I’ve had a weakness for sharpies for quite a few years now – their relative simplicity and ease of building, workboat heritage and low-to-the-waterline elegance make up an appealing package.
So I’d like to show you this link to some free plans for a real small sharpie that could give someone a great deal of pleasure without being overly challenging to anyone who has previously built a few small boats.
Of course, sharpies like this have disadvantages that one should be aware of: at this size they’re not truly rough water boats and so should probably not be used on the open sea, and they need to be sailed with some caution because they’re usually not self-righting as a modern yacht would be. Nevertheless, I can think of lots of places around our coast, rivers and lakes where a boat like this would be more than adequate, and you can be sure that she’d turn heads wherever she went around the British Isles.
This is one of a number of old magazine plans originally put up by David Grey of Polysails, which sells kits for sails made from poly tarpaulin. I’m serious about this by the way – I regularly use polytarp for prototype sails, and well-made polytarp sails can last for several years. I gather also there are many fishing fleets in the third world that use nothing else.
Or maybe you fancy a 29ft Loch Fyne skiff? Peter Gregson of Wooden Ships says he has known her for many years and sold her to her last three owners. Photos of her launch have survived and the first owner wrote a fascinating little books called Leaves from Rowan’s Log, recounting his first pre-war cruises around the West Coast.
Rowan is obviously a very characterful boat: apart from being constructed to a design harking back to an old-fashioned fishing boat, she was built by McGruer and is said to be in really nice condition, having been owned by a retired West Country vet for the past five years. Apparently, Ed Burnett re-designed the rig a little for the owner, but she still has her Kelvin diesel and is generally little changed from original: take a good look at the details of that elegant saloon, for example.
Atlantis of Rhu was designed by Jack Laurent Giles and built in Germany in 1946 for Rear Admiral Alec Groman of the Royal Navy. Her 41ft hull is made from English oak planking and green oak frames, with an iron keel; her decking is solid laid teak and her house is of teak also.
Currently being rebuilt by Chris Berry of Traditional Sail of Tortworth in Gloucestershire. Chris is currently looking for a buyer, so if you’re in the market for something a bit special, take a look at his website at http://traditionalsail.co.uk