Flat Fish by Joel White
The Fish is a husky boat with a roomy hull more like a cruising boat, in some respects, than a daysailer. She is much like a big Herreshoff 12 ½, with the same virtues of stability, rough water ability, good looks, and excellent handling characteristics. While she is only 4’ longer than the 12 ½, she has twice the displacement and thus, in real terms, is twice as big.
Her distinctive pointed-front cabin trunk (almost a Herreshoff trademark) simplifies the construction and leaves more useful deck space than other styles. The cuddy cabin allows some privacy for use of a head or bucket, and she can have a couple of berths if desired. With the cabin trunk lengthened, she becomes a Herreshoff Marlin– a real cruising boat rather than a daysailer.
Compared to long-ended types she will be much drier, and somewhat less expensive for the amount of useful space inside. She will be better for off-season and cold-water use, and will generally be a fine, handy, compact boat that will keep the sailing fun even when conditions are less than optimum. She will sail fast at moderate angles of heel, and like her smaller cousins features a large, deep cockpit that will be reassuring for folks of all ages and will be particularly good for couples with small children.
As with the 12 ½, she is limited in her ability to land people on shore for picnics and such, due to her draft of slightly over 3’. For this reason Joel White revised the design to create the Flat Fish, which is a nearly identical boat with a foot less draft, a centerboard, and some more beam. The Flat Fish can find her way in more shoal water, and can drop people off on a beach or can be allowed to ground out more satisfactorily than the original. The narrower, deeper boat is probably better to windward and is likely to have a slightly better motion in rough water. The centerboard trunk consumes some space in the interior of the Flat Fish. Having these choices simply means the boat can be fine tuned a bit to your local conditions and your intended use.