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Pottering About with the Potters

How good is small-boat sailing? We know West Wight Potters aren’t the only small sailboats in existence, but since early September, when we ran a story about the Potters, we’ve been receiving photos from Potter Yachters throughout the Bay Area.

Carolyn Rosner and Mike Hay bought their 2012 Potter 19, Kestrel, in June this year. “We fell in love with her shiny red hull and it turned out the rest of her was pretty Bristol as well,” Carolyn said. As the couple live in Bishop, CA, they have sailed mostly on Crowley Lake, though Carolyn said they are looking forward to sailing on the Delta as well as doing some coastal cruising.

Kestrel at the dock
The boat was purchased from a “reluctant-to-sell-but-moving owner.”
© 2020 Carolyn Rosner
Potter 19, Kestral at the dock
A couple of overnights and quite a few daysails on the lake over the summer have whetted this couple’s appetite for sailing adventures farther from home. After all, as Carolyn says, “Ventura is not all that far away.”
© 2020 Carolyn Rosner
Making coffee in Potter's cockpit.
What’s missing in this photo? Carolyn and Mike are new Latitude 38 magazine subscribers and are “Looking forward to getting our first print edition.”
© 2020 Carolyn Rosner

Bud Kerner bought his West Wight Potter 19 in December 2000, direct from the factory — making Cat’s Meow a 2001 model. “She is almost 20 years old, but still going strong,” Bud said.

2001 Potter, Cat's Meow under sail
“We have sailed many places including from Fort Bragg to San Diego. See you on the water!” – Bud.
© 2020 Bud Kerner

One of the things we love about the local Potter group is that they are inclusive of sailors who love to ‘potter’ around other small sailboats. For example, Jon Barber joined the Potter Yachter group five years ago and has now enjoyed “many fine sails” with them.

“When I bought my Montgomery 17 Ol’ 44 from Sean Mulligan, he recommended joining the Potter group because with an annual event schedule you sail more. He was right!”

Ol' 44 on the Bay
“I now have covered most of the Bay and Delta, as well as numerous trips from Moss Landing to Monterey and back, not to mention our premier outing, the Cruiser Challenge.”
© 2020 Jon Barber
Ol' 44 with another, unamed, Potter.
Jon says his abilities have been “much improved” and that he has met and sailed with many fine and like-minded people. “Come sail with us!” – Jon.
© 2020 Jon Barber

Potter Yachters commodore Eric Zilbert said, “Although Potter is in our name, we are open to anyone that sails a trailerable sailboat. We are all about good times on the water, and sharing our love of sailing and our experiences as trailer sailors. As I often say, pottering is a state of mind, not just sailing a West Wight Potter.”

Despite the 2020 challenges the club was able to run several events this year: an overnight at Spindrift Marina in late May, an overnight at Benicia in June, a sail-in to Loch Lomond in July plus a sail from Moss Landing to Monterey with two nights in Monterey, and then a trip to Huntington Lake in August. In September they had a sail to Angel Island with an overnight at Marina Bay, and a beach-camping trip in Tomales Bay. And this month they had another sail from Moss Landing to Monterey. Talk about busy!

“At each of the sails we wore masks, physically distanced, and ate our own food or ordered takeout and ate on the docks. Interestingly, each trip was made up of a different group of members; only two of us made it to all the sails,” Zilbert said.

What’s your favorite small boat?


  1. John Taussig 2 years ago

    Montgomery 17 but like the Potters too! Sounds like a great group!

    Montgomery 17
    Sick Chicken #375

  2. Jocelyn Reed Swanson 2 years ago

    There are 5 Potters on the Foster City Lagoon. The owners get together and sail the 5 mile lagoon. It’s fun to see them out.

  3. Kurt Hoffmann 2 years ago

    Loved the story about the Potters. I never owned one but I did own a Santana 22 for 40 years! Obviously loyal to the fleet and brand. Although a little larger than the Potters, she, Hot Tip provided me many hours and days of sailing out of the Santa Cruz Harbor on Monterey Bay. Technically the Santana 22 is trailerable but for me a challenge. After 40 years of ownership, with the support of Latitude 38’s Classy Classifieds, I sold my boat and relocated to Northern California but still have many, many fond memories with my boat. My advice to sailors … stick with an affordable boat you love and enjoy the sail and experiences !

  4. Howard Clayman 2 years ago

    Years ago I had a friend with a Potter who sailed on SF Bay. I was a skeptic when he invited me but learned to enjoy this fun little boat. Although I’ve had many larger boats of my own since then, I’m now happily sailing the Eastern Med on my Beneteau First 21.7 as I’ve enjoyed the “feel” of a pocket yacht ever since that Potter on the Bay..

  5. Jane Jewitt 8 months ago

    I have a West White Potter 15
    I’m based in North Yorkshire and would love to hear from other Potter owners.

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