I just came across a partially-built sailboat project that could be of interest to someone wanting a headstart on building their own cruising boat. This is a good design - one of Bruce Kirby's Norwalk Islands Sharpies - specifically the 29-foot version. I've been interested in Kirby's sharpie designs for a long time myself, as I lean strongly to shallow draft sailboats that are also capable cruisers. This 29-footer combines the best of both worlds - offshore coastal sailing and shallow gunkholing - and with decent accomodations.
Here's a description from the designer:
"The Norwalk Islands Sharpies are shallow-draft cruisers designed by Bruce Kirby to satisfy the demand for low cost, attractive, easy-to-build boats that will sail superbly and be well mannered through a broad range of weather conditions. They are centerboarders with retractable rudders, designed as day sailers and coastal cruisers and capable of enetering the shallowest of creeks and harbors.... These hard chine, traditional looking but high tech cruisers [are] aimed directly at the home builder...."
"The 29-footer gets up into the range where even a sharpie, which, by its heritage has low headroom, can have six feet in the aft part of the cabin. This is accomplished with a high-cambered cabintop... which blends with the traditional sheer and low freeboard to give down-below space not found in the old workboats. Although the 29-footer has all the advantages of super shallow draft, she also has the heft to travel [far] afield.... With her long waterline, slim hull form and generous sailplan the 29 could put in a good days run, especially with the wind abeam and a staysail set from the mizzen mast."
Boatbuilding projects like this get put on hold or abandoned for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it's because it is the builder's first effort and the project proves to be much more time consuming and expensive than anticipated. But that is not the case here. Bob, the owner of this project has previously completed a smaller cruising sharpie, and judging by the photos, he did a great job. He chose another design I like a lot: a stretched version of Karl Stambaugh's Catbird 18.
The Norwalk Islands Sharpie 29 project consists of a planked hull with 3 layers of 1/2" plywood on the bottom and 1260 pounds of lead ballast sandwiched in the middle layer. Bulkheads are in and the interior accomodations are roughed in. The hull exterior is ready for fairing and sheathing. Below is a view of the framed hull before planking with plywood.
Here is a view of the planked plywood bottom
No spars or sails are included, but with the hull built to a point where it can be safely moved on a trailer, this is a great beginning on the project for someone who wants to finish this design. Go to the owner's webpage http://www.dillon-racing.com/nis29/ for more information about the project and to see more photos of the Catbird 18 he built. You can email the owner, Bob at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Bruce Kirby's Norwalk Islands Sharpies, visit the designer's website at: http://www.nisboats.com/