Deben 4¾-Tonner

Our Deben Class designs are inspired by the original Deben 4-tonner, which my father commissioned from W. M. Blake in 1936 and the Deben 6-tonner, designed by my father in 1950. At least 35 of the 4-tonners and 3 of the 6-tonners were built between 1937 and 1960. They proved to be splendid cruising sailboats, very seaworthy, robust and sea kindly.

The Deben 4¾ Tonner featured here is designed from the beginning for as simple-as-possible modern wood/epoxy construction, while still retaining the long-keel, reverse-tuck sections, and other features of the original 4-tonners and 6-tonners. The design embodies the best traditional style with modern construction.

She is built on seven laminated ring frames. The stem and simple wood keel are laminated in place on the frames set up in the building jig – the stern post is also a very straightforward lamination.

The hull skin is 10mm strip planking followed by two 3mm diagonal veneers. The skin runs over the stem, wood keel and transom, so there are no rebates to bother about. The hull skin has a lightweight epoxy/woven glass cloth applied in with the second epoxy coating, over the whole hull and under the wood keel. The full length cast iron ballast keel is bolted on in a conventional way.

The original Deben 4-tonner and 6-tonner designs design had a conventional short coachroof, but some were built with small doghouses, some with raised companionways, and yet others with full width cabins (so no sidedecks). We have chosen, as standard, to design the Deben 4¾-tonner with a doghouse to give standing headroom in the galley and saloon. However, it is easy enough to build the boat with a straight coachroof, without the doghouse, and we will be supplying alternative plans for that.

The interior layout as shown has a traditional vee-berth fo'c'sle, which is extended aft when the WC compartment forward door is closed to the WC, thus giving quite a spacious private cabin with a washbasin. The keel-stepped mainmast comes down between the berths. There are lockers and drawers under the berths.

The WC compartment stretches across the boat and is made private by closing both doors. There are good lockers outboard of the WC, and both outboard and under the washbasin unit.

The L-shaped galley has good headroom in front of the cooking stove. There is a drop-flap at the aft end to give extra workspace and there are good lockers outboard of the worktop and beneath.

Aft of the galley there is an excellent quarterberth, with over a third of the length out from under the cockpit seats, which makes it easy to get into and not at all claustrophobic.

To port there is a comfortable saloon settee, which can also double up as a fourth full-size berth. We also show a drop-leaf table, which when down, provides a narrow fiddled surface.

On deck there is a full length, comfortable, self-draining cockpit, separated from the companionway with a bridgedeck. The rig shown is a gaff cutter – but a gaff sloop would also work very well. There are excellent watertight cockpit lockers.

The engine fits neatly under the bridgedeck and cockpit sole, giving reasonably good access. The installation is set level, with a very straightforward shaft system, which should give quite efficient performance.

The detailed and accurate plans together with true step-by-step building instructions lead you through the building process simply and easily. Nothing is missed out. The plans are fully dimensioned. No scaling or lofting is required. professional support during and after the build is free from

Design Specs

George Whisstock
Year of Design: 
7.000m (22' 11½")
2.355m (7' 8¾")
1.045m (3' 5⅛")
3485kg (7683 lbs) of which ballast keel is 1400kg (3086 lbs)
Sail with auxiliary diesel engine
Skill Level to Build: 
Intermediate to advanced – not really suitable for first time builders
Available as: 
Complete Plans
$115 as internet download
Contact Information: 

George Whisstock at