Apple AHL - a main and mizzen lug-rigged yawl
Apple is a sweet-sheered, originally yawl-rigged, balanced lug day-sailer for the home boat builder that has a surprising turn of speed. From her plumb bow to her raking transom, she has very much the air of a traditional boat, but her lines and plans reflect modern thinking more than might at first be apparent. With the original small yawl lug rig layout she is exceptionally easily controlled with finger-tip-light steering at any degree of heel, showing the inherent balance of the hull form and will heel to some 40 degrees unballasted without driving the gunwale under when hard on the wind, remaining well mannered and docile. The flair of the forward sections tends to throw spray clear and she is surprisingly dry when sailed hard. Off the wind in a breeze, she lifts smoothly onto a plane without effort or fuss. In lighter airs, she slips along in a most satisfying manner, and will even sail herself for short periods if the sails are balanced carefully. For those who regularly sail in light wind areas, the large light weather mizzen makes for a truly stunning performance. And when the wind dies in the evening, she will row surprisingly well as the quarters are well lifted, the beam moderate and the weight surprisingly light thanks to the ply and glass construction. Should a more sedate approach to sailing be required, the Apple will easily accommodate sand or shingle ballast bags as she has considerable carrying capacity without spoiling her sailing lines, and such disposable ballast ensures that easy manhandling ashore is not lost. Integral water ballast tanks can be built in to the decked version, too.
The original open Apple was designed as a rewarding, handsome, undecked day-sailer for large lakes, rivers and sheltered estuary waters, one that could be built in a modest single car garage on a very modest budget yet would engender a real pride of ownership, with an ability and performance to entrance and enthuse her crew, most especially when sailing in company with modern craft, and not demoralize them with indifferent or poor sailing qualities once the novelty of sailing something 'traditional' has worn off. In her original open form - that is without decking - she is not designed for cruising exposed coastal waters in strong winds - which is in keeping with other open or even partially decked designs, traditional or modern, old or new, including some supposedly able 'cruising' dinghies and dayboats - as it would be asking too much of such a light and almost totally open boat - and such a simple, inexpensive one - and probably of her crew, too. [But note that with the substantial reduction in open cockpit space as well as increase in weight to give the necessary momentum to punch through head seas, the decked, ballasted version is more suitable for open waters.] The inherent exceptional balance of the design makes for far sweeter, easier handling than the hard-mouthed antics of some portly dayboats when over-pressed, whilst the ballast provides surprising power and stability with the crew inboard. There's a general absence of slamming when driving hard through a short hollow chop with little thrown spray or when weaving through a confused head sea and partially luffing the crest and then bearing away down the back, whereas a full bowed 'U' sectioned boat in such conditions will stamp and slam if not stop, throwing spray, thin sheets - or, if they're really unfortunate, solid lumps - of water at her luckless crew. In such conditions, a dry, well-tempered boat truly shines, and Apple is just that. Within the constraints of the design, there really is little on the water that approaches her - she is handsome, able and distinctive. And very fast!
Apple is not only handsome, but strong, too: recently, when racing to windward in a fresh breeze, a competing Wayfarer tacked too close and sailed straight into her (even though Apple was right of way boat on starboard in clear water), striking her midway between two frames - well and truly 't'-boned! Despite a fearsome noise, the only damage done was a partially crushed outer gunwale bearing the imprint of the Wayfarer's stem. Having seen a Wayfarer rip open a Scorpion's foredeck in winds so light that they would not have blown out a lighted match, this incident gave a good idea of the toughness of the construction.
'Vips' - P. Lord's 5 plank aside Apple
The Apple is exceptionally well balanced under both the balanced lug yawl and the gaff cutter rig, with finger-light helm whether upright or heeled to the gunwale ie she doesn't try to run wild with increasing and uncontrollable weather helm, as do so many hard-mouthed, unbalanced hulls whose faults are so often acclaimed as virtues. The prototype lug yawl with the small mizzen and rudder would even sail herself to windward in smooth water in 10 -12 mph winds with the tiller free, luffing gently in the gusts and bearing away once too close to the wind with the mainsail luff gently lifting, to repeat the performance once again with barely a drop in her speed as she followed the wind, a fascinating and uncanny performance that made her seem truly alive with the sails cleated and the totally unhindered tiller moving of its own volition, which would only be ended when a slightly stronger gust would luff her gently head to wind. Even if this was a quirk of the prototype - of the hull or the home-made main - it does help illustrate the inherently well balanced, well mannered characteristics of the design. She's dry in waves, planes well in a breeze, and has looks to boot.
Inexpensive to build and rig from the beginning of the build - the hull strakes are carefully nested to use the minimum of ply - to the end - there's no need for any high-tech ropes, rigging or hardware; nor are hollow masts or spars essential for performance or stability
Excellent performance - planes well ballasted or unballasted - and like all good boats, the faster she planes down wind, the more stable she seems to become
Comfortable to sail: does not have to be sat out; may be fully ballasted and never sat out
Comfortable and superbly controllable to sail: under either original lug or gaff rig, she is perfectly balanced upright or heeled to the gunwale, on or off the wind, in flat or broken water
Proven sailing performance - both in speed and pointing ability - in years of competitive club racing in all weathers and all seasons - not the occasional chance encounter with a poorly sailed or poorly matched boat in ideal conditions. See the foot of the page.
Proven sailing performance - dry and quiet in a head sea: with her long easy bow there's no slamming, shuddering and drenching spray; nor hobby-horsing - there's no need for her crew to sit far apart to tame her motion in waves either upwind or down - look elsewhere for a white-knuckle ride
Proven rowing and sailing performance in Raid Sail and Oar events, both upwind and down, in light airs and fresh breezes; well able to show a clean pair of heels to most participants - including under oars
Apple Lugger Plans
Apple AHL: 4 planks each side with the topside plank having the option of a lower wale to give the appearance of five planks; no keel strake; lug-rigged open boat.
All original hand-drawn A1 sheets have been redrawn and updated for PDF files - 9 A1 updated sheets, and several dozen pages of keyed A4 construction detail, sail plan notes and guidance.
Additional sheets cover half decked options with side tanks/seats, rear tank and optional larger lug sail plan, plus tumblehome option. One sheet covers mould set-up for non epoxy stringer over
frame multi-chine construction or stringer over frame epoxy-glued clinker construction.
Swedish Apple variation: five separate planks each side instead of four, plus a keel strake as with the Apple 13; tumblehome transom; slightly wider topsides. Half decked construction shown. Water ballast or lead option. Offsets, frames and strakes are slightly different from AHL, so additional tables for these are included plus one addtional A1 construction/ lines sheet and one additional A1 strake layout sheet. These additional and supplementary sheets are for inclusion with both Original Apple AHL and Cutter plans with additional payment.
American Apple: wider topsides than Swedish Apple. A1 Lines sheet plus layout sheet, plus A4 sheets for offsets, strakes and frames. No additional construction sheet. For inclusion with Original Apple and Cutter with additional payment.
Panel shapes and offsets only, though some with sail plans, for longer and/or beamier, modified versions are also available, both 4 and 5 panel designs, as are 8 plank aside multi-chine or glued clinker ones, mostly from 14.5 to 20 feet in length, and 5 - 6 feet in beam, and are available separately- see the LINES section of the Apple range.
As for her racing ability under her balanced lug rig, perhaps an idea of her capabilities is provided by the rather ludicrous Portsmouth Yardstick rating of 1075 that she was given in 2000 and not altered to something more reasonable despite my protestations then, and yet again in 2001 and 2004, all to no avail. [Indeed, for one summer series - and unbeknown to me - she was given an even lower yardstick rating, which I won't mention as it truly beggars belief.] To put this in context, a 16 ft Wayfarer sails off a yardstick of 1099 - so the Apple was deemed to be capable of outsailing - out-pointing, out-footing, out-planing - the fleet of Wayfarers by some margin, whatever the course, whatever the conditions, and of course whilst sporting her home-made main. Perhaps all those knowledgeable souls who expand at length to the uninitiated that lug rigged boats can't point as high or sail as fast as basic bermudian rigged class dinghies in general sailing - let alone handicap racing - would like to point this out to the Sailing Committee of Haversham S.C? I'd happily settle for a yardstick somewhere between that of an Enterprise or GP 14 and that of a Solo - say around 1150, though as that would cause even more discomfort, embarrassment and dismay to the cheque book fraternity, that will never happen. Just don't mention to the pundits and experts that those boats too are basic bermudian rigged boats. A lug rigged day boat that can really sail - perish the thought!
A few up-to-date photos of Peter Lord's Vips may be found here amongst the photos of the latest 2011 Raid Finland
Two very short - little more than 15 seconds total - clips which give an idea of Apple's capability in a fresh breeze and moderate chop can be found here in a video from the 2008 Raid Finland. The boat, unballasted and reefed down, is not being sat out and is coping without fuss, and is also quite clearly being sailed well and making good progress. Slow the clips down to really appreciate how unfussed and able she is, and how clean and undisturbed the wake is, and how comfortable the crew appear. The boat from which the filming is done is a heavy ballasted keel boat, and the other open boat in the clip is practically half as long again. At the end of the video itself, you get a vivid, but unfortunate, demonstration of how not to row off a weather shore with the mainsail feathering over the bow and restricted by an end-knotted mainsheet- a lesson which those following clearly learn from as they leave the main unhoisted - but I'm told the crew righted and bailed her unaided, if somewhat wet. The mainsail should not have ended up ahead of the boat yet pinned to the centre line. This is one of the occasions when the small mizzen would have shown its worth from a seamanship point of view - both for sailing off the weather shore downwind in a controlled fashion, with the sail in view when under oars and yet out of the way, and then for keeping her docile and somewhat head to wind whilst hoisting the main. And, yes, the mizzen - large and small - is as designed free to rotate fully, so it can be dropped and hoisted if necessary from within the boat. The small fully battened mizzen can also be useful if having to row to windward in waves and a strong breeze as the oarsman does not have to constantly fight as hard to stop the bows from blowing off. And in really hard weather, when even the deep reefed main is being dumped and played in screaming gusts, that 'silly' little mizzen, fully battened and fully cambered, sheeted in and unattended, keeps the boat heading on, even to windward if the helmsman has some ability and the water is flat and sheltered by a windward shore, though not, naturally, in waves. Useful things, yawl mizzens, if properly designed, cut, rigged - and used!
Two second clips from 2013 giving an idea of her appearance ballasted can be found here and here and here whilst a photo from the 2014 Raid Finland can be found in Greg Markov's photo essay here which can be accessed from the Shallow Water Sailors' website here A lovely example by Matt Bowser with his review in November 2019 Small Boats Monthly can be found here