The Nexus Marine Black Skimmer is completed, and launched

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Black Skimmer built by Nexus Marine Black Skimmer built by Nexus Marine

Black Skimmer built by Nexus Marine

Fans of US naval architect Phil Bolger have been following the progress of this very nice example of the great man’s Black Skimmer built by Nexus Marine for some time. Long-term readers will know that I’m a fan of this particular design and may remember earlier posts about the project – I even have a set of drawings waiting to be built from some day.

I must say, I’m pleased Nexus has put up some photos of the completed boat on its trailer and in the water, as there are not too many photos of this distinctive design to be found around the Web.

Those with observant eyes will notice that it’s a flat-bottomed boat with the characteristic strong rocker and bows just out of the water that Bolger developed over years of experience designing and sailing the sharpie type. It owes something to Commodore Munroe’s sharpie designs such as the Egret, but has a transom and a wider bottom or added form stability and greater speed. It’s also fitted with an unusual Solent lug rig for easy reefing.

There are two particularly telling sentences on Nexus’ pages devoted to the Black Skimmer: ‘If we were only interested in sailing fast and not in fair sailboat racing, there would be a lot more boats like this one,’ and ‘It’s a deceptively fast boat. Because it’s so light, it doesn’t make much of a midships trough or pull up a quarter wave behind it. One just suddenly realizes that one has covered a lot of water.’

Of course, all of this will seem very strange to many British boating enthusiasts, whom are largely brought up to believe flat-bottomed boats can’t work, and that a boat’s sharp bows have to be in the water at all times – however, I think a boat like this would be great for the creeks and shallow muddy waters of the Thames Estuary. The Black Skimmer could be a barge yacht for our time, I say.

Some Black Skimmer links

Plans from Bolger’s associate Harold Payson cost just $40.

Here’s an Answers about link that tells something of the sharpie story.

The Wikipedia on sharpies.

Woodenboat magazine senior editor Mike O’Brien commissioned the Black Skimmer design.

The original Egret as redrawn by Reuel Parker is the design from which Bolger is believed to have developed the Black Skimmer.

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