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Lewishb 03-18-2012 04:37 PM

Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
this was a question here a while back and I think I have some info you would be interested in........
I grew up on Cape Cod, town of Bourne on Buzzards bay in the 50s/60's
At that time there were six Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies based in the Pocassett river a couple miles from where I lived........ in the spring as a teenager, I would help these owners get their boats ready for sailing in the spring and they would take me along sailing.........
The 33ft plank built Herreshoff's Meadowlark had 1 3/4" to 2" Oak bottoms and 3/4" above the waterline........ they were left in the water and ice all winter because they might dry out too much if out of the water the winter months and because the river ice could not hurt them--they were just too strong......
They plowed through the swells instead of riding over them so were wet boats.
They pounded motoring upwind, otherwise they did outsail all other boats their overall length because of their waterline length and 8" beam..
My favorite 33ft Herreshoff's Meadowlark was one made out of glassed over plywood (two layers of half inch staggered)........ It rode the seas very nicely performed very well indeed--and the sides were sloped out 5" like a dory so was allmost impossible to tip over........ if you sailed too close to the shore leaboards bounce up over rocks as they have a thick bronze leading edge strip........ only thing is you dont have standing headroom unless you have a large main hatch.... otherwise its a perfect coastal crusing boat

deniseO30 03-18-2012 06:49 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
Sharpies don't seem to attract sailors because they aren't a "keel" boat I suppose. People just don't get excited by them either. A conversation about them goes kinda like this; "it's a what?" " Sharpie a flat bottom sailboat" "Whaaaaa?" Then you can almost hear the wheels in their mind start spinning.. "how do they stay upright?" they go "over" right? where's the ballast? What's a lee board? No room to stand up in the cabin?
Try and explain that as a flat bottom sailboat heels the chine actually becomes keel like and helps the boat track very well and sail very fast. It will fall on deaf ears.

Here in the East. Just about all the east coastal areas could be easily explored with such a craft. Quite a few years ago had my love of boat building come to fruition, (my son lost interest) I had a 27ft New Haven Sharpie in mind as for a project.

oysterman23 03-18-2012 08:28 PM

Hi Denise
I SAIL a glass version of a small skipjack 23 lwl. 30 oa lofted from a Chappelle version of a "crab scrape" although it is now thought of primarily as a chesapeake work design it is generally accepted they evolved from New Haven sharpies. Their v bottoms were helpfull in the steep chesapeake chop and they tracked very well to weather for accurately dredging oysters or reaching up a trot line... It was nice to read what you had to say about the rarely understood sea keeping qualities of the shoal draft work boats of the east coast....Most recreational sailors are unaware of just how well some of them handled and perhaps more importantly how effective an adaptation to their particular waters they were.. Our boat stiffens up remarkably with just a bit of heel and though I know they can go over I've beenstunned how radical it can get with no threat at all Would love to see your sharpie project in water some day....maybe with one of those pretty rounded sterns some of them had....

deniseO30 03-18-2012 08:45 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
Thanks Oman, :) oh the duck tail stern? Well It's not likely to ever happen I missed the mark 20 yrs ago. I still have Rule Parker's book on sharpies, "they can sail on a heavy due" Sigh...

interesting site

interesting plans; (not affiliated) fully retractable keel.c/b

Double ender

WanderingStar 03-19-2012 10:22 AM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
Thanks for the post. There are a few of those Meadowlarks still around. I also think there were some 'glass ones.
Maybe when I downsize someday....

oysterman23 03-19-2012 04:56 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
I love that photo of the "crab scrape" on the sharpie site. My boat is very close in lines etc the gunnels abit lower amidships which makes it very sweet to the eye. And I think the boom overhang (nightmare:)) is worse than ours...try tying off the sail cover in a chop sometime :)

neat stuff.

deniseO30 03-19-2012 07:37 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
Cool boats would love to try sailing one someday.. as you can see by response, how little interest sharpies get :(

peterchech 03-23-2012 12:00 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies

Originally Posted by deniseO30 (Post 847894)
Cool boats would love to try sailing one someday.. as you can see by response, how little interest sharpies get :(

Fast narrow low freeboard open boats with no ballast in the keel and concrete in the bilge at most for ballast, I can't see why there is little interest amongst the mostly northeasterners on this forum :D

I would love to sail one of the traditional new haven sharpies, particularly the 27 footer in Reuel Parker's book. But around here I would be worried about stability and the possibility of swamping. That shallow draft was much more of an advantage in places like Florida, and if I lived in the keys I think my daysailor would be a sharpie. There was an article about a guy daysailing the keys in a sharpie in Woodenboat magazine a few months ago. He could pole it through any "dew" he encountered, and got access to the greatest inlets/beaches/fishing spots because of that narrow draft.

miatapaul 03-23-2012 12:26 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
I think they are cool toys, but just not terribly practical. They don't hold the family in the comfort as say a Catalina, and will cost just as much to hold in a slip. I might think about one as a day sailor if I lived somewhere that they were practical, like the Chesapeake, or the Keys and I wanted to keep a boat on a trailer. Especially if someplace warm. They do look cool out on the water. They seem like a great project. Just not for my stage of life.

ballenas 03-23-2012 07:39 PM

Re: Herreshoff's Meadowlark sharpies
I have an original Meadowlark (33ft) here on the BC coast. She is not really like traditional sharpies but more like Munroe's Presto, having an arched bottom and plenty of ballast (almost 45% of displacement). Whimbrel is a little sluggish particularly to windward in really light airs as the area of the leeboards is too small and they stall. Once we reach about 3 knots boat speed things start to work. She will tack through 90 degrees but not efficiently, performing noticably better being sailed a little fuller.
Whimbrel is also sluggish in maneuovering, as are many sharpies.
She is stiff and fast. by the time the wind is blowing 15 odd knots few boats will stay with us without special go fast strings and sails. I have sailed to windward in force 7 under full sail and not been over whelmed or over pressed. Taking a gust she would just heal over till rail under, accelerate and recover. With any decent wind she goes to windward very well, easily reaching hull speed, and occaisionally exceeding it. This is the only boat I have ever had that I look forward to a good passage to windward. She can be easily trimmed to sail hands free on any heading from close hauled to running wing and wing. She is not wet nor does she pound much and rarely very hard. We have been out in 2-3 metre seas without discomfort.
I have a lot of storage. Under the cockpit seats there is room for spare fuel, water, fenders sailcovers tarps, ropes, Spare anchor and rode, garbage in bags. In the foc's'le there is the main anchor, and rode, spare sails extra bedding, spares and tools, charts and publications and still room for us to stuff things out of the way when necessary. The cabin has storage for food, cloths, bedding, as well as comfortable (sitting headroom) for two and a dog. There is no privacy around the head (out of sight until needed), so we just look the other way. This works for us very well. It is a small 33 footer by todays standards.

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