Page updated: 6 July 2006
In the group news:uk.rec.sailing somone had asked what terms like "sporty performance", "dinghy like handling", "steady performer", "impeccable manners", "good seaboat" mean in a sailboat review. He had seen the SeaHawk described as having a sporty performance.
The first respondent had said:
Not a bad little trailer sailer. Light to tow. Mast easy to unship..Reasonable performance. Responsive to tiller. Fairly well built. Large roomy cockpit. Suffers from heavy helm and big leeway in a blow. Lifting keel is difficult to raise. Keel knocks a lot in wavy conditions. A bit spooky sleeping in the long quarter berths at night. Look out for cracking around the lifting keel case.
Tim Stringer then replied as follows...
[The original of this post is held in the Google Groups Archive.]
Date: Sat, Apr 15 2000 12:00 am
I have an early (1970's) Seahawk and am very pleased with it.
The ballast built into the stub keel (at least 300lb of concrete I believe) makes it reassuringly stable even with the steel centre plate raised making it ideal for shallow water creek crawling (18" - 3'). The two built in stub bilge keels also enable it to dry out almost upright. The simulated clinker lines of the hull give it a nice stiffness rather than the very bendy panels of some small boats and it feels reassuringly solid. I can raise and lower the mast single handed with only the aid of the jib halyard but having two people does makes it far less stressful. Likewise with a few judicious aids, e.g. furling jib + downhaul on the main, sailing single handed is easy. The lifting keel has a simple wire strop and a stainless steel handle operated purely by muscle power from the companion way, a metal peg through a hole retains it in the raised position. I don't find it too onerous but yes it can feel quite heavy (I believe the plate itself weighs about 70lb but the pivot bolt takes a lot of this).
As I use mine on the Norfolk Broads (there are a large number of them round here, at least six within a mile or so of my mooring, as they were built locally) I cannot comment on the sea handling, waves of more than a few inches in height being a rarity!
The boat itself handles very nicely, is light, fast and responsive to the helm (yes, dinghy like) and has a surprisingly good (sporty) performance both in straight line speed and in pointing ability (We do a lot of tacking on the Broads). I am certainly not embarrassed in the company of other boats of a similar size and am consistently surprised that we seem to be able to overhaul boats we would assume to be faster than us. I cannot say that I have found the weatherhelm to be excessive although like any boat it's better if you reduce sail (and keep main and jib balanced) in good time and keep the angle of heel moderate. Having said that I have deliberately tried to douse my cabin windows on several occasions but it is difficult to get her to heel past a certain point.
The cockpit is large and I have accommodated 4 adults + 2 children daysailing. The accommodation is fairly minimalist but adequate for two people used to a camping type environment (and fairly typical of a boat this size).
I deliberately sought out a Seahawk because it fitted all my criteria of good sailing ability, easy handling, shoal draft, in a small package all at a very reasonable price. I have not regretted the choice and find her a delightful boat to sail with adequate accommodation for my needs.
To put these remarks into context over the last 40 years I have sailed a wide variety of craft (and owned quite a few) inland, coastal and offshore ranging from small semi-sinker windsurfers, through racing dinghies and catamarans, many types of sailing cruiser, to a 67' BT Global Challenge Cutter so I have reasonable experience for comparison.
Hope this helps.
The photograph here shows Tim's old boat. The one the new owners would not sell back to him!
A couple of years later Tim reported to members of the NSBroadsboating group on his experience with his SeaHawk.
From: "Tim Stringer"
Date: Tue Aug 27, 2002 8:10 pm
Subject: Re: Seahawk wanted
I had my trusty Seahawk for 4 years and loved the way she handled and the ability to get away from it all in those quiet shallow areas.
I then got the hankering to go for something a bit bigger and faster (mainly to try and complete the 3 Rivers Race!) with comfortable accommodation for the whole family. So I sold my Seahawk earlier this year and bought a Jaguar 22 in need of TLC. The Jaguar had splendid accommodation (especially with the pop top up) and was a very nice boat.
Unfortunately the family still couldn't be persuaded to stay on board (or actually come sailing with me at all!) and the Jaguar with it's powerful masthead rig just wasn't suited to sailing single handed (so I've spent nearly all this year working on it and practically no time sailing). Because of the large (150%) genoa which made fast tacking extremely difficult and the fact that I only actually got her ready for sailing the day before the 3 Rivers Race so had no time to get used to her or tune her we did pretty dismally and ended up retiring again (in fact I reckon I would have beaten the Jaguar in the Seahawk this year).
Every time I went to the boatyard I saw my old Seahawk (couldn't persuade the new owners to sell her back to me!) and realised she was ideal for the type of sailing I normally do and perfectly quite adequate for me to sleep on alone. She was also so uncomplicated and easy to maintain and I could drop the mast single-handed without any artificial aids. I'll probably do the 3 Rivers Race in a Wayfarer or something similar in future, although I did have a crazy idea about putting some huge rig on the Seahawk, it's only the light winds in the evening that stop her, she hasn't got enough, or high enough, sail to ghost along in the dark or between trees like the traditional boats.
So after spending a huge amount of time (not to mention money) bringing the Jaguar up to scratch I decided to do the sensible thing and get another small boat, with lifting keel (my Jaguar had the fin keel) and dinghy like handling and actually go out sailing again. Sometimes you don't know what you've got until you lose it but a least it's stopped me hankering after a bigger boat now (and I've got use of my parents Seamaster 28 if the family want to go motor cruising in comfort!).
So the search goes on.
Tim's search led him to a Timpenny 670, which he owned for a few years before again selling it on. Then, on 23 June 2006, he reported on the old Mail List (Now replaced by The Forum):
4 years and 3 months after selling her, tonight I bought back my old Seahawk Pip II !
Now Greg, at least you can't say I don't take my own advice!
She's looking the worse for wear at the moment but hopefully a few weekends solid work should see her looking her old self again in time for the summer holidays. With a bit of luck might even get her out on Hickling this weekend.