“Good things come in small packages…small is beautiful…keep it simple stupid,” all of these phrases apply to the little DC-10 sailing dinghy. Yes, there are lots of small sailing dinghies in the world but most are rowing tenders with rigs added on as an afterthought. Some are terribly uncomfortable and others just don’t sail very well. The DC-10 was conceived from the beginning as a sailboat to fulfill the following criteria:
- As small as practical for one full-sized adult.
- A satisfying performer without being physically demanding.
- Very stable for sailing off-season in cold water.
- Easy to construct by an amateur.
Light weight was also a factor to both enhance performance and make the craft easy to transport. All construction details are within the grasp of a first time builder. The result is a 9’10” boat with a comfortable cockpit, small enough to car-top, and simple to build. The design also features thick section foils and an efficient sleeved sail on an unstayed mast. Weighing in at approximately 90 lbs., the DC-10 is easily carried by two adults using the built-in handles.
The DC-10 was designed to be built with readily available materials, examples: a standard fiberglass or graphite sailboard mast and 4’ x 10’ sheets of plywood. Epoxy glue construction was the obvious choice as this makes plywood boats truly structurally sound and long-lasting. Compound curves and complex bevels are avoided wherever possible. Some may think these a challenge to their woodworking skills, but to others less experienced, they can be a layout nightmare. Construction is straightforward but does require basic safety precautions for working with epoxy. The plans include the dimensions of the expanded panels, which are then drawn directly onto the plywood sheets. The structural framing is very simple in shape and in nominal dimensions. The plywood panels are joined at the corners with spruce framing.
We believe that the greatest virtue a sailboat can possess is stability. The completely flat cross section and vertical sides of the DC-10 provides so much stability that you can actually stand up and walk around in the boat. The bottom panel is kept from flexing by a foam core and double longitudinal stringers. The foam also provides some welcome thermal insulation from cold water.
Construction breaks down into a series of easy steps that can each be accomplished in an evening. Progress is visible and rewarding, with natural breaks while the epoxy cures. The plans package includes a comprehensive construction manual that provides enough detail for those unfamiliar with plywood
The combination of a flat, hard chine bottom and ample cockpit room allowing for sitting in the boat, makes for a solid and comfortable 10 footer. Bulkheads
forward and aft form large buoyancy tanks that combine with the foam in the bottom to provide more than adequate flotation. After a capsize the DC-10 can be
easily righted with about 10 gallons of water left inside. The slightly wet sailor simply lies on the aft deck and bails it out.
The DC-10 performs efficiently on all points of sail and in a wide range of wind velocities. The first thing you notice upon getting in the boat is that it does not roll out from under you. Sheet the sail in and smoothly accelerate to hull speed. Bear off and move back to keep the bow up and the boat will leap forward to what seems like a plane. Head up and move forward to point high on the wind. The boat has great maneuverability, push the tiller hard over and you’ll spin right around. In its 27 year career this little boat has satisfied beginning sailors, expert sailors, young sailors, and senior sailors. Safe and
easy to sail, the DC-10 is the ideal trainer while still offering race oriented performance to the experienced.
Here is what others have said about the DC-10:
Due to its surprising performance, the boat is ideal for the beginning or intermediate racer and perfect for frostbiting in protected waters.
– Sailing World Magazine
He jumped in at dockside and stood there well to port, yet the little craft hardly tilted at all. Stability it has.
– Messing About in Boats
Don’t be put off by the shape. There is more to this boat than meets the eye! Stability is its outstanding virtue, but it doesn’t hang about in a blow either. With its plain, uncluttered surfaces, it is easy to clean and simple to maintain, and transport is no problem.
– Afloat! (U.K. publication)
The complete plan set consists of eight 18” x 24” sheets, including construction (with full size details), hull lines, daggerboard and rudder details, and sail plan with sailmaker’s drawing. The building manual is a 35 page booklet with step-by-step procedures, 38 detailed illustrations, safety tips, list of necessary tools, material sources, and suggested plywood alternatives.