just a learning curve. I feel that the curve is well worth it, because it is the easiest rig to deal with on the water I have ever had and one of the quickest to set up when you arrive at the boat ramp. I am convinced that I could have this boat launched in 15 minutes after arriving with a little practice, this makes the boat very useable.
This is the fastest, most versatile, seaworthy, easy to use, fun sailboat I have ever had!
And .........I got to sail the Texas200 in it, what a blast! “