Kingstown was the name for Dun Laoghaire in South Dublin before Ireland gained its independence in the 1920s. And a little like the place where this boat sailed and was designed it has a dual identity. Designed in 1882 by a Mr Ardagh Long this boat the Heathen Chinee, what a great name, was envisaged as firstly a boat that could compete in the local 18 foot class. The rules stipulated that the boat could be no longer than 18 feet on deck. Mr Long had the idea that by building a boat with a removable counter he could also compete in the Thames rated three tonner class which was based on waterline length and beam. I found this design in the third edition 1882 of Dixon Kemps Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing.
So the Heathen Chinee as you can see is a rather burdensome craft that had a tonne of cast iron on her keel to bear up to the pretty lofty rig. She looks to be a very sea worthy and shippy boat, she would have to be, to handle the often rough Dublin bay. The rig was pretty impressive for an 18 foot boat, she had an 18 foot boom and the bowsprit extended 9 feet beyond the stem. She carried various sizes of jib, flown from the bowsprit, others of her type were cutter rigged, with a high peaked gaff mainsail and topsail. The rig I have sketched out is pretty much a bit of guesswork. Although I do have a record of the spar lengths. If I was to build one of these boats, and I would very much like to, I would try and set her up to be easy to single hand. That may mean stiffening up the mast and deck structure to make the running back stays unnecessary and probably a few other things to make it a little easier but at the same time making her an interesting boat to crew in.
The counter I added in the half hull model is entirely my own creation and is really and extension of the hull faired out to 22 feet. I think it looks fine but it is very narrow and would you’d want to be careful out there when working on the boom.
Only one of this type of boat has survived since the 1880s a Fife designed boat now held by the Scottish Maritime Museum and currently undergoing restoration. She’s a more extreme version with slacker bilges and would be a little wetter sailing than Heathen Chinee.
If you or some one you know would likea perfect gaff rigged daysailor for all the family that would be fun, elegant and easy on the wallet contact Tiernan Roe or give Roeboats a ring +353 (0)28 38973 or +353 (0)86 158 69 37
Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37 e:firstname.lastname@example.org