A Boat on the Side
3May/160

Secret Sisters

This year marks a number of significant milestones and events for us at Scruffie Marine. First, of course, is the Practical Boat Owner order from the UK. That Britain’s best selling magazine  has chosen to order one of our Secret 20s as their project is certainly a feather in our cap, for them to choose us over all the kit manufacturers in Western Europe is an honour itself but for the editors to pick one of my own photos for their Facebook masthead is especially pleasing – much appreciated David and Ben – thanks. Follow the progress on line and in print starting soon. This kit is a standard issue Secret with a few added bonuses such as quarter-sawn veneers to stern, cabin, and coaming. I say veneers but they are 3 to 6 mm in thickness for ease of application and to give the builders a bit of leeway when sanding.

The Secrets have evolved over the years now, with slightly more ballast, lifting tiller, retracting bowsprit, modified tabernacle and so on. A good boat is now better than ever. Modesty? Pah!

This kit marks a milestone being the only one where I’ve machined and manufactured every single component myself. I’ve even built the crate and while I’ve had a hand with packing, strapping, and loading, it’s all my own work. A good feeling actually, to design the boat, design the kit system, work out how it all goes together, build everything, and then drive it to the shipping agents for its big adventure on the high seas.

Also this year the first of big sister, Secret 33, is plying her trade on the Swan River. Customer feedback is good and work progresses steadily on Boat II, also for Perth.

As well as the solar-electric version we have finalised the layout and rig for the gaff yawl which is much more like it. Yes, the solar-electric launch will be popular but I desperately want to sail the yawl.

The first sailing Secret 33 is the plug we built to take the moulds off for GRP production. Like the electric boats, we built her as a 12-passenger commercial vessel but under sail with a 10kW Oceanvolt electric sail drive for irritating calms, unruly headwinds, foul  tides, and we’ll be late times. That said, if she’s anything like a Secret 20, she’ll be off in the faintest of breezes.

The electric version will hit nearly 6 knots with only 3kW of power, another is 5 needed to push her to 7.8 knots. That’s fully laden too.

The yawl has a deeper keel, of course, but still comparatively shallow with a draught of 1 metre.

For private use the yawl will be a party like its 1920 boat, so roaring is encouraged and posing on the net “wings” compulsory. Well, for the trim and tanned among us. While I was once young and attractive, those days are sadly long gone.

There’s so much more going on this year I could write for another hour but my editor implores me to be brief, so I’ll stop then except to say hurry up and buy the Secret 33 yawl so I can borrow  her back and go sailing.

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