Derek with 'Sharpy'
Yesterday I explained how I planned to make the hull panels for ‘Sharpy’ from marine plywood. Today I want to say a few words about setting the boat up for sailing.
Unlike Matt Layden’s ‘Paradox’, ‘Enigma’ and ‘Elusion’, Derek Munnion’s ‘Sharpy’ is not sheathed with epoxy GRP. Sheathing considerably increases the weight of a vessel and as ‘Sharpy’ has been designed to be transported on the roof rack of a car, keeping her as light as possible is the name of the game. Getting her on a roof rack would be more difficult if the ballast keel had to remain in her. Very cleverly, Derek devised a keel that can be removed from the boat for transportation. It is inserted into the keel box when the boat is on her side, and to make this easier, the lead ballast has been divided into two parts. The smaller 33 lbs piece is permanently attached to the tip of the keel, and the larger 40 lbs complementary piece is joined to it by two locating pins. During transportation, the keel components are normally kept in the boot of the car.
Getting the boat on and off her roof rack can more easily be done if the rack has been modified with a padded roller located above the boot of the car. A padded roller will minimize damage when the boat is being pushed up and forward onto the rack and when she is being taken off.
At the launching site, ‘Sharpy’ is carefully placed on her side, so that her keel can be inserted into the keel box from underneath. If the ground is at all rough, a small mat should be put under her to protect her from being damaged. After the keel has been inserted, the boat is turned upright and a Bowden cable used for lowering or lifting the keel is clipped to the tackle on the foredeck designed for that purpose. The Bowden cable fits snugly into a groove on the forward edge of the keel, and its lower end is fixed to the bottom of the keel. This neat arrangement allows water to flow around the keel without hindrance.
All that remains to be done before putting ‘Sharpy’ into the water, is to ship her mast, attach the yard to the halyard, stow the sail on the side deck, and fix the launching trolley to the skeg at the aft end of the boat. She is then pulled the last few yards to the water where the trolley is removed. When she’s afloat, the rudder can be fitted, and the steering lines clipped to the rudder yoke. The whole operation takes only a few minutes, and she’s ready to go.