Two rare birds Sabine and Steffi (alas no longer with us)
rafted up, Scottish West Coast May 1991
Sabine dried out Piel Is Aug 1992 An attempt to show hull profile
The Seagull Sloop Designed by Ian Proctor
18ft 6in Overall with retractable keel for deep and shoal water --------
Built or supplied in kit form by the Bell Woodworking Company
( information obtained from the Bell catalogue circa 1966)
Designed for coastal, estuary and inland water cruising, this staunch little sloop was well tested in all kinds of weather before being adopted by us for prefabrication.
One of the principle features of this boat is a partially retractable keel, which slides on rollers into a trunk- in the manner of a dinghy dagger board - the cast iron bulb lying nearly flush with the substantial deadwood beneath the hull when the keel is retracted. The keel hoisting mechanism ensures that it cannot be lost or the hull damaged should it inadvertantly be lowered too swiftly.
The advantages of this keel are firstly that the draft of 1ft 5 in with the keel up allows the Seagull, using a standard lifting rudder, to cruise in waters denied to deeper boats, and her crew will often be able to step ashore from her without recourse to a dinghy ; moreover- a point of considerable importance in many areas - she can be left on moorings which dry out. The second benefit is that the stabilising leverage of the ballast is far greater than in the normal shoal draft arrangement in which the ballast is fixed close beneath the hull and a relatively light centerplate with comparatively poor stabilising properties, extends below it to give the neccessary lateral resistance. Thirdly the effective lateral resistance of the keel is increased, particularly when the boat is heeled, by the barrier effect of the specially shaped bulb which prevents tip losses and acts in the manner as the fences sometimes used on aircraft wings.
Seaworthiness and handling qualities are prime considerations in a boat of this sort and the generous 6ft 9in beam and stiff hull sections contribute to this. The four plank construction gives a light robust hull in which the interrior structure, such as the bunk fronts and lockers, all contribute to greatly to her strength. There is very little in this boat that does not serve at least two functions, one of which is to add to her structural soundness. The four plank construction also permits a sea kindly shape with a good performance, is suitable for amateur cinstruction and is economical.
Masthead sloop rig has been chosen, as a variety of sail areas to suit all conditions is possible with this rig and the mast can be simply stayed, without runners, to carry the large genoa jib which helps the generously proportioned hull along in light airs. The hull is steady enough to carry a good sized mast head spinaker. The small mainsail is easily handled and a simple remote controlled, roller reefing gear is standard (Barton roller reefing has been fitted to some E.D).
The mast is pivoted in a tabernacle for easy lowering (using an A frame and the main sheet tackle E.D)- an attractive feature for inland cruising and when trailing on the special trailer available for this boat. The thrust of the mast is taken directly on the keel case and through this to the backbone of the hull.
accomodation consists of a bunk on each side, with sitting headroom over each; a small galley to starboard fitted with cooking stove, plate racks and other stowage; a bucket or chemical closet is to port, in a sealed locker with a gasketed lid. There is stowage space forward of the bunks. A small table is hinged to the keel case and folds neatly round it when not in use. there are lockers on each side of the cockpit; the outboard motor stows on chocks in one of these, fuel being carried in the same locker.
If wanted the boom can be raised on the extended gooseneck track, then clipped to the backstay and used to support a tent cover over the cabin and the cockpit. with the hatch pushed right forward this gives 6ft 3in headroom over most of the cabin sole, and two children can sleep in the cockpit.
A hatch in the short aft deck permits the outboard engine to be clamped to the transom. The cockpit is watertight to a depth of 11in. which is adequate to contain all the rain and spray likely to accumulate during normal conditions of use.