Here I am sailing back toward the dock, the very first time she’d been sailing to windward. Her Mik Storer built RSS sail is setting perfectly and although the water, sheltered by the mangroves doesn’t show it, the wind is up around 20kts and SEI is loving it.
But they’re almost gone now, museums and historical societies restore and preserve examples, and in fact it was a picture from a little website about the history of boats around the town of Hardangerfjiord that inspired this design.
I wanted all of the attributes, the virtues of the original, but with the ease of building that plywood gives. I enjoy rowing, but she’s got to sail really well so the proportions have been changed in that she’s finer forward and fatter aft which helps stability, reduces pitching in a head sea, and accommodates the crew weight back at the tiller where it’s normal to sit, without spoiling her looks or her rowing.
Author sailing Sei.
She’s simple to build, like the boat that inspired her she has a flat panel bottom rather than the complexity of a structural keel, three planks a side, overlapping which makes the fitting very forgiving of any slight error in cutting out, and has an open gunwale that not only makes her very strong, it also gives a place to hold on when lifting or to lash things to when tying gear in for a picnic or cruise away.
This method of construction makes for a very light boat, in this case mine, with no special effort to keep her that way, weighs in at 72kg including oars but not the sailing gear, she has buoyancy built in, just in case, and is stable enough to stand up and walk around in. Carefully of course but that’s still better than any other small double ender that I’ve tried.
This shot shows just how simple she is, there are air tanks under the seats fore and aft, the daggerboard case is small and relatively unobtrusive, and there is space to sit down in the area between the centre thwart and the sternsheets. Leaning back in comfort against the gunwale is a comfortable and sheltered spot for the skipper when out sailing.
I put a daggerboard in rather than a centreboard with its complex centrecase and pivot, the ‘board is not large and is light enough to handle so its not a big deal to pull it up when you’re approaching the beach. The case is small enough so it doesn’t encroach on the rowing seat, that made it easy for me, sitting at the drawing board, to get the rowing position just right. Seat height, footrests, rowlock position and height are all critical factors in making a boat comfortable to row, and I row SEI for hours at a time. Just easy strokes, leaving almost no wake, but still moving along nicely. It’s almost as pleasurable as sailing her, and she sails really well under her single big, very quick to rig, lugsail.
I’ve had comments from quite a few of those who’ve tried her, “Amazingly stable,” “Leaves next to no wake,” Nimble, but still directionally stable,” “Much faster than I expected,” and “Gosh, she’s light to lift and carry around”.
I enjoy rowing, in a boat that is nice to row that is, and I often take SEI out on the river of an evening to enjoy the sunset, or on a full moon and a midnight tide. She rows very easily, even with a couple of passengers so is working out very well as a double purpose ‘sail and oar’ boat.
I’m pleased with all of those and would carry on writing, but forgive me, I’m about to slide SEI into the water, it’s high tide in half an hour and I’m off up the river under oars to take my wife, daughter and our two dogs to the coffee shop up by the bridge about three miles away. Sayonara!
Length 4.45m / 14ft 8in
Beam 1.55m / 5ft 1in
Weight (aprox) 72kg / 158lbs
Sail Area 7.1sqm / 76sqft