I'm 3,000mi away ..but there's an interesting listing in Moro Bay:
I'm 3,000mi away ..but there's an interesting listing in Moro Bay:
thats one funky looking boat
Hrm... my in-laws have a place in Morro Bay, and I'm going to be there in a couple of weeks. I might have to swing by and check the boat out, seeing as how I'm kindofa fan of Bolger boats.
Another perfectly good boat ruined with hideous leeboards.
Pretty is as pretty does. Just think of her as a highly specialized tool. Also an acquired taste.
Hove to off Swan Point......
Actually, JimD, you might be able to get a closer look, if you're interested - there's one of these just down the road from you, in Victoria. Or at least one was moored (in about 10 inches of water!) next to the RVYC this summer. It looked a whole lot like this one, but with more mildew.
I believe leeboards render a topsides more intresting to look at.
Of course most of my sailboats have had leeboards, Our Shearwater Yawl, and the Dovekie that preceeded her being only the two most recent examples.
In fact, my wooden Melon Seed Skiff, and my Snipe (second sailboat, teen years) have not had leeboards.
There's one that sails out of Arey's Pond near me. It's perfectly suited to the waters around here. Shallow draft is a real plus with 10 foot tides and miles of sand flats. I've seen it drawn up on the beach on the islands her. A perfect camp cruiser. $ 600....hmmm, might make it worth the trip!
That's a bad photo, IMO. Blackskimmers are beautiful to my eye.
Nexus Marine recently completed a beautiful BS for a sailor who sails San Fransisco Bay.
Take a look at the extensive photos on that site, from construction through sailing trials.
You couldn't buy the plywood for what is being asked for that one.
I own the plans and from what I see there and from the Nexus photos I'm thinking the masts in the one at the top are set up wrong. They have much more rake than they should have, IMO.
That's a bargain! My old Tashtego cost $18,000 to build. One leeboard would set you back more than $600. While Black Skimmers aren't for everybody ( they have many vices), when it comes to shoal draft cruising they are hard to beat. I'd grab that one so fast it would make your head spin. The lucky new owner should have plenty of fun with it.
I'll guess that the $600 is either a typo, a hustle, or the boat has serious problems!
The NexusMarine site was very interesting. Wonder what the extreme rocker is for, and how it handles in the SF Bay swell -- seems like you'd get a lot of hobbyhorsing.
"The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.
Bolger is a big fan of extreme rocker; it makes for easy beaching; it's possible to cruise without a dinghy. I haven't had any hobbyhorsing problems with Black Skimmers, but they sure do pound like hell in even a small chop. Trying to sleep on them is like being inside Gene Krupa's bass drum. Sometimes these boats go for very low prices as there is little interest in them. A friend of mine got one for free. But judging from the photo this one is pretty good, and at $600 you'd be getting it at less than the cost of one sail! I'd buy it.
According to what I've read in his books, in sharpies like this, Bolger likes to match the curve of the bottom with the curve of the sides, so as to "lose less to chine eddies."
He also promotes large rocker as "quick turning" and it allows the boat to be "deep in the middle without having enormous displacement."
I don't know how much of that applies to the Black Skimmer . . . .
Lance - What are some of the other vices of the Black Skimmer that you've encountered? Just curious.
Black Skimmer vices: painfully slow in light air and slow to windward in all conditions; severe lee helm in light air; when under power you can't put the helm hard down to starboard as the rudder blade hits the outboard prop, likely damaging one or the other or both; the leeboard guards complicate docking; extremely wide turning radius; can be difficult to control in high winds; masts and sprits are under built as designed and break easily and often; leeboards are very heavy and probably too big, and they can't be left down all the time as PCB says they can...they will quickly erode the edge of the raised deck, and they create too much drag, and they make the boat about 20' wide. So they have to be tended every tack, which is worse than most jibs. They pound badly, especially when at anchor. Black Skimmers also have virtues: low cost; easy to maintain and keep clean; lots of useful sprawl space below once you get used to lack of headroom; several comfortable places to sit and the big vee birth is comfortable; lots of stowage space compared to the average 25' sailboat; almost anything can be repaired by the average skipper...no need for expensive boatyards; sprit booms eliminate the need for a boom vang and take some of the anxiety out of jibing; Skimmers can be reasonably good passage makers for their size provided the skipper is willing to motor to windward and in light air; the 8" draft is wonderful and allows access to what PCB refers to as " the cream of the sport." you can ground out upright provided the bottom you ground on is reasonably flat; in a hard chance you can run her ashore and walk home; she should be unsinkable if the designed floatation has been installed; the wet wells fore and aft work as intended and are handy, especially when tending the anchor or mooring; the bowsprit is nice and useful; the mizzen permits self steering with some tinkering between it and the leeboards, and it holds her into the wind when reefing or coming to anchor, or if you want to sail backwards; it's relatively easy to back the main or mizzen if you get in irons; I think they are pretty boats, easy on the eye. They are small enough to trailer, and move along nicely under the smallest outboard. They can be sculled or pried around with an oar. I like the low freeboard which gets me close to the water and facilitates getting on and off the boat and dealing with the cedar bucket.
Thanks, Lance. Good to have a "real world" review! I'm not looking at her specs, but offhand, I'm a bit surprised that she's a dog in light air. I wonder if Bolger's later sharpie designs are faster, and how. Anyone?
Slow upwind: Is this because of poor pointing ability, or a combination of factors? Have you sailed other skimmers, and were they similar? Sometimes it actually is the sailmaker's fault . . . .
Again, thanks. This is all just idle curiosity on my part, having always been interested in the design, and in Bolger boats in general.
Hey Lance, I just finished reading your chapter in Stan Grayson's "Sailing Small" right before I opened this thread. Great job, I really enjoyed it. Do you still have the Rhodes Ranger?
Sharpies are usually slow in light air because of the large amount of wetted surface due to the flat bottom. I used to sail a Bolger Dovekie and most of my time on the boat was in light air. The trick is to heel the boat to reduce wetted surface. I spent most of my time curled up on the lee side, a practice that went against the grain until I figured out how much form stability a sharpie has. It's a whole bunch.
Blackskimmer will be harder to heel to leeward in light air than Dovekie, however. It would probably take two heavy-weights or three average sized people to heel her enough to lift the windward chine out of the water. That's what is needed in light air--get one chine out of the water.
Blackskimmer's chine logs are outside adding another problem to the equation--turbulence. I have never been thrilled about those outside chine logs but they do have some good points: they provide better wear for a boat that might be run through shallow water and take the ground on occasion. They're structural but can be more easily repaired than a smooth chine with the log inside.
The other advantage Bolger talks about is that, on Blackskimmer, they provide a foothold when you need to climb out of the water. If you go amidships where the hull is deepest it is easy to get a foot up onto the log and pull yourself aboard.
Sadly I sold the Rhodes Ranger a few years ago....but the new owner promptly died, and she's back on the market again. His daughter inherited the boat, and she hates boats and wants nothing to do with it. Could be a good bargain. The boat was in great shape when I sold it, especially the engine, which is almost all new. She's sitting out in the snow uncovered up at Independent Boat in Eliot, Maine. Anne Grey is the broker. That's a great little cruising boat.
As for the poor performance of Black Skimmers in light air, I strongly suspect it's a combination of outside chine eddying and the wide flat bottom, Skimmers are wide for their length. Skillegalle and Black Gauntlet sail much better than Black Skimmers; they have a longer LWL with the same beam. The leeboards also create a lot of drag. Also the rig is rather crude and primitive and low tech. The mizzen creates drag also and doesn't add much if anything to windward drive; it's mostly used for control. The cat ketch rig is inherantly slow, but I think it's a good rig for cruising nevertheless.