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Featured Boat

June 2022 - KRKA

By David Chidell

KRKA is a junk rigged Newbridge Pioneer, designed by Bill Dixon (successor to Angus Primrose at Moody Yachts) and built in 1986 by Newbridge Boats in Bridport, Dorset.

Many of Newbridge's boats were designed to be junk rigged initially (almost unique amongst production yachts), models such as the Navigator (19 feet LOA), Corribee (21 feet), Coromandel (21 feet), Venturer (22 feet), Virgo Voyager (23 feet) and Pioneer (26 feet).  Several have made epic voyages under the ownership of highly individual and practical sailors, typically lovers of simplicity and tradition.

The Pioneer could be Bermudan or Junk rigged, single or twin keeled, or have an enclosed steering position (the Pioneer Pilot).  KRKA is twin keeled and steered by tiller in the cockpit.

She is named after a beautiful national park in Croatia.  For simplicity we pronounce the name "Cracker".

Her key characteristics are: 

Construction material: fibreglass.  LOA 25' 10".  LWL 20' 6".  Beam 9' 0".  Draft 3' 0".  Displacement 2.67 tons.  Keel 1.20 tons.  Tapered aluminium mast by Needlespar (34').  Engine: Yanmar 1GM10 diesel.  Berths for 4 adults & 2 children.  Headroom 6' 1".  Adjustable saloon table position.  Two-burner gas stove.  Forward-facing, lifting chart table.  Forward-facing heads.  Main anchor in covered bow compartment.  Four cockpit lockers.  Wide side decks. Single junk sail (325 sq. feet).

What makes KRKA special is that for many years she was owned by the JRA and used as a charter boat in the Solent area.  Aspiring junk-rig sailors (and others) could learn what it was like to sail a junk-rigged boat, as well as having a good holiday.

The original owners sailed her across the Channel, crossed France via the canals, and based her in the Mediterranean for a number of years.  Unfortunately, she had Newbridge's "Hi-Power" rig which never performed well.  See Newsletter 29 for critical comments by Robin Blain on this rig.  Also, read the article by Jim Stirling, co-owner of the Newbridge Pioneer Red Admiral, on the huge improvements brought about by replacing the Hi-Power rig with the Hasler/McCleod rig.


IThe JRA, under Robin Blain's direction and with considerable help from members such as Maurice Donovan, brought KRKA back to the UK in 2000, had her professionally treated for osmosis, replaced the mast and sail, had the engine thoroughly overhauled, replaced the propshaft and fuel tank, and carried out the numerous tasks (all documented) needed to bring her up to "charter boat standard".  The new sail was given hinged battens.

In 2008 KRKA was sold again and continued to be sailed in the Solent area.

n 2015, we (Lynda and David Chidell) had moved from inland Cornwall to coastal Falmouth and were looking for a junk-rigged boat to day-sail and spend the occasional night on board.  We learnt from Robin Blain that KRKA could be for sale.  We only had days to make a decision, as she was about to be hauled out for the winter.

To cut a long story short, we bought her!  Robin Blain was a tremendous help in overseeing the de-rigging of the sail, removal of the mast and lifting of KRKA on to a lorry.  We arranged winter storage just down the road at Cockwell's Boatyard, Mylor Bridge, and a summer mooring at Mylor Yacht Harbour.  JRA members, Paul and Mo Fay, fulfilled their very generous offer to make a new sail (the old one was totally worn out) as well as a catcher / sail cover.  Cockwell's lifted the engine out of the boat to give it a thorough overhaul in one of their sheds, replaced the stern bearing, made a new rubbing strake, re-seated the stanchions and strengthened the stern track supporting the sheets.  Lynda and I re-rigged the sail and carried out numerous other tasks before KRKA was launched in April 2016.


In the first year there were problems to sort out, mainly to do with the sailing performance.  But these were overcome by Year 2 and we have now had nearly seven years of sailing most weeks from April to November.  KRKA, with her blue, junk-rigged sail, is a very noticeable boat in the Carrick Roads and out to sea in Falmouth Bay.  She is easy to moor and anchor.  She tacks well.  We reef and un-reef at will.  The interior is very well designed and two people can lie down in the cockpit in comfort.  Above all, we enjoy sailing her.

Sadly, for age and health reasons, we intend to put KRKA up for sale this July.  If she does not sell this year, we feel next summer's sailing should be our last.

Our Featured Boat (or "Boat of the Month") Archive is here, and the forum discussion for comments and candidate suggestions is here.

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