Building a Pelegrin Sailboat

"I have one more boat left in me" (to build) at age 70.

With much studying and tremendous thought, I came to the decision of just about the most perfect little cruiser.

Shoal Draft, Quick, Roomy, Comfortable, Sturdy, and very Salty (seaworthy).

John Welsford's - Pelegrin

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LOA 5.15m 17ft
Beam 2.15m 7ft 2in
Draft 0.6m 2ft
Sail Area 15.83sq m 166sq ft
Ballast 245kg 540lbs
Displacement 820kg 1800lbs
(est with 2 crew & some stores)
Berths 2
Cockpit seats 5
Headroom 1.42m 4ft 9in
Carrying Capacity 650kg 1430lbs
Outboard Motor Power 2 - 6hp


"With a favourable wind and an eye on the horizon"


Most languages have a word which conveys the image of the wanderer, someone who has a dreamy far away look in their eye, who stays for a day or three then moves quietly on toward a goal that no one else can see. "Pelegrin" is one such word, from the old Norman French it means "Pilgrim" or "Traveller". Ever moving on, apart from the world but observing, watching, learning, remembering, and following the dream.

Boats, especially tough little cruisers, are a natural fit for this sort of imagery, we all of us have thoughts of escape, leaving the stress for a while and floating lightly through life, free as the wind which moves us.

The name given to a boat should reflect its place in its owners life, and that’s the intention here.  A tough little ship, one in which dreams can be pursued for a week or two at a time. Big enough to be comfortable for two, small enough to tow behind a normal family car, seaworthy enough to cope with being caught out in bad conditions, and small enough to be a reasonable build for someone with the inevitable commitments that we all seem to accumulate.

The design philosophy here is one that I’ve been developing for some time now, the starting point being some research into the small working sailing boats of the English South Coast circa 1880, these were uncommonly seaworthy and capable little craft, unassuming but an essential part of their community. They were the Chevy pickups, the vans, the minibuses, the freighters and the fishermen of their day, substantial investments for their owners they had to perform, and did.

From these I developed a hull form that has similar characteristics to these working boats, seaworthy, comfortable, able and faster than you’d expect.
Being of simple construction, intended for someone with no boatbuilding experience they use common materials, easily handled, marine glue and fastenings, ordinary handyman level tools and a few hours a week to produce the vessel in which those dreams can be pursued.

The rig is in keeping with the tradition, and the ballasted full keel ensures a degree of stability that few trailerable boats of this size will match.

There is space below for four to chat over coffee or cards, two decent bunks that make overnighting comfortable, and enough headroom to move about without risk to the scalp.

Storage is plentiful, and there is a bench where a picnic stove can be used to cook at the end of the day. A portable head can be stowed in its own locker under the companionway steps, and there are bookshelves under the side decks.

The cockpit will seat 6, but four is as many as you’d want to take sailing for more than half an hour, but those four could be away for the day, or if they are younger the cockpit could be tented and the seats will double as bunks so mum and dad can weekend away with the kids.

There are a couple of big lockers out there, big enough for the spare anchor, motor fuel, fenders, bimini or awning and an icebox.  Good stowage keeps the boat tidy, and a tidy boat operates well.

The outboard motor fits in a half well so there is no need to hang over the stern to get it running or work the throttle, but it wont fill the cockpit with fumes either.

Up on deck the mast is fitted in a tabernacle, that makes it easy to rig even single

handed, and with its versatile and powerful gaff mainsail the mast is relatively short making it easier to handle and short enough to avoid overhangs when on the trailer.

Almost all of the rigging can be left in place when the boat is unrigged and on its trailer, I set up my own boat of a similar style in about 20 minutes, and can unrig in less than that.

With a roller furling jib and “slab” reefing there is no need to go up on deck to reef this when the wind pipes up, you can stay safe in the cockpit, and even singlehanded its an easy job to manage the rig.
Anchoring is an easy job too, the big well up on the foredeck carrying the main anchor ready to lower away, complete with chain and rope, its stowed where mud and weed wont get tramped back into the cockpit and from there into the cozy haven below.


Looking over the plans, I can see a space for a decent sized battery that will run the radio, cabin and navigation lights, room to stow a weeks provisions, space enough for comfort and a cabin that would make a very nice miniature home for a week away from the rat race.

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Thank You to John Welsford


Posters, which can be found in shops around town or at,
are the creation of Petaluma, California artist Warren Percell, who has dreamt up
a whole line of wine country posters showcasing the beauty of local spots like:
Bodega Bay, Guerneville, Monte Rio, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Sebastopol











A Northern California native, Warren R. Percell Sr. began developing his own artistic style when he was seven years old after "borrowing" a set of paints from his mother and creating his first oil.  Largely self taught, he creates a variety of subjects in acrylics, watercolors, oils, pencil, monotype and sculpture.

While raising his family in the San Francisco Bay Area, he established a very successful sign painting businesss.  In 1982 he moved to Marshall, a Northern California coastal village, resumed painting and established the Percell Gallery in the Old Marshall Post Office and General Store.  A dedicated sailor and boat builder, Warren has a long lasting love for our coastal areas.

After closing his gallery in 1988, Warren moved to Petaluma, California, where he works out of his studio-gallery, a remodeled 1930's gas station (the only Exxon station taken over by whales).  It is here he creates his inspired and colorful paintings of whales, marine life, birds and coastal landscapes.  "The plein air painting of George Inness and Albert Bierstadt are of particular interest to me.  These artists recorded and exalted the spectacular and grandiose beauty of the wilderness.  After witnessing a three-day sojourn of a gray whale in a local bay, I became completely enraptured with this gentle mammal.  So I am similarly inspired to capture the inner spirit of the great whales and the ocean's warmth and beauty in a realistic water/land perspective."

Approaching whales in their natural environment of seascapes is a real pleasure for this painter.  His use of color and light offers the viewer an unusual mystical essence of the sea and its giant inhabitants.  You can practically touch one of these joyful creatures in Warren's paintings where these brilliant visuals suggest peaceful co-existence, curiosity and love of life.

Warren's works are in numerous galleries and private collections across the United States and Europe.  He has done commissioned works for such notables as Bill Lear, Reggie Jackson, Col. Sanders, J. Grande Orbis Corp. and Red Carpet Realty of America.  When only 20 years old, his work was shown and sold by prestigious galleries such as the Maxwell Gallery, San Francisco, and the Hobart Galler in Eureka, California.  Other galleries include:  Jack London Gallery, Oakland; Bret Harte and Ken Moore Galleries, Concord; Bardot/Devoto Gallery, Kenwood; Earth, Nature & Science, Santa Rosa; Mule Gulch Gallery, Bisbee, Arizona; Na'Nea and The Kohala Kollection, Kona, Hawaii; Innpressions Gallery, Healdsburg, Ca.

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