Watch her being buit!

35' Gaff Ketch BUTTON #2

In 2015 a young guy said he wanted to build an old design of mine called BUTTON. I liked it fine but always wanted to make some changes to it so when Garrett said he wanted a conventional house rather than the raised sheer, and even a gaff ketch rig, I cheerfully agreed. While I was at it I raised the freeboard 4" and took some of the rake out of the transom. This gave her a longer waterline and allowed the engine to sit a couple feet further aft. She is simply rigged and outfitted and has the rugged look that most cruising boats had up into the mid 1970s. Wood boats were still normal and home building was common. Both factors contributed to the basic looks because unlike glass, wood has some limits to how it can be shaped, and smooth flowing curves come naturally to it. Fiberglass has sure changed that!

Simple construction based on normal lumberyard materials. She can be plywood or planked

While some home builders are artisans, many others are just semi confident carpenters, and it would be hard to find a simpler hull design than this one that would be safe on open water that is not a major construction feat to assemble. The hull can be planked wood or plywood, and the entire thing can be built from material available at a good lumberyard. Even the ballast is simple, being a mix of concrete and scrap metal. It's nowhere near as dense (heavy) as cast lead or iron but it's cheap and easy to do. It will require probably a ton or so of inside ballast but even that has it's traditional role. Old time cruisers LIKED inside ballast because they could pitch it if grounded, lightening the boat and maybe refloating. If you read an Tillman (and if you haven't do) in Triumph and Tribulation, he describes running aground off Greenland where there was very little tide, and the only way he managed to save the boat was by pitching inside ballast.
Garrett wanted the gaff ketch and I didn't try to talk him out of it. People who like these rigs like them for a variety of reasons. They'll tell you the practical stuff such as wonderful off wind efficiency or the safety factor if hit by a sudden bad squall of being able to immediately drop the "peak" (high end) of the gaff which cuts the sail area in half. I know all that but I suspect the real reason people choose gaff rigs is simply because they like them and enjoy experiencing them and the associations they can be part of. This boat's working sail area is just 639 sq. ft, and it's broken up into multiple sails and all but the jib have reefs. Some sail makers will try to talk you out of that many reefs but it can be real peace of mind to be able to do small sail reductions and still be able to drive the boat more or less efficiently.

Her interior is planned out to be comfortable for a cruising couple


The interior is set up strictly for the comfort of a liveaboard cruising couple. The Old Rule of cruising boats is they should "drink 6, feed 4, and sleep 2." Some people criticize the queen bed in the bow but I've lived on two with this arrangement and it works. Sure, once in a while it will be uncomfortable in the bow when sailing, but not often. The bow is the best place to put the owner's bed in a small sailboat since there's no headroom there for anything else.

Button # 2 is a serious throwback to a whole nother era and you either like it or you don't. Personally, I do! In fact, a version with the original gaff cutter is in the works and maybe even a gaff schooner!

LOD: 35' Beam: 10' 10" Beam WL: 10' 4" Draft: 5' 6"" Displacement: 28167 lbs Working Sail Area: 639 sq. ft.

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