"Lake Union Swift" and "Rhode Runner" to Debut in 2021

Everything about 2020 has been strange and disruptive at every level. Nevertheless, though buffeted by COVID-related delays, we were able to continue work on new designs. Here's the latest on the Lake Union Swift, a compact and sporty sailboat, and on the Rhode Runner, a fun outboard runabout.

Rhode Runner - The CLC Runabout

The Rhode Runner is CLC's 14'9" Runabout. This is a CNC-cut stitch-and-glue design, requiring no building mold. Yet the hull has a striking, sculptural--and fully functional--shape.

Over the last year we've built two prototypes of the Rhode Runner. Sea trials resulted in subtle form adjustments for improved performance and ergonomics.

In trials we saw 24mph, just under 21 knots, with the 25hp.

The kit includes CNC-milled grooves in the plywood deck, with dark cedar strips glued in.

The Rhode Runner doesn't skid in turns, and is well behaved in general.

Not much slowed by a crew of three adults.

The deep sheer line is unusual in a retro runabout. She looks almost Norwegian at idle speed.

Stay tuned for more about the Rhode Runner!

Lake Union Swift

Last week we seized a sunny (if chilly) day on the Severn River to give the final version of the Lake Union Swift a thorough workout. "Tenderly XP" was the design's drafting board name. When the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle ordered a fleet of them to use for sail training, we gave them naming rights. Thus, "Lake Union Swift."  

The Lake Union Swift recycles the much-admired Tenderly Dinghy's hull, but with an interior and rig optimized for pure sailing performance. Bench seats down the sides replace thwarts. This results in better ergonomics for serious sailing, and the big sealed chambers allow easy recovery from a capsize.

Over the last 10-15 years, the rollout of new designs has been slowed a bit as we seek perfection in the kits and documentation. 12 months of rigorous sea trials in the Lake Union Swift have resulted in numerous refinements to the layout and rig. 

The Lake Union Swift is a 10-foot lapstrake dinghy with a powerful sloop rig, built using stitch-and-glue techniques. An early version had a comically oversized rig and a wooden mast. The final version has the sail area trimmed down to rational size, and substitutes an aluminum mast. She proved no less sporty and satisfying to sail, as you can see in the photos here.

Another good reason to wear masks: They keep your face warm on icy December days.

The Lake Union Swift sports a bowsprit. The roller-furling jib can be stowed from the cockpit without having to go forward.

The Lake Union Swift boiling along in about 13 knots of breeze.

Yes, the Tenderly Dinghy's simpler balanced lug sail may be swapped in to replace the sloop rig, with no modifications necessary.

The Lake Union Swift is not much bothered by 400 pounds of crew. Two adults are a comfortable load. She'll be even better with an adult and one or two kids, or with a couple of student sailor.

We'll be releasing the Lake Union Swift as a CLC "ProKit" later in 2021. The kit assembly has been tested thoroughly and the assembly manual is intricately detailed, but we're recommending this project for those have built a few stitch-and-glue boats already. Stay tuned for more about the Lake Union Swift.