Copyright 2021 - Woods Designs, 16 King St, Torpint, Cornwall, PL11 2AT UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

The KSS method could be one of two things. Either it's just the now standard way of building flat panel foam sandwich boats (I used flat panel foam sandwich to build my Gypsy). Or its Derek Kelsall's own system of making a big panel that includes both sides and bottom in one piece which is then cut, tapered and pulled up round the frames. The problem with the latter system is that you make a VERY big panel. That leads to several problems. Unless you are several experienced laminators working together I would not recommend making a panel bigger than 15' x 5' in one go. Its just too much hard work. You would also need a very big flat table (and large shed to fit it in). My Gypsy panels were built in a garage 15' x 14' so I made them in two pieces. That way they fitted in, but it also meant that I could make a panel in an evening (3 hours). I also built the complete cuddy, cockpit, beams, bulkheads etc there so I could work at home and make a complete kit of parts before moving to the boatyard - a great saving in time and money.

Folding up the hull seems to be a rather hit and miss system, again because of the size of the panel. Unless you have several people to help it will be impossible, even then it will be difficult as it will be very floppy and hard to keep square. Cutting and joining will mean a lot of bumps that need filling later. I don't honestly think it is a time saving system in the long run. Remember that building the hull is the quick part. Don't be tempted by claims of speedy building - no method is. But it IS easy to design a boat that is hard to build! The best way to have a boat on the water quickly and in budget is to build the one that you need rather than the one that you want. Also go easy on the services (plumbing, electrics etc.) as they take forever to fit. Building a flat panel boat (steel monohull or deep V cat, or a dory - it doesn't matter) compromises the shape you would ideally like from performance, seakindliness etc. Making a KSS shape must compromise it even more. For example, you really need Veed sections forward if you have an offshore boat. The KSS system is usually used on wide flat bottomed hulls. Although my Gypsy is flat bottomed it is Veed forward to reduce slamming.