For several years we have been receiving requests for a boat that rows as well as our 14′ Whitehall and is just as attractive, but that has more capacity and is still blazingly fast. People have also requested the ability to row tandem with sliding seats without worrying about clashing oars or keeping a delicate balance. Plus, seaworthiness for long open water adventures is desirable. We studied historical design and came across the Melonseed Skiff, which is a derivative of the famous Jersey Beach Skiff. The Jersey version, being used for a mixture of rowing and sailing as a workboat, has a higher freeboard for dryness under sail and greater load carrying capacity. However, a pure rowing boat is hindered by that high freeboard due to increased windage, weight, and steeper oar angle. With this in mind, the Melonseed was developed with an almost identical underbody as the Jersey Skiff, but she is built with one less plank at the sheer. The rowing and sailing versions of the Melonseed share an identical hull, but because of the constraints of sailing design, the sailing Melonseed includes a sealed deck, which effectively increases freeboard. There is very little difference in the rowing performance of the rowing and sailing versions, however.
After many requests from our customers for a sailing version of the Melonseed Skiff, we have done it! We have added a sealed deck, a solid wooden mast, a balanced lug rig, and a daggerboard which still allows dual sliding seat rowing with the mast up. This Melonseed has a fine bow and stern, elevated ends to drive over chop, and a stunningly graceful sheerline. It has a flat bottom (called a box keel) which furnishes tremendous tracking ability. On the box keel, she sits flat and secure on a dock or beach instead of leaning on to one side like a full keel boat such as a Whitehall. The length of 16’5″ and the substantial beam of 64″ allows the use of long sweeps without the need for custom outriggers. The optional balanced lug rig gives the sailing version good performance in light wind yet requires no stays to support the mast making it very easy to rig. The daggerboard is just below the front seat so that it can slide right over the top without impediment. The console for the mainsheet is removable to quickly convert the boat from sailing to rowing configuration. With the long box keel and the balanced lug rig, the helm is remarkably natural with just enough weather helm to make sailing easy even for a beginner. If this sounds like the boat you have been waiting for, don’t hesitate to call us!
Entire experience with GHBW has been outstanding! Knowledgeable, gracious, and very patient service. Guidance that truly meets the customer’s skills and interests. Final product that combines high-quality, reasonable price, great function, and traditional beauty. We could not be happier with GHBW and with our Melonseed! Thank you, Janet, Falk, and rest of the GHBW crew for your time and hard work!”
– Michael (17′ Melonseed)
~Mark (17′ Melonseed)
Excerpts from the Small Craft Advisor Magazine review:
“We think the Melonseed represents an excellent value. She’s quite versatile, being a pleasurable sailboat, an exceptional rowboat, and being small enough to manhandle but large enough to bring crew, the dog, or a few crab pots along.”
“More stable initially than a typical dinghy at the same length, the Melonseed isn’t twitchy or overly sensitive to crew movement, and her pronounced sheer means her ends carry her up and over choppy seas.”
“Rowing performance was, as expected, excellent. All of the owners we communicated with seemed overwhelmingly satisfied with performance under oar.”
“…she offered exciting sailing right down next to the water, but she also felt stable and didn’t require exceptional athleticism to handle even during our races. In a word she was just like her rig: simple.”
Read more about the USCG buoyancy test in our February 2010 Newsletter
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|(Displacement shown is fiberglass, kevlar is unavailable in this model)|