Matt's first home-made microcruiser (pic 1), Terrapin,
was 16' long and had a 6' beam. With a fully battened mainsail and
toed-in leeboards, she was reportedly quite fast to windward. She was
cruised extensively along the North Eastern seaboard of the United
States and she worked reasonably well. However, one day in the cold
waters off the coast of Maine, the small flat bottomed boat experienced
a severe knock down in a fierce storm. The boat went to 90 degrees and
stayed there, supported only by her buoyant mast. When the winds
abated, Matt righted his craft, but the experience started him thinking
about a better and more seaworthy design.
This new design became Swamp
Thing (pic 2). She was 13'-2" long and 44" wide, and she proved to be a
novel sailboat because she did not have a centerboard or a leeboard.
Instead she employed specially shaped external chine logs, which Matt
called chine runners, to prevent leeway. These chine runners also had
the added benefit of not picking up lobster pot lines or sea weed,
which proved troublesome with the leeboards on Terrapin. Swamp Thing
proved to be a great success overall, and she was sailed all the way
from Matt's home in Connecticut to the Bahamas and back. The only
trouble Matt experience during the entire trip occured one very rough
night in the middle of the Gulf Stream when he was standing on deck
signaling his presence with a flashlight to a nearby passing freighter.
As luck would have it, the great ship passed too close by and the
subsequent wake upset the already confused 10 foot seas. This
ultimately caused the little boat to be knocked onto its side.
Unfortunately, Matt then grabbed a chine runner for support, and that
finally pulled the little sharpie over and on top of him. Nonetheless,
the diminutive micro-cruiser was soon righted in the tepid waters off
Florida, and Matt continued uneventfully onto the Bahamas.
long cruise, Swamp Thing was given away to a friend, and the
construction of a larger version began. This sharpie became know as
GJac (pics 3-5). GJac was 14' 10" and was similar in concept to her
predecessor. After about a year, Matt had learned as much as he could
from this boat, and he went on to build Little Cruiser, which had more
comfortable accomadations. This 15'2" micro-cruiser was sailed as far
North as the Bay of Funday and as far South as the Bahamas in the years
that Matt cruised aboard her. Eventually, we came to own this wonderful
craft as well as her sister ship, Swamp Thing.
Note: The leeboards you see in the pictures of GJac were added by a later owner