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First Mate

First Mate

Metric & Imperial

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Our Price: $135.00



First Mate has the same rigs and layout as the very successful Phoenix III, but uses an easy-to-build stitch-and-glue hull. Primary dimensions are 15ft x 5ft x 5-1/2inches.

  • Three rig options are included in the plans
  • 57 page colour-illustrated instruction manual
  • Plans contain 26 sheets of A3 drawings, and 2 sheets of A4 drawings
  • Designed to be sailed, rowed, or powered by a small outboard
  • Lightweight "Stitch-and-Glue" wood/epoxy construction
  • Built-in buoyancy tanks
  • Pivoting centreboard and rudder
  • Rig stows within length of boat for trailering

Some years ago, I designed a 15ft x 4-1/2ft glued-lapstrake (clinker) beachcruiser called Phoenix III. This boat came about in response to an enquiry I had received from Paul Hernes, of Caloundra, Queensland, Australia. Paul wanted a boat which would operate well under sail, oars, and very small outboard motor, and he was keen to build a round-bilged lapstrake (clinker) hull.

For many years prior to this request, I had agonized over what I considered to be the optimum dimensions for a boat which could be used for serious beach-cruising with one, and very occasionally, two people. However, as day-sailing is the most frequent mode of operation for any boat, I hoped the chosen dimensions would be suitable for casual day outings as well.

As good performance under oars was a high priority, the dimensions I selected promised a fairly slim boat, which suited my purpose well, as it also promised to give a nice, fine entry at the bow, which would help to produce a soft and dry action in a head sea. My final selection came out at 15 feet x 4-1/2 feet, with a draft of somewhere near six inches.

Paul’s boat has proved to be an exceptionally successful craft, and she now has a number of sisters sailing the waters of the world.

The internal layout of Phoenix III works extremely well in use, and the versatility of having a number of different rig options in addition to rowing and powering have made her a popular design. However, it seems that many people are intimidated by the prospect of building a lapstrake (clinker) boat. Therefore, I designed a stitch-and-glue plywood hull with an identical internal layout, using the identical rigs. This boat became First Mate.

First Mate is a much quicker boat to build due to the fact that a strong-back and mold arrangement is not required for the hull. Panel shapes and frames are marked-out directly on the plywood from accurately dimensioned drawings, and are simply assembled using electrical cable-ties or twisted copper wire. The resulting structure is checked for any un-wanted twist, and is then locked together permanently with glass tape set in epoxy.

You will discover that First Mate, at 5 feet,is slightly wider than her predecessor. This is because of her cross-sectional shape, and is necessary to retain the stability of Phoenix III – in fact, First Mate is slightly more stable and the wider side decks add to the effectiveness of crew weight in a blow.

All of the rigs designed for Phoenix III work perfectly in First Mate, and the internal layout is the same.

Ross Lillistone


First Mate Study Plans Click HERE