If I had it to do over again I’d change a few things, hence FRANCES II (Frances the second). The most significant improvement would be to replace the undulating profile shoal draft keel with a much more modern, deeper and therefore more effective one. With a slightly deeper keel and the “full flow aperture” I developed on the later of my offshore oriented custom designs, FRANCES II will stand up to a whole lot more sail and point closer to the wind. The flush deck which offered sitting headroom only will give way to a nice looking but smallish deckhouse with full headroom for a person up to 6 feet tall.
I adored my little FRANCES. She was beautiful, well mannered, stable, and just plain fun. Narrow of beam, her sleek lines cut through resistance like a dreadnaught. Point FRANCES toward a destination and she was unstoppable. Her timeless virtues seem to have disappeared from the modern world. They just don’t build ’em like FRANCES anymore.
But you could, and if you do it should be the slightly longer, wider, heavier, deeper, and more powerfully canvassed version I perfected in my retirement, FRANCES II.
Besides being slightly larger in all dimensions, the big change is the deeper, shorter and much more effective keel. The rudder is fully balanced to reduce helm forces. With this keel the new FRANCES is a much better performer.
FRANCES II embodies all the improvements I could think up in 39 years. She carries a taller rig with a masthead genoa. Her house provides full headroom (if you’re not too tall) and has a neat extension aft of the mast for storing deck gear. The keel is a little deeper, much shorter fore and aft, and has a narrower trailing edge than the original one making it far more efficient. The rudder is deep and partially balanced, so helm forces are minimal. The ballast ends up deeper than the original version, making FRANCES II one of the stiffest designs for her size my studio ever designed!
The arrangement has full headroom where you need it (6 feet on centerline).
The original FRANCES is an imperfect, classic design. She’s comparable in many ways to an MGTD or a J3 Cub. They spewed oil and weren’t very fast by today’s standards, but they were so cute and stylish that owners have enjoyed every minute of their use for decades. With nearly 40 years to think about an upgrade, FRANCES II approaches perfection!
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