Note from a Nimble 20 Enthusiast...

Subj:  Pocket cruiser
Date: 5/7/1999 7:06:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: pwagner@zilog.com (Phil Wagner)
To: chipw2@aol.com
CC: morris@persoft.com


Thought I'd send some comments about the Nimble 20.  My wife and I owned one of the centerboard models for a few years until we moved away from protected water.

We found the Nimble very easy to trailer and launch ourselves.  With the centerboard up, we often motored in less than two feet of water.  The boat is available with a very strong tabernacle arrangment that allows easy two-person mast raising and lowering, even with the boat in the water.  If you go to the trouble of using the mast raising tackle, one person can do the job alone.  We ordered the tandem trailer (a single axle is also available) and pulled the rig with a Jeep Cherokee with a 4 liter 6 cylinder engine.  No problems, although we had to be careful to balance the tongue weight.  For some reason, our trailer wasn't balanced very well when we received the boat.  The tandem trailer really improves directional control while backing up.

The boat is very nice on the water.  Not the fastest thing around, but very comfortable and one of the prettiest if you like a traditional appearance. Other boats were constantly motoring or sailing up to us for a closer look
and a chat.  We had a boat with tanbark sails and a forest green hull.  The cabin interior was very comfortable for weekends, but as with most boats this size, it doesn't have standing headroom.  The cockpit is quite large for a 20 footer.  We bought a 4 stroke outboard for the boat since the engine sits in a well in the back of the cockpit (the boat has a canoe stern).  A 2 stroke would have been too noisy and put too much smoke into the seating area.

The yawl rig was very easy to control and gave us a lot of reefing choices when the wind picked up.  We often went sailing on days when other small boats stayed in the harbor.  The boat is amazingly stiff under way even
though it only carries about 400 lb of ballast. Since the boat uses form stability instead of weight to keep it upright, it sails best in relatively flat water.  Running into waves over three feet tended to slow the boat down a lot.  A steady 15 knot breeze moves the boat at 4.5 - 5 knots on a beam reach.  We had the short rig option.  I presume the tall rig would be a bit faster.  Based on our experience with the incredible stiffness of the design,  I would definitely recommend the tall rig option.

We were very happy with the handling and build quality and would recommend the boat for serious consideration to anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.


Phil Wagner