First Mate Printed Plans

Write a Review
15' 0-1/4" / 4.58m


For a digital download, click HERE

First Mate has the same rigs and layout as the very successful Phoenix III, but uses an easy-to-build stitch-and-glue hull. Primary dimensions are 15ft x 5ft x 5-1/2inches.

  • Three rig options are included in the plans
  • 65 page colour-illustrated instruction manual
  • Plans contain 31 sheets of A3 drawings, plus 1 A4 drawing
  • Designed to be sailed, rowed, or powered by a small outboard
  • Lightweight "Stitch-and-Glue" wood/epoxy construction
  • Built-in buoyancy tanks
  • Pivoting centreboard and rudder
  • Rig stows within length of boat for trailering

Some years ago, I designed a 15ft x 4-1/2ft glued-lapstrake (clinker) beachcruiser called Phoenix III. This boat came about in response to an enquiry I had received from Paul Hernes, of Caloundra, Queensland, Australia. Paul wanted a boat which would operate well under sail, oars, and very small outboard motor, and he was keen to build a round-bilged lapstrake (clinker) hull.

For many years prior to this request, I had agonized over what I considered to be the optimum dimensions for a boat which could be used for serious beach-cruising with one, and very occasionally, two people. However, as day-sailing is the most frequent mode of operation for any boat, I hoped the chosen dimensions would be suitable for casual day outings as well.

As good performance under oars was a high priority, the dimensions I selected promised a fairly slim boat, which suited my purpose well, as it also promised to give a nice, fine entry at the bow, which would help to produce a soft and dry action in a head sea. My final selection came out at 15 feet x 4-1/2 feet, with a draft of somewhere near six inches.

Paul’s boat has proved to be an exceptionally successful craft, and she now has a number of sisters sailing the waters of the world.

The internal layout of Phoenix III works extremely well in use, and the versatility of having a number of different rig options in addition to rowing and powering have made her a popular design. However, it seems that many people are intimidated by the prospect of building a lapstrake (clinker) boat. Therefore, I designed a stitch-and-glue plywood hull with an identical internal layout, using the identical rigs. This boat became First Mate.

First Mate is a much quicker boat to build due to the fact that a strong-back and mold arrangement is not required for the hull. Panel shapes and frames are marked-out directly on the plywood from accurately dimensioned drawings, and are simply assembled using electrical cable-ties or twisted copper wire. The resulting structure is checked for any un-wanted twist, and is then locked together permanently with glass tape set in epoxy.

You will discover that First Mate, at 5 feet,is slightly wider than her predecessor. This is because of her cross-sectional shape, and is necessary to retain the stability of Phoenix III - in fact, First Mate is slightly more stable and the wider side decks add to the effectiveness of crew weight in a blow.

All of the rigs designed for Phoenix III work perfectly in First Mate, and the internal layout is the same.

Ross Lillistone


First Mate Study Plans Click HERE

View AllClose

Additional Information

Metric & Imperial
Include 65 pages of 8-1/2 x 11 instruction manual plus 32 drawings set to print at 11 x 17
Designer Name:
Ross Lillistone
Product Name:
First Mate Plans PDF
Sail area (Imperial / Metric):
76 sq.ft / 7.06 sq. m to 104 sq.ft / 9.66 sq. m
Rig Type:
Lug, Sloop, Sprit
Ballast Weight:
Keel Type:
Length (range):
8' - 15'11"' / 2.44m - 4.85m
15' 0-1/4" / 4.58m
Length at Waterline:
13' 3-1/2" / 4.052m
5' / 1.524m
Hull Weight:
85 - 199 lbs / 38.56 - 90.27kg
Estimated Hull Weight:
165lbs / 75kg including rig
Under 6" / 15.24cm
Unloaded Draft:
5-7/8" / 148mm
Weight Capacity:
702lbs / 319kg
Primary Material:
Marine Plywood
Method of Construction:
Stitch and Glue
Hull Type:
Hull Shape:
Flat bottom
Power Source:
Electric, Human, Internal Combustion, Wind
Horsepower Rating:
Built-in Floatation:
Unit of Measure:
Instruction Manual:
Step-by-Step Instructions
Lofting Required:
Recommended Experience Level:
Designer's Thoughts on Experience Level:
Intermediate level, but a determined beginner can build this boat
Boat Type:
View AllClose

0 Reviews

View AllClose