A Boat on the Side

Sienna Ex Progress

Here are some build photos of the first of our two new Sienna EX models which we are building for the outdoor education organisation. The new boat, some years in part-time development, is now finally getting closer to the water. It’s been a joy to design and very rewarding to build as I have been able to incorporate some nice Art Deco features with the Silky Oak trim.

We’ve never had the luxury of building proper prototypes – ours have to be pretty right straight out of the box. There’s always room for improvement of course, but the more boats we design and build and the more sea miles under our belt, the easier it gets. On budget and on time, I’m pleased to report, the new Sienna is set up for school, cadet and outdoor education use but these exacting specifications simply translate into a better boat for the private user.

The Sienna will be put to work immediately as the first in the proposed hire fleet. Provisional rates are $300 for a full day, $400 for a Friday While* weekend and $500 for a week plus delivery and pick-up, if needed. A professional coxswain will also be available – SE Queensland first, other states hopefully soon after.

Lady hirers can specify tall dark muscular Italian skippers in a crisp white uniform but that comes under ‘extras’ of course. The new boat will comfortably carry 6 passengers plus captain, seated in the self-draining cockpit or ‘down below’ in the canvas-top cuddy. There are two proper bunks, opening brass ports (Italian of course), port-a-potti, sink and small bench top. Lots of storage space and easy boarding with custom grab-rails completes the list of home (or away) comforts.

The 2.5 metre long cockpit can be used for  a variety of purposes – sailing, motoring, fishing of course, but also under-awning wining, dining (there’s room for a folding table), more wining, horizontal folk dancing and sleeping – in that order.

The new boat can also be rowed with two separate positions for two oarsmen available. Her Secret 20 derived racing hull and three quarter length keel should make her easy to propel and directionally stable. Of course there’s an auxiliary motor – a 2HP electric by Protruar and if things go pear-shaped, she’s self-righting. As they’ll be used for kids that’s important – these days they’re not allowed to drown them and even towing them in shark-infested waters is frowned on.

An evolution of the well proven Stornaway 18 rig with sails by one of the country’s best racing sailmakers and Scruffie Marine expert Ben Kelly, she’ll be quick too. More a small ship than a large dinghy, we believe she’ll be perfect for family cruising or adventurous exploration. We’ll be offering her as a completed boat but if you’d like to fit her out yourself, please contact us for ‘kit’ details.

In addition to the outdoor education boats we have serious enquires from the NSW Northern Rivers area and Fremantle in WA. Should you be interested in buying the Sienna business model, we have projections that show an excellent long term return on investment plus, of course, you get to own a lovely boat – much better than a ‘Stikki Chops” junk food franchise!

I mentioned Secret 20 earlier and the lovely photo reproduced here is of a racing gaff cutter on Sydney Harbour circa 1910. The sepia print was bought for me by one of my sons and shows the traditional spinnaker setting for downwind work. The Americans call it wing and wing, we used to call it goosewing, either way the big full-cut foresail has the tack poled out to somewhere near Tasmania and the clew sheeted home somewhere near the base of the mast. As the whisker, or should I say telegraph, pole was set forward of the shrouds, a gybe-free and very broad reach was possible. Our Secret owners who regularly race use the same method and it’s really effective, especially in lighter conditions. Lovely, absolutely lovely.

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  1. I think this boat is everything to all sailors who just mess about in boats on weekends with the family. I live on the Gold Coast and have 2 daughters (9 & 7 yrs ). Can you give me prices for the wind and electric versions, both to own and rent. I am working in Ethiopia at present and am only home for a month or so between postings so renting may be sensible but not as nice as owning one. As one who was almost run down by a flying boat while sailing near Rose Bay in the 60’s I think it’s only fair my kids should have their turn at nautical nightmares.
    Great website, cleverly designed boats. Send Jimmy Buffet a brochure!

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