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Welcome

The i550 has found a spot in the building sheds and imaginations of hundreds of sailors around the World.


Thank you for taking a couple minutes to read about the i550.

The i550 is an 18 foot performance sailboat designed for amateur home builders. The performance is thrilling and has given many sailors memorable days on the water.  i550’s plane in moderate breeze and can be sailed single handed, two crew make it lots of fun, and on windy days three will have thrilling rides. 

The cabin will accommodate two for camp cruising and shelter. 


The i550 was designed with the garage builder in mind. One of the most important considerations for a garage project is “will it fit.” Most garages built in the last 40 years are about 20 feet long inside the door to the back wall. The i550 will fit. Another consideration is that you can park it in the garage when you have finished your build, safe, clean and dry, and not have to pay yard storage fees. It is easily towed with a normal sedan, a great advantage for the family and your sailing horizons are unlimited.


Specifications:

Weight  800 lbs. (363 kg)

Length  18 feet or 5.50 meters (hence the 550 in the name)

Beam 8 feet

WL Beam  4 feet  6 inches inches

Draft - 10 inches (300 mm) keel raised for trailering

4’ 8” keel down while sailing

Keel weight  150 lbs minimum 185 lbs maximum

Sail area 250 sq. ft. Main & Jib

Asym.  Spinnaker 350 sq. ft.

Fastest boat speeds are solidly in the teens, possibly pushing 20 knots.

 Go to YouTube for some fun videos.


The primary building materials are 1/4” (6 mm) marine plywood, epoxy, fiberglass and carbon fiber. The shape of the boat has been drawn with simplicity in mind and has roots in historic Long Island Sound Sharpie oyster boats. The oyster boats were simple and fast with a heavy load of oysters. First back to the packing house got the best price, a race for the money every day was a real stimulus for building fast hull shapes. 

The name Sharpie defined them. 


The founders of West System Epoxy, Jan and Meade Gougeon, built  an i550 for themselves, remarking on the power ratio of the i550 expressed as sail area to wetted surface area. There is a great amount of horsepower to weight, period. They filmed themselves building their i550 “ Hot Canary, for the Everglades Challenge and edited it down to 3 minutes from 12,000  frames.
https://youtu.be/GDs_BKdYjaQ


Why Wood?

Wood is an outstanding engineering material, period, with epoxy, an outstanding glue and waterproof coating. It is used throughout the construction the boat. Each part of the boat is coated with epoxy on all surfaces to exclude moisture. When mixed with different additives it can be thickened to form structural peanut butter consistency joints or smooth as silk painting surfaces. Dry wood lasts forever, go ask the Egyptian Pharos. 

Boats built using epoxy/wood composite 40+ years ago are as strong as the day they were launched.  Boats built this way last as long or longer than fiberglass boats and remain stronger longer. They smell better, too.

There is an enthusiastic group of builders to be joined at i550class.org and i550facebook A tremendous depth of knowledge can be found there and help for any questions that might come up is offered freely. They welcome new people all the time. A number of very skilled and knowledgeable builders are posting there. It is one of the remarkable ucharacteristics of the group 

We invite you to email or phone us with questions for plans, full size patterns of the hull and frames and precut kit sets of the hull and frames . Plans are sent by emailed .pdf files. CNC .dxf files for routers are an option for those with access to these great tools. 

Prices are very affordable.  $100 emailed plans, 

$350 for the plans and CNC router cutting files 


The i550 has an established niche as a "best bang for the bucks boat".  

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