Once upon a time I had the idea to design a small boat, with a cabin, that could be carried on the roof of a car or inside of a van. The cabin was necessary so the crew could sail for two days or more and spend the night in a dry boat protected from wind and water. In fact it needed to be suitable for the climate and conditions along the Gulf of Finland, where the nights are typically cool and damp.
At first I built a boat with a pointed bow, but later I realized a boat this size must have a pram shape, so I created what became the Toyboat 270. It turned out to be a fantastic boat. It easily accommodates 2 adults, and he low weight and generous sail area allows it to accelerate quickly to a speed of 4 knots. My friend who owns a Toyboat 270 is six-feet-tall and weight 170 pounds. He and his wife can both recline comfortably in the cabin. He last boat was a 25-footer, but he’s been having very different but equally pleasurable experiences sailing on such a small craft. He transports the little boat inside his Volkswagen van.
On our Toyboats we have made several trips along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland. They provided an unforgettable experience, because the feeling in a small boat is much sharper and brighter than the experience from the protected cockpit of a large yacht, where you sit high and away from the water. The reader may think such a small boat isn’t safe, but I can answer these concerns: Just look at the Optimists—where kids actually chase strong winds and a big waves! More than once I’ve sailed my Toyboat in three-foot waves and 20-knot winds and the boat was very confidence inspiring and we did some incredible surfing! Against a short chop, you just heel the boat and she cuts through on her chine. The boat has 2 air compartments in the stern under the cockpit seats for a total volume of 16 gallons.
Later there was an idea to make this boat more spacious and comfortable, so I made some advanced modifications to create the Toyboat Cruiser 9. I made the bottom flat, like on an Optimist, to lie more comfortably, I made the stern wider, and I increased the cockpit size, because the Toyboat 270’s was quite cockpit. Now the cockpit is very comfortable even for long passages. The coaming height was also increased to 6 inches making it more comfortable to lean on or against.
Inside the cabin I removed the front bulkhead and added portlights in the bow, so the cabin is full of light and much more spacious. The front portlight idea was inspired by the PD Ocean Explorer design from neighboring Finland. I’ve also developed a folding hatch cover so that it doesn’t take up much space.
- Length 9'
- Beam 4' 8"
- Hull weight 130 lbs
- Draft 6" / 2' 8"
- Sail area 60 sq. ft.
- In the cabin, the bottom berth length is 6' 8". Even a tall man can stretch out to his full height. The height in the cabin at the entrance hatch is 2' 10".
Such a boat can be built, even by a novice, in less than a month using the stitch and glue method from only 6 sheets of plywood. All of this design has been thought-out to the last detail, including the design of the entrance hatch, which is also made out of plywood.
Boat plans are files for cutting all parts on a CNC machine. The mast can be aluminum tube, and the mainail is fastened by a cord. The Toyboat Cruiser 9 requires a minimal investment of money or building effort, it requires very little storage space and can be transported easily.
Once your yacht is built, you can safely take a trip on the local river, lake, or bay. Do not forget to take your sleeping bags, gas burner, and smartphone with navigation software—and of course a small anchor and PFD.
Roman Igoshin, yacht designer "Toyboat Custom"
to download a PDF with materials list