John's Sharpie is based on the design of an old New England work boat, updated to provide an 18 foot boat that is a spirited day sailer and an able camp cruiser. Its stitch-and-glue construction produces a lightweight hull, while the two cockpit design adds strength and stiffness and provides seating for up to four adults. Since the Sharpie uses a daggerboard, it is easily beached and, if fitted with boom tents, it can comfortably camp-cruise for two. The Sharpie is a superb performer without the complications of a racing boat: it is light enough to be beached by two people whilst being capable of accommodating four.
Sharpies are designed to be fast and dry: you sit in this one rather than on it. The forward cockpit has two braced seating positions one on either side of the dagger board case: the rest of the cockpit is flat and un-impeded like the aft cockpit. There are six to eight inch wide side decks that make it easier to get in to the boat. The kit is sold without any seating so that you can configure the accommodation how you want it. The two booms are high up above the heads of most people. The cat ketch rig is fast to set up and easy to sail – tacking requires only a push of the tiller. The boat can be sailed single handed since the sheets are lead aft.
“It is a tribute to John Harris's successful combination of the various design requirements that none of us felt anything but total satisfaction with the basic overall concept, her sailing performance or elegant appearance on the water”, said Water Craft magazine while sailing the Sharpie around Coniston Water.
These plans and manual contain sufficient information on the cutting of the panels to make it possible to build the boat from scratch. The manual describes all of the techniques that will be used during the building and also a step by step guide to construction. Scale drawings are used throughout as well as photographs of critical jobs. This is a relatively easy boat to build from the plans.