SF Bay Pelican
by Jerry Church

Sailing my Pelican

I think you may want to look at the San Francisco Pelican. I acquired a fixer-upper example of this versatile craft early this year as my first boat and my family and I are really enjoying it. There is a family of boats, 12', 16', and 18' respectively. Mine is a 12. On Father's Day this year my 4 kids and I "broke 'er in" on a small local lake. There is enough room for us all on board, for a while.

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this photo was taken at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, California a week after Father's Day, 2004 (we forgot to use the camera on Father's Day). There are five of us in there, the 7-year-old is behind me (in the stern)

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The Santa Rosa Sailing Club holds a sail-in-only campout / regatta on Tomales Bay every Labor Day weekend up here in Northern California. About a dozen Pelicans show up for this. Club members tell me they are amazed at how much gear the Pelicaners haul into the campsite. It all has to come by boat, there is no vehicle access.

This one was taken a few minutes later, with everyone aboard. The biggest is Brandon, then Ryan, Gwendolyn, and Dylan is the little guy. click to enlarge

I've sailed my Pelican with 2 Dads, 2 12-year-olds and 2 70 pound dogs with no trouble. One of the dogs tried to save her tennis ball from the lake, and we didn't take on any water.

The Pelican's pram-type hull form has been described as having a Chinese sampan bow with Banks dory flared hull. It is 12' long and 6'2" wide at the rails. The mainsail is a standing lug with a small jib on a removable bowsprit. It weighs about 400 pounds on the trailer. It is constructed from 3/8" plywood. Mine was built in 1966 and had been neglected so it is now sheathed in fiberglass.

click to enlarge the dry sail. This is when I tried to figure out how to rig everything. I got some of it about right

The Pelican is not a fast boat. It is quite seaworthy, originally designed to be sailed during the summer on San Francisco Bay. Afternoon winds reach 20 knots or more on a daily basis there. We've never gotten wet in this boat, but we've never been out in real waves, either. The SR Club president remarked just last night that the Pelicaners always stay dry on Tomales Bay.

A search for "San Francisco Pelican" will turn up lots of information on-line.

Just my own partial opinion, hope it helps.

Rebuilding my Pelican

Before the reconstruction began
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This deck needs help
Steamed and clamped gunwale - new side decks on the coaming
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click to enlarge During the reconstruction
After photo with crew
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