1. 42′ Round Bottom Sharpie

    July 12, 2012 by Ross Weene

  2. Sharpie 27

    March 6, 2012 by Ross Weene















    Sharpie 27 Sailplan ( click for .pdf )

    Sharpie 27 Arrangment Plan ( click for .pdf )



  3. Outward Bound 30

    February 24, 2012 by Ross Weene


    Outward Bound 30 Expedition Vessel for Outward Bound Wilderness

    For information on the Outward Bound program visit  www.outwardboundwilderness.org

    For Cruising World’s latest article visit http://www.cruisingworld.com/article.jsp?ID=54866

    The first time Outward Bound’s proposed new rowing and sailing ‘Expedition Boats’ were mentioned to me I knew it was something we absolutely had to do! It seemed a perfect opportunity to design a boat ideal for coastal exploration, for learning self-reliance and seamanship and encouraging a sense of adventure.

    This boat is Rodger Martin Design’s interpretation of a brief for the new Outward Bound 30, to replace Cyrus Hamlin’s venerable, successful and much-loved double-ended pulling boats in service since the early 1960s.

    The new Outward Bound 30 is a rugged, fibreglass, sharpie-rigged open boat in the form of a contemporary, modified gig or Whitehall type, suitable for rowing and sailing in varied coastal sea and weather conditions. She will carry a complement of six students and two instructors.

    The new boat is self-bailing, improving her safety at sea. She has a traditional sheerline that provides the right freeboard amidships for rowing with thirteen-foot oars, and she has higher freeboard at the ends to keep the boat dry in rough weather. Her only motive power is sail or oar.

    The cockpit sole is above water level, making the boat self-bailing to rain and water over the rail through scuppers set in the hull sides. In the event of a swamping capsize the boat will be self-rescuing upon righting. The sole is sealed to the hull all around, and bilge stowage compartments are sealed – there is 115 cubic feet of volume in the bottom of the hull, equal to 7360 lbs. of positive floatation. Fully laden with gear and crew, the boat weighs 5,600 lbs and provides 27.5 cubic feet (1,760 lbs) of reserve buoyancy. Therefore, she will float with her sole above waterline and drain. Sealed side deck ‘tanks’ and foam below the sole help righting ability in any circumstance.

    The hull shape reflects a combined ability to row well when upright and sail well when heeled. The prismatic coefficient, an expression of a hull’s distribution of underwater volume into the ends of the boat, is 0.54 – a good compromise for both rowing and sailing for a boat with this intended use. Numerous studies were conducted on hull characteristics to find a shape matched for both power and sail power. Our upright waterlines are narrow and fine forward and aft for ease of rowing, and when heeled assume a shape suited to sailing performance and high stability. The boat has internal lead ballast and the bottom is protected from beaching and grounding damage by a tough UHMW grounding plate.

    The interior provides extensive stowage for each crew member’s gear within each thwart. Small bins in the adjacent cockpit sides are provided for sun lotions, cameras, sunglasses, etc. Water-tight bins accessed through the sole provide ample space for food, water and boat gear. There is an enclosable head in the cuddy, with storage space for sleeping panels which are used to fill in between the thwarts and centreboard trunk to create a sleeping area.

    On the port side there is a space between the centerboard trunk and the thwarts to allow passage from bow to stern at cockpit sole level. The oars can also be stored in this area while sailing. Aft in the boat there is a cockpit area where all eight crew can sit together for meals or for instruction.

    The galley is located aft in a portable ‘thwart’ on the port side. The two- burner stove is in a compartment beneath a lid that forms a wind barrier when open, and a seating surface when closed. Two 11 lb propane tanks are kept in the forward end of the aft cockpit seating, secured on a raised cedar duckboard. This compartment is airtight to the rest of the cockpit seating. The galley thwart contains a bin on its forward face for storage of cooking utensils. The thwart opposite on the starboard side is also portable, and is an insulated cooler used to hold the day’s food. Both of these lockers can be detached and carried by the crew for use as a galley ashore.

    The aft cockpit is also the instructor’s sleeping area, and contains their personal gear as well as navigation equipment, electronics and the electrical panel. The lockers in the transom corners are bins with tethered lids similar to those on the thwarts. They contain the stern anchor and rode and man-overboard gear, are sealed from the centre and outboard cockpit lockers, and have 1” diameter drains to the cockpit.

    The forward cockpit can be covered by a dodger, to which the sleeping tent can be attached. This cockpit can be used while sailing and by the anchor watch at night. The cuddy containing the head and storage is reached through a companionway hatch that can be closed off by two hatch boards that are stowed on the bulkhead inside the opening for easy access. The sole of this area is the only part of the accommodation of the boat that is below the waterline, and is therefore not self bailing. There is a sump, covered by a grating at the aft end of the cuddy compartment. A hand bilge pump, mounted on the bulkhead on the port side, has its pick up in this sump and discharges through a vented loop to a through-hull fitting in the topsides. The bulkhead around the forward end of the cockpit is watertight to the rest of the boat.

    There is another watertight bulkhead forward of the head compartment, just abaft the foremast. This forms the after face of the anchor locker, which is open at the deck, has a forward-sloping bottom to it and drains through the stem. A fore-and-aft divider separates two anchor rodes, each with a length of chain and an anchor. A hole through the forefoot is provided for towing.
    The masts are round, tapered, sealed, carbon fiber tubes providing excellent strength and stiffness at low weight. They are un-stayed, allowing them to bend off in a puff spilling power – requiring less crew attention to ease sheets and keeping the boat from heeling abruptly. They can be easily un-stepped by first disconnecting watertight electrical and lightning connecters above deck and lifting out of their sockets by one or two crew. The spritsail rigs are designed to be simple and efficient, perform well at all points of sail, and have as few pieces as possible. Both fore and aft rigs are identical, making them easier to maintain and interchange parts, and keeping costs lower. The sprits are set high at their forward ends keeping them out of the way of the crew, and keeping the leech of the sails taut. Masts are stepped in fibreglass tubes with bearings top and bottom for rotation. Each mast will have electrical wiring suitable for a VHF antenna and a white masthead light, exiting the masts above their upper bearings through sealed, grommetted openings, terminating in a short pigtail and a waterproof plug to the boat’s wiring loom.

    The triangular sail plan keeps sail centres of effort low to reduce heeling forces. To reef, the snotter tackle at the forward end of the sprit is eased, the halyard lowered, the shouldered, aft end of the sprit fitted to a new grommet higher up on the leech, the snotter tackle taken up, and excess sail at the foot is tied in with reef points. Extra sail power may be desired off-wind, and a staysail can be rigged between the two masts. A light flying jib can also be flown from an oar, used as a bowsprit, protruding a few feet over the stem. All sail control will be by block and tackle without the need for winches.

    The solid fibreglass centreboard is raised and lowered by a tackle on the side of the centreboard trunk, exiting through the forward end of the trunk to a block on the deck and then aft along the trunk to cam cleat on the trunk, accessible from the helm. The rudder is a dinghy type with a kick-up blade and an aluminum rudder-head. Control lines hold the rudder and centerboard in both the down or up positions.

    Electrical power is provided by a deep-cycle battery below the sole near the centreboard trunk and charged by solar panels. All navigation lights are LED with very low power drain. There is an anchor light at the top of the foremast and a VHF antenna atop the main. A 12 volt power outlet aft in the cockpit face below the tiller powers a cell- phone charger and hand held navigation instruments. The head is discharged into the holding tank for pumping out in port.

    Soon after the second OB 30 was launched in late July this year, the two boats left on a week-long course with twelve young dinghy-sailors chosen from around the country by Gary Jobson. The course was filmed by Jobson’s crew for an upcoming Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television special. The boats performed well and were praised by Jobson, who praised the rig and said “I wouldn’t change a thing.” There is a preview clip of the film on Jobson’s website at   www.jobsonsailing.com/reports/48

    I had a chance to sail on the first boat a couple of times in the week before the course started. Having owned an ‘Egret’ sharpie of about this size, I was familiar with the rig. The maiden sail was in very light air, from about 2 to about 4 knots of wind. Up to about 3 knots, the boats will fetch at windspeed in smooth water. I was very pleased with the feel of the boat, and paticularly with her good balance and handiness. With good hands on the main & fore sheets, the boat is extremely maneuverable; much more so than a sloop as the sails control each end of the boat. For the same reason, course stability can easily be achieved by trimming the sails well. The rudder is balanced, so the right amount of helm feel can be achieved on any point or speed by adjusting the blades angle to the pintle axis. The hull is fine forward, and, as we found on the second sail in winds between 8 and fourteen knots, the boat is quite close-winded for a two-masted rig, tacking through an angle of about 85 degrees in these conditions. The rig likes, and has, good, fairly flat sails, by Maine Sailing Partners. Off the wind, the boat can be sailed wing-and-wing, and can be sailed on gybe-angles by setting the foresail by the lee. If you hit a lobster pot you can let the sheets go and the sails will flag forward while the boat is ‘anchored’ by the rudder. The lift-up rudder makes it easy to get rid of snags of this type. There are identical 1.5 ounce reaching staysails fore each mast; one on the main set as a staysail, and the forward sail set on the end of an oar-handle lashed to the bow as a reacher. The boat is very easy to row with her narrow, double-ended waterplane. Each boat carries six thirteen-foot carbon-fibre oars weighing 5 pounds each; single thole pins are used instead of oarlocks.

    While ultimate speed was not an essential part of the brief, we always work to achieve it as a seaworthiness element, and because it is fun! On this sail we achieved 8 knots on the GPS in about 14 knots true!

    The Outward Bound project has been an incredible journey so far and an achievement of teamwork. We signed the design agreement in mid-October 2006, and two production boats were ready for their long-planned first course 9 months later!









    OB30 SAILPLAN .pdf



    Rodger Martin
    Ross Weene

    Newport RI, September 2007

  4. Presto 30

    February 1, 2012 by Ross Weene

    Available through:  www.adventureboatworks.com/


    In 2007 Outward Bound commissioned Rodger Martin Design to design a replacement for their aging wooden 30 foot school boats, which led to the design and construction of the Outward Bound ‘Hurricane Island 30,’ of which half a dozen of a projected 15 have been built to date.

    In Spring 2009 two of these 30 foot open boats, powered only by sail and oar, were sailed 2,500 miles from Florida to Maine in 50 days with stops along the way to raise awareness for OB’s Sea Program!  Popular interest in these obviously capable boats led to Ryder Boats’ commissioning Rodger Martin Design to create a completely new trailerable sharpie for them to built and market.

    If you’re interested in capable shoal draft boats you might read Commodore Ralph Munroe’s The Commodore’s story: The Early Days on Biscayne Bay, a captivating book about lifelong experiences sailing and designing innumerable, highly-successful sharpies during Florida’s early development as a Winter haven.   The inherent common sense and safety offered by these designs has been well known for a hundred and fifty years and only racing rules and changing fashion have obscured their once-wide popularity.

    ‘Presto’ alludes to the famous, fast and able 1885 design by Commodore Munroe, of the same name, and represents a flared, round-bottomed, beachable hull with a flattened bottom for taking the ground, and well-shaped ends for wave penetration forward and reduced drag at the stern. These boats are simple, easy to sail, well balanced and fast for their size!

    Sharpie Characteristics:

    The Presto 30 ™ is designed to be trailerable & beachable, thus the very shoal draft (13 inches – 330 mm) and the smooth, clean bottom. The hull is lightweight and relatively narrow, both factors reducing drag. Ballast is internal lead built into the bottom and the split rig is used for maneuverability and for its low – (as in close to the water) heeling effect. The combination of a low-heeling force from an efficient sail plan and a light, slim, low-drag hull make these boats fast and very controllable reaching and running. The deep, high performance centreboard and rudder help the boat go upwind effectively, very nearly as high and fast as a good sloop rig.

    The split rig is self-tacking. Crack off 5-10 degrees, and a boat of this size will out-sail keel sloops quite a bit longer! This sail plan doesn’t need expensive and difficult-to-set spinnakers to sail at breakaway speeds off the wind. If wanted, a light ‘mizzen staysail’ can be set between the masts and a drifter set at the end of a removable bowsprit but these sails are not needed for normal fast sailing.  The sealed, lightweight, free-standing, carbon-fibre masts fit within the length of the boat for trailering and, at under 40 pounds (18 kg) can be stepped or struck by two people.

    Safety and stability:

    The Presto 30 ™ has a Limit of Positive Stability (LPS) of 145 degrees! This includes the righting effects of her deck, cockpit, deckhouse and sealed carbon-fibre masts. With actual capsize tests done on the Outward Bound HI 30s, it is very hard to capsize & hold these boats down!
    If you run aground in the Presto 30 ™, pull the centreboard up a bit and sail off. If you run aground on a falling tide, and lifting the board and rudder only allow you to go further aground, simply keep them both all the way up and the boat will settle on her flat bottom. The usual principles of prudent seamanship apply and one should try to avoid doing this on a lee or rocky/reefy shore! On a boat fitted with an engine you could use it to motor into deeper water if depth allows. A keelboat in a similar situation will soon be stuck aground, lying at uncomfortable and vulnerable angles!

    An inlet with unmarked rocks or shifting sandbars can be fatal for a keelboat if it runs aground.  Hitting an unseen hazard in a sharpie merely kicks the board by the obstacle. Once past the obstacle the board drops to its previous depth.

    Any sailboat can capsize, and though unsinkable, the Presto 30 ™ is not exempted. As explained above, because of her relatively narrow hull and high freeboard the Presto 30 ™ has a theoretical limit of positive stability LPS) (hull to the sheer only) of 103 degrees and a ‘real world’ limit of stability (i.e. including deckhouse, cockpit and spars) of 145 degrees!


    The Presto 30 ™ is built for families and racers. The vinyl ester, resin-infused Corecell hull is engineered to be both light-weight and tough. Racers will appreciate the state-of-the-art laminate when every pound counts and families can let novice sailors take the helm knowing that the hull can take beaching and minor grounding without permanent damage. Both sailors will appreciate the blister-proof bottom.

    Presto 30’s Layout:

    Cockpit:  The Presto 30 ™ has a huge cockpit that is 10’ 6” (3.2 m) long! The cockpit seats are over 7’6” long for comfortable sleeping, and there is plenty of space for a full family or group of friends, secure inside the high cockpit coaming, for sailing or dining. There is a generous cockpit locker on each side. The port cockpit locker fits an Igloo cooler, while the starboard locker holds the fuel tank for an optional outboard motor in the well behind the deckhouse.

    The after part of the cockpit is open for stowing a folded inflatable dinghy and is private for sunbathing and a good place to clean fish or use a Sun Shower. A transom door which can drop down to become a swimming platform with an attached ladder is an option. Tiller steering is standard and wheel steering is available.

    Interior:   The cabin top has an optional Sky-Top that can be raised at anchor to give 6’6” headroom throughout the main areas of the interior. This allows 360 degree visibility and excellent ventilation. Optional fly screens can be fitted for buggy conditions or a clear plastic snap-on window for rainy weather. Once below 6’6” long settee/berths to port & starboard are standard. There is fold-up table on the starboard side as an option. Another option is a galley to port as you enter the cabin. This slides away under the cockpit when not in use.

    Forward of the saloon/galley area, the standard interior provides room for a Port-a-Potti head under the V-berth, with a sink to port and a hanging locker to starboard.

    Optionally, a plumbed head is fitted to port, with a curtain closure across to the hanging locker to starboard. A curtain between the head/hanging locker and the V-berth can also be provided,  Forward of the V-berth is a watertight bulkhead which also supports the foremast.

    Optional Engine Systems:

    While the boat doesn’t require a motor there are several options for mounting one.

    With the retractable outboard option a 9.9 hp hi-thrust outboard is mounted in a well behind the cabin and can be lowered to power the boat. When down, a fairing above the cavitation plate closes off the well for efficiency; when the outboard is raised by a tackle a fairing below the outboard’s skeg makes for a flush hull. Engine controls are remotely located on the cockpit side in the conventional manner.

    A second option is a Torqued Cruise R electric outboard with power equivalent to a 9.9 hp gas outboard. This is lowered & raised like the gas engine.

    A third option is a small, transom-hung outboard.

    Deckhouse & Foredeck:

    To go forward from the cockpit you can either move down the narrow side-deck, holding onto the handrail on the deckhouse or, if weather is rough, go through the cabin and get to the foremast or bow via the forehatch.  Another alternative is to step on the coaming up to the cabin top and go forward that way with the sprit or wishbone as a hand hold.

    The Sail Plan:  Presto 30 ™ has two types of sail available.

    Standard:  Traditional, triangular sharpie sails with wet lay-up, braided carbon sprits and masts, as used on the Outward Bound HI 30s. These spars are made by Forte Composites. This sail plan has 320 sq. ft. in the main and fore.

    Performance Option:  Square-topped sails by North Sails, with Hall Spars prepreg masts with wishbones booms. Wishbones are used for the powerful vanging effect needed to control the twist (power) of the square-topped sails. This sail plan has 400 sq. ft. in the main and fore.

    A staysail can be set between the masts for added reaching power.

    Why two masts?   The two masts allow more maneuvering and balance control than a sloop rig on any point of sail and, when reefed, provide very stable steering. The fact that the sails are small (185 and 205 sq. ft) (17.2 and 19 sq. m) and low generates more driving power than heeling force, which helps keep the boat on its feet. The standard sail plan is a traditional sharpie rig with tapered, sealed, unstayed carbon masts from Forte Composites, and triangular, battenless sails and simple sprits.

    An optional high-performance sail plan includes lighter weight, Hall Spars prepreg carbon masts, also sealed and tapered, with fully-battened, roached sails and wishbone booms.

    All sail controls can be run aft to the cockpit.   

    Centreboard & Rudder:

    The Presto 30 ™‘s fiberglass centreboard & rudder are essential to the safety and function of these boats. The basic tenet is that if you can reduce the area of the sails (reef) the sails you should be able reduce the area of the ‘keel.’ It is logical that when caught in unpredicted rough weather, as long as there is sea-room (or lake room) to leeward, partially lifting the centreboard to reduce its area will allow the boat to slide easily to leeward without tripping over a deep-rooted fixed keel.

    The board also makes these boats practical cruisers by allowing easy launching and retrieval by trailer. The board is lifted and lowered by a 5:1 tackle with the tail coming to the cockpit.

    The rudder has both up and down lines located on the tiller.


    The Presto 30 ™ is ideal for sailors ranging from novice to experienced. It is ideal for any sailor looking for a fast, versatile 30’ boat and is particularly attractive to kayakers, canoeists, board-and-kite sailors who want to share the adventure with their families. The cruising package allows you to explore further while providing comfortable accommodations. The economy of not being tied to a boat yard for launching, hauling, maintenance or storage is a great attraction. The 8.5’ (2.6 m) beam means the boat is trailerable in all 50 states without permits, which opens up a variety of cruising grounds unavailable to any other boat in its comfort and performance level.

    The Presto 30 ™ is a new interpretation of a classic sailboat for an independent generation of sailors unencumbered by the trappings of ‘yachting’ and its expensive, complicated, high-maintenance boats requiring deep water docks and costly marina services.

    Available through:  www.adventureboatworks.com/