LOA 44’-0”, LWL 40’-4¾”, B 10-6½”, D 5’ to 8’, DISPL 9,100 Lbs., SA 926.9 Ft2.

Thomas Doyle of Waterford, CT, commissioned Bagatelle (French for “a trifle”) in 1997 and launched her in the summer of 2001. An avid racer, Tom wanted a lightweight boat that could plane in under 20 knots of wind, point really well and sail fast upwind, and yet still look like it belongs in good company sitting next to a Concordia yawl—in his words, “a modern classic.” Specific features include: very lightweight construction (Douglas fir veneers over western red cedar strip-planking); chined hullform in the stern sections for planing; lifting keel for easy trailerability; B&R rig (no backstay, triple spreaders) for high lift, large sail area, and high speed; and water ballast.


Bagatelle’s hull is partially chined with wide, flat after sections and very narrow bow sections. The chine is very pronounced back aft and blends into the bow and disappears forward of the keel. Bagatelle has standing headroom only under the coachroof and sitting headroom forward of that. This is one of the compromises to exterior aesthetics. The design draws lots of compliments from the public, in part, I think, from its long, sleek look—the very long nose. The price for that look is no standing headroom in the forward half of the boat.


Bagatelle’s hull shape allows for unusual construction which is one layer of 5/8” thick western red cedar tongue-and-groove strip planking with two exterior layers of 1/8” Douglas fir veneers oriented at 90° to the strip planking. The reason for running the veneers this way was to speed up laminating. The hull surface is pretty flat in any given area, which means there is very little compound curvature. With compound curvature, you need to lay up veneers at ±45°, and then place narrow spiles (narrower strips of veneer) between each strip to make sure all strips abut each other properly. This spiling process is very time consuming. On Bagatelle, with 90° veneer strips, all veneer strips were be pre-cut to standard widths and parallel edges and abutted one to another all along the hull with no spiling. The veneers went on lickety-split, the whole process worked just fine.


For an even more in-depth review of this design, look at my article in Professional Boatbuilder magazine, issue #79, October/November 2002. This was my tenth article for PBB, and my first cover story. This was also the first and only time in PBB’s publication history in which the editors used a drawing for the cover instead of a photo. The drawing is the construction detail of the stainless steel armature inside Bagatelle’s keel.

Bagatelle ended up about 1,600 lbs. overweight (included in displacement above) due to heavier-than-anticipated construction and the need for extra ballast forward to get the bow down close to her lines. She has hit 14 knots a number of times, but according to Tom, she seemed to be achieving this in displacement or semi-displacement mode. That is, Bagatelle was not fully planing, probably due to her heavier weight.


Some years later, a boatyard launching Bagatelle dropped the lifting keel out of the boat, and the keel blade cracked when it hit a dock piling—OUCH!. Tom repaired it with a “band-aid” sort of repair using carbon fiber overlaid across the crack, but ultimately, he asked me to design a new fixed keel for the boat with a shorter draft (6’) and bigger, heavier bulb (boat displacement 12,783 Lbs.). The result was a stainless steel fabrication with a large lead bulb that fit into the slot of the original keel. While the boat is even heavier now, she balances better and still sails plenty fast. Tom sold the original keel as is to another boat owner, and apparently it’s still sailing just fine.