The photos here at the website are now updated, augmenting the older shots of BELLE taken (mostly) at her launch with new photos of her sailing in the Potomac. You can see them in slideshows on the home page and the BELLE Photos and Info page.
With many thanks to Tom Sliter of t. sliter photography for sharing the photos. I hope to join him for a daysail some day!
Small Boats Monthly has published a very nice piece on BELLE in their February 2019 edition. Many thanks to Tom Sliter for really capturing the character of the boat in both writing and his excellent photos. And to the folks at SBM for their interest in the boat.
BELLE’s new owner looks to be doing a fine job installing an electric drive system. Here’s a photo showing the battery tucked under the foredeck, where it balances weight aft, and the main circuit breaker. Wiring leads aft under the side deck to a plug for the trolling motor, which is rated at 46lb thrust. He reports it moves her along well. I’m hoping he sends along some more photos of her underway with the motor, and I’ll post them on a new page here at the website. But many thanks to him for this snapshot.
BELLE won a First Place Award at the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Small Boats Festival, after winning the same award last year! BELLE won in the “traditional design, contemporary construction” category. With over 100 boats in attendance, the Festival is one of the largest small-boat gatherings in the United States. I’m going to try to make it next year, to check in on BELLE but also to see the other boats and visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
Congratulations to BELLE’s owner for keeping her in top condition and showing her at this festival.
Here’s a look at some early sketches for a daysailer/cruiser that’s just big enough to have a small cabin for overnighting. I call it the Belle 19, and it will be right around 18’9″ long.
The Belle 19 is a further development of my ideas for a slightly larger version of the award-winning Belle, adding a cabin for overnighting and getting out of the weather. After crunching through a few sketches (with preliminary dimensions) I’ve ended up at 18’9″ as the ideal size for the concept.
These are preliminary hand sketches and will definitely change before final plans. I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Do you prefer the 19 to the 20.5? Is the 20.5 “too big”? Maybe the 19 is “just right”?
Sketches can be converted to workable plans in fairly short order. Like the 20.5, we are seeking a sponsor client for the first Belle 19. The client would not only enjoy a unique one-of-a-kind boat, but also the pleasure of bringing a new boat design to the world. We hope you’ll contact us with your interest.
Update: More information on this design can be found at our Belle 19 page.
—Daniel Gonneau, Designer/Builder
Draft: 1’1” / 3'3"
Weight: 1100-1200lb trailer weight
Construction: Plywood epoxy lapstrake
Rig: Gaff sloop
Waters: Protected / semi-protected
Outboard: 2-4hp gas or electric
Note: These specs are subject to change
BELLE’s new owner reports that he is now “dry sailing” her from a marina on the Potomac near Washington DC. His new cover looks great…and should cut down on varnish maintenance! Many thanks to him for sending the photo. He reports:
"I've had BELLE out a few times in her new digs and I must say, with the enamel paint on the bottom and the McLube Hullcoat, she's one slippery little thing...And her acceleration out of a tack is very good."
I’m hoping he’ll have some photos of her under sail in her new location at some point this summer. He’s also been working on some other projects for the boat, I hope to hear more soon. Stay tuned.
Six years ago today, BELLE launched into the cold April waters of Brooklin Maine. Since then, she’s sailed in the warmer waters of Long Island Sound and, with her new owner, the Chesapeake. It’s been fun!
Through special arrangement, you can now order a custom-built Belle daysailer from Hylan & Brown – Boatbuilders in Brooklin, Maine.
Hylan & Brown are no strangers to Belle, since I built the original in their shops a few years ago. They are the ideal builder to put together a quality sistership, not only for their fine craftsmanship but also their familiarity with the design. Having worked there in the past, I eagerly approached them with the idea of offering the Belle design.
In addition, they offer maintenance and storage services not currently offered by Belle Boats. This might be of particular interest if you have a place on the New England coast and are looking for a full-service yard–specializing in wooden boats–to build, store, and maintain a Belle daysailer.
Their website discusses Belle at the following page: