A Boat on the Side
21Dec/160

Sienna news

New model - well nearly, in actual fact we’re cheating a bit with the new Sienna 17. The Sienna 19, the sailing school’s favourite, was always designed with optional keels to allow either sailing or power versions and we always had in mind a transom stern version as a replacement for the venerable Scruffie 16. Not that the 16 will ever go out of production, but the 17 is to be a smaller simpler sloop rigged version of the 19. Cheaper too.
But then we were approached to do an inboard diesel or electric launch so the 17 began to take shape in earnest. It seems a simple matter to build a transom shaped baffle to fit neatly in the hull mould, cutting off the counter stern and a couple of feet in overall length. Not so fast, there’s more to it than that. Firstly we build a new transom plug to fit precisely into the mould – the right amount of rake, the correct deck camber, and all perfectly fair and polished. From that we fabricate a snug fitting removable mould which can be securely clamped in place without damaging the counter. Then it’s all wax, gelcoat, cloth, core-mat, and chopped strand. Followed by “boom! tish!” and out pops a seventeen footer. Easy. Just as we were about to start along comes not just one but two orders for new full length Sienna 19s, sigh . . . . In doing the new 19s we’re lowering the cockpit coaming a touch but otherwise if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Here are some renderings of the electric version - more on this version on the website.

Rig decision - I agonize over rigs, there’s so much going for the loose footed main but the gaff really is superior in some ways. When tendering for a big contract a while back we were, however, shocked to read that crash helmets were to be mandatory for sea cadets in a country we decline to name. So it’s back to the boomless main then . . . . . oh to hell with that, you’re not a proper sailor unless you’ve been whacked with an errant boom, the new Sienna 17 will therefore sport a gaff sloop ring but crash helmets will be optional.

More Sienna news - just got one of Blue Peter’s boats back for refurbishing. The sailing school should properly be referred to as “the sailing school of hard knocks.” For in her short life, she’s had a few. One of them was when she wasn’t even afloat but innocently strapped on to the trailer. A three vehicle end to end shunt resulted in extensive damage to the three cars and to the trailer. Sufficient force was generated to bend the steel winch stalk, the bolts and base plate as the boat tried to overtake the car in front. Result? Very expensive repairs all round but only cosmetic damage to the Sienna. Cue relieved mopping of brow and grateful entreaties to the gods of luggers.

And the moral is? Keep your distance, maintain your trailer and its brakes and buy a Sienna 19 just in case. See details of this model on the website Sienna 19 EX page.

With our second Secret 33 electric launch now completed and operating in Perth, it's Sienna time and we're really enjoying it!

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21Dec/160

In good hands

There are times when those who design and build things – be they cars, bikes, boats, musical instruments, or even lawnmowers – rejoice to know that they are in good hands. For us it is always a source of great pleasure to hear about the voyages our owners undertake, especially those who are demonstrably competent sailors. Such is the case with our youngest builder Kael Kloosterman who has recently built his Shimmy 12 as a school project. His video – you can see it on our website – will lay to rest any doubts you may harbour about the future of boatbuilding and sailing. The footage is simple, yet effective, it’s just one teenager in a small boat but it speaks volumes about sailing as we imagine it should be – effortlessly enjoyable. Well done Kael and thank you for the inspiration.

Some twenty years ago I took a family out for a test sail in a brisk wind and to my surprise the father gave the helm to his youngest – a girl of around ten or eleven. “She’s the best” he said. And she was. A girl born to sail, she tacked, gybed, thrashed to windward and flew offwind with unshakable confidence and enviable poise. I hope she’s still sailing as dad didn’t buy the boat.

For those who are thinking of buying a a boat, for just under $4,000 will get you a complete 3.6-metre sea going boat in a box. Add a Protruar 2HP electric outboard, a couple of batteries and one of our rowing kits and you’re on the water without trashing the planet. You’ll also be fulfilling a primordial urge. Go to our Shimmy page on the website to see more about her features.

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