In 1996 the new Brisboat "SOFIA" was designed by Rolf Eliasson  Back to start


The earlier drawings of the old "SOFIA" were used while at the same time increasing the width by 20 cm, and increasing the height at the stem by 18 cm. This is to get full headroom under the deck and good room for more than one person. This increase in width will give a marginal increase in water resistance with a much stiffer hull. For that reason, mast height was changed from 3m to 4m - a large percentage increase.

Over the years 1996 to 2000 two boats have been completed with different deck and equipment configurations. The first by me and the other by naval officer Nils Brandberg. SOFIA is mainly based on the BRIS concept.

Several of the experiences made from the first "SOFIA" were transferred to the new "SOFIA".
Designing the new "SOFIA" a number of conditions were to be fulfilled.
This was to make it a bit more sturdy than the average small boat, while at the same time making it the uniquely safe boat that Sven and me along with many others, would expect it to be.
In other words the BRIS boat's already well known characteristics.
The boat shall be unsinkable and be able to take a strong blow without breaking in pieces.
(The hull of composite material of pvc-foam, epoxy with polyester reinforcement - BRIS-material ) Selfrighting, watertight door and watertight bulkheads, ventilation system with vacuum hose. Small and light, easy to "row" (sculling) , launch and transport, shallowdraft, ocean going.

In the new SOFIA
the storage compartments are completely watertight. If water splashes into the cabin, the water can be pumped out and the equipment kept dry. Good place for at least two beds and one sitting on the thwart. Central control with gps, vhf, voltmeter, mm fit in watertight cabinet.

Inner lashing rails along the planking at the waterline level makes it possible to lash equipment and arrange for safety belts.Self bailing "cockpit" in quarterdeck is hinged with door which is shut when cockpit is not used. Then serves as space for soaking rain clothes, sail and rope and lunch anchor.
Forecastle is provided with a large deck hatch, secured without a hinge. The centerboard case can be reached from the before mentioned deck hatch. Here you can also stow two bikes. Maintenance of aperture for centerboard happens via small door from this space.
Centerboard is 90 cm deep and has a surface area of 0,75 m2, this a relatively large area and the intention is that the boat must be able to sail slow without that much drift ("STALL"), i.e. ability to go to windward. Manoeuvering occurs via a line in a pipe that begins and ends at centerboard and keeps in position with clamcleat. When going aground line in sheetlock lets loose and centerboard "floats" up direct (consist of divinycell and have floating force as hull).

Centerboard is located under the mast.
Large distance between centerboard and rudder results in special characteristics. Stable course but slow turning. During tacking you can easily attend the front sail while the boat turns for a new direction. Placement of centerboard makes boat sail to windward with jib only.

Rudder and centerboard can swing up completely. It is pivoted on strong bolt and is kept in place by a line via rudderpost. In the upper end the line ends with a strong bungee cord. Rudder is large, 0,35m2 and also has buoyant force. When grounding rudder swings up so much as neccessary for passing the shoal. Then (afterward) one can pull down the rudder in position via catch rope whereupon the bungee cord again will fix the rudder in its position. The rudder in its lowermost positions is "balanced" and has high steering force. Steering happens via line as fastened on lock sheet. Usually the lines can be locked in neutral position and the boat steers itself. Even steering with tiller from cockpit is possible.

Halyards, sheet, centerboard and rudder lines are reached from hatches. One need not go up on deck for this manoeuver, nor for restoring the rudder and centerboard when grounding .
Steering can take place from within cabin even with shut door. Rudder pivot rod is connected to an inner wheel connected to the steering lines on deck and makes it possible to ajust the course when raining and or when the boat is submerged.

Mast height has astonished many. On the old "SOFIA",( BRIS 7) the mast is just three meters. Since the new boat received bigger width mast has increased with "one whole" meter, (33 percent). Can a boat really operate with so little sail? The older SOFIA (BRIS 7) made 6 knots on the reach and approx. 3 knots to windward, while the new made 6 knots in strong wind to windward. Since the boat is narrow and light it is also easily driven by sail as well as oar.

A large rig demands a bigger boat and more ballast, and in its turn demands more sail and so on. SOFIA is only 590 cm long and can never make more than 6 knots because she is not a planing boat. However, she has surfed down waves at considerably higher speed. The rigging also brought small "cute" sails, light to handle and to change. No reefing, you change sails. When you change the main, the boat sails with jib only without loosing height.

Standard main on new boat is fully battened. They (the sails) behave well when taking sail down in rough weather and do not flap. In place of spritsail as in the old "SOFIA" a big roach has been designed in style with the sails to be found on considerable extreme racing boats and multihulls.The "normal" mainsail is approx 5 m2 and jib 2,5 m2. A storm main and a storm jib exist with negative roach and reduced luff and foot. A genoa is also planned for very light wind.

A small but valuable detail is boarding steps on waterline midships and round friendly grips on gunwale strips for making boarding easy from the waters surface.

Trial sailing with the new "SOFIA" during the summer of 2000 have shown that the qualities from the older boat remain and performance has increased. The boat is stiff and greatly bearing. Without load it floats very high in the water, therefore it needs a lot of load which, by the way, is the point with a boat designed for long trips. Comfort in the boat is also considerably better, and can hold several people while daysailing. Course stability is so good that "hands free" applies for all points of sail.

SOFIA ia a real all around boat. It can sail over great waters but is also a perfect island boat with the possibility to reach all narrow shallow waters and find its own night harbor a long way from normal guest harbors. It can also be used as a mobile house boat. Car trip with trailer and boat, launch at an interesting place, perhaps sleep in the boat during the trip if a hotel can't be found. Transport weight is about 700 kg, accomplished with most cars.
Sculling is still used, a heritage from the previous BRIS-boat. Since the boat is a little heavier sculling speed is getting slower. An excellent means to anchor up in harbor or to sneek into shallow water.
At last we can mention some of the boats "ecology". There exists no engine. All forward motion happens with sail and oar. All charging of batteries happens with the aid of solar cells. Bottom paint is not used. A shiny epoxy paint under the waterline, wash regularly, which also facilitates sea-launch without heavy metals. Therefore, no oil in water, no exhaust in air and no heavy metal in ocean. May these boats become "tax relieved" in the future !!!!

Christer Lundberg