A SeaHawk Prototype

Page published: 3 February 2006

The page shown below comes from the book, "Small Boat Cruising", by D.M. Desoutter, published by Faber and Faber in 1964, shows a lightweight wooden boat called a SeaHawk that, given its date, is almost certainly the boat that Mike Lankester remembers. This book has the sub-title "A practical guide to moderately priced cruising boats and their handling" and presumably lists a number of craft. Page 187 is dedicated to the SeaHawk.

It seems unlikely that the boat described here is the Design 477 version, remembered by John Bennett as the second SeaHawk prototype. Since this one is built in Ipswich, where John's own company remains to this day, it is likely to be a later version than one built in Gorleston. However, its specification does exactly what one might expect for one that is capable of planing.

This boat is half the weight of a modern SeaHawk, and has greater sail area than the early Reedcraft boats. Given a suitable hull shape, it is reasonable to expect this one to be able to plane, as the boat Mike remembers would. The figures for the draft and weight and the description of a centreplate housing intruding into the cockpit, do suggest that the hull lacks the distintive shape of the final version and that it would have a faster dinghy-like shape.

Small Boat Cruising - Page 187

It is also worth noting that the description says, "Most of the righting moment must be supplied by the crew's weight". Given its weight and sail area, this is not surprising, and one is left wondering whether this was not the type seen, in the 1970s, by J.S.S., the employee at Jeckells, who was so disparaging about a taller rigged SeaHawk!

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