The Norfolk Oyster is a beautiful 17′ gunter rigged centreboard dayboat, with simulated clinker hull, spruce spars and tan sails. Her simple efficient rig ensures excellent performance under sail in light or strong winds whilst her deep bow and ample freeboard make her immensely seaworthy. Both mainsail and jib have fixed reefing points (2 positions in mainsail, 1 in jib) so that reducing sail is easily accomplished.
The use of the high-peaked gaff is so the spars are short for ease of trailering and storing. The added benefits of the light weight and flexible gaff is that it tends to bow around the halyard attachment point when the wind gusts, automatically flattening the sail at the right time. Also, by tweaking the peak halyard, you can (although you don’t have to) produce very effective sail shape adjustments when changing point-of-sail, or during varying wind conditions. (To flatten the sail in strong winds or to loosen the leach in light aires) High-tech racing boats spend hundreds of thousands doing this with carbon-fibre and stainless steel – here we do it (in a cruder, but effective way) using spruce spars and polyester line.
A small cut-out in the transom enables an outboard motor to be fitted with ease. When not in use, this can be stowed in chocks in the large forward locker. A 2.3HP Honda or 2.5hp Yamaha longshaft engine is recommended. We have found that this provides ample power to make good headway.
The separately moulded internal layout is uncluttered and roomy allowing 4 – 6 adults and accompanying children, dogs etc. to be comfortably seated without hampering the efficient sailing of the boat. A cambered lowered foredeck houses 2 large lockers (one for the outboard engine) which have separately moulded bins and watertight lids to ensure that picnic, spare clothes etc. remain dry.
Sealed compartments under the cambered side benches ensure that the boat is positively buoyant in the unlikely event of her flooding. Teak slats can be fitted over the seating to provide an especially safe non-slip surface. This complements the larch sole boards and wide teak capping over the centreboard case.
The Norfolk Oyster can be rowed – if you want to fully embrace the good old days of sail! A very useful ability in calm weather or just for auxiliary propulsion.