Gunning Skiff Ranger, The


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by H. I. Chapelle

The gunning skiffs are often highly specialized craft, suitable only for hunting purposes. There are some, however, that are more versatile; the famed Barnegat Sneakbox, for example. This style of skiff is not only a very fine hunting boat but also a popular model for pleasure sailing. The Sneakbox, in its best model at least, is not an extremely easy boat to build. Fortunately there are gunning skiffs having much the same qualities as the Sneakbox and that are more easily built. One of these, the subject of this discussion, is the Long Island gunning sharpie. The Long Island gunning sharpie developed away back, so far back in fact that we do not know when it came into use. But the model reached its height of development soon after the Civil War and has remained almost unchanged since then. The sharpie gunning skiff is still used, for it is a very handy boat for setting out decoys and for picking up birds. There are some gunners who use sail nowadays to reach their blinds, for they think the noise of an outboard is objectionable in this. Because of its decked hull, strongly flaring sides and rather light weight, the sharpie gunning skiff is often preferable for pleasure sailing, out of the gunning season, as compared to sailing dinghies and prams of roughly the same dimensions. Because of its design, which gives the skiff many of the same qualities as the old-time wooden, decked “cruising canoe,” the gunning sharpie has been used by some hardy souls for rather long single-handed cruises; just as in the case of the better-known Sneakbox. Rugged and easy-working, this utility craft rows and sails well and needs only a low-powered outboard.

16 pages, 5 plate(s)


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