Sailed on a unique boat yesterday

I first saw this boat put in as Carol and I were at the sail club ramp to sail our potter 19 out to Jim Spencer Island for a picnic on Lake Murray. I found the boat to be intriguing. I got to know the owner Rusty when I bought the Scamp from him. We found we had a lot in common and have become friends.

I had hoped to participate in the EC300 this year but hoped to have found a partner to join me. That hasn’t worked out. Rusty plans to join with me for next year, and we hope to be at the check-in and launch this year in preparation for our next year entry. Whether we paddle a tandem kayak or take one of our sailboats is to be decided over this next year.

I met with him yesterday and we sailed his Fred Shell designed Blue Heron. What a neat boat it is with a pilot house, two leg of mutton sails making it a cat ketch. It can be sailed from the cockpit or the pilot house. I thought I would post these photos of this boat.


What is the name of this site?

You have a point, but I still liked it.

Certainly not about pistols!!! :rofl:

I posted this on the Paddlers Place forum which allows off topic posts. Also, I did mention that a tandem kayak is in the mix for doing the EC300 which is a topic of interest on this site.

Just for you Jim, I know you will enjoy seeing me sailing the Scamp I bought from Rusty. It may be the boat that ends up in the EC300.


Very cool boat! I’ll have to check out that design, I haven’t seen it before. Very nice with that raised pilothouse on a tiny boat.

I’ll be on the beach for the EC this year - should be there pretty much all day Friday, come find me and say hi!

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Will do! We plan on quizzing folks about the logistics while there. May be a group of us with both kayaks and sailboats to get out on the water in the area while down there. Probably paddle some of your favorite spots.

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A bit more info for you.

He has a 5hp Lear propane outboard, and the boat is set up to row which we did when the wind died down on the way back. It doesn’t have a centerboard or daggerboard but two progressively deepening skids which allows it to be beached and sailed in very shallow water. He has wheel steering in the pilot house, and double tillers for the double rudders in line with the skids.

This photo is from the Shell Boats web page and shows the bottom of the Blue Heron with the skids and rudder configuration.

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Doug, I was just twisting your tail. It worked!

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I know that’s why I twisted back and was rolling on the floor laughing about it! :wink:

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Bummer I won’t be able to join you on the water - but let me know if you need any suggestions for where to launch or paddle! Best way to find anyone on the beach on Friday is by reading the back of the WaterTribe t shirts that everyone will be wearing - mine will say “Mola Mola”

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I have seen a couple of Mola Mola at the surface on their side over the years. Hope you stay vertical! :wink: Your suggestions would be much appreciated. It’s been 54 years since I lived in the Tampa area.

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Hey hey. Its all fun. What kind of sail rig is that. I believe the sails are leg o mutton, but is that considered a ketch rig?

Was that you last year with the boat that wouldn’t stay on its side?

String and I have fun picking at each other. He started it years ago.
Yes, and Yes, it has leg of mutton sails and is a cat ketch rig. To a good extent you can steer it with the sails while leaving the rudder in place.

Yes, it was me climbing on the boat on its side.

I know, you got the great life: nice kayaks, sweet sailboats and good friend. Thanks. I always admired sailboats. CLC is 50 minutes away. Some day I might just get one of their kits and park it at my daughter’s place.

Shallow draft sounds great. How far toward windward can a setup like Blue Heron go?

I do have some health complaints. I haven’t bought a new boat except for a canoe 50 years ago. The boats I own were good deals on used boats. I am decent at fixing them up and acquired them after we put our kids through school. Old enough to have stuff paid off which means medical bills aren’t far off. That’s life and I try to live it the best I can. Having good friends is a big part of that.

If you want to take up sailing, you can find a decent used boat for the price of a sea kayak. Lots of boats on the market for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Sailboats aren’t the most popular of boats because they are relatively slow and require doing the sailing to make them go and knowing the skill set.

The basic skills are easy enough to pick up quickly. A sailing club is a great place to get started. We have a new member at the club (don’t confuse a sailing club with a yacht club one is for cheap sailors and the other is for rich sailors) from Bangladesh who has never sail and didn’t have a boat. He has helped out on the committee boat during races and made the discussions before and after the races. A good way to get to know the active members. When he found a boat (Oday Daysailor 2 for $800) he had knowledgeable members to ask advice and help set up the boat when it was found to be in good shape with lots of extras like paddle and anchor and rode. For about another $800 he can buy a new set of sails. Club dues and boat storage is less than he paid for the boat alone. The club has bathrooms showers kitchen and group hall. That’s the way I would go if starting out with sailing, but it doesn’t take much to find a good used boat and you can learn to sail by reading a book like I did as a teenager or watching videos today.

Now if I lived 50 minutes from CLC I would probably be in the poor house.

It did well but not as good as a Marconi rig. It is a surprisingly hands-off sailing rig. You get the sails set on your heading and can let go of the tiller. With just an occasional course correction required. Not your typical sailing in that regard.

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Here is a what looks like an old home video of the first Blue Heron Model built by the designer/builder. The first part is a bit boring unless you are interested in setting the boat up. The second half is sailing the boat in some rough conditions.
Shell Boats: The Great Blue Heron - YouTube

This is a more current video of a similar hull and slightly different sail rig. At the minute 6;40 mark you can watch as he leaves the dock and get an idea of its windward performance.

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Take care of your gear and it’ll care of you. You’ve gotten a good return for yout dollar and care. I retired with an option to keep my company sponsored health care. I worried about turning 65 and having to buy medicare as a primary insurance. Fortunately it worked out because my standard insurance as secondary policy cover the uncovered portion of Medicare, as well as copay. They still take more tham they give. It just gets paid in advance.

A sailboat option depends on whether I can involve my two grand daughters who ate living on the water. I’d want a boat that could be hauled out of the water and it time to think about options. Not sure if I have the initiative or attention span to tackle one of the CLC sail options. I’ll keep your assistance in mind when I decide to make a move. My fear is a mindset that enjoys wind power and shuns physical activity. Who was that talking about a “body in slow motion, stays in slow motion?” Keep moving and maybe buy heavier sails. Too many sailboats around here use motors.

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