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What Should Chuck Hawley’s Next Boat Be?

Chuck Hawley wrote us a letter about Webb Chiles, which will appear in the January issue of Latitude 38. We wrote him back to check on the name, type and homeport of his current boat. He replied, “Just sold her, but she’s still in my driveway. Soleil, Harbor 20, Santa Cruz, CA.”

Chuck Hawley and his now ex-Harbor 20, which appeared in the story about his recent Good Jibes podcast.
© 2021 Chuck Hawley

Chuck went on to say, “I’m looking for a similar boat that is easier to ramp launch at a very marginal ramp at Fallen Leaf Lake. Looking at Ultimate 20s and Open 5.70s. My second-most-recent boat was Surprise, an Alerion Express 38 yawl, several Zodiac Pro Open 650s, a Megabyte, a Viper 640, a 15-ft Whitehall, and so forth. I love boats.”

We’re going to assume he doesn’t want a foiling cat or some other exotic boat. Given what we know, what would you recommend to Chuck? We thought about an oldie-but-goodie centerboard Rhodes 19, but that sounds way off the mark. Then there’s a nice little centerboard 18-ft Marshall catboat in our Classy Classifieds. But that doesn’t sound quite right either. What do you think? (Please post your suggestions in the Comments section below.)


  1. Beau Vrolyk 1 year ago

    Chuck, the perfect boat for Fallen Leaf Lake is the Joel White design: “Haven 12 1/2”. It is a centerboard version of the classic Herreshoff 12.5, one of the all-time best small boats. The centerboard will allow you to use your “very marginal ramp” and still have a fine sailing boat. You won’t mind how slow she is, it’ll just make the lake feel larger. 🙂 Plenty of room for four or five adults and an ice chest for adult beverages. If you get a wooden one, you’ll be able to stay busy in the winter varnishing. A real plus! Cheers, Beau

  2. Peter Hogg 1 year ago

    Nothing bigger than an Opti

  3. Daniel Irwin 1 year ago

    If you aren’t going to race, stay out of one design racing boat classes.

    There is a wonderful U24 for sale in Latitude right now. it needs a trailer, but that shouldn’t be all that expensive and maybe you can negotiate the price to help with the trailer. Note the keel doesn’t come all the way up. It’s more like the Antrim 27 than the U20 that way.

    J. Antrim has been quoted as saying that the U20 bows were too full and the A27 bows were too fine but the U24 was “just right. Sounds a bit like the 3 bears story.

  4. Jim "Goose" Gossman 1 year ago

    Get a Potter 15. You will never plane, but you’ll be safe, dry, and can take naps. Also, beach, row, and sail well enough. If you want more room, get a P19. Several of us Potter-Yachters have both, and have done Bay, Tahoe and Pacific NW in them

  5. Ants Uiga 1 year ago

    The traditional small craft boats have a lot to offer, but the second hand market is dispersed. Numerous cnc kits are offered, but the completed boats are the desired option. If you allow 3-6 moths for searching, the options are good. As an example, the Caledonia yawl is a trailerable boat that does yeoman duty in hauling people and gear. These traditional small boats are offered in a limited market. Contact me for suggested ways to find them. Tan bark sails and gunter rigs may be part of the offering.

  6. Jeff Cook 1 year ago

    You know there is only one answer if you want one-design racing, cocktail cruises, family outing,and fun with your buddy.

  7. Pat McIntosh 1 year ago

    I’d suggest either a Catalina 22 or a West Wight Potter 19. We’ve had multiples of both of them at different times, and I think the Potters handle real rough water a little better, so your choice will be a‘personal’ fit for where and what kind of sailing you do most of the time.

  8. John Woody Skoriak 1 year ago

    Hi Chuck , this should be your next boat. Go traditional. A 17 ft. Herreshoff Coquina. She’s lapstrake wood, but planks are glued and fastened, so no worry about leaking seams. Beautiful design by Herreshoff for his own use sailing coastal Mediterranean shores in France, etc. It was very successful for coastal sailing use, and he even shipped it back to US. Sturdy boat, sails very well. This one was built in San Francisco around 2010. Check it out at this photo link
    (you won’t find this listed for sale anywhere)
    Good Luck and good to see you are still around and sailing

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