Temptations part IV: a small classic to build and race

The International 12 Square Metre Sharpie class is founded on the winning design in a competition organised by the German Deutcher Segler Verband in 1931, and was quickly adopted first in Germany, and then Holland, England, Italy, Belgium, France and Portugal. International competition followed shortly after – and if my memory serves – for a brief period it was also an Olympic class.

Here in the UK 1931 the Sharpie was introduced by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, which sponsored a fleet of nine boats. Other clubs followed and the class spread throughout England. Within a few years it is said to have become the strongest class in the country. Those days may be long gone, but the Sharpie is still sailed and raced in the UK.

In the last few weeks, the British Sharpie Association has put up a set of FREE BOAT PLANS in pdf form for building a Sharpie, and there’s some very photographic and historical material, as well as all the activities you’d expect from a busy class association.

Sharpies racing at Adelade, 1960

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JOG, anyone?

Hobbit is a 20ft mahogany clinker Laurent Giles Barchetta design sloop based on the legendary Sopranino sailed by Patrick Ellam and Colin Mudie.

In the very early 1950s, Ellam and Mudie chased the big boys of the RORC Santander race fleet, and arrived in their little boat only a few hours after the cream of the fleet despite their much shorter waterline length. They then sailed on to La Coruna, across to Las Palmas, over to the Caribbean and then up to New York. Needless to say, these were no mean achievements for a small boat and Sopranino, Ellam and Mudie all became overnight celebrities.

Their feats inspired the development of the Junior Offshore Group (JOG) of small light-weight, cruiser-racers.

Hobbit is built in mahogany clinker and is for sale at Newson’s in Lowestoft:


Tempting plans for the boat-dreaming season, part III

Well, I suppose it’s time for one of mine, finally. Here’s a two-sheet plywood dink I designed to be narrower and longer than the usual short and fat two-sheet flattie, with the intention that it would both look and row rather better without much more building work.

I had to make her a shade boxier forward than I’d hoped in order to work in a reasonable amount of displacement, but as well as carrying more crew and cargo overall, the extra shape will make her drier and more bouyant also.

I think she meets the design criteria pretty well.

If you’d like to build a little boat for your pond or as a tender to a larger boat, you might think of it as a Christmas present from me! If you do build it, do please let me know, as I’d love to hear about it.

Whoever you are, have a great Christmas holiday break, and I hope you’re looking forward to more www.intheboatshed.net in the coming year.

Download the files in the form of a zip file here: Light dinghy plans download

Light Dinghy

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Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog