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#1 2 Jan 2023 1:04 pm

New Member
Registered: 2 Jan 2023
Posts: 1

Skerry Raid, suitability questions

Hi all,

I'm looking at building the  Skerry Raid as a spring project to teach my disabled wife how to sail on small lakes this summer. I would also like it for myself to take on rivers and costal day trips.

My plan is to adapt it so that the deck structure is enclosed into airtight hatches so that it is very buoyant. I would make 2 rigs, one spirit rig with jib for teaching and a gaff rig with larger jib for me.

My questions are:

How stable is this hull shape? My wife will not be able to easily move around when sat inside the hull to counter balance. I would be in it with her to counter balance the rig but I would not want it as tippy as a topper or Lazer ect.

How easy is it to top on a roof, I know it would be a 2 man lift for sure but with the hull enclosure will it still sit stable on roof racks?

How easy is it to right after a capsize? I would have to wright it and scope my wife in it at the same time.

What is the approx speed of the hull? Is it compatible to say a mirror or a Wayfair for example?

Thank you for any help you can offer before I go and commit to may weekends of work!!


#2 5 Jan 2023 11:31 am

Registered: 8 Jun 2011
Posts: 68

Re: Skerry Raid, suitability questions

Hi Sam,

Thank you for your questions about the Skerry Raid and your plans to take your wife sailing sound like it could be really rewarding.

Alterations / Rig:

Can you please elaborate what your intentions are with the deck?  The boat already has gunwale height decks with enclosed chambers fore and aft.

Also, what size sail area are you planning on fitting as this will affect the answers to most of your questions.  If you keep the sail area conservative, then the boat will be more stable, less tippy and possibly a little slower, but not too much slower.  If you over-power it, then you will need to be leaping about to keep the boat under control.  You will also have excess weight high up which will make the boat feel more tender.

During the initial ‘Grand Tour’ of John Guider’s Skerry Raid trip a couple of rigs were tried: a sprit mainsail with a roller furling jib, and a single balanced lug sail.  The simpler lug sail was found to be the best fit for the wild range of conditions that John endured, from violent storms in open water to placid creek-crawling.

Car topping:

I would suggest the Skerry Raid would be a trailer boat rather than a car topper for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the boat would be best put on a roof upside down and the coaming that goes around the cockpit will cause havoc with a roof rack.  The way around this is to build a cradle to hold the boat spreading the loads off the coaming and onto the gunwales.  This will add weight.

You plan on altering the boat which will presumably add weight.  The design weight is already close to the maximum you would want to put onto a car roof and I accept it depends totally on the type of car, the roof rack in question and also the means of attaching the roof rack to the car, rails, roof gutters etc.

Thirdly, the design weight is the weight that is possible for the boat to be, but equally it is also very possible for the boat to be a little heavier.  For example the Douglas Fir used could be towards the 700kg/m3 weight rather than the 500kg/m3 weight of it’s variance.  Your fillets may be a little larger than prescribed or you may add additional weight inadvertently by building in cold weather so the epoxy will be thicker and there just be more of it on the boat. 

So the design weight is the actual weight of a built boat that has been weighed, but you need to bear the above points in mind and things tend to point to a trailer as it is close to the limit for car topping.


Stability is very difficult to gauge.  The Skerry Raid is certainly more stable than a Laser but it is still a sub-15’ boat.  The side decks will make a big difference when comparing it to the stock Skerry design and will give you a little more comfort when sailing on the rail, though she sails better more upright.  There are a couple of things you can do to help keep the boat more stable such as keeping the sail area conservative, sailing on days when the weather isn’t erratic or gusting heavily, being careful where you sail so there are no weird winds rolling off mountains or suddenly reversing along narrow valleys.  In addition you can consider adding a bag or two of sand in the bottom of the boat which will help dampen gusts.  Another option would be to build it with a steel centreboard or add in lead weights, but I would be less inclined to do this as you cannot then remove the weight quickly if needed.

That said, this boat is really very capable and has been tested in the real world through a several storms, high winds, waves over 6,000+ miles, and that is just one boat with one person!  It is a popular boat with many out there and quite a few of them used in the various raid events as the boat sails very well, rows very well and is light, yet has enough space to store camping gear and take a small degree of supplies.

Th Skerry Raid can take two in the cockpit and I would be wary of reducing the cockpit size as you intend having two people in there.  Moving around the boat is another question and there is not a huge amount of space.  It is possible, but maybe not so quickly.  You may need to consider installing additional seating to make the boat more comfortable.


The boat can be righted from capsize by a single person.  It may be possible to scoop your wife in but that would depend on how over the boat was at capsize.  Clearly this would take practice in a safe spot on a warm and still day.


The Skerry Raid is not a fast racing boat, but then it will ghost along with little or no wind when many other boats are idle.  It goes back to what rig you plan on using and is difficult to say exactly, but the lug will work best in the broadest of conditions and you will be around the same speed of a similarly loaded Mirror I am pretty sure.  The Wayfarer will probably be slightly faster as it’s larger boat with larger more efficient sail.

I hope this helps and if you would like to chat any of this through then please give us a call, Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700hrs on 01539 567148 and we will be very happy to help in any way we can.

All the best.



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