He was the President of HMS Marine and we’d become friends. By then, I’d owned several Potters and had written books about what you could do with small sailboats. I’d introduced a nomenclature: “Micro-Cruisers” (13-15 feet) that could cruise one sailor, overnight two inside, and day-sail four… “Compact Cruisers” (16-19 feet) that could cruise two, overnight four inside and day-sail four in greater comfort… and “Family Weekenders” (20-26 feet) that could allow a family of four to spend a few days on the water without driving each other nuts. Potter 15s in various forms had been the heroes of my books.
I wrote for Cruising World magazine back then and Small Boat Journal. HMS Marine and I had developed a sweetheart deal. I’d design some variants on Potter designs, Joe would build them and I’d take them to scenic places, try out the mods and get HMS Marine in some books and magazines. We were, in the process, evangelizing small-boat cruising. Most of my ideas involved Potter 15s. I drew the boat with a shoal keel. With the centerboard trunk gone, a port-a-potty could slide out from under the bridge deck for use. Shoved back, we had a sweet spot to stand in the hatchway. At night, a filler-cushion filled the spot. I made a removable compression post to allow for an unobstructed double berth. A storage space in the bow put weight where the Potter liked it and we slept head-to-bow with our legs below the knees sliding under the cockpit seats. We tried a lateen-rigged P-15, the mast socketing into a PVC tube glassed into the forward edge of the cabin, through the bunk platform and glassed to the floor. Time from arriving at the ramp to sailing away: 8 minutes at our best.
When we weren’t trailer-sailing America, our boats were bashing around in Buzzards Bay and the Atlantic Ocean…sea trials for real. I sold Potters for Joe in New England and thus got familiar with the Potter 19, setting boats up for new customers. Spoiled by the effortlessness of the P-15, I found the 19’s mast difficult to raise. I worried that the massive iron daggerboard, when fully raised, elevated the boat’s center of gravity dangerously high. Imagining being caught out in a storm, you wouldn’t want the boat tripping over its deep board. Shallow draft boats have fared best by being allowed to skitter sideways when waves hit. Also, the CB trunk, massively glassed as it was, could still be ugely stressed, board down in a storm. You might reasonably ask when most owners would ever encounter such conditions, but the Potter mystique was all tied up with amazing voyages made in the boats. It had to be able to walk the talk.
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POTTER WITH A LATEEN RIG?
Our editor-at-large Larry Brown is 75 now…an increasingly ancient mariner. He’s sailed various Potters since the early 1990s.
Reborn as a Camp-Cruiser
The Joy of it All
Choosing a Boat Design
Sitting hove-to in 30 knots of wind was not how I anticipated spending my opening day.
RECONSIDERING ROSIE'S RIG
It was a typical hot Mississippi day when I walked into the Ocean Springs Yacht Club to cool off. I had just spent two hours bent in half while working inside the cabin of my West Wight Potter 15. I was stiff and drenched in sweat but feeling proud of myself. I had just turned Rosie into a lateen-rigged catboat.
When we were kids, we had a cocker spaniel aboard during summer cruises. The dog apparently had a massive bladder, but we kids were happy to row her ashore when nature called. We thought boating with a pet was terrific…but did our folks have a voice in the matter?
Some fiberglass boats, like Boston Whaler skiffs and MacGregor power-sailers, are built with integral flotation foam between the inner and outer laminations. Roger MacGregor was willing to flood his water-ballasted boats just to prove that they would not sink—and you can still find his old sales videos if you want to see for yourself. (youtube.com/ watch?v=hemNdJmzQBo)
MAKING THE SWITCH
Following are some methods for adding a Lateen rig to a Potter 15. Most of the photos are of my boat, but some clever ideas from others are included as well.
FIVE QUESTIONS: Richard Woods
Sailing experience with Richard Woods
Core Sound Cruising
Hmmm. I’m in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a nifty camp-cruiser sailboat on a trailer. I have a daughter on a sailing lake in Michigan, and another daughter on Long Island Sound in Connecticut.
Boost your HAIR COLOR for SUMMER
You can add pop and dimension to any shade with strategically woven ribbons of lighter or deeper color, but not all highlights and lowlights are created equal. In this guide, professional hair colorists decode the many variations and explain how to find the best for you.
Private equity's favorite tax break is one of Washington's favorite punching bags. So why can't anyone get rid of it?
HERE IS EXACTLY WHAT your dad wishes HE COULD TELL YOU
We asked dads to reveal how they really feel (yep, even in the trickiest sitches)—and they delivered. Read on for heartfelt confessions *and* practical advice...
DETAILED ‘OPEN SOURCE' NEWS INVESTIGATIONS ARE CATCHING ON
One of the more striking pieces of journalism from the Ukraine war featured intercepted radio transmissions from Russian soldiers indicating an invasion in disarray, their conversations even interrupted by a hacker literally whistling “Dixie.”
BIDEN MONEY PROBE WON'T JOE AWAY!
President, brother Jim & son Hunter caught in slush fund scandal
A prominent interior designer creates an outdoor oasis with hints of glamour and eye-catching artistic elements in Southern California.
COPS STILL TARGET SHOOTER BALDWIN
But self-pitying whiner insists he's cleared in movie gun death
What Would You Like to Know?
An afternoon of pleasant negotiation with actor, stealth musician, and Taylor Swift muse Joe Alwyn.
Blue -or Bluer
In Pennsylvania and Texas, democratic voters face clear ideological choices that could signal the party's direction
Was Censorship the Greatest COVID Threat to Freedom?
WE’RE NOT JUST fighting an epidemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, declared at the Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020. “We’re fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus and is just as dangerous.”