BELLE at Worldwide Classic Boat Show

The first-ever online Worldwide Classic Boat Show runs from Feb. 19-28, 2021, and BELLE will be part of the fun. Over 500 boats from many many countries will be “shown” at the show (virtually) plus there will be various video events. Admission is US$5, here’s the link:

Worldwide Classic Boat Show

If you do decide to attend the show, I hope you’ll consider selecting BELLE as a “Favorite”…some sort of award is at stake! This is the first virtual boat show that I’ve been involved in, I’m not 100% sure what is going to happen, but I’m excited that BELLE will be represented.

BELLE on Instagram

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"BELLE's size means that you’re closer to the water— literally and figuratively. One of my first sails was in the fall and was a magnificent introduction to the pleasure of a small boat. I was gliding through flat water in a little creek where most trees had shed their leaves. As BELLE parted the patches of fallen leaves now grouped on the water, I could hear the slight rustle as they brushed against the underside of the lapstrake hull. Now that is getting back to nature and close to the environment, which is what I think of as the essence of small-boat sailing." —Tom Sliter from our February 2019 feature article on the 16' daysailer, BELLE, designed by Daniel Gonneau of @belleboats. Find it in the archive. . . . #outdoors #lake #explore #boat #sailing #boats #boating #boatlife #sail #sailboat #boattrip #onthewater #sailaway #boatinglife #woodenboat #boatbuilding #setsail #boatsboatsboats #boatsofinstagram #smallboats #smallboat

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The folks at Small Boats Magazine posted about BELLE on Instagram.  My thanks to them!


The recent article about BELLE in Small Boats Monthly included a very nice video of her under sail. Many thanks to SBM and Tom Sliter for the video, set on the Potomac river near Washington D.C.

Electric trolling motor for BELLE

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 Wins a First Place…Again

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.



Sneak Preview: Belle 19 sketches

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

Belle 19 sail sketch

LOA: 18'9”
LWL: 16'6"
Beam: 6'10”
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 on the Potomac

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.

–Daniel Gonneau, Designer/Builder, Belle Boats

BELLE at her new marina on the Potomac, near Washington DC.