F B Cooke falls a little in love

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Drawings of T Harrison Butler’s single-handed cruiser

Like many of us, F B Cooke was clearly a bit of a boat dreamer, and in the early 1920s seems to have fallen very much under the spell of  T Harrison Butler’s pretty Single-Handed Cruiser.

‘I, like many other sailing men, have long searched in vain for the ideal small single-hander, but I think I have found her, or rather her lines… She is a perfect love of a boat, and when my ship comes home I shall be tempted to have her built.’

The boat is just 18ft 6in in length. ‘The underwater lines suggest  weatherliness, and with a good length of keel she should be very steady on her helm.’

Again: She strikes me as just the thing for knocking about in the estuaries and creeks of the East Coast at week-ends, whilst a trip up to Lowestoft would be quite within her capabilities in any ordinary summer weather. Dr Butler has given the boat a very snug sail plan, but in that I think he is right, for it is a mistake to over-canvas  a boat intended for single-handed work.’

I should explain that the boat in these drawings looks significantly bigger than 18ft 6in because H-B has drawn her with a Laws lifting cabin roof.

Did the Single-Handed Cruiser ever catch on? I’d very much like to know. And I can’t help thinking that an inexpensive small boat along these classic lines and as pretty as this one might be an interesting proposition for a boatbuilder to offer in wood or plastic in times like these.

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