Shipmite--An 81/2-Ft. Plywood Pram

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  • Pub No.: 5405

by Leonard H. Cross

Shipmite rows easily, has great carrying capacity and is the best behaved tender I ever towed in a following sea.

Shipmite is the direct result of a daughter’s persistence and it required months of hard work—on her part—before the lines were finally laid out. That settled, it. I had gone too far to back down and so the material was ordered and the pram built. I have already jumped ahead of the building of Shipmite, so let me first give you some idea of the way she acted. For a little 81/2-foot ship (and I use the word intentionally) it is truly surprising how well she goes to windward and the balance is good. In the lightest breeze she has a distinct tendency to head into the wind and in a strong northeaster required very little rudder to hold her off the wind. In a good breeze she will run away from my tender with a five horsepower outboard. This I know, because I tried to catch my daughter for dinner one day and failed. My wife and I spent most of the summer at Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island, aboard our cruiser Shipmate, but not daughter; she lived aboard Shipmite. In the little water-tight locker, forward, she had canned goods, matches, a spare bathing suit, and many other miscellaneous articles. With this equipnient she would leave early in the morning, sail to some deserted beach, build a fire, go for a swim, eat and just generally have the time of her life. One day, before daughter had time to get the mast in place, I sneaked off with the outboard on Shipmite’s stern. With the motor opened up I crawled to the forward thwart and had all the sensations of being in a fifty-mile speedboat. Shipmite weighs only eighty-seven pounds and really gets up on top with this motor, but I realize boat speeds are generally over-estimated and of course fifteen miles is a good clip on the water. Frankly I had never thought of a pram as possessing particularly good looks, but there is something about a whole lot of good qualities that tend to beautify and after a full summer’s use Shipmite looks positively handsome.

25 pages, 3 plate(s)

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