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Winklebrig Queries

Started by venturerdave, August 16, 2016, 07:12:33 PM

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I really like the looks of the Winklebrig. She is such a pretty boat and with her twin lifting keels very practical also as they don't clutter the cabin with keel boxes etc. However, I have one or two three concerns and queries  one of which concerns the keels.

Where I live we are all built around a courtyard so keeping any boat at home is not an option. Does anyone have experience of keeping a Winklebrig  afloat, either on a mooring or in a marina. Do the lifting keels create problems with fouling etc when afloat all season or do they remain fairly clear and easy to swing up and down.

What are the sailing qualities like. From the waterline length she should have a hull speed of about 5.2knts which seems quite good. How does she point up into the wind. I accept she will not win a round the buoys race but that is not what I want. I am hoping she is a satisfying boat to sail and not something that will frustrate me.

Is it possible to retract or lift the bowsprit to reduce berthing costs. If so how is the mast supported from the bow. Do the shrouds support the mast without any additional stays being necessary.

I am hoping that the above questions will be able to be answered to confirm that not only is the Winklebrig a very pretty boat but one that I would enjoy the ownership of.

Thank you in anticipation of any replies to my queries.



My WB is afloat since end of May2016, I didn't had any problems because of that.
Because of the bowsprit I go backwards to the boat bridge. Otherwise I see a problem to jump on board or leave it.
Regarding sailing properties of my WB up to 4 Bft. I feel very comfortable on this boat, sailing on a lake off app. 13,5 km2. I think it depends to experience and expectations of each individual onboard.


Life is happy, life is sweet, on a gaff rigged boat of 16 feet!


Hi Dave.
This is very personal, but my views are as follows:-
1. Keeping the boat afloat is not a problem, but the hull is not epoxied so I don't think you should  keep her afloat 12 months of the year or you may have problems with osmosis.
2. You will very rarely sail at 5 knotts. If you want speed, the Winklebrig is not for you. Equally, being a gaffer and not a boat which can be 'tuned', she does not point well.
3. Yes it is possible to make a modification to the bowsprit to allow retraction.
4. All boats are a compromise between weight/size (for towing and launching), looks, comfort and performance. If your priorities are in this order, then  the Winklebrig may be for you. If performance is higher up the list, then she probably isn't - Go for a Drascombe or Cornish Crabber.
I have had an enormous amount of fun with my boat and haven't regretted a single day of ownership.
Good luck! 

Mike Seller

Hi Dave,
I'm the owner of Heligan (sail No:95) and it was the pretty looks  of the Winklebrig design that persuaded me rather than going for the Cornish Shrimper. Winklebrigs are much cheaper and as you have recognised the bilge board arrangement allows for less cluttered space down below in the cabin.
Gaffers of course do not have the same upwind efficiency compared with that of a Bermudian rig but I'm never in a hurry and have found that after tweaking the various 'strings' she sails well enough for me. Heligan has the high peak mainsail without the topsail so performance upwind is better. At the moment I keep the boat on moorings during the summer months (last 3 years River Thames) and have had no problems with raising or lowering the bilge boards. The boards can warp and the iron weights rust if not properly maintained. When I got the boat the iron weights were blistered through rust and had swollen causing them to stick inside the casings. Since cleaning them off and regular painting each year no more problems.
You can retract the bowsprit but would have to change the arrangement of the fitting with the foredeck cleat. Obviously you would need another shorter forestay when removing the bowsprit.
Lastly if my GPS is to be believed then 4 knots plus is about the max for my boat so far!



Hi Dave,
I completely agree with what Martin and Mike say.  Having owned Markie, WB15 from new (29 years), I have never regretted the purchase.  In 1987 we were looking at the Cornish Shrimper at the London Boat Show, but one of their salesmen told us of a review in Yachting World which featured the Cornish Shrimper and also featured a Winkle Brig.  We bought the magazine at the show, compared the boat specs. and decided there and then it was no contest.  The Winkle Brig, on most counts, won hands down, smaller, lighter, easier to tow, launch and recover, had more space below decks and looked so pretty.  And was half the price.  Out and out performance was of no importance to us, but being out in a fun boat with lots of bits of string to play with and comments from the general public and other boat owners about how lovely Markie looks, that is worth the few shortcomings.
Yes the performance to windward is not brilliant, but as long as you are not punching the tide, progress is ok.. Downwind performance is excellent, especially with the topsail rigged.  And on a broad reach we have logged a sustained 6 knots, a fantastic feeling. 
Earlier WBs had GRP rudders and bilge plates which can survive life afloat whereas the later plywood versions with iron shoes can/will suffer if left in water.  Also all the remaining woodwork takes a hammering if left exposed to the elements. 
We are fortunate in having the space to store Markie at home, if we did not  I would expect a local caravan storage facility would be willing to store her.
Go on Dave, go for it.