A 16′ scow sailboat for two
by Laurie McGowan


WoodenBoat magazine No. 251 (July/August 2016): The 16′ scow “13” is meant to provide the same sporty experience as the ubiquitous Sunfish design, but to carry two or even three adults while doing so. The mandate was for a simple rig — a definition stretched by the designer as he explored this boat’s potential.

The extra-wide beam allows easy movement around the boat. There are hiking straps for a crew of three, plus handholds. When heeled to 20 degrees, “13” presents a shape like that of a catamaran hull to the water, and the angled leeward bilge board becomes nearly vertical.

The freestanding rig is powerful, with sail shape controlled by a wishbone boom. A so-called “snotter” adjusts outhaul tension by changing the position of the forward end of the boom. Two reefs allow sailing in varying conditions.


  • LOA: 16′0″ (4.88m)
  • Beam: 7′0″ (2.13m)
  • Draft Board up: 3″
  • Draft Board down: 31½″ (8–80 cm)
  • Boat weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
  • Displacement: 600 lbs (272 kg)
  • Mainsail area: 130 sq ft (12.08 m2)
  • Reacher area: 151 sq ft (14.03 m2)

Laurie McGowan is a boat designer in Nova Scotia with a diverse on- and below-water work history; he specializes in energy-efficient commercial and pleasure boats. More of his work may be found at www.mcgowanmarinedesign.com.

Do you have a boat concept you’d like to see Laurie McGowan develop on these pages? If so, send it to Sketchbook, WoodenBoat Publications, P.O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616, or email it to sketchbook@woodenboat.com. Your letter should be no longer than 500 words.