Sunday, May 24, 2015

Shoal Draught Sailing Cruiser

I couldn’t resist photographing this traditional, clinker-built gaff cutter. More than likely she’s fitted with a steel centreplate.  I feel certain she has internal ballast, perhaps in the form of lead or cast iron ingots. There may be some external iron ballast forming part of her long, very shallow keel, which will give her support when taking the ground.

She is obviously designed for shallow water sailing, and she could appropriately be kept at a mud berth. She would be ideal for exploring the East Coast Rivers and the Thames Estuary.

I love the fact that she is sturdily built with strong fittings. It’s a shame that the prop has had to be offset to one side, and that it is rather large, but this is preferable to an outboard motor on the transom which would look rather ugly and be out of keeping with her wholesome appearance. There’s no way of knowing from the photographs what colour her sails are, but I expect they are tan in the style of old-fashioned cotton tanned sails. Her heavy duty road trailer is a bonus, which will allow her owner to take her to fresh cruising grounds, or to bring her to his home for winter lay-up and maintenance.

She’s a gem, well worth looking after – a vessel that can give satisfaction to her owner.

P.S. If anyone can identify her as one of a specific class, and her designer, I would be pleased to be informed. She’s similar to a Finesse or maybe a Dauntless; on the other hand, she may be a one-off.

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