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Design 168 – Deben 4¾ Tonner
23' Gaff Cutter

Plans Download:
Plans on CD:
Plans on Paper:
Other Drawings:

Gen. Arr. (with Magnify Tool).
Interior Plan & Profile.
Interior Sections.
Deck Plan.
Sail Plan.

LOA 8.065 m 26' 5½"
LoD 7.000 m 22' 11½"
LWL 6.0750 m 19' 11⅛"
Beam 2.355 m 7' 8¾"
Draft 1.045 m 3' 5⅛"
Displacement on dwl 3485 kg 7683 lbs
Ballast 1400 kg 3086 lbs
Thames tonnage
Headroom (saloon & galley) 1.930 m 6' 3⅞"
Headroom (WC & fo'c'sle) 1.670 m 5' 5¾"
Mainsail 22.275 m² 240 ft²
100% foretriangle 12.340 m² 133 ft²
Staysail 8.000 m² 86 ft²
Working jib 11.000 m² 118 ft²
Engine 7.5 kw 10.0 hp
EU Category B - Offshore
Our Deben Class designs are inspired by the original Deben 4-tonner, which my father commissioned from W. M. Blake in 1936. These turned out to be remarkably successful cruising sailboats and some 35 were built between 1937 and 1960. Today most "Debens" are still sailing; some have been lovingly restored and I am regularly in touch with many of the current owners. We are proud to continue with the same robust, seaworthy, traditional style sailboats.

The Deben 4¾ Tonner featured here is basically much the same size as the 5-tonner but designed from the beginning for as simple-as-possible modern wood/epoxy construction, while still retaining the long-keel, reverse-tuck sections, and other features of the original 4-tonner. Thus the design embodies the best traditional style with modern construction. By contrast, the 5-tonner is designed for traditional carvel construction on steam-bent timbers.

She is built on seven laminated ring frames. The stem and simple wood keel are laminated in place on the frames set up in the building jig – the stern post is also a very straightforward lamination.

The hull skin is 10mm strip planking followed by two 3mm diagonal veneers. The skin runs over the stem, wood keel and transom, so there are no rebates to bother about. The hull skin has a lightweight epoxy/woven glass cloth applied in with the second epoxy coating, over the whole hull and under the wood keel. The full length cast iron ballast keel is bolted on in a conventional way.

The original Deben 4-tonner design had a conventional short coachroof, but some were built with small doghouses, some with raised companionways, and yet others with full width cabins (so no sidedecks). We have chosen, as standard, to design the Deben 4¾-tonner with a doghouse to give standing headroom in the galley and saloon. However, it is easy enough to build the boat with a straight coachroof, without the doghouse, and we will be supplying alternative plans for that.

The interior layout as shown has a traditional vee-berth fo'c'sle, which is extended aft when the WC compartment forward door is closed to the WC, thus giving quite a spacious private cabin with a washbasin. The keel-stepped mainmast comes down between the berths. There are lockers and drawers under the berths.

The WC compartment stretches across the boat and is made private by closing both doors. There are good lockers outboard of the WC, and both outboard and under the washbasin unit.

Click image for larger dimensioned version.

The L-shaped galley has good headroom in front of the cooking stove. There is a drop-flap at the aft end to give extra workspace and there are good lockers outboard of the worktop and beneath.

Aft of the galley there is an excellent quarterberth, with over a third of the length out from under the cockpit seats, which makes it easy to get into and not at all claustrophobic.

To port there is a comfortable saloon settee, which can also double up as a fourth full-size berth. We also show a drop-leaf table, which when down, provides a narrow fiddled surface.

On deck there is a full length, comfortable, self-draining cockpit, separated from the companionway with a bridgedeck. The rig shown is a gaff cutter – but a gaff sloop would also work very well. There are excellent watertight cockpit lockers.

The engine fits neatly under the bridgedeck and cockpit sole, giving reasonably good access. The installation is set level, with a very straightforward shaft system, which should give quite efficient performance.

Click here to look at the free study plans and a list of the plans and instructions that are currently available (February 2019).

The detailed and accurate plans together with true step-by-step building instructions carry builders, professional and non-professional alike, through the building process simply and easily. And for larger boats particularly, they allow a managed build to be carried out very successfully. Plans are fully dimensioned; no scaling or lofting is required. The plans and instructions are practical, clear and detailed, containing everything required to build and complete the vessel. Where CNC cutting files are included, or available, they can be sent directly to a CNC facility as required. Professional technical support throughout the build, is available by email, via the forum or by regular mail. More plan info