Badger

Badger gained widespread fame as the subject of the book Voyaging On A Small Income. The concept of this design was to use the basic interior accommodation plan that worked so well on the 34′ Topsail Ketch Sunrise, which was evolved and improved on during the decade that I lived aboard her. We’d done several sailing dory designs before this one and it benefited from improvements we would make for a better hull form, both for sailing characteristics and for stability.

The oft asked question is not only why is Badger such a good yacht, but specifically, why is she a good yacht for voyaging on a small income? One of Badger’s greatest attractions is that she is actually designed for just one couple. Most boats of her size have at least six berths and therefore the rest of the accommodation has to be built in around them. On many boats that are used for voyaging, the quarter berths are used for storage. However, on Badger, one can readily gain access to the space under the cockpit, so this area can be used for much more efficient stowage.

Badger is designed to have a large and usable galley, a necessity on any serious voyaging yacht. She has a pleasant saloon with room for bookshelves and a double cabin. The head is large enough so that you can close the door and have a shower. She has a full-width/raised-deck cabin from cockpit to forward cabin, which gives a great sense of spaciousness and is much stronger, structurally, than a conventional coach-roof. There is room for a heating stove. The dory hull gives a wide flat floor, which allows for the accommodation to be pushed further to the sides of the boat without you having to stand on the sides of the hull. She is comfortable to live on both while at sea and in harbor.

Plywood is a simple, quick and strong material with which to build. By shopping around carefully it can be bought for a very reasonable outlay and if you are building while working, it is possible to buy a little at a time. If you are using epoxy, it is not necessary to choose the best quality marine ply — even though that would be first choice — well made exterior can be satisfactory. When epoxy is used, you don’t need expensive fastenings, which tend to make up for the initial cost of the glue. Glued and epoxy sealed construction has the advantage that it doesn’t leak, a great advantage for any boat. The yacht is of moderate displacement, meaning that the initial building costs are also moderate. An advantage of plywood that is rarely mentioned is that it is very easy to repair, because the damaged area can be cut out and a new piece or pieces scarfed in.

There are two versions of how to build the deck and cabin; one with a trunk cabin and the other with a raised, flush deck like Badger. The latter makes the most sense to me and I would recommend it for anyone going voyaging. It adds to the room below and makes the deck layout more open and easier to work upon. It also adds to the stability in a knockdown by adding volume where it does the most good in shifting the center of buoyancy in the right direction.

The original cutter rig was done for building in an area where grown poles are available as spars. We worked out some simple hardware that could be made with modest equipment and this rig has worked out well on some sisterships.

As Pete and Annie have found, it is a layout that has worked out very well for them, as it did for me. For anyone wanting to do the sort of cruising that the Pete and Annie Hill are doing, this boat would be hard to beat. It's got room for a couple to live and cruise in comfort and yet is of a size that is affordable and manageable.

On deck, Badger is simple and uncluttered, with a small footwell aft, clear center deck and a sunken foredeck which keeps spray away from the cockpit area and allows a solid dinghy to be carried without impeding the helmsman’s view. She has plenty of hatches for ventilation. The deck boxes abaft the back of the cabin allow petrol (gasoline — if you must have some aboard) to be stored safely and provide a home for the tails from the sheets and halyards. They also make very comfortable seats. The rudder is hung outboard, for ease of maintenance.

The junk rig is possibly the best short-handed cruising rig ever devised. It is also very inexpensive to build and to maintain. It allows more room below decks and is uncluttered above decks.

Badger can be built simply and for very little money. Sheathed in cloth and epoxy she is easy to maintain and can be kept shipshape and Bristol fashion at very little expense — an essential prerequisite for a boat that is sailed on a small income.

Design Specs

Designer: 
Jay Benford
Year of Design: 
1978
LOA: 
34'-0"
Beam: 
11'-0"
Draft: 
4'-6" fin keel or 3'-6" long keel
Displacement: 
10.400 lbs. with average load and tanks filled
Materials: 
Wood
Propulsion: 
sail and/or small diesel
Skill Level to Build: 
Moderate
Available as: 
Complete Plans
Cost: 
$595.00 plus s/h
Contact Information: 

email: info@benford.us

mail: 29663 Tallulah Lane
Easton, MD 12601

phone: 410+745-3235