Words by Travis Blake
A quality British boat builder with International acclaim, providing a wide range of craft to suit many seafaring applications!
Ah, this Island nation of ours completely surrounded by sea, I guess we could stay put and just enjoy the land but why limit ourselves when there is all that water to enjoy and explore and the opportunity to find some tasty food too! In order to get cracking with our sea going exploration we are going to need a boat and that is exactly what the great people at Cornish Crabbers can help us with, they make boats!
As the name strongly suggests Cornish Crabbers are based in Cornwall, their head office and factory are in Rock, North Cornwall and the company have been making boats there for more than forty years. The renowned British boat builder, Westerly Boats, first exhibited the Cornish Crabber in 1975 at the London Boat Show. The new boat represented a move in a different market, a 22 foot boat designed by Roger Dongray, although the initial four plywood boats built were 24 foot as Peter Keeling of Westerly felt that this was a better length.
Although there was an initial crossover with Westerly Boats, Cornish Crabbers Limited was establish as a trading business in 1977. In 1978 Roger Dongray developed another design and built from plywood a 19 foot sloop with the intention of using the boat for his own enjoyment. This boat proved popular and Mike Hughes, a builder that helped Roger produce the 19 foot boat built another six boats for people locally. The 19 foot “Shrimper” was then produced from GRP, polyester resin reinforced with glass fibres, for the hull and Cornish Crabbers have produced well over a thousand of these boats and it continues to be a great seller. Interestingly, although Roger is a boat designer of international renown having designed what is quite possibly the most popular trailer sailer, that is a sailing boat that can be transported using a road trailer, for example, towed behind a car, to you and me, he did not have a full time career in a marine business but found success as an architect. He has created designs for amateur buildings in wood, amongst other construction projects and having recently retired is once again producing boat designs. Of course many royalties have been paid for his superb boat designs over the years.
Today, all Cornish Crabber boats are made to order and the entire GRP hull moulding takes place at the company’s site at Rock in Cornwall, and this allows the Cornish Crabber Customer the opportunity to choose various colours and finishes for their boat. The boats are constructed using a range of materials, techniques and skills in the process, and delivery times from order and price, vary widely depending on the size and specification of boat ordered. A Cornish Crabbers boat is of course of a high quality product and as a company they aim to provide a high level of service that their customers would expect when ordering and specifying their new boat. The company actively encourages interested parties to visit the factory in Rock, Cornwall, to get a feel for the boat building process and to get a much closer look at the materials used, finish options available and to be happy in the knowledge that your yacht will be built by excellent craftsmen to your exact specification.
Cornish Crabbers offer a range of craft to cater for all levels of sailing ability, experience and bank balance from a sailing dinghy to the flagship, beautifully appointed Mystery 35 featuring a standard painted finish with mahogany wood trims. The Mystery 35 is described as an ideal fast dry cruising yacht for a couple or family and can be yours for £165,450 and despite being a spacious vessel it is easy and nimble enough to be operated single-handedly by an experienced sailor. Conversely, you can sail away in a Limpet 10 for the bargain price of £3,950 which is Cornish Crabbers entry level dinghy that they describe as “The coolest classic sailing tender on the market”. Of course the classic Cornish Crabbers offering is ubiquitous Shrimper 19, the company’s most popular product which has impressive production figures, with more than 1100 being built since 1979. The Shrimper is set apart from other trailer sailers as its standard outboard motor can be upgraded to take a Yamaha 9hp inboard diesel. Also, the boat has a self-draining cockpit, is roomier than other boats in its class and has a lifting keel allowing it to venture into coves and creeks and very handily can be easily launched and retrieved from a single axle trailer. You can own you very own classic Cornish Crabbers Shrimper 19 from £34,950, dependent on specification.
There is also a very healthy second hand market for these boats and the company also offers repair and refurbishments, restoration and used boat sales, and as the brand has a certain kudos and bit of a cult following there is a Cornish Crabbers Club for owners and enthusiasts. If you have a hankering for the wet stuff, with a longing to feel the wind in your hair and are looking to set sail for a lifetime of adventure, contact the good people at Cornish Crabbers to find out what options are available for you. What better way to take to the waves that in a quality British built sailing boat.
www.cornishcrabbers.co.uk / Tel: 01208 862666