Didi is the smallest of the Bruce Kirby designed ‘Keeless’ Norwalk Islands Sharpies range. All of them (5.5, 7, 8, 9, 10.5, 13) make a strong case for the title of the ultimate cruising boat. The Keelless Unstayed Rig Norwalk Islands Sharpies. Changing seascapes and attitudes around the world. 200 years of Work Boat heritage, combined with Bruce Kirby’s modern design thinking (Laser, Sonar, Pixel, Americas Cup) gives us a fast, very safe, amazingly easily handled, ultra shallow draft, family cruiser or racer.
All are designed to be home or professionally built in light weight modern plywood epoxy composite construction. Now around 50, in build and on the water, in all of the sizes so far except the 13 in Australia including 4 in Tasmania. There are many more in the Americas, and Europe.
With their ‘Keel’ (Centreboard) ‘up’, their very shallow draft and strong bottoms mean they can moor where others cannot. Their ballast is fixed in or on the hull so they are not keel dependant for stability and righting or stuck with the dangerous tripping action of conventional keels in survival conditions. Both booms can be swung out beyond 90 degrees to CL, eliminating the need for spinnakers and sail changing. Single line reefing and all controls run to he cockpit. No need ever for sail changing or going forward in any conditions, especially survival. Because the sails never leave the booms, the already large cabin space is uncompromised by wet sails which can be such a bane on living aboard. The NIS range all self steer, with the wind forward of the beam and can even be sailed backwards. The range has been constantly tweaked by the Nisboats crew and builders over the past 30 years. For the doubters of the unstayed masts, and the types seaworthiness, the proof was the witnessed voyage to the 2007 Hobart Festival from Port Welshpool by Robert Ayliffe’s NIS 7(23′), ‘Charlie Fisher’, with Robert and his Crew and Bote Cote’s Ian Phillips. The little boat was sailed happily through a variety of conditions, often running before 40 plus knots, and on the run home, solo from Marion Bar, to Triabunna, beating and broad reaching into (witnessed) 65 plus knots. Complete and staged kits are available world wide. You can stage your project with the plywood framing and furniture kit and everything to finish the boat pack. The kits are available in Australia, the Americas and Europe.