Not a boat you might ordinarily associate with the choppy waters of the Solent, this looks like a Norwalk Island Sharpie which are a range of modern, ultra shallow draft yachts designed by Bruce Kirby and inspired by American east coast working craft. Mr Kirby is perhaps more familiar as the designer of the Laser dinghy.
Although shallow draft, these boats which appear popular in Australia have made some impressive voyages and have an enviable reputation for sea keeping as well as speed.
While a rarity on the Hamble as a cruiser for the Solent this boat makes a lot of sense, the unstayed masts should be quick and easy to rig at launch time, in any yacht fast is fun, plus speed means a wider cruising range whether for day sailing, a weekend away or the summer holiday. What I especially like is the shoal draft, imagine being able to sail in all that shallow water where the crowds don't go - Keyhaven, Priory Bay, all the out of the way places in Chichester harbour, lovely.
I've long been fascinated by sharpies and the Norwalk Island boats in particular, I'd love to have a sail in one, so if the owners are reading I'll be the one who stops buy in a black rowing skiff to ask you all about your boat - or of course you could always email me here!
30 Years Later
6 hours ago