The Background and Evolution

I’ve owned 5 sailboats ranging from 10-26′.  All have taught me something…all were fun and yet bothersome.  All had a few good points with multiple bad points.  I’ll discuss a few of the problems:

  1. First off, I live in Idaho…not the greatest place for a sailor at heart to live.  All lakes are gusty or totally calm with very little in between.
  2. The small boats were easily dumped and somewhat hard to right/drain (exception being the Hobby Bravo, but this boat was a little small for two adults)
  3. The McGregor 26M was highly acclaimed, yet totally dwarfed my shop and was anything but simple and quick to rig.  Not to mention the craftsmanship left me feeling cheated and betrayed.  I bought this boat new from the factory, it will go down as one of the biggest purchasing mistakes of my life…just saying.
  4. The West Wight Potter 15 came as close as any yet to satisfy my sailing desires, yet even this little boat was hard to rig.  Thats correct, by the time you untangle the shrouds, step the mast, crawl up front and pin the head stay (without dropping the mast), connect the boom to the mast, feed the main sail into the sail slot in the mast, connect the topping lift, go back up front and hank on the jib and connect the mainsheet to the traveler, then put the motor on the back and attached the rudder to the transom.  It also had a very small cockpit with a hard to reach center board.  But, I knew I was getting close to the gospel truth with this boat.

All these experiences left me feeling disillusioned and frustrated.   Couldn’t this somehow be simplified?  Does it all have to been this complex and time consuming.  In the end, I had decided to just let sailing go and focus on other things, simpler things.  But, in the back of my mind, I found myself continuing to study sailboat designs.  Sort of like looking for the true religion…I kept thinking somewhere out there someone else must feel like I did…desiring a simpler approach, cleaner approach, yet still within the size and weight requirements that I had settled on.  I knew from the Macgregor that the size needed to be small, almost ridiculously small, yet somehow very capable, utilitarian like.  What would a working man’s sailboat look like.  Not a commercial fiberglass boat designed for speed, but rather adventurous, practical, serviceable, working man’s sailboat.

 (Scamp sailboat enters stage left)

Let’s look at a few of the features of this little micro-cruiser:

  1. The rig is a balance lug, unstayed mast.  Ultra simple yet effective.  No shrouds to tangle, one sail, no jib.
  2. When you dump the boat, you can recover and sail away (albeit with some bailing).
  3. Boat, motor and trailer weigh around 800 lb.  Easily towed without brakes behind my Subaru.
  4. Overall boat length 12′ will fit just about anywhere.
  5. Multiple water tight hatches for gear stowage, and I mean a lot of gear in backpacking terms.
  6. 175 lb. of water ballast.  This adds a tremendous amount of stability to this little craft.  Makes the boat feel much bigger than its britches.
  7. Cockpit measures 6-1/2′ long.  That’s huge for a boat this size.  Very spacious for two full size adults sailing all day.
  8. Veranda provides protection from the cold spray coming off lakes/ocean.
  9. Accommodates a small outboard motor for when the wind fails you.
  10. Cockpit converts into an open sleeping berth for two stargazing adventurous souls.  Jennifer might even give it a go.

All these things ring true to me and from my personal experience, seem to make a lot of sense.  Will it be all that I have dreamed of, all that I’ve ever wanted?  probably not, but I think it will come as close to anything I’ve seen yet.  There appears to be a lot going for this little boat.