Saturday Night Special


Quick build, quick sailor, the most boat you’ll get for your buck.

Length, 14.ft 8in (may be built at 13 ft 11 to avoid Texas registration requirements)
Beam 1.66m – 5ft 5in
Draft (CB up) 0. 152m – 6in
Draft (CB dn) 0.94m – 3ft 1in
Sail Area
103 sq ft

Quick build, quick sailor, the most boat you’ll get for your buck.

I love the long expedition type events, The Texas 200, the Florida 120, the Everglades Challenge, all of which are challenging events which can be completed in boats that are not necessarily fully ocean capable. They’re events which suit people who cant own a specialist craft, and who will use their boats for family outings except on the odd occasion when the desire for adventure leads them to the start line of one of those events.

For those who want to participate, but who’s boats are totally unsuited, or non existent I was working up a design that could be built very quickly and essentially thrown away at the end, but the proof of concept boat proved to be a very good performer, plus other considerations came to be and I redrew the boat to make her easier to build accurately, put in a swinging centerboard to allow sailing at speed in the shallow waters of the Texas 200, added some very large bouyancy tanks and side decks wide enough to sit on, a rudder that offers control even with the blade kicked up, again a shallow water requirement, and refined the rig to add a little more performance.

These are not “instant boats”, rather they are boats that can be built very quickly if a “workboat finish” is ok with the builder, they can be built very cheaply if structural fir or pine plywood is used, and one of Polysail internationals sails, or the larger of the RSS sails offered by Duckworks Boat Builder’s Supply will give good performance at a much cheaper cost than otherwise.

To help the build go quickly the plans include full sized templates for the transom, frames and stem, a step by step written building guide and detailed drawings for the rest of the pieces.

Performance wise, these are fast boats, they plane in any sort of breeze, even loaded up with two adults and a weeks camping gear they will plane. They’re stable at speed, given proper sail trim don’t roll around downwind, and are surprisingly hard to capsize as they tend to go just so far then lie still until the sheet is released then will pop back up.

They steer well, being light on the helm and responsive, are, once the skipper gets used to the boats ability to turn very quickly, easy to sail.

They were designed in part for the Texas 200 where the prevailing wind is strong, and over the stern quarter. The forward sections are shaped so that in those conditions the boat wont put its bow down and “broach”, and surprisingly this extra flare keeps her drier than you’d think.

So, Saturday Night Special, a quick and cheap solution to “what to take to the Texas 200?” A light boat that will fit on many handyman trailers, a really fun dayboat, and yes, people have camped out on them, more comfortably than you’d expect.

And fast. You’d better believe it.


Q. Can they be rowed?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you mount an outboard motor on the stern?
A. Yes, no problem.

David Goodman’s Saturday Night Special

Phil McCowin’s Saturday Night Special in the Texas 200