I had in mind to develop a new version of the Ebihen, for those owner having a fixed mooring and not interested in easy launching. This boat has a keel, leaving more space in the cockpit and a watertight and self-draining “at mooring” cockpit, allowing to leave it unattended for a long period. I also decided to have a plywood cold molded hull made on the same principle as Pen-Hir which is very easy to build. The rig is a gaff sloop, but a gaff cutter is also possible.
The lines of Koalen 17 are very close to those of Ebihen 16, but the fore end has been modified to get a developable bottom plank and the transom has more rake as the rudder is attached to the keel. That is why the length has been increased to 5.1 m. The boat is clearly inspired by the small fishing cutters of North Brittany, with the plumb stem and moderately raked transom.
Koalen 17 is planked over a crisscrossed plywood structure including backbone and bulkheads. A developed panel makes the bottom planking and the side planking is made of two layers of 6 mm plywood, laid vertically on stringers. Once again we got confirmation that this process gives both a sturdy hull faster to plank than strip planking and even clinker plywood. We decided to have the ballast inserted inside the plywood backbone. We used off the shelf lead pigs, but the void spaces may be filled in with lead scraps and epoxy. Therefore, the keel is hydrodynamically very clean and, despite a moderate draught, gives both an efficient lateral plane and good stability.
To have a serviceable cabin in such a small boat and keep an elegant line is not easy. There are two normal size berths, a stowage for a Porta-Potti toilet under cockpit and enough stowage space for a small cruise with a camping stove. The aim of Koalen 17 is mainly to be a dayboat with a cuddy, but it is possible for two people to spend some nights on board. Koalen 17 is a pocket cruiser easy to trail behind a medium sized car, but requiring some handling facilities to have it into the water.