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Old 13-08-2015, 17:58   #1
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Nimble Arctic 26

Has anybody had any experience with a Nimble Arctic 26?

We are a family of 3 and our cruising grounds include, any where we would be able to trailer a boat to in North America, including potentially the protected portions of the Eastern Arctic such as James and Hudson Bays, as well as Florida in the off season. Length of cruising season is important to me and I don't mind sailing in snow and rain, but I know better than to take a glass boat out in any kind of serious ice.

Mid shore seaworthiness is important to me, however, I avoid long offshore passages (you won't find me 100 miles off shore, but may find me making a run to Bahamas from Palm Springs or Miami or circumnavigating Cape Breton).

If the boat will point to 45 degrees and make hull speed in 10-15 knots, I can live with that, I'm by no means a racer.

Any experience with this boat, or other Nimble designs would be appreciated.
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Old 13-08-2015, 18:21   #2
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

I like the Nimble motorsailers; They are well designed for a purpose, and are roomy for a 26 footer, but have their limitations.

They will never do 10-15 knots. About 6 knots is all you will get out of any full displacement monohull of that size.
You'll also get a lot of leeward slip with their shallow keel.

If possible, try to find one with the optional 6" lead shoe on the keel, for better performance under sail.
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Old 13-08-2015, 18:25   #3
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

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Originally Posted by Kokanee View Post
I like the Nimble motorsailers; They are well designed for a purpose, and are roomy for a 26 footer, but have their limitations.

They will never do 10-15 knots. About 6 knots is all you will get out of any full displacement monohull of that size.
You'll also get a lot of leeward slip with their shallow keel.

If possible, try to find one with the optional 6" lead shoe on the keel, for better performance under sail.
Oops, did I say 10-15 knots, I meant hull speed (6 knots or so) in 10-15 knots of wind.

6" lead shoe, good tip, I'm guessing this helps keep the top dry and the bottom wet. Ty.

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Old 13-08-2015, 20:12   #4
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Hi.

The Nimble Arctic is one of my favorite trailerable boats to look at and I have always found it interesting and appealing in design. It looks practical and "salty."

I do not own one and have not sailed on one, so my comments below are based on looking at it and considering it for a possible boat to buy. Take my comments with a splash of saltwater. I have read about them, studied the design, specs, and looked at every boat I could that was available online.

My View:
I would be happy to have one and would happily use it for most lake, bay, inshore (ICW) and some coastal cruising. I would not feel uncomfortable (uneasy) about taking it to the Florida Keys or the Bahamas either, based on seeing what else goes there in good weather.

If I lived up North (where it gets colder and wetter) I would want one to take to lakes.

But, even though I really like it, I think it is a little small for my purposes or longer cruising I want to do and where I want to go. I look at it more as a short term pocket cruiser for day sailing, weekends or shorter duration trips. If I lived in Minnesota or Michigan or Great Lakes area, I imagine it would be very nice there.

While I like the boat and pilot house, I think the windows (portlights) on the side of the cabin look very large in size and doubt they would be secure in a seaway if a wave struck them from the beam. In other words, I would not want to be in an offshore storm in the boat. Some small boats that size (25/26 feet LOA) would not bother me in a storm, but this particular design and construction (from what I can see in photos) does looks "light" to me and I don't think I would feel very safe in a Great Lakes storm, for instance.

The boat is a sharpie with a flat hull shape and very little draft. I like those (they are designed for shallow water areas) and think they would be great for their designed purpose when sailed in mild weather or moderate winds. If I lived in Tampa (West Coast Florida) or some other shallow water areas, I would like that feature.

You mentioned "family of three."
I like smaller cockpits. But, if more than two people are on the boat, it might be a little tight.

The boats can come with an enclosed head, which I consider a plus.

I looked at the pilot house and wondered how comfortable one would be in that pilot house captains chair (most look minimal in the boats I have seen) and then looked at where the Admiral would be sitting (usually a lower settee). I would want my spouse to feel comfortable cruising with me, so having a good seat for both is important to me. I would upgrade the seating.

I hope you find these comments (which are opinion) helpful.
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Old 13-08-2015, 20:40   #5
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Steady, I always find your comments well thought out, well informed, polite and valuable.

As I suspect you know I currently have a much larger and much more seaworthy vessel and a good amount of experience, but, I had not considered the port lights/windows that you pointed out and I thank you for the observation. I think I'd be a long way up turd creek if I was worried about those windows blowing in?

Honestly, the reason I'm considering this boat is the FamilyVan is a lot of boat and a big expense for my current river sailing.

Your comments do give me pause, would I be happy with such a small and light vessel? As you pointed out, would I want to take my family out on her in a gale on Superior or the gulf of St Lawrence? Probably not, so the range I gain with a trailer sailor, is a loss when considering open water, weather windows, space, range and confidence.

I noticed you commented on a thread on this type of vessel about a year or more ago, while I just discovered the design today, based on that I'm thinking you must be much more knowledgeable about the design than I am.

That's why cruisers forum rocks, it helps one to see what may already be right in front of them.

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Old 13-08-2015, 22:05   #6
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Hi.
I don't consider myself very knowledgeable on this boat, so don't let my comments discourage you. People sail in all kinds of boats.

I think it is a very nice design for many places. I would like one. The tabernacle mast, pilot house, shallow draft and trailer ability and the nice construction appeal to me for those aspects.

If you really like it, do a search of the trailer sailer type forums and ask folks who own them. But, I suspect that as with any small boats, they will rarely see more than an occasional thunderstorm on a lake or short waves.

I know lake Superior and Michigan get rough at times.

But, you seem like the adventurous type, mindful of safety, and experienced, so you will be in a better position than a inexperienced sailor or boater to know the limits.

They do have a centerboard model too.

I do like PIlothouse boats, in general. . But it seems to me that some are too lightly built for ocean or offshore and are really intended for protected waters. That is OK too. Horses for courses.

This kind of boat looks ideal for cruising rivers, swamps, shallows, buggy lakes, wet climate, salt marsh fringe, bayous, Great Loop, gunk holing, Okeechobee, canals, etc. I can imagine taking it from Texas to Maine along the ICW, canals, and coastal, then doing the Great Loop in it.
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Old 14-08-2015, 12:30   #7
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Just in case your curious some more digging/research/owner reports suggest this boat is no good in steep waves or waves in excess of 6'! Apparently the flat bottom contributes to a bone jarring ride.

That doesn't sound very suitable for the Great Lakes or the Gulf of St Lawrence. Heck, there are sections of the St Lawrence river that get steep 6' waves early in the spring or late in the fall. Strong easterly blowing against the current at the Brockville narrows.

Hmm. More research is required.

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Old 14-08-2015, 12:50   #8
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

There's a Nimble 20 with trailer up here in the PNW for something like $6k. Seems like a bargain for the pocket cruiser mindset.


http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/boa/5144150653.html
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Old 14-08-2015, 14:07   #9
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

That is a great deal. They arent cheap boats.

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Old 14-08-2015, 14:56   #10
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
There's a Nimble 20 with trailer up here in the PNW for something like $6k. Seems like a bargain for the pocket cruiser mindset.


Ted Brewer "NIMBLE 20" trailer sailor
I agree. A nice boat for some places and waters. And that is not a bad price either.

The Nimble 20 Yawl is much smaller cuddy cabin (low headroom) and looks like a nice little day sailor.

What I find MOST attractive about it is the Sharpie design "flat" bottom. If you look at the photos below (from that sale page), you will notice it is in INCHES of water (up to the shore line in very shallow water). This looks GREAT to me for exploring UNCHARTED areas such as lakes and tidal areas (marshes) and other such places where there are NO soundings. I see this as almost IDEAL for exploring remote lakes and remote places where there is NO "sea tow" rescue going to come get you unstuck if you get grounded in a typical keel boat. In this Sharpie, you just get out in knee deep water and PUSH your own boat off.

I can imagine using one these to do a LOT of exploring in the West, North, and South, (and some coastal) where I would NOT be concerned about storms or big waves and would enjoy the SHALLOW parts of the water world.

Imagine ghosting up along some salt marsh, without a sound of a motor to scare away the egrets and other shore life. I think it would be fun and cool (because I like birdwatching etc)…and the boat is already painted green ().

That said, I would prefer the larger Arctic model (26feet) if possible (it has a pilot house for refuge from the mosquitos found in the marshes and swampy areas I think I would explore), but it does cost significantly more.

FYI: Nimble also made a 32 foot LOA model similar to the Arctic (as I recall). And they had an earlier version of the PH model that was called the Kodiak. I believe the Arctic is an improvement on the Kodiak. I can't recall the model name at this time, but I remember seeing one of the largest (32?) about a year ago.
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Old 14-08-2015, 15:30   #11
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Trailerable sailboats in general are a compromise, and with the exception of the very stout Seaward/Hake yachts, the major compromise is sea comfort for lightness.

I don't have any specific experience with the Nimble, but I (still) own and have sailed a MacGregor 26M for the past 5 years before replacing it with my current keelboat. We have three kids, and when they hit their teenage years, the Mac suddenly became too small for five adult-sized people.

Trailer-ability is fantastic. Far less cost to own when you keep a boat on its trailer, and we hauled ours all over the place. For example, one summer we took our boat from San Diego to New York Harbor and then to the Chesapeake over a five-week summer vacation, putting 8000 miles on the stock trailer. Those experiences we would never have had in a keelboat. Rigging isn't great fun and takes about an hour into and out of the water.

We routinely took the boat from San Diego (Oceanside) to Catalina, which is a 40 nm trip over the 2500ft deep San Pedro Channel. We would do this under power at 18 knots in order to just get there, which took two to three hours depending on sea-state. We would then sail around the island, and then power back.

Many Mac owners take their boats from Florida to Bimini similarly. That's about as far offshore as you would want to range in a boat of this light construction and tenderness. We had one instance where we had to turn back in the San Pedro in 8' swells because the kids were panicked about it, however it was very clear that the boat would handle it just fine (powering, not sailing).

With the MacGregor, high speed powering on a plane is a safety feature. I've never been in weather the boat couldn't handle because it can run before a storm and reach safe harbor before a storm can blow in, and you'd be a fool to take it farther offshore than you could get to safe harbor in a few hours.

For your purposes, you might want to consider them. They're harder to sail (more akin to a dinghy than a keelboat) and they look terrible in my opinion, but they're very multi-purpose.

They don't have a pilothouse, but they do have forward windows. I put an autopilot with remote on my boat so I could pilot from inside the boat in inclement weather, and that worked just fine for the few times I needed it.
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Old 14-08-2015, 16:10   #12
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

I have owned and sailed the 24 ft Nimble Yawl . There is a Nimble Forum on the " Texas Sailing " website , they will answer all your questions . They are wonderful boats for the Keys and all short water locations . I did not take mine to the Bahamas but I believe it could be done safely . If I was gonna keep one for a long time there is a rudder modification that can be done , even Ted Brewer approves . The steering is very , very heavy . Every thing is small , as if you took a large design and made it for eight year olds . The mast was easy to raise with a crutch and a boat trailer winch !
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Old 14-08-2015, 16:57   #13
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

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I have owned and sailed the 24 ft Nimble Yawl . There is a Nimble Forum on the " Texas Sailing " website , they will answer all your questions . They are wonderful boats for the Keys and all short water locations . I did not take mine to the Bahamas but I believe it could be done safely . If I was gonna keep one for a long time there is a rudder modification that can be done , even Ted Brewer approves . The steering is very , very heavy . Every thing is small , as if you took a large design and made it for eight year olds . The mast was easy to raise with a crutch and a boat trailer winch !
Excellent. Thanks for the tip. It sounds as though you don't think its as sensitive to weather as some of the stuff I've read.

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Old 15-08-2015, 07:54   #14
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

The Bahamas crossing in most summer months is a piece of cake . Many Friday or Saturday mornings as many as one hundred boats from 17 feet and up will cross from West Palm . We have crossed three times in an 18 footer and twice in a twenty three foot . The Nimble for that crossing will be small and slow and will take ten or twelve hours as you will make a fifty mile crossing into a 85 or 90 mile trip because of the Gulf Stream .
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Old 15-08-2015, 09:14   #15
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Re: Nimble Arctic 26

Family,
My impression of the Nimbles(s) is that they are good river and small lake boats for protected waters. I have been aboard the 26 and it is an attractive boat but has serious limitations. The only Nimble I might have considered for more serious work was the Nimble 30(double ender) which I saw at the Miami Boat Show but I don't know if it is still in production and might be too big to trailer. However, if I wanted a trailerable boat capable of inland and "serious" sailing, I would consider the PS Flicka 20, Norsea 27(not cheap),Cape Dory 25(a very good deal), or the PS Dana 24(not cheap). Of the group I listed, the best bang for the buck, in my opinion, is the Flicka but it might be too small if your kids are teens. In that case, I would go for the Cape Dory. However, a good friend of mine took his Flicka with his wife from the Great Lakes to Florida, Bahamas, Virgins/Windward-Leeward Islands,South America, Central America, Mexico and back to Lake Michigan. Terrific boat that is comfortable in all waters. Good luck and good sailing.
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