Page updated: 28 May 2014
The hull of the SeaHawk comprises two mouldings each composed of resin, reinforced with several layers of chopped strand glass fibre matting. Externally it is very distinctive. Above the waterline it has the appearance of a wide planked clinker-built hull that helps give it great rigidity. Below the waterline, the "planking" disappears and there are three keels. The central keel has a flat bottom and at its widest point is some 9" across. This houses significant ballast and a hinged steel plate that acts as a drop keel. The two outer keels also variable in width but are hollow and are referred to as bilge fins on this site. General dimensions of the boat are given below.
According to the Reedcraft and Moore's brochures (See: Boat > Marketing) the ballast found in the central keel is a mixture of iron and concrete. (An owner who had to chip out the concrete to repair damage to the keel reported finding "old rocker arms and water pump impellers".)
It is now known that somewhere between boat #146 and #154 the ballast weight was increased from 370lb to 440lb. Previously, it was assumed that the difference indicated a confusion arising from whether the weight of the drop keel was included in the ballast figure.
In early Reedcraft boats the concrete ballast is clearly visible in the small hatch on the cabin sole. It is prevented from flowing throughout the bilges by plywood shuttering running alongside the drop keel casing and laterally across the boat.
In later boats the volume of the ballast was reduced and fully encased within resin. In such boats it is no longer visible immediately beneath the hatch. Perhaps the change in the proportion of iron and concrete was made. Whatever the content, on later boats the ballast is set both lower and further aft than that shown above.
Those contemplating purchase of an early Reedcraft boat should read about Jamming Keels page in the Owners section.
An L-shaped steel plate, weighing about 70lb, swings out of a housing within the central keel doubling the draught and providing additional lateral stability to the boat. Having a drop keel makes the SeaHawk ideal for exploring shallow tidal reaches. An aspect of the keel design, which makes it especially attractive to those in shallow or weedy waters, is that the keel does not drop to the vertical, but only to about 30°. Weeds just slide off rather than wrapping themselves around the keel and on touching the bottom the keel simply lifts into its housing.
Furthermore, unlike many drop-keel boats, the SeaHawk's centre-plate housing does not intrude into the cabin. Instead the SeaHawk's main central keel provides a housing for the keel plate below the cabin floor. Only the "L-shaped" end to the keel rises into the cabin area and it does this only under the companionway step, keeping the main cabin floor clear of any intrusion. Raising the keel is easy too! All you need to do is grab the handle and lift it 18".
On many boats having a drop keel slung under the main part of the hull would prevent it from remaining upright when on a mooring that dries out. However, the flat bottom of the SeaHawk's main keel, the SeaHawk has stubby bilge fins that allow it to remain reasonably upright when beached, as can be seen in the picture of Buzznack II below.
Although they are quite slim, they do add a little to the stowage space beneath the two quarter berths found in the cabin as well. Clive Marsh, who wrote a review of the SeaHawk that appeared in Practical Boat Owner, emailed saying of John Bennett:
In addition to the small SeaHawk he designed the Southerly 28. John explained that certain features in the SeaHawk were also to be found in the Southerly 28. He went on to tell me about his ideas for the buoyant bilge keels of the SeaHawk and how these not only served to reduce leeway and enable grounding but that they (being buoyant) helped stiffen the boat on heeling. You might have noticed that the boat stiffens up nicely after her initial heel.
Indeed, owners do report that it seems impossible to give the gunwale a real dunking.
Within the central keel moulded into the hull is the keel plate casing and this is supported by another moulding forming the cabin sole and support for the the quarter berths.
On all but the latest boats there is access to the bilges under the berths. Because of the European Recreational Craft Directive regulations, which came into force by the time Mistral Craft began manufacture, the latest boats have this area is sealed to provide the required buoyancy.
At the forward end the cabin sole is a small opening to allow access to the keel bolt and to the lowest part of the bilges. This moulding only extends as far forward as the cabin bulkheads, which are considerably smaller on the four berth variant than those shown here.
Ahead of this will either be the bow moulding on four-berth boats or a triangular plywood floor panel on two-berth boats. Other optional fittings are described on the Cabin Options page.
The boat's principal dimensions are:
|Weight: Early Boats (See
of which Ballast + Centre Plate: (approx)
|Weight: (See Note)
of which Ballast + Centre Plate: (approx)
- NOTES ON WEIGHT:
- EARLY BOATS: The figures for the weight of
early boats are taken from the 1970
Reedcraft Brochure. These differ from the those given in the
It is is assumed that the ballast weight was increased when boats
started to be built with encapsulated
ballast. However, it is unclear what accounts for the rise
from 1100lb to 1200lb for the general weight of the boat. Other
than the inboard engine and four-berth options, only known
additions to the specification are the chain locker and backrest
LATE BOATS: The weight of boats sold by Pyecraft is not known but is likely to be lighter than the later Reedcraft and Moore's boats because of the minor changes in specification described above.
- WITH TRAILER: "What is the weight of the the boat and trailer together?" is a question often asked by those wanting to know if they could tow a SeaHawk. The only owner known to have taken his SeaHawk to a public weigh bridge reported a weight of 940kg. If others can confirm that a typical trailer would weigh a little under 200kg, then 940kg would appear to be a reasonable guide to use when assessing if a SeaHawk can be towed by your car.