Isle of Wight
Tel: 01983 613268
Fax: 01983 565451
Crews of up to Four
Experienced & Beginners
Keel Boats Available to Charter
DescriptionThe Sea View Yacht Club is the proud owner of a fleet of 13 keel day boats called Mermaids. This fleet is available to non-members to charter and has become a popular (if somewhat different) form of corporate entertainment.
Mermaids are 7.92m (26ft) overall and displace 1.5 tonnes. The boats take a helm and a crew of two. However, beginners eager to learn may make up a crew of four (the helm must always be qualified) and experienced sailors could get by with just a crew of one together with the helm. Normal rig is jib and mainsail, but in light weather genoas replace jibs. In heavy weather, small mainsails are used. Within reason, charterers can choose what sail to use, but the Club reserves the right to restrict the use of genoas, spinnakers and/or full mailsails when the wind strength exceeds certain limits. In exceptionally strong winds or sea states, it may be necessary to abandon sailing altogether.
While the rig is relatively simple, it is modern and the boats are responsive and fun to sail. The Club stipulates that there must be at least one experienced person per boat - two outings in a dinghy is NOT considered enough! That said, the boats are not difficult to sail. However, winning races demands concentration and skill, the outcome being entirely dependent on the helmsperson and crew.
On a cautionary note, the yachts weigh 1.5 tonnes and although quite tough will not withstand collisions which inevitably results in serious damage. The Club's insurance policy carries an excess, which has to be passed on to the person responsible for the damage. This forms part of the charter contract.
The first fleet of boats was made in 1907. They were gaff rigged with a short bowsprit and quite a long counter. A new class of Mermaid was built in 1922 and was replaced in 1963 with hulls made of cold moulded plywood. In 1994 the Sea View Yacht Club decided to start a replacement programme, with the hulls of the new boats made of Glass Reinforced Plastic. There is no discernable difference in the performance of the boats in the fleet and thus competitive racing relies upon the skill and seamanship of the helm and the crew rather than the luck-of-the-draw.