Hellow there fellow shallow water and flat bottom sailors. Iam writing this to give you all some first hand details and truth to all the speculation of my sailing adventures and how my sharpies perform.
First off I am not in the plan selling business and have only designed boats for people that are really going to build them.I built my boats to use which I have quietly for the past 33 years.The plans and pictures that are posted on this site were given to Bob Wise of Loose Moose fame as a prelude to me desighing him a boat around the HFM lines.These are pictures that he took of my boat after a 10 day single handed passage by me from the Bahamas to ST. Martin.I have no problem with the pictures being posted as I gave permission for him to take them,however I never gave him or anybody else to post my drawings on the internet.They are copyrighted and should not be out there like this with everybody trying to figure out my ideas.I have been designing and building boats to my designs for 32 years with over 2 dozen designs and over 1000 built.I love boats of all types and talking boats but I have no intrest and time to talk on the net.Until now.There is lots of misinformation and second hand stories in these kind of chat rooms so I stay away.I am very flattered for the attention to my sharpies and will now try and help you all by giving my opinions on my sailing these types of boats for 28 years.
My sailing advice is given based on 40 plus years sailing about 150 different boats over 58,000 ocean miles with my wife and kids.I have sailed my own boats engineless up to this past year.We have logged 32,000 miles in our two Hogfish designs logging 2 Atlantic crossings, and 6 trips to the West Indies and back raising our 2 daughters from 3 weeks old till now ,21@16.
First off to get the Morejohn sailing stories right that have been misstold by the Buldocs and others.
#1. I sank in an 18 ft. plywood Corsair while crossing the gulf stream at night Dec. 3rd 1977. The boat hit something and sank within 10 minutes.I was 18 miles offshore and ended up swimming for 20 hours and landed 45 miles up the coast in Miami.
#2While sailing a brand new professionally rigged Morgan 34 to the Virgins we were dismasted, the lowers having parted at the Norsmen fittings.
#3.While sailing Hogfish single handed to the Virgins 500 miles south of Bermuda I was run over by the U.S. navy warship #38 a 500 ft. destroyer that was running with out lights playing in a wargame at 8 at night.It was blowing about 30 knts.I had the staysail up and was running due south, the Hogfish suddenly went over on its side with the mast in the water and then she popped back up and kept on sailing under vane.I could see the ship as we went down the side of it.They said they were trying to see if they could pass without me knowing as they had me on radar and could see my masthead light.single handing has its risks as i was just on deck .
SO THATS IT.
Now onto why my boats are the way they are.First off I want to make it clear that I belive THAT PEOPLE SAIL BOATS ACROSS OCEANS NOT BOATS SAIL PEOPLE.There are lots of ways to do it you just have to get out there and start doing it.First off I like my sharpies to be strongly built,to carry inside ballast,all my tools ,and supplys for me and my family to live comfortably full time, its our home, hence they are heavy.They carry 200 gals. water and up to 180 bags of stores, 85 gals diesel,8000lbs lead,10 anchors and all the chain and rodes to go with them.Sailing them empty or loaded down 8000lbs more than fully as when we were building our house in the Bahamas they just move right along.In both boats we have averaged 116 miles a day for all our passages sailing very conserativly.
The weak point in these boats is in going to weather they are a bit slower than most of the new lighter boats but not as tender.We can sail to weather in gale conditions with out a thought.I feel that all the sharpie designs that have thier bows out of the water pound like crazy at anchor and make it impossible to live aboard so mine are 6to8 inches under.All this fuss about how they act at sea is by people that have not been to sea as when you get in more than a 3 ft seas the bows are in, under, out ,up down it just does not matter unless you are going to daysail in protected water and never sleep.
ALl rudders have to be deep narrow and vertical.I have tried the Bolger rudders on the first boat and it worked ok in shallow sailing but loaded up to much and was a pain at sea.Bruce Kirby got it right.I have sailed other designers boats and they had hydrolic steering so you could handle the weather helm.not for me .The HFM is steered by a Edson rack and pinion and we have never had the ports in the water or ever not felt in total control in 19800 miles.I feel all the old classics and the traditional designers and redesigners are great but when at sea you have to reef earlier and they are wetter and do not have the extra reserve bouancy that a little more freeboard has.the windage is the same as a cabin boat of the same size cruising boat.It is just as easy to build a boat with a little shape as to build a square box.The only thing that makes a sharpie cheap is that the hull can go together very fast. After that it is the same as any other boat as you are going to have to put the same things in it as any thing else,EXCEPT you do not have to conform to the eveything has to match crowd,then you can buy really good stuff used,and make your way cheaply,or kinda.The HOGFISH cost 18,000.00 22 years ago.The HFM cost 35,000.00 in 1999 to launch.I am the best at findng deals so in todays market it will be in the 60to 70s.PLUS YOUR LABOUR.It was 1200 hrs for the Hogfish and 2000 for HFM.I have built over 60 boats on my own so as an amature figure twice or more.
Right now I am building an Ian Farrier 32ax for a friend and when finished this summer we will be off again.I invite anyone that wants to build one of my designs to look me up in St. Austine fla. and we can go for a sail on HFM and the you can convince me that you really want to build.
I can be reached by email at, firstname.lastname@example.org
where I will answer questions frankly. Also you can see many photos of our sailing adventures and our boats on my Facebook page Chris Morejohn.Just say sharpie info.To end this I would like to say We are shallow minded sailors who think deep sea thoughts.Good sailing, building and dreaming.