This boat is the very reason Hartley Boats exists today and we have built the whole company around this first boat over the past 20 years. It was actually a mistake that we became the builder.
I bought a second hand Kestrel from Blackwater Sailing Club and dad and his seven-year-old son, both novices, started to sail and capsize nearly every time we sailed the boat at our local club.
We then decided to enter the National Championship to be held at Sunderland Sailing Club on sea water. First race, strong winds and gusting with massive waves that I was not used to. I wanted to stay on shore but my crew convinced me that we could only get wet. Out of control and on the first gybe my crew and I went swimming and had to be rescued and returned to shore.
That night was the Associations Yearly Annual General Meeting where the Chairman presented his dire update, the builder had gone bust and after six months of trying he could not find another builder and the class was doomed. When all the members were asked for their thoughts and suggestions, my crew said “Dad you need to help!”. My hand went up and I said “Mr Chairman, it sounds to me as if you have given up” at this point his response was “what do you know about manufacturing boats?” I advised “nothing”, he then retorted, “was that you upside down that had to be rescued and brought ashore?” I advised “yes it was”. He advised me to shut up and stop bothering him. Thirty minutes later the Chairman asked if there was anybody present that would build and save the boat? My crew again said “Dad we must save the boat you can do this”. My hand went up again, I was told to be quiet and stop bothering him, the meeting was then brought to a close.
Later in the club bar the other five members of the committee came and asked me if I was serious, could I build the boat? My crew replied, “my Dad can build this boat”. They then disappeared and within a short time they returned and informed me that we were the new Kestrel builders!
I knew that we needed to improve the boats look, buy the copyright, design new pattern moulds and make this boat special and give it a future. We would need to employ the best Naval Architect in the UK and get him to start immediately. By reputation I knew that Phil Morrison was that special man we needed, I will ring him and get on. During my first phone call I explained my requirements and asked for the cost and when he could start, his response was, “no thank you, I’m not interested”. I rang him every day for several days with the same request until he said he was going to put the phone down and I was to stop bothering him.
I knew Phil was the best designer to do the work on this boat so I decided to hook the boat up and tow it to him, I knocked on his door and said I wasn’t leaving until he agreed to take the contract. His brief was not to change the hull design as this was a fabulous design, although a rounded bottom the boat was a thoroughbred, a challenge to sail but when you have mastered this it is the best double-hander symmetric boat you can buy. The boat is so comfortable with its rounded side decks and deep floor, it is a joy to sail, it points well and handles big waves and strong winds in its stride.
The spinnaker is not large but the boat because of its hull shape will pop up and plane. You cannot fail to come ashore without a big smile. Should you get the gybe wrong, the boat is so easy to right and the bailers remove the water. The boat fit-out is user friendly with every control to hand.
The class has a full calendar of open meetings, they are very friendly and helpful and encourage every new sailor. With a National Championship every year. The boat performs very well to its PY 1040 and sailed by a confident crew will have a lot of success at club level.
You can choose your deck, non-slip floor and hull colour, even your own boat name to give your boat the personal touch. With a hull weight of only 134kgs it is easy to tow and a doddle to launch and retrieve. We tune the boat ready to race. We like to complete a full boat handover for every new owner to ensure that they know now to rig their boat, how to set his boat for a beat, reach and run for all conditions. This is to ensure that you get the best results from your new investment but also that you enjoy your new boat.
When we sell a new boat, Hartley Boats likes to complete a full boat handover. Not only to ensure that you understand how to rig your new boat but most importantly that you get the best from your new investment and enjoy sailing the boat and come off the water wanting to return and sail again.
We at Hartley Boats are very proud of our standards and build quality, to demonstrate that statement we are the only manufacturer to offer a 4-year guarantee. Should it be needed we are able to deliver.