A 20' Keel Skipjack Cruising Knockabout
By William & John Atkin
A Skipjack Keel Knockabout
One of the most interesting cruising boats I have seen during the last few seasons is Bahaman. She is a 32 foot West Indian built sloop of far more than usual character and in a lively way carries many of the earmarks of the working boats that ply the islands of the Bahamas. But Bahaman is not a working boat, nor was she built for working. Therefore she is much better built, finished and outfitted than the usual run of the sloops operated as a means of living by the water-men of these islands of always summer. The sloop, I understand, was built for use as a pleasure boat by one of the islands' many boat builders. And with appropriate ceremony after launching presented by that good man to his appreciative wife. Think of that, Shipmate! Do you know many wives that might particularly care for this kind of present? And so it is that Bahaman suggested the design this month -- Sharpshooter. A much smaller edition than the 32 footer to be sure but, never-the-less, a ship-shape little packet in which a couple can roam the waterways for vacation time and spend week ends afloat. Sharpshooter is only 20 feet in over all length and so one cannot expect full headroom nor the appointments of a full-grown ship. But since size and cost have little to do with happiness one can find equally as much of the latter in a little boat and none of the responsibility of a more noble craft. And how many pocket books there are in which such as Sharpshooter neatly fits!
The sail plan fits the design of the hull exactly and to change it for a tall jib-head rig will completely spoil the performance and appearance of the little boat. A comparatively heavy boat like Sharpshooter requires a sail plan having a low center of effort and the positive drive of something more than a narrow tall triangular main sail. From a standpoint of maintenance and ability to push a heavy boat it is difficult to improve upon the workings of a gaff-headed rig. There is also a lot to be said for the ease of handling such a rig; let this not escape your attention. One head stay, two shrouds comprise the standing rigging ; three halyards, two sheets, one topping lift complete the running rigging. A real sea-going rig of the most economical kind.
The living space in the cabin has 3 feet 7 inches of headroom beneath the overhead beams; nearly 4 feet beneath the sliding companion-way hatch. The cabin house is 5 feet long by 4 feet 6 inches wide; a sizable place. Some 3 feet 6 inches of this is taken up by the galley department, primus stove and counter top with lockers below, and a seat for two with shelf above. There is 29 inches of space between the fronts of the seat and the galley side of the cabin. Two berths occupy the fore end of the deck house and the main deck, leaving ample room well forward for stowage of anchoring gear and other needed items. The cockpit is 4 feet long and about the same dimensions in width. The cockpit is not self-draining.

The lines of Sharpshooter show a skipjack shaped hull 20 feet on deck, 18 feet on the load water line, 7 feet in breadth, and 2 feet 5 1/2 inches draft. The forward over-hang is 19 1/2 inches; the after 15 3/4 inches. Excepting the four after topside stations the sections are straight lines. The slight curvature aft is for the purpose of erasing the all too flat or boxy appearance that always persists where there is no curvature at the stern and parts close to this important end of the boat. The additional time needed for curving these few frames is negligible. Without excessive draft this latest of the family is a keel boat and carries 300 pounds of keel ballast outside; this should be iron. The addition of the keel increases the stability, and the absence of the centerboard with its trunk increases the room in the cabin. The bottom of the keel is a straight line, a sure indication of easy steering and little yawing in rough water to say nothing of the advantage of easy hauling out or laying ashore without special blocking and shoring.

If power is contemplated use a small outboard motor attached to a Savage outboard bracket permanently fixed to the stern transom. I should not attempt to install even the smallest of inboard engines.

Plans for Sharpshooter are $100
We apologize for the inconvinience, but we are no longer accepting orders at this time. The ordering process is in transition.