Chapter 38
Rhodes Bantams

sail boat plan

Bantams are speedy. Thanks to the Genoa jibs and parachute spinnakers, they get up and plane easily. Also contributing to the Bantam's speed are its long water line and clean run.
AS THE late war was drawing to a close, a group of small-boat enthusiasts met to decide on a new postwar sailing class. Out of this meeting came basic specifications for the Rhodes Bantam. What was decided on was a boat of about the size and speed of the International 14-Footer, one with the comfort and stability of a Lightning, one that would be easy for an amateur to build, and one that would be inexpensive to build or purchase.

It was realized that these requirements could be approached only by compromising, so the problem of creating a design was tossed in the lap of Philip L. Rhodes, naval architect. He produced a likely looking design and two prototypes were built by Skaneateles Boats, Inc., of Skaneateles, N. Y. One of the original boats was constructed exactly in accordance with the plans and the other incorporated a number of modifications aimed at easing the construction.

The prototypes were tested at length and new plans were drawn incorporating the most practical features of each. It was apparent to all who sailed them that a superior little boat had been developed. The Rhodes Bantam Class Association was formed and Skaneateles generously contributed any rights they might have acquired through their part in the development.

From the start, the aim of the Association was to retain the one-design concept as rigidly as possible, thus preventing the outbuilding and outclassing of older boats. The first half of the class name was chosen to honor Mr. Rhodes and the second half was felt to be suitable because the new boat was like a Banty rooster in that it was small in size, yet smart, quick, able, and perky.

The class now has 11 fleets, with several new ones in process of formation, and a total registration of 425 boats. There are probably another 100 boats, built by professional builders, that have never been registered. Although a small class in comparison with some of the older ones, the Association is steadily growing.

Outstanding characteristics of the boat are its speed and stability. The standard sail complement includes a Genoa jib and a parachute spinnaker. These contribute to the speed, as do the long water-line length and the long, clean run. Bantams actually get up and plane with surprising ease. Stability has been attained by giving the boat a wide beam and installing a deep metal centerboard. The board is also useful because it permits the center of lateral plane to be moved forward and aft without reducing its area.

Principal dimensions of the Bantam are: over-all length, 14 ft.; water-line length, 13 ft. 11 in.; beam at sheer line, 5 ft. 6 in.; beam at chine, 4 ft. 4 in.; draft with board up, 5½in.; draft with board down, 4 ft. 2 in.; and measured sail area, 125 sq. ft.

sail boat plan

Stability has been attained by giving the boat a wide beam and installing a metal centerboard. The boat's draft with board down is 4 it. 2 in.

sail boat plan

With the limited ability of the home craftsman in mind, the construction has been kept simple. Planking is Vi-in. plywood and frames are sawed.

sail boat plan

The hollow, rectangular mast is stepped on the forward thwart. This allows it to be unstepped without affecting the shrouds and the jib stay.

As mentioned above, the construction has been kept simple. This has been done with the home craftsman in mind. The planking is ¼-in. plywood and the frames are of the sawed type. Instead of being stepped on the keel and supported by the forward thwart, the mast is stepped on the forward thwart. This permits the spar to be stepped and unstepped without affecting the tuning or the lengths of .the shrouds and jib stay. The mast is hollow and rectangular in section.

Plans of the boat can be purchased from the Secretary-Treasurer of the Association, Charles A. Harrison, 468 Locust St., Lockport, N. Y. Completed boats, manufactured by Skaneateles, cost $710 each.

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