|History of the Col. Lewis.||This hull design is probably fairly
It is appealing for several different reasons. First and foremost, it is a relatively simple design to build. Second, this hull design has a very shallow draft--when I first floated it off the island (wrapped in plastic), it only drew about 2"! The shallow draft enables this hull design to manouever in all but the most shoal waters. Finally, this hull design also has a fairly large cargo capacity. Even when it is fairly heavily loaded, the draft does not increase appreciably.
I was really tickled to see that the same basic hull design is being used widely in the Russian Far East today. I had an opportunity to travel through the Kuril Island Archipelago this past summer as part of the Kuril Biocomplexity Project team. While I was there, I saw several large (~30') sharpies in use by local fishermen. Many of them had clearly been in use for a long time, and I was told by one of my Japanese colleagues that they are all Japanese-built boats (Japan occupied the Archipelago until WWII). However, two of the boats I saw were brand new (one was receiving its first full soaking).
Here is some video footage I shot of one of these great boats.....
Kuril Sharpie (8.44 MB QuickTime video).
And a few stills:
In addition to this open, dory-style boat, sharpies have been built to a wide range of specifications, being outfit for sail, for steam, and for diesel power. The definitive book on these hulls is "The Sharpie Book," by Reuel Parker, but there are also discussions about and plans for sharpies by Gardner (in "Building Classic Small Craft" and "The Dory Book") and Chapelle (in "American Small Sailing Craft").