Prolific boat owner Clive Marsh shares his experiences with the Corribee Mk2 and offers a warning to wait a while before changing a boat’s colour…
I found my Robert Tucker-designed Corribee Mk2 at Tarquin’s Boat Yard in Emsworth which is now known as Emsworth Marina. She was out of the water sporting a very eye-catching bright yellow hull and appropriately named Petite Beure.
She looked perfect in every regard apart from one thing, I didn’t then like yellow hulled boats. Still, this was a minor problem and I set about changing the hull to dark blue.
Painting a good GRP hull is really a bit daft. Not only does it have to be done with great care it will probably diminish the value of the boat when one comes to selling it. This is because the future buyer might think you’re hiding something. So it’s best to take pictures before painting and at each stage of the process.
Painting involves many stages and I decided to follow International Paint’s system and seek their advice at each stage of the process.
Doing this paid off and the finished job looked great and as far as I know is still looking good. The job took several days spread over a week and during this time I noticed that the young couple berthed next to me were preparing their 21ft sailboat for a repaint too.
It was blue and while they rubbed it down I asked them what colour they were changing to. Yellow they said. They’d admired my boat so much that they wanted a yellow boat too! Such is life – we often want something different to what we already have.
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Hand painting a Corribee Mk2
I have always been good with a paint brush and decided to use this method rather than spraying. With the correct preparation and application it would be hard to tell the difference between my hand painting and a sprayed job.
If you buy a complete paint system from a reputable marine supplier it should contain all the instructions regarding health and safety (for yourself and those around you), preparation, temperature, conditions and the various applications.
Having chosen International Paint I used their helpline on one occasion and found it most useful. The boat had been out of the water for nearly a year and was essentially dry. I needed a good dry week with little wind so as to avoid dust being blown onto the hull’s surface.
After rubbing and gently sanding I cleaned the hull with the manufacturer’s cleaning substance and when dry applied a coat of their etching primer.
This was followed by an undercoat and then two coats of the mixed two pot system. International Paint provides different systems for above and below the waterline including osmosis protection and antifouling products.
While I was taking a lot of time to research and do a proper job the couple next to me had just got a few pots of enamel paint from their local hardware store and slapped it on. I doubt it would last a season whereas Petite Beure (now called Tui) looked perfect 20 years later.
I chose Tui for the new name because I always had one of these birds in my New Zealand garden and ‘Tango Uniform India’ is a lot quicker to say on the VHF than ‘Papa Echo, Tango, India, Tango, Echo, Bravo, Echo, Uniform, Romeo, Echo’… too late. Short names are best.
Launch day came and once there was enough water over the tidal sill at Emsworth Marina we made our way under power towards Hayling Island and the Chichester bar.
I’d changed the motor from a 4hp to a 5hp which gave very adequate power. Unfortunately the larger motor was a lot heavier to manhandle over the pushpit and mount onto the pad. The Corribee Mk2 has a very good looking overhang at the stern but this is not ideal for outboard motors.
I like to bring the prop out of the water when sailing but this is a struggle on the Corribee when sailing single-handed. Some Corribees have small inboard diesels fitted and I’m sure this is a better arrangement given the profile of the boat.
Under sail she performed very well even on my baggy old sails. The fin keel version will probably sail better but Tui’s bilge keels were ideal for my little passages and desire to run up a beach or onto a hard for maintenance.
She’s ideal for a run onto Bosham hard on an evening ebb tide, then dinner at the Anchor Bleu, followed by a quiet motionless night ready to float off in the morning. This is the sort of thing that bilge keel boats are made for but, of course, you do need to be sure of the ground.
For example, running a bilge keel boat onto the steep banks of a river like the Rother at Rye could result in a very unpleasant experience.
Corribee Mk2 design features
Below the waterline the rudder on my Corribee Mk2 was protected by a skeg. The ballast was encapsulated within the GRP bilge keels which were asymmetric aerofoils in design to improve windward performance.
The only skin fittings on my boat were for the self draining cockpit and they need inspecting regularly. Antifouling is a short job, the awkward bit being between the bilge keels but I could do it all in half a day.
The disadvantage of having an inboard engine would be more points of water ingress to maintain, I guess. With her good looks and low profile one can’t expect a palace below. There are four berths, a sink and stove, and headroom is fine for sitting.
My 6ft son never complained but I’d think people much taller than him would find it a bit of a squeeze below but fine for sleeping. Some Corribee Mk3 versions have just two berths and manage to fit in a heads compartment.
Corribees in capable hands have made a number of significant voyages including a double Atlantic crossing, circumnavigations of the UK and a passage to the Azores. But for most of us Corribees are just nice little yachts ideal for pottering around.
After many years of fun I sold Tui to a work colleague who eventually sold it on. The last time I saw her she was berthed at Bembridge and still resplendent in her nice blue paint. Robert Tucker designs tend to be attractive boats and the Corribee Mk2 is one of his best.
Corribee Mk 2 specifications
Original designer: Robert Tucker (1965)
Builder: Newbridge Yachts (1975-1982)
Length: 20ft 9in (6.32m)
Beam: 7ft 2in (2.18m)
Draught (bilge keel): 2ft 2in (0.66m)
Draught (fin keel): 3ft 0in (0.91m)
Weight: More than 2,000lb (910kg)
Sail area: 154-175ft2 (14-16.25m2)
Cabin head room: 4ft 8in (1.42m)
Owner’s association: Corribee.org
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