As mentioned elsewhere in this site, part of the designer’s declared intention was to create a boat that was roomy, stable, easy to sail and suitable for family cruising – job done! The Kestrel has well mannered sailing characteristics and roomy cockpit with a large stowage area under the foredeck. This makes it an excellent cruising day sailer which is well suited for family outings. The fact that the Kestrel successfully combines the apparently conflicting requirements of a stable roomy cruising boat with those of a high performance racing dinghy may not be of initial interest to the cruising sailor but it says much about the soundness of the Kestrel’s design. Its pointing ability comes in very handy when beating up a narrow creek and helming a dinghy that can cope with rough sea conditions has to be reassuring when embarking on a long passage.
A cruising Kestrel’s cockpit is free from clutter. Beneath the foredeck there is ample storage space, easily accessible even when under way. The benches, hatches and stowage compartments that adorn other cruisers may look great on a dinghy show stand but once afloat, can be more of a hinderance. Such “conveniences” serve to add weight and extra expense whilst not being so practical once in use. Compare the weight of a Kestrel with those of similar sized cruisers. Now imagine hauling them out of the water at the end of a long voyage!
Helm and crew have excellent positions from which to sail the boat. The gunwales are an integral part of the side buoyancy tanks and have been designed specifically for sitting on and, when you feel sporty, hiking out from. You will not find a Kestrel inflicting your behind with an attractive but painfully thin piece of teak as you balance the boat. Comfort and mobility from such a crewing position is unrivalled, allowing Kestrel sailors to enjoy their cruising over greater distances and for longer periods.
The advantages of the Kestrel’s alloy centreboard are obvious. Plywood and plastic centreboards are much more susceptible to damage when striking a submerged object or hitting bottom. Snag a fishing line and most centreboards are damaged; a Kestrel’s plate will be unscathed.
You can, of course, modify a Kestrel to suit your own cruising needs and our builders, Hartley Laminates, can supply a Kestrel with such items as reefing main sails, jib furlers, compasses etc. The choice is yours.
Finally, Kestrels are incredibly durable. One forty-five year old example has spent most of its life outside, mainly on moorings in the Kyles of Bute and is sailed by three generations of its original owners. This is not the only Kestrel cruising the Highlands and Islands. So, if you are looking for a dinghy to go cruising in, seriously consider a Kestrel and discover why Kestrel sailors love their boats (yes, some lucky devils own more than one!)