Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

Velocette Part 1, alternative to windsurfing

11 November 2021
Russ Whitford
I have posted pictures of various stages of Velocette during construction but now I'm going to tell the complete story.

Veloce was our beloved Laser 28 racer/cruiser owned for 25 years. Lisa and I raced Veloce over 1,200 races and enjoyed the best family vacations possible cruising Lake Michigan with our kids. Veloce is still the best designed and constructed sailboat I have ever set foot on. If you are considering buying a boat this size, look at a Laser 28....if you can find one for sale. After 25 years of ownership, Veloce sold in 12 hours for nearly what I paid for her new.

Velocette, little Veloce.

Why the name Veloce? I sold a 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Spyder to buy Veloce. OK, that car would be worth a lot more than the boat if I had kept her but no regrets, I still have another car of the exact same model, waiting for me at the River Retreat.

I love sailing! Sometimes while cruising, we spend almost a month at anchor without moving Uproar. No sailing. I used to carry a windsurfer onboard for my sailing fix. Hate to admit it but I'm getting a bit old for windsurfing. It hurts too much! I would make excuses, not windy enough, too much wind, etc. The board was seldom used. It's more than age though. Modern boards require enough wind to plane out to sail well. Old, long boards would sail like a mini-yacht. In light air, modern boards are a pain in the ass. Just not fun.

How cool would it be to have a sailing dinghy to dink around anchorages! Most sailing dinghies are a combination of rowboat, motorboat and sailboat. The PT11 comes the closest to being a good boat for an all purpose dinghy. I wanted just a hotrod little sailboat to get my sailing fix. And the boat had to come in two parts, nested together so she would stow on our cabin top. Such a boat did not exist.

I scoured boatdesign.net and other forums for ideas. Modern dinghy design has come a long way. Frank Bethwaite's book, "High Performance Sailing" details advances made up until the mid-90's. His son, Julian Bethwaite has really advanced the art with the 29er design. A forum thread about building a wooden version for the popular Taser gave me some great ideas.

I messaged some of the contributors including Jean Francois Masset to discuss the design. JF expressed interest in my project and volunteered to help with the design. This all started in March 2020, the beginning of the Covid lockdowns. JF was experiencing restrictions in his home Nice, France just as we were in French Polynesia. Perhaps this was the perfect storm for us to both put our heads into this project.

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Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Sophie our Jack Russell Terrier
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Uproar FULL ON in the North Channel! Picture by Rick Pask.
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