Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reuel Parker Egret 31.5 Sharpie Build Blog

During my most recent visit with Reuel Parker, which has now been a little over a year ago but certainly doesn't seem like it, Reuel gave me the study plans for an enlarged Egret-styled sharpie.  Based on the original 28-footer made famous by Commodore Munroe in Florida, this 31.5-foot version offers much better cruising accommodations, although like all sharpies, still minimal for it's size.  Reuel said it was the most boat that could be built for the money and pointed out that it would be quick to build, trailerable and yet capable of crossing the Gulf Stream and exploring skinny water off the beaten track, like the Bights of Andros, one of his favorite places in the Bahamas to hang out.

I was intrigued, but not ready to start another boat building project so soon after selling my Wharram Tiki 26.  In fact, the reason I was in Reuel's neck of the woods in Florida was to inspect a Liberty 28  Cutter that was offered by a brokerage nearby.  I didn't make an offer on the Liberty, and ended up buying my Cape Dory 27 several months later, but I've pulled out those Egret study plans more than a time or two.  I kept hoping someone would build one, and now it is happening.  A Google search of the design turned up Dennis Woodriff's build blog, started in 2013.  Building in Virginia, he made rapid progress until winter and a move put him on temporary hold.  The hull has been built and turned and he is now finishing the interior, deck and house structures:

I got in touch and learned that Dennis has extensive sailing experience and plans more big adventures when he launches his new Egret sharpie.  I'm anxiously awaiting the continuation of the build, and I'm betting that once the weather improves we won't have to wait long to see this new Parker design launched.

For more on the Egret 31.5, the description of the design is available on Reuel Parker's site here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Columbus Ship Replicas During Biloxi Stopover

Considered to be the closest replicas to the real thing ever built, the Niña and Pinta Columbus ships operated by The Columbus Foundation of the British Virgin Islands were docked in Biloxi most of last month.  Built in the traditional way in Brazil, both of these ships are full of authentic details on deck, despite the hidden engines and more modern crew accommodations down below.

The Pinta replica is larger than the original, but the Niña is historically accurate, at 65 feet on deck with an 18 foot beam and 7 foot draft.  This is the Niña below:

View of the Pinta from on board the Niña:

The Pinta on deck:

The Niña in profile with Deer Island in the background, just across Biloxi harbor:

More about these ships can be found on the The Columbus Foundation website here.  After leaving Biloxi they were scheduled to haul out for maintenance at Landry Boatworks,  Bayou la Batre, Alabama.  The next port where they will be open for visitors is Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Local Fall Sailing

Fall is generally my favorite time of year on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and this year was even better since I now have a Cape Dory 27 at the dock and ready for local adventures.  As with any boat, I have a long list of projects planned that I'm still working on prioritizing, and haven't yet decided which will come first or where I'll do the work.  I've been weighing the pros and cons of doing it bit-by-bit in the boatyard near the marina or in the water at the dock, or moving the boat to my backyard on a custom trailer or hiring a local boat mover with a hydraulic trailer to do it.  One way or the other, I plan to decide on that soon, probably after the first of the year.  Here are a few photos taken in local waters since the trip home from Tarpon Springs in July:

This is the anchorage off of West Ship Island the first week in November, taken from my little 9-foot sit-on-top kayak after I spend a half hour of so diving under the bottom to clean the hull and prop.

That trip was Michelle's first time aboard the boat.  We had great weather, and the anchorage to ourselves.

Sunrise over West Ship Island.

These last two were taken by my brother, Jeff from his fishing boat, as I was sailing back to Biloxi from a solo trip to East and West Ship Islands.  They were taken with an iPhone, so not the best quality, but the only shots I have of the boat under sail.  I still had a reef in the main coming in, as it had been blowing a steady 20-25 knots a couple hours earlier.  This boat is really easy to singlehand, a very important criteria I had when I was looking for my next boat.  At this time I have two tiller pilots on board, but will eventually fit a self-steering windvane as well.

"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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