On the Sunday of last weekend's Port Townsend Boat Festival, I was whisked away from the festivities to witness the relaunch of Alan Woodbury's sharpie on Mystery Bay. Alan has been working on restoring this boat for awhile and friends kept me appraised of progress, but I had yet to see it in person.
It's a stout boat, built of fir plywood and designed with a cat ketch rig. The sail rig has yet to be installed.
We had a poignant de-naming ceremony and re-christening to appease Neptune.
It always helps to have a bagpiper for these occasions
I was impressed.
Alan has apparently forgotten to lower his rudder, but he'll get to it.
There is seven hundred fifty pounds of concrete blocks inside for ballast and look how much capacity is left.
Sharpies are one of my favorite designs, for their unique combination of simplicity, efficiency and seaworthiness. Many of you will be familiar with sharpies from Ralph Munroe's Egret and also from the design board of Reuel Parker.
Otter is twenty seven feet long and eight feet wide. The cabin is expansive, which at first gave me pause, but on the water has a grace I wouldn't have imagined. We took a quick tour around Mystery Bay under the power of a 9.9hp outboard while Jamie Orr and I sat down below in comfort.
There is a small unobtrusive centerboard in the middle of the cabin and a much larger one just aft in the cockpit, which you can see in the last photo above. With two masts and two centerboards, the options for trimming the helm are infinite.
Otter took to the beach as her namesake implies and rode easily on the shingle while we celebrated. Skipper and crew could easily disembark without getting their feet wet! Such is the beauty of the extreme rocker and flat bottom of the traditional sharpie.
Alan's boat was a bit rough and not very well loved before he started. His repair work, however, is top drawer and we look forward to the finished product.
Jamie and Alan scouting out an appropriate mooring. Please note the custom sailing outfits.
That's one happy, hardworking skipper.
If you're interested in reading about building a sharpie, there is a thorough description by Dale Austen of his Pangur Ban, a 28 foot Bill Schwicker sharpie design originally published in WoodenBoat #56.
Another builder/designer who finds sharpies impressive is Ross Lillistone. I recommend a visit.