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Old 09-11-2008, 12:44   #1
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Sharpies, Bateaux, Scows . . .

Hi All,

Am planning my retirement RV. The floating kind. Have a few years to work into this. Areas of primary sailing interest are the Carolina sounds and Chessie; expand that for up & down the ICW for trips; and if the boat could do it, I wouldn't rule out joining a flotilla to any of the islands. I figure good sailing for 7 months of the year, overnighting common, with live-aboard periods up to 2 or 3 months.

Main aim is this: Extreme shoal draft for the sounds. As an artist, I paint also, and one aim is a floating studio in the sounds. Hence the extreme shoal draft desire. Second priority is sea-worthiness. Third is room. Am thinking 30' to 35' in range. (At this time there's only me, but that could change.)

Scows are the roomiest, but surely don't have a rep for being seaworthy. In comparison, Sharpies are considered seaworthy by many accounts, and quite fast, yet also have a rep of requiring more skill and diligence while sailing. They also offer the least in room. Bateaux and skipjacks seem to be a nice compromise, yet have the deepest draft.

I'm currently looking at designs on the order of those by Parker, Brewer, Kirby, etc. Have many books and many websites under my belt. Looking for first-hand info.

Who all has experience with any of these hull types? I'd be interested in your input. Especially significant live-aboard experience. Anyone?

Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:18   #2
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Extremely shallow draft and seaworthiness are two requirements that are not easily reconciled. Here on the North West coast of the UK we have similar problems in that we are on a lee shore with a constant stream of Atlantic depressions bringing strong onshore winds and short steep seas, so we need seaworthiness and windward ability; whilst we have over 30 feet of tidal range meaning most of our anchorages dry out, so we need shallow draft and the ability to take the ground. The type of yacht most favoured here as offering the best compromise is one with twin keels, sometimes called a bilge-keeler. Such a yacht has less draft than a comparable single keeler and can take the ground when required - drying out level. The draft of such a boat might still be more than you want however, probably about 4 feet on 30 to 35 footer. Also I'm not sure if many of the US boatbuilders offer yachts of this type - I know Legend do.

On a recent holiday to the USA we hired a car and drove round Chesapeake Bay and down the E. coast as far as Charlestown. We saw a few bilge-keelers by the now defunct British firm of Westerly. I must say that we became very envious of your sailing waters in general - and your climate.

The only other alternative I can suggest is a centreboarder; with the board up this will have shallower draft than a twin-keeler but the centreboard trunk will take up a lot of room in the cabin and there can be dangers in taking the ground if there's no permanent iron keel(s) to protect the bottom of the boat.

Good luck in your choice
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:43   #3
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Thanks for the input JimC. All 3 craft I mention are centerboarders, heritage working craft, designed for just those waters a hundred or so years ago. Which is why I'm considering their modern derivatives.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:18   #4
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I'm not aware of any production boats that meet your requirements. This type of design needs to be long to get decent accommodation. Which makes them inefficient at packing the most interior into the shortest boat slip possible - thus nobody sells cruisers based on those types of designs. I considered a similar style of boat, but decided against custom building.

Not your exact size, but the following designs do come to mind.

27' St. Pierre Dory, one of the most seaworthy wood boats ever designed.
PILGRIM an economy cruiser
50dorypage
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:37   #5
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Herreshoff's Meadowlark and Golden Ball designs both meet some of the requirements you mention. They are leeboard designs, which means there's no centerboard case to break up the cabin, no slot to be jammed with gravel if you take the bottom (and, incidentally, the bottom is stronger so can take the bottom with every tide.)

They're both influenced by sharpies, as well as the Danish botters/boiers. The Meadowlark was built in fibreglass, wood/fibreglass composites, and traditional sharpie wood construction.

Raul Parker has designed a range of craft using very similar design theories, including scows and centerboarders as well as traditionally keeled sharpies. He has built at least two commercial sailing scows for Florida/Gulf Coast. He works with a form of epoxy/wood/cloth composite.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:14   #6
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Thanks. Am not having luck pulling up good info on the Herreschoff designs, but I'll keep looking. As stated in the OP, I am checking out some of Parker's. He expressly studies the boats from the specific area I'm interested in sailing in. He has a number I'm interested in. I really like the Minocqua!

I'm hoping to discover someone with significant experience sailing any of the 3 types. Also, I realize that I most likely will either need to keep a constant vigil on used boat ads, or pay someone to build me a hull I fit out.
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Old 11-11-2008, 13:06   #7
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Sensible Cruising Designs by LF Herreshoff

Chapter 5 How to Build Meadowlark page 87
Chapter 6 How to Build Golden Ball page 111

Meadowlark particulars:
LOA: 33 feet
Beam: 8' 1.5"
Draft: 15"
Disp.: (approximate dry) 8,000 lb

Golden Ball particulars:
LOA: 46' 6"
LWL: 40' 9"
Beam: 11'
Draft: 2'
SA: 874'
Disp.: 21,120

Some examples of Meadowlark in fibreglass:
Discussions about Meadowlark:
Plans:
Books about:
For sale:
Everyone seems to be looking for a Meadow lark, but there aren't any to purchase. Allan H. Vaitses built a number of them in fibreglass; others may have done so also.
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Old 11-11-2008, 14:08   #8
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Here is a link to a Meadowlark owner's site, attractive boat.
s/v "Whipray" webpage

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Old 11-11-2008, 19:26   #9
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There is a Golden Ball for sale in FL

1985 Herreshoff Herreshoff/Goldenball Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 11-11-2008, 19:52   #10
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Soooo gorgeous... but sooo much brightwork on deck! <shows boat to SO>
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Old 11-11-2008, 20:25   #11
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My question about these boats is what happens when the wind pipes up. Are those lee-boards really enough to get through heavy weather? The lee-boards are also exposed to being pounded by large waves.

They are beautiful boats though.
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Old 11-11-2008, 21:49   #12
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Yes, a beautiful boat! Reminds me some of Ted Brewer's Centennial.
Although it's a raised deck, it's still the extreme shoal draft of a sharpie, with leeboards.
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Old 11-11-2008, 21:54   #13
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Other designs that interest me are Brewer's Mystic Sharpie; Parker's Bateau 25, the Scow 33, and Minocqua; and the Kirby-designed Norwalk Island 33.
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Old 11-11-2008, 22:14   #14
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leeboards

Well, I've never sailed one. But, having read a few blogs/messages from owners, the sharpies have a tendency to pound once the wave height gets above 1m or so... But as a design, I have to point out the Thames Barge and the various boiers/botters of the North Sea in Europe, where leeboards have been used in commercial sail for centuries. I read about a guy who used to commute to South Africa aboard his converted botter.

(One interesting point from one owner was keeping the boat heeled to reduce pounding, with the sharp chine taking the hit.)
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Old 07-12-2008, 21:26   #15
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As a former co-owner of the for-sale Herreshoff Meadowlark 37 leeboard ketch "Bay L'Ark" over seven years, with many miles of NW FL bay and Gulf of Mexico sailing, including a Feb. crossing with 15-20 knot winds from Tarpon Springs to Apalachicola, I can attest to the design's seaworthiness, weatherliness, comfort, and unexpected dryness in the open sea. Her modified sharpie radius'd bottom eliminates pounding completely.

She was undercanvassed with the original club-footed jib, but was completely transformed with the approx. 120% furling genny we added - still quite stiff in a breeze. And, believe it or "knot", she set the Tyndall Yacht Club (St. Andrew Bay, Panama City) 12 mile race course elapsed time record one heavy weather Feb. day, and broke it the next year. The course is about half windward work.

The asymmetrical leeboards are a bit of a hassle, but the open interior and hull integrity of giving up a centerboard are worth the tradeoff, I think. She'll even tack with the boards up, but makes significant leeway to weather without them, of course. She has a long, shallow keel (22" draft) with 5000# ballast in it, and recovered quickly from the one semi-knockdown we have had from a huge, heavy wind shift rounding a point.

Of all the sailboats I've owned, sailed and/or cruised on over the past forty years, she's the one I miss the most, and I have free access to a Swan 41 on San Francisco Bay now! What's a REAL hassle is a 7 foot draft at low tide entering Berkeley Marina, and 3-speed primary winches the size of toilet bowls.

Take a look at Fred Beauchemin's site for specs and pictures of "Bay L'Ark", in Panama City:

Bay L'Ark Sale Page

Pete
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