A Boat on the Side
20Mar/100

Dylan Winter – Secret 20 footage

Dylan Winter from Keep Turning Left took this lovely shot of a Secret 20. As Dylan says -- "Big cockpit, small cabin, plenty of ropes to play with - great looking modern take on a classic."

As the website says

Length on deck 20
Length overall 27
Beam 7
Draft 2 3
Weight 650Kg (approx)
Sail area 260ft2 (24.06m2) plus gennaker
Crew 3 (racing)
Launch Time 30 minutes Race or Cruise in style
Self-righting, but light enough to be unusually fast
Huge self-draining cockpit but good genuine double bunk even in cuddy cabin version
Light; shallow draft and low hull windage stay out of trouble
Quick in a straight line and in stays Secret shares the long, fixed, ballasted, keel, and self-righting characteristics of her sisters, but the subtle cut-away forefoot, low freeboard, big rig, full bow sections and flat run aft means shes half way between Essex Smack and Sydney Harbour 18 footer. Theres nothing else quite like her on the water. Cuddy cabin and cruiser versions are available.

Just look at that bowsed-down bowsprit, plumb stem, counter stern and cutter rig, and try to stop yourself falling in love.

She'll go, and you know it. To help her, youre allowed one trapeze though its not essential. Theres also a big Gennaker, which youll be itching to get out. We're going to see a Secret planing downwind at 15 knots plus its just a question of who's first.

A perfect club one-design. Cruise when youre not racing, and just swallow the admiration of the spectators.

Theyll see her fly and want a closer look, and then the luxurious hardwood trim and the sheer quality of the fittings will set her apart until they form a fleet.
The cruiser version has all the space you need, thanks to the lack of a centreboard case, and all the stowage that you want, thanks to all the separate stowage / buoyancy compartments. Youve got a good double bunk, stove, porta-potti and sink. The batteries for instant auxilliary power form useful ballast. Why not leave the rig at home and take the easily driven hull for a silent electric cruise up your local river?

Own the fastest gaffer in your creek and you can build her yourself

Derek Ellard was born in England, and did most of his early sailing off the East Coast. He emigrated to Australia in the 1980s, and soon afterwards designed the Scruffie 16, and founded Scruffie Marine to spread the word.

The 16 was a great success, with its long fixed ballasted keel, and simple rig a scruffie old knockabout sort of boat more for use than ornament, and this soon lead to a larger version the 18 Stornaway, and a smaller one the 12 Shimmy. The same concept was then developed into a real cruiser the 24 Scintilla.

All of these designs were developed and improved, and the pride people put into building and finishing their boats led to more effort being put into the hardwood trim, the laminated beams, the techniques to get a really good finish, and the boats were scruffy no more.

Such is the reputation of these boats in Australia that outward-bound operators and schools use them extensively, and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) use them for cadet training. Its also worth noting that at any one time over 25% of Scruffie Marine customers are professional seafarers. The boats rarely, if ever, come on the market and several customers have driven a thousand miles to acquire a good example.

In 2000, Derek brought all his experience to bear on a new project which became Secret an entirely new design, which used the same build system, and shared the same family values as the rest of the range, but which melds together perfectly the English and the Australian she looks like a miniature East Coast smack, and goes like a Sydney Harbour skiff.

In 2003 Max and Elaine Campbell bought the first Secret kit destined for the UK, and were so impressed with the design and the kit that they founded Whisper boats to promote the Scruffie Marine range in the UK.

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