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arbarnhart 09-07-2007 08:46 AM

Trying to rate/classify my Newport 17
EDIT - I should note that the maker is technically Lockley - Newport as shown on the spec sheet and the model is the Newport 17. I am not sure of the relationship of Lockley - Newport to Newport yachts.

I would like to get some feedback from some folks who know boats well about my new-to-me boat, the Newport 17. I am curious what models more experienced sailors think are comparable or what it isn't suited to do. I am not contemplating a major crossing or anything quite that stupid, but as Dirty Harry says - "A man's gotta know his limitations." I think it will be a while before the boat is the limiting factor as far as when I get chased off the lake or decline a trip. Right now it's my skills.

Anyway, I have searched around and haven't really come up with much. I found a post from an owner that says he likes to stay in sight of land. I have found stories of knock downs, all of which are followed by popping right back up. I haven't found a single capsize or other traumatic event (doesn't meant they don't happen; just means I haven't found any). Down below, I am including some of the various documents and pictures I have found or taken.

Some things I have noted about it:
Simple 3 stayed mast.
Chainplates on the deck are actually somewhat decorative; the strip of steel actaully passes through the deck and is secured to the hull (I don't know if that is unusual or not).
Has roller reefing.
It wants wind, not just breezes It's kind of a dog (no offense, SD :) ) below 8 or 10 knots.
Mine has a zinc added to the keel to limit corrosion. The PO lives next to the sound. This makes my swing keel a little thicker than standard and my draft with it up is a little more than listed as it doesn't tuck all the way into the slot.
I have a very sturdy companionway board set that latches in place.
My tiller is laminated hardwood. The top of the rudder is a heavy (for aluminum) cast aluminum housing and the rudder is quite sturdy.
There is flotation spread around pretty liberally and it supposedly has positive flotation (I believe that to be true).


Below is my actual boat:

An example of someone sailing one (well, IMO) in what looks like unprotected waters:

JohnRPollard 09-07-2007 10:27 AM

Congrats on your new boat!

You are wise to be cautious on how far afield you venture in this boat, at least until you've gained more experience and put it to the test locally. A good friend just picked one up for free (actually, he traded a case of beer for it). It's not near as nice as yours, and needs work. If he ever gets it in the water (he's a collector, and is almost as happy to own it as to use it), I am goading him to sail it across Cape Cod Bay, say from Wellfleet to Plymouth. Since I am the instigator, I will probably have to join him, and under the right conditions with proper equipment, that would not worry me.

I do not like the sound of theat piece of zinc on the leading edge of the centerboard. Close-up photos would be helpful, but my insinct is to remove it. Foils are tricky and should not be tampered with unless you really know what you're doing. But maybe it was applied by a pro...

arbarnhart 09-07-2007 10:45 AM


Originally Posted by JohnRPollard (Post 189610)
Congrats on your new boat!
I do not like the sound of theat piece of zinc on the leading edge of the centerboard. Close-up photos would be helpful, but my insinct is to remove it. Foils are tricky and should not be tampered with unless you really know what you're doing. But maybe it was applied by a pro...

The PO is a retiree who works as a volunteer at the Beaufort Nautical Museum restoring old boats. So technically not a pro, but I think he knows what he is doing. He told me I could remove it if I were just going to stick to fresh water, but I do plan to do some sound trips one of these days. From a quick look at the keel, it isn't immediately obvious how to do that. But it is very possible that I misunderstood. There is a small "ball" attached at the bottom that looks to be 2 halves srewed together through a small hole. I need to look closer at that. If removing it would let me crank the keel all the way up, I may do that.

Jeff_H 09-07-2007 11:20 AM

Keep the zinc if you stay in salt water. It won't noticably affect the sailing ability but it will reduce the chances of the mild steel centerboard electrolysizing away.

These were mediocre boats, meaning not as poorly built as the ventures for example but not as well built as some of the higher quality daysailers of the day. There is nothing robust about these boats, but, when new, they were not fragile either. They offered lackluster sailing ability at both ends of the wind range, poor performers in light air (too heavy and too much wetted surface) and were not meant for heravier conditions as well (too lightly ballasted).

With regards to your chainplates, it is normal for the structural part of the chainplate (the tang) to pass through the deck and be bolted to the hull and to have an escutcheon plate that sits on the deck that acts as a trim piece and a place to caulk and keep water out.


JohnRPollard 09-07-2007 11:32 AM

My advice about the zinc was based on your first post where you said "Mine has a zinc strip added to the leading edge of the keel to limit corrosion." I interpreted that as some kind of jury rigged arrangement that would disturb flow over the foil. Based on your subsequent description, wherein you describe a pretty standard bolt-on tear-drop zinc located near the lower edge of the centerboard, I would agree with Jeff H. and suggest leaving it on. The tiny bit of extra draft shouldn't be a problem, except maybe when beaching, but even then probably not.

arbarnhart 09-07-2007 12:09 PM

Yeah, I guess I misunderstood what the PO meant and I know nothing about adding zinc to a keel (obviously :D ). I think he said "on the front" or something like that and I just interpreted it wrong. It did confuse me because I saw nothing to indicate where something was added, but the whole thing is coated (it is black, not shiny) so if there were two types of metal it would not be obvious. Mostly I am just a confused newbie about such things.

Jeff - thanks for the honest analysis. All I have been able to locate on the net are owners' descriptions which tend to be a bit rosy (especially the ones that end with how much they want for it :) ). I had noticed that the boats I would like to compare it to were often heavier (more ballast) as in the chart on this page:
There is ready access to the area on around the keel trunk where I could put some weight if I ever felt I needed it, but more likely I will just avoid such conditions.

bobmcgov 09-07-2007 12:48 PM

Faster than a Potter...
From the Portsmith tables, Offshore Classes (emph. added):

Newport 17 (L-N) NPT17 114.4 (116.8) (116.0) (113.5)

As Bill Murray says in Ghostbusters: "Okay ... so ... she's a dog." That's the fate of any pocket cruiser. They're made for safe & dry sailing, and that means weight ... but they haven't got the waterline to supply hull speed. I.e., they are small displacement vessels, an impossible engineering bind.

You knew that, tho. You experienced the planing-hull alternative in the Buccaneer18, and you were wise to rule it out as a family cruiser. Your Newport 17 will never match my Bucc around the cans, but it's more likely to finish a windy sail upright, with all chill'uns still aboard. Much sturdier boat. Important question is how sturdy.

If I was going to get caught offshore in bad weather in this class, I'd rather be cowering inside a WWP15 or ComPac16. Can the hatches, decks, and companionway of the Newport survive a breaking wave? Would the rigging be standing after a 70-knot gale? Could the deck eyes hold it at anchor? Will it heave-to? Can the cockpit and bilges bail faster than water comes in?

Dunno. Wouldn't count on it yet. You sail it enuf that you will be given a chance to test it. How it grounds, how it deals with tidal surges, what happens when squalls come.... Hopefully in reasonably safe surroundings. Then you can extrapolate the boat's limits. Chief being waterline and ballast. A small boat in big breaking waves is in trouble.

You could take proactive steps -- beefing up the standing & running rig, reinforcing all chainplates & attachment points, adding lifelines, storm sails, etc. Might be pointless if the deck caves in. You got positive flotation, tho -- so even if you guess wrong, you can cling to the wreckage.:D I figure the best kind of misjudgement is the kind that floats!

arbarnhart 09-07-2007 01:39 PM


Will it heave to? Absolutely! - just try and bring her about instead of bearing off in 5 knots or less. :D

The waterline is a mixed blessing. I think it is fairly safe and dry, but there is some windage and I have read the comment that a boarding ladder (I have one) is basic safety gear on the boat if you have a MOB situation. I also got the ladder for purposeful KOB drills anchored in quiet coves.

You hit on one of my concerns; I love the giant cockpit, but even if I have the companionway well sealed (BIG IF) and a big wave broke into the boat, I am thinking the cockpit drain would take quite a while to empty it. Someone told me not to worry much about that, though. he said it would be so top heavy it will heel over and empty the water and passengers out of the cockpit and then pop right back up - no problem!

It's easy for me to say I won't be out in those kinds of conditions, but I know how quickly things can pop up and how confidence can grow. BTW, I am with you on the Compac, but you should search for capsizing stories on the Potter 15. They are not self righting and turtling is not that uncommon. People love them though.

arbarnhart 09-08-2007 10:12 PM

EDIT - Here is the web page:
I didn't make this up...

OK, I got an email back from someone with experience with the Newport. What I read on his web page made me wonder. On one page, he played the story up so much I thought it was a farce, but on another page which gave his history because he does sailboat deliveries, he had elements of the same stories, so I emailed him and asked about whether the events actually occurred. Here is his reply:


Back in the mid 70's I borrowed a Newport 17 from a young firefighter in Kittyhawk, NC. I trailered it down to the Florida Keys and sailed it to Bimini, Bahamas. I then headed south along the western coast of Andros when the wooden rudder snapped off and I had to learn how to maneuver it with just the sails 25 miles back to Bimini. Borrowing tools from a bahamian I shortened the rudder board and reinstalled it then sailed back to the Keys and took it back to Kittyhawk.
Along the way I saw a Newport 16 which had much better design lines. Later that year I bought one from the Lockley-Newport plant in Gloucester, VA. I sailed that one from Jupiter, FL through the Bahamas and the windward passage to the north coast of Jamaica where I rolled it over in steep seas and it sank! It took me 3 hours to swim in to Discovery Bay where immigration officials housed me for a week in their police barracks. Finally a friend of mine in Jupiter sent me a plane ticket back to Miami on Air Jamaica.
I then hitch hiked up to the lockley yard and confronted the manager Harry Sindel about the sinking. Obviously, they didn't put any floatation between the hull and liner. I worked out a deal with him where I could build another 16 in the corner of their warehouse at their material exspense. Five weeks later I completed the boat and Harry launched me at Mobjack bay and I headed back down the coast to Florida. I hadn't realized that as the boat only weighed 800 lbs. when I squiggled into the cabin to sleep my 180 lbs. dramatically changed the trim of the hull. It was like standing on the front of a surfboard hanging 10.
As I approached Cape Romain, SC I became involved in a northeaster blowing about 25 to 30 and then fastened the tiller amidships, dropped all sails and crawled into my bunk just after dark. About 10 that evening I suddenly awoke as the boat planed down the face of a big steep wave and broached rolling upsidedown. It took me 3 days to right the boat, restep the mast and sail into Port Royal Sound where a shrimp trawler towed me to a marina on the north end of Hilton Head Island.
It took me 3 months to repair the boat and myself and proceed toward Jupiter where I took off for the Abacos. I spent the next year in and around Marsh Harbor. Every decent day I would sail to the reef along Man O' War cay and Guana cay and spear grouper to give away back in the anchorage. Then I met David Crosby on his 60' Alden schooner named Mayan and he hired me to run his boat for the next 6 years.
I've been delivering, racing, repairing and captaining sailboats ever since. I'm now 61 years old and still pumping the wind! Please tell me some of your history. I love to learn about others since I already know about me.

Thanks for the inquiry,
Capt. Robby

Freesail99 09-08-2007 10:30 PM

Abarnhart, what a great email, thanks for sharing.

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