Explorer is the first of Sentinel's boats. The design arose from
Pierre's need for a boat that he could sail with two small children.
The design brief was for a sturdy, seaworthy open boat that could
be rigged, launched and sailed single-handed while Pierre's wife,
Wendy, kept an eye on the kids. The boat had to be light enough
to be towed behind the family car, and seaworthy enough to take
the unpredictable weather around the Cape Peninsula. Pierre liked
the lines of the Argie 15 that Dudley had designed a few years previously,
but wanted a bigger boat, built with the wide lapstrake construction
that made Joel White and Ian Oughtred's designs so distinctive.
Having learned to sail on clinker built Montague whalers, Pierre
has a love of the chuckle of water against the lands that only a
clinker hull can produce. The wide strakes would also make GRP production
easier. The boat Dudley drew met all the requirements.
The 6ft beam is carried quite far forward, while
the stern has just a hint of tumble home. The interior of the hull
is spacious and easy to move around in. Deep bulwarks keep the children
in, the water out, and are comfortable to lean back against. The
galvanised steel centreboard is easy to lower and raise by means
of a simple tackle. There is plenty of stowage under the side seats
and in a locker aft, while a cool box next to the helmsman keeps
the necessary liquid refreshments cool. Wooden floorboards keep
your feet out of whatever water may find its way into the boat and
serve as stowage for the oars.
18ft wooden mast fits inside the boat for convenient trailing and
is easy to step single-handed. Rigging the boat takes about twenty
minutes. The gunter rig is simple and easy to use even for the absolute
beginner, but allows the more advanced sailor to tweak it for better
performance. Under sail the boat is comfortable and forgiving. The
hull shape makes the boat very dry and stable, while the low centre
of effort of the rig allows the boat to stand up to her sail with
ease. The mainsail has no boom to endanger young, and not so young,
heads, but the foot of the sail is stiffened by a batten to retain
sail shape off the wind. An optional roller furler fitted to the
jib makes that sail very easy to handle. The boat moves easily in
light winds, but will handle weather up to force six (or above in
case of need) with ease and in safety. The boat is well balanced
on all points of sail, giving a pleasantly light feel to the helm.
The outboard motor is mounted in a custom well
that allows the motor to be tilted athwartships inside the boat.
A 4-5 hp motor drives the boat at hull speed with no fuss and little
The Explorer is a great boat for family cruising, gunkholing or
just pottering about.
|LOA 5.50m (18'1")
||LWL 4.85m 15'11")
|Beam 1.90m (6'4")
|Draft 0.24/1.25m (9"/4'1"0
|Sail Area 13.37sq.m (144sq.ft)
||Max power 10hp
The Explorer 18 line drawing