click here for more information about our epoxy supplies
 From the Drawing Board click "comment" to read or make an observation about this  article - click "email" to send this page to a friend

By John Welsford - Hamilton - New Zealand


Sherpa, a little boat who can carry
a big load in mountainous seas.

click for bio

Sherpa was originally designed for kitsetting, David Romasco of Kent Island Boat Works ( 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.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

(click 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.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

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)”

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

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 sail."

"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:

Click here to purchase Sherpa plans.