Engine mounted on Designer’s Choice

As had written in reply to comment, the mounting of the engine was done empirically. I purchased an adjustable engine mount and scribed bolt hole locations roughly over the area of the existing factory bracket mounting holes. The factory bracket mounting holes I had actually created an engine mount for of my own design (out of oak) dating back to approximately 2003. The holes were in a 3-over-3 pattern with the nuts set into the fibre glass of the transom. Had originally used these until my original engine mount rotted away after many years. Instead of making a new one, I had opted for an adjustable aluminum mount (pictured).

Tanaka 3 HP outboard kicker

This allowed raising and lowering of the motor…not because the shaft was too short — a standard small outboard would work fine. The main thing was to get the engine out of the water during sailing to reduce drag.

Living on the Chesapeake Bay, there are shallows and gunk holes all over the place here. It was a great location for sailing a small boat such as this one.

Now, my preference is rowing — something I took up over 36 years ago while in school. Less paraphernalia and gets me out on the water for just enough time that it does not take away from the family.

21 ft Oxford shell – in the water awaiting the rower.

Howmar Boats Finest 15′ Sloop: Designers Choice (“DC”)

Designers Choice: A Small Sloop

Originally designed by the naval architects Sparkman & Stephens, and built circa Edison New Jersey in the late ”70s through mid-’80s, the Designers Choice (“DC”) is a fibreglass-hulled sailboat with length overall (LOA) of 14′ 10.5″, length at the waterline of 12′ 9″ and beam of 6′ 1″. She weighs in at 315 lbs.

The draft of the DC varies from 5″ (centerboard up) to 3′ 0″ (centerboard down). Aft freeboard is 1′ 2″.

The mast is tall and the sail area of the mainsail is 82 sq ft; that of the jib is 28 sq ft. Crew capacity is 900 lbs. In my experience, 3 adults and 3 children can be comfortable on board.

DC Standard Features

She features:

  • Black anodized aluminum spars.
  • Grooved mast with loose footed mainsail fitted with luff slugs.
  • Stainless steel chain plates, headstay & shrouds.
  • Deluxe heave duty fittings.
  • Four-part mainsheet with quick release cam cleat on centerboard trunk.
  • All hardware ¬†mounted with through-bolts or drilled and tapped into aluminum backing plates.
  • Controllable outhaul, boom vang and Cunningham.
  • Kick-up rudder with foam-filled floating black anodized aluminum tiller and universal hiking stick.
  • 1.25″ vinyl rub-rail.
  • Non-leaking centerboard pin above the waterline and cockpit sole for easy access.
  • Hand laid-up heavy duty mat and roving hull construction
  • White gelcoat finish.
  • Molded-in skid-resistant side seats and cockpit sole.
  • Large covered stowage locker under afterdeck.
  • Durable dacron mainsail and jib.
  • Jib window and jiffy reefing are standard.


I have owned my DC since 2003. I have had 3 sailboats in my life and this is a decent little craft. She was built in 1979, making her 38 years. Several photographs are included below. A copy of the original Howmar Designers Choice is provided for download, as well.

1979 Designers Choice with original sails
1979 Designers Choice on the beach
Tanaka 3 HP outboard kicker
1979 Designers Choice on Trailer. Sails are original. She is launched from the yard onto the Chesapeake Bay. She is kept covered when not in use.