This design was a commission by my friend Bob, a resident of my home waters in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound region. The boat is modeled after one of my favorite designs, the Dynamo by William Garden. Bob also loved the Dynamo’s design, but he wanted me to convert Garden’s traditional plank-on-frame construction to my preferred construction method of stitch and glue with cold-molded plywood. Everything else, including the interior arrangements, would remain the same. Bob thought the original Garden design was brilliant in its intent.
I knew Garden and his designs well, and I visited him many times before he died in 2011 at age 92. Garden was an absolute genius with the drafting pencil, and I have spent hours trying to take in the artistic expression that his drafting hand lent to each of his drawings. About 20 years ago, my sons and I had the pleasure of buying a little 20-foot sailboat that Garden had built himself, complete with a cabin and a four-cylinder Gray Marine inboard engine. The simple experience of helping him finish that project, launch it and then tow it to our shop is one of my fondest memories.
My drawing of the Dynamo Too is the type of design that Garden called a “halibut cruiser,” loosely modeled after the halibut schooners that have been fished for more than 100 years in the North Pacific. The pilothouse was always set more in the stern than up in the eyes or the forward parts of the boat, helping (I would guess) to keep the salt spray off the house. This was also the best position for the skipper to be able to see the crew pulling in large halibut over the starboard side forward, without having to continually look aft.
These schooners had multiple masts and were typically 65 to 95 feet in length; they evolved near the end of the use of sail in the fisheries, at a time when engines were not considered as dependable as sails. With their stout, short masts, they could be sailed if the engine took a dislike to its primary job. The sails were also used to help to steady the boat in confused seas and swells.
Dynamo Too is much smaller and doesn’t have room for the original schooner rig, so we retained the original foremast and deleted the mainmast.
One of the nicest features of this design is the covered house and aft deck, providing shade in the summer and a respite from the rain and drizzle during early spring and late fall. With the U-shaped seat in the stern, the “after the hook is set” hours can be spent with a lovely vista of the anchorage as the backdrop to an evening’s libations.
Twin doors open forward into the pilothouse with an L-shaped dinette to starboard and a strip galley-up to port. The cook can see out while prepping meals, and the skipper can quickly grab snacks or coffee during long watches at the wheel. Put a diesel range in the galley for the heating and cooking chores, and the pilothouse will let the crew warm up quickly after coming in from chores in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska.
The pilothouse has enough glass to allow good visibility in all directions. With the crew up near the helm helping to keep an eye on the water, a fine experience for all can be had.
Anchoring is easy with her reel-type anchor windlass in the well deck forward. A simple B-style hydraulic pump is switched on, and the crew can go forward and release the hold-back on the anchor rode; a simple nudge, and the hook is over the side and on the bottom. The skipper then backs up the Dynamo Too to set the hook, and a simple press of a foot on the all-chain rode confirms that the anchor is set. Shutdown of the engine can now be done, with the engine hours noted in the ship’s logbook before the drinking lamp is lit.
After some stories woven between friends and even the fragrance of a fine cigar to spice the early evening hours, it will be time to retreat below. We go forward to the dash of the wheelhouse and then down a series of steps into the fo’c’sle of the vessel, with another heater down here to help keep this deeper and typically cooler area of the boat warm and comfortable. The head is off to the port side. There is no separate shower stall, but a circular curtain can direct the water into the center drain and gray-water sump.
Forward of the head are a hanging locker and a U-shaped lounging area, a skylight hatch overhead, and a wooden table. When all the crew is tuckered out, there is a double berth forward, and the U-shaped seating area can host another couple of sleepers. The best bunks on the boat are above the settee seats in the salon, spacious and cozy.
This is living at its most enjoyable: simple, basic, warm and intellectually entertaining.
Dynamo Too specifications
LOA: 45ft. 1in.
Beam: 13ft. 10in.
Draft: 4ft. 8in.
Displacement: 39,000 lbs.