Fijian Golden Cowrie Tahitian etc

Fijian Golden Cowrie Tahitian etc

The Background Story Of The 'Fijian' 37, 43 and 'Golden Cowrie' Designs. The story begins with the introduction in 1971-72 of two new Hartley Ferro-cement sailboats to be added to the list of auxiliary sailing vessels....... (1) a 37ft shallow draft centre-plate cutter called 'Golden Cowrie'. (2) a 43ft semi-long keel or bilge keel vessel with a starboard quartering propeller, available in sloop, cutter or ketch rig, called 'Fijian'. And with either 5'3'' or 6'3'' draught. These are of course the MK1 versions of both designs.

The first to be changed was the 'Golden Cowrie'. The centre-plate version was dropped and replaced with a choice of a fin & skeg or bilge keeled version. This is the MK2 'Golden Cowrie'.

The 'Fijian' also underwent an early initial modification. It was decided that the shape of frame 13 gave the hull a distinctive bustle in the aft run, giving her a non 'eyesweet', line. A modified frame drawing was sent out to all existing purchasers of the plans. And a modified set of drawings with the new frame shape was now marketed with 'MKII' written after the name 'Fijian'. However this was only the second version of the 'MK1 Fijian' and should not be confused with the later redesigned and improved 'MK2'.

Continuous sailing experience showed that the 'Fijian' was under-ballasted. And because there were now a number of badly performing Fijians around the world, caused by builders making their own unqualified alterations to the hull in order to modify them to a centreline shaft configuration.... the 'Fijian' was redesigned. The new 'Fijian', the true 'MK2' had a redesigned underwater shape to a fin & skeg , with a centre-line propeller shaft, and lengthened waterline.

The problem when trying to define that a particular Fijian is truly a 'MK1' or 'MK2' that it may only be an unqualified modified 'MK1'. 'MK1 Fijians' if built strictly to plan (which includes the all important airfoil shaped rudder, not a flat one), only needed an increase in ballast bringing it up to 6 tons to improve sailing performance. Many notable extended voyages have been made by these Mk1's.

It was also felt that the name 'Golden Cowrie', (unfortunately only known to very few as a species of shellfish), was a drawback. To most the name conjured up a vision of a golden variety of a female of the Bovine species of animals. The 'Fijian' and 'Golden Cowrie' were from the same stable just variations in length. The ease with which these designs can be increased meant that 'Golden Cowries' were built from 37 to 42ft, and 'Fijians' from 43 to 48ft. As part of the Hartley policy to cut down on the number of different names used it was renamed the 'Fijian 37' or 43 or whatever length built at.. There are infact 'Fijians' in existence from 37 to almost 57 ft.

Tasman-Queenslander-South Seas-Tahitian etc Similarly the 'Tasman', 'Queenslander', 'South Seas' and 'Tahitian' series of motor-sailers were also only length variations of the same design, and with many being extended you had for example 'Tasmans' built as long as 'Queenslanders', 'Queenslanders' built as long as 'South Seas' etc . So this series also underwent a similar system of name-change to just 'Tahitian 27', 33, 37, 45 and 50 etc. Regards.

Colin Brookes.mSNAME.
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The information and comments given on this 'World Of Ferroboats', website are based on first-hand experience gained by the contributors over many years of use, designing, surveying, building and repairing ferro-cement boats.