Express Pirate at Hullbridge
I have previously looked at the Leisure 17 and the Leisure 17 SL. Today, I’m focusing on the Express Pirate 17. The original Pirate was designed by Ian Proctor; he was the genius responsible for the very successful Wayfarer dinghy and equally popular dinghies, i.e., the Gull, the Topper, the Osprey and the Kestrel. He also designed the Nimrod trailer-sailer, the Tempest keelboat and the Prelude pocket cruiser.
Both the Prelude and the Pirate were manufactured by Ridgeway Marine in the early 1970s. The Pirate was available with a fin keel or a swinging drop keel. Later, in 1978, Express Pirates were manufactured by Ryplas, who revamped the boat so that she had encapsulated bilge keels and a wooden rudder. These boats could be purchased in kit form for home completion.
Sometimes second-hand twin keel Express Pirates, when being offered for sale, are described as trailer-sailers, but with a draught of 3’ 9”, they do not lend themselves to repetitive launching and retrieving. Perhaps launching procedures can be speeded up and made easier by modifying the boat’s road trailer, but deep water ramps or slipways will be required, and inevitably, wheel bearings will be submerged every time.
I have never sailed an Express Pirate; therefore I cannot comment on the boat’s performance, but my guess is that she’s probably a good performer that may hold her own against a Leisure 17. Is there anybody out there who knows?
L.O.A 17’ 3” / 5.26 m
L.W.L. 15’ 0” / 4.57 m
Beam 6’ 9½” / 2.07 m
Draught Fin Keel 3’ 9” / 1.14 m
Draught Drop Keel 2’ 0” to 4’ 9” / 0.61 to 1.45 m
Draught Twin Keel 2’ 3” / 0.69 m
Mainsail 90 sq ft / 8.36 m²
Working Jib 54¼ sq ft / 5.04 m²
Displacement Fin 1350 lbs / 612 kg
Displacement Drop 1250 lbs / 568 kg
Displacement Twin 1430 lbs / 650 kg
Ballast Fin Keel 427 lbs / 194 kg
Ballast Drop Keel 340 lbs / 154 kg
Ballast Twin Keel 606 lbs / 275 kg
Internal Headroom 4’3” / 1.30 m
Portsmouth Yardstick Fin 1110
Portsmouth Yardstick Twin 1269
The Pirate 17 Yacht
Pirate Express bilge keel version(Was for sale – good photos)
Creek Sailor’s Blog about his Express Pirate
Express Pirate for Sale £2,000
Express Pirate for Sale £1,650
Express Pirate for Sale
Express Pirate for Sale £1,300