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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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  #1  
Old 12-14-2008
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What's a "Sharpie"?

It's a new kind of boat to me and my research doesn't define it the way I like things to be defined. Best I can find is it's an old fashioned boat, flat bottomed with swing keel and rigged about any way but sloop. Can somebody say "a sharpie is... " and tell me what it means to be a "sharpie"?

It intrigued me because I'm just learning and not sure what I want in a boat. All I've sailed is a Lido 14 so far but I will be in the market for a 20-something foot boat to learn on, mostly in bay sailing.
thanks,
mike
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Old 12-14-2008
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Mike,

I can't exactly say "a sharpie is" - it's one of those "i know it when I see it" boats.

They have been around for along time -- their history goes back a long way here on the US East Coast, where they were originally developed in New England as work boats for shallow tidal waters. But I guess I would not necessarily refer to all of them as "old fashioned." There are many modern sharpie designs that are fairly refined and improved.

Besides shallow draft, they usually wear an unstayed ketch or yawl rig. However, I've seen some that were single-mast, cat-rigged. Also, I have seen examples that used leeboards instead of a swing keel/centerboard.

Another new member, ddriver, has been looking at sharpies a bit too. He posted the link below over in another thread. This Australian designer seems to offer a whole range of sharpies with cabins. But there are others out there -- I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Phil Bolger had a half dozen or more sharpie offerings -- many of them daysailer/camp-cruiser style without fixed cabins.

Norwalk Island Sharpies
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Where I come from, the Sharpie is a 6 meter (12 sq meter sail area) German designed race boat, much like the Flying Dutchman. It was an Olympic boat until 1956, but replaced in 1960 by the Flying Dutchman
It's called Sharpie because it was a non surfing boat with a very sharp bow and low freeboard. It was a favorite lake racer in Europe. The design dates back to 1930's. Had a iron keel, the boat was very heay in all. I sailed one in 1983 many times over the summer.

It was a popular class in the old days, today very few left. There was an European Sharpie Cup, and the last was held in 2001 in Portugal where a few survivors still can be seen.

See Here

look at the galery

Last edited by Giulietta; 12-14-2008 at 08:43 AM.
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A close family friend, who races with us on Tynaje, built a 24' custom Bruce Kirby Sharpie in his home shop. The boat has an offset lift keel, lifting rudder and modern gaff as well as a carbon sprit. The boat is an amazing performer and oddly beautiful. He is a craftsman and did an amazing job on the boat. It's a boat that can sail in all conditions and can actually be beached. Lifting the keel isn't something done when sailing downwind due to it's size and the need to pin it while sailing.
Welcome to Bruce Kirby Marine

Last edited by PROSS; 12-14-2008 at 08:42 AM.
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Look HERE.
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Dog..that is very interesting..our European racing Sharpie designed in GErmany in 1930 is a cousin of yours...

I have to read more about it..read the section MODERN SHARPIE
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Here's the other kind of Sharpie, that is useful to most sailors:

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Mike/Giu:
This - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Munroe will lead you to many interesting "sharpie" designs as well as why those designs were so important to marine commerce during the 19th and early 20th century (along the US east coast).

Ralph Munroe's home is now a state park in downtown Coconut Grove (Miami) and a wonderful book about him and life in Florida's pioneer era is a good read.

Cheers
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read Chappelle's American Small Sailing Craft.
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"Sharpies can sail on a heavy due" I think is what I read in a book I have from Parker on sharpies. I wanted to build a 27ft new haven sharpie long before I decide to buy keel boat. (8" draft I think it would be) They still intrique me with the super shallow draft even though my boat building days are over since I now own an old house.


If I understood the concept of heeling a sharpie, the hull, even though flat bottomed would present itself much the same as a soft chined boat would. It seems to me running aground or being broached in shallow water would not be a prob since one could just walk around the boat and walk the mast halyard way out for leverage! Things to think about next time we need to approach places with questionable depths!
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