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Site visits since 31st January 2002
|LOA' 18 feet|
|LWL: 16 feet|
|Beam: 6 feet 8 inches|
|Draught: 2 feet Plate up 3feet 3 inches plate down|
|Sail Area: 145 sq feet (approx)|
Background: Puffin is one of a class called Concept Sharpshooter 7' She Is a GRP version of a wooden boat called 'Hampden 17' originally designed and built by Howard Chappelle who was one of the foremost small boat designers on the American East Coast in the first half of the century. Actual date of construction of Puffin is not known but a sail test appeared in 'BOAT' magazine soon after the class was launched in January 1979. The moulds for this hull were subsequently acquired and either used or copied to produce the Explorer' now being marketed by Moreton Boats in the Midlands.
Hull: The hull is double skinned with lines giving a shallow forefoot, very attractive round bilge, a deep skeg aft and a graceful counter stern. The counter has been pierced at some tine to take an outboard motor, which is fitted into an inboard well. The inner skin is formed to provide all round side benches, a small forepeak locker under a foredeck and a transverse locker/sailing thwart. Thus providing a main forward cockpit and a smaller helmsman's cockpit aft. The cockpit soles drain into the bilge and the boat is fitted with a manual bilge pump. The centreboard casing runs forward from the sailing thwart and there is ballast in the form of sand/cement in bags either side of the centre board casing below the cockpit sole. The hull is painted in green enamel with the name in gold and with a gold gunwale stripe. The gunwale and centreboard casing are capped in hardwood as is the stem.
Rig: The masts and all spars are pine or spruce. The masts are unstayed, the mainmast being stepped in the eyes of the boat passing through the strengthened foredeck and is stepped in the keelson. The mizzen is supported by the sailing thwart and is similarly stepped. The sails are laced to the masts and are spread by spritbooms. The mainsail is loose-footed and is sheeted home to the after cockpit. The mizzen has a boom and is sheeted to a horse on the transom.
Sails: Sails are tan and in reasonable condition. There is no reefing system other than dropping one sail. Sails are normally left bent on and hoisted and are furled by brailiing lines. These are a traditional form of furling a loose-footed sail and very quickly draw the sails into the masts.
Outboard Motor: 4 HP Evinrude Twin running on 1: 50 two stroke mix. Forward and neutral gears. The motor is mounted on a transverse beam in a well in the stern and is usually installed at the beginning of the season and left in place. Once in situ it is completely thief proof. It has been serviced regularly.
Trailer: A standard 2 wheel (tyres 145 x 10) 'T' form trailer by Bramber. 50mm ball hitch, jockey wheel, etc. Wheel bearings replaced 2002. Lighting board.
Equipment: 1 pair oars, 1 pair crutches, aluminium boathook, 4 fenders (2 medium, 2 small) 2 warps. 10lb Danforth type anchor and 50ft anchor warp, compass, 2 halyard bags, fuel can and funnel, and overall cover.
CONCEPT 17 SHARPSHOOTER -
In the mid-eighteen hundreds, a boat builder in New England took the 'sharp' lines of the Baltimore clippers and used them for inspiration for a new design of fishing schooner. When this rather radical boat was launched she proved so successful that replacements in the fishing fleet were modelled on her lines. These fast boats with their long hollow waterlines became known as "Sharpshooters"
The Concept 17 range of boats are related to the smaller and later developments of these fast inshore working boats. Her fine lines and speedy way through a sea would be instantly acceptable to a New England fisherman of 1880. The spritsail, most famous for its use on Thames Barges was once the most common sail of all amongst working boats in European coastal waters. It is very simple and easily handled even in strong winds.
Based on this well proved traditional concept the SHARPSHOOTER maintains the characteristics of her predecessors a hundred years ago. Elegant, fast, pleasing in design A SHARPSHOOTER is a pretty and characterful boat. A high ultimate stability gives a beautifully balanced boat which can be simply sailed by the whole family or single handed.
An unconventional but spacious cruising dinghy.
Inevitably, the first-thing to catch one's attention about the 17 ft Concept Sharpshooter open daysailer is the spritsail ketch rig. Even with the sails stowed, those two short, stumpy masts indicate that something unusual is In the wind.
Below the sails, though, there can be few who would deny that the Sharpshooter is one of the most attractive boats of her type around. Based on a New England traditional fishing boat, she has a sleek, easily driven hull with a graceful sheer, fairly low freeboard end a moderate beam. The sharply raked transom with its keel hung rudder and spoon bow blend together in a pretty, yet purposeful shape.
Below the waterline she has an unusually hard turn to the bilges. This runs into a full length keel with its maximum draft of 1 ft 9 ins right aft.
The fully retractable centre-plate gives a total draft of 3 ft.
Internally she is divided into two cockpits by a bridgedeck, under which is the mizzen mast-step and lockerage. There is ample stowage here and in the fore and aft lockers for family daysailing while the side benches could seat six or seven in the right conditions. Our test crew of three fairly rattled around.
She has foam buoyancy to make her virtually unsinkable despite the 400 lb of sandbag ballast plus 76 lb in the plate All working surfaces are well treated for non-slip.
The mouldings themselves are of an extremely high standard with a basic 7 oz in the hull and 5 oz in the deck. All is reinforced where necessary and the deck moulding is strengthened using a new process which is still on the secret list. Judicial use of teak trim completes the picture
The main and mizzen are both keel stepped passing through holes in the deck moulding unprotected by gaiters Together with the fact that the cockpit drains into the bilges the bilge pump in the stern locker is an essential.
We liked the two cockpit arrangement which gives the helmsman an unhampered working area. All controls are within reach for single handing though the mainsheet and centreplate uphaul are only just. We would have liked to see jamming cleats for the sheets, and other fittings (the plastic on our test boat is to be replaced with bronze) were adequate but not perfectly positioned, we felt.
At first sight the spirit rig looks complicated and ungainly but in practice it is both simple and easily handled. The short masts can be lifted in and out in seconds and the sails can be left furled round the mast. To furl the sails it is lust a matter of hauling in on the brailing line and the lot, sail, sprit yard and boom close up on the mast where they can be secured with a length of rope. A brailing line to the boom end would make a neater job but was not fitted.
For trailing the lot lies in the bottom of the boat. Without stays the boat is uncluttered and easy to move around in.
The centre of effort of the two sails is very low which suits the hull design and, with the areas split 80/40, both main and mizzen are easily managed, even in strong winds, Reefing, when necessary, is achieved simply by furling the mizzen.
Two sail plans are offered. The larger, at 180 sq ft. has a loose footed, overlapping main, the smaller, at 150 sq ft. a boomed main sheeted to the bridge deck rather than the transom. Both can be sailed single-handed but our Impression was that the smaller rig is adequate and certainly easier to handle and will probably prove the more popular.
Our trials, in winds of Force 4 to 5, gusting 6 on occasions provided her with a stiff test. For most of the time we carried a full, small rig and, although she is quite tender initially, as soon as the turn of the bilge becomes well immersed she stiffens up dramatically. Ultimately she is very stable.
In, common with all square sailed boats she prefers to be sailed a little free. She will point high but speed drops quickly arid she makes a lair amount of leeway. However, she makes good progress to windward - certainly sufficient to satisfy cruising needs.
Off the wind she really flies along and we were more than a little surprised by the speed she made with very little fuss or bother. The helm is exceptionally light with the well balanced rig. She tacked slowly but dependably.
We found the subtle use of a backed mizzen speeded things up but was not necessary. She is so well balanced that it is possible to sail hands off and we have it on good authority that she can be tacked by using the sheets only. She remains well balanced and fully controllable under main alone.
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