From the Drawing Board
John Welsford - Hamilton - New Zealand
a little boat who can carry
a big load in mountainous seas.
was originally designed for kitsetting, David Romasco
of Kent Island Boat Works (www.kibw.com)
wanted a yacht tender that would carry a big load
of people out to a yacht, stable enough to guarantee
getting the crew safely back to their boat even with
the wind against the tide , and stable enough for
a “well fed “male to stand and heave a
big box of groceries up over the rail of the mothership
without risk of going for a swim.
The boat needed to
sail well but still have short spars, be easily built
by first timers, and there were issues around how
to assemble it so the building jig could be included
in the box with the kit.
images to enlarge)
Dave built the prototype in time for me to have a
play with her at the October “04” Mid
Atlantic Small Craft Festival in on the
Chesapeake. Although I did not have long in her she
felt really good, and I sent the plans out with confidence
that people would be getting what I said in the way
of the boats behaviour.
There are about 40 sets of plans out there now, and
reports are coming in about the owners delight in
their big little boats, the space, the stability,
the steadiness and the way they sail. Here are some
photos from John Scrapnel in Australia; he’s
really enjoying his Sherpa. I’ve put extracts
below from two emails received as we corresponded.
From John -----
“I just launched her and found her to
be stable and dry, with no vices at all. No need
to reef even at 20 knots of wind, (then I am 90kg).
Hands free is optional as most times, no weather
helm of significance. Couldn’t get her planing,
but a lighter skipper, I reckon would be easy...
Fiddling with the yard, sorted the sail trim well.
Dead easy to get rigged of course (I love that)
All round am thrilled with her. She is called “xebec”,
I’m sure you know about them.
If you feel is worth it can you post an album from
these forwarded pics. Feel free if you want and
have the time. Thanks, regards from sunshine coast,
Qld. (5 Sherpa’s around here I think)”
And again -----
"Thanks John, for the compliment. Yes
it got to 20 knots, but as seen in the pics was
about 15 then. Second sail, got the trim of the
sail better, and 20 knots for sure that day. Was
no problem at all in that wind which leads me to
believe she would still be civilised with more sail,
and that would be almost necessary in lighter air.
By the way she points up really well. Under sail,
boat was great size for largish adult and two or
three kids, or two smaller people. But two large
adults, of course, would be too tight under that
"I made the mast to three meters as a
fellow builder felt more room under the boom would
be desirable (glad I did). I also added a little
central rubbing strip under the front to overlap
the back strakes, and topped them all with nylon
rubbing strip, so I can put her down on the cement
ramp, for when I motor outside for snapper fishing.(hence
the high transom to keep the chop out.)"
"PP John Scrapnel, who sails in the nicest
climate imaginable there in Queensland, but it still
blows now and again."
Click HERE for
a list of articles by John Welsford
More about Sherpa:
here to purchase Sherpa plans.