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Hi all

I've just bought myself a nice little leisure 17 yacht which i intend to bring to the Broads next summer.

Are any there other owners of these fine little boats on the forum?

Any useful hints and tips relative to sailing the Broads would be appreciated.


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Thanks for the replies,I'll be joining the Loa in the next few days.

My little boat is a twin keel,had to be to go on my drying berth.

The Kingfisher project has got to go to make way for the 17. But theupside is that the 17 is pretty much ready to sail,any work will be because i want to rather than needing to. Lots more sailing time!

I wondered if anyone has single handed mast lowering experience on the 17s? Thanks

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I might be able to help, with some more History, I was present when my father collected his new Sunstar 18 in 1970 / 71 ish.

Arthur Howard was now running a company called Sun Yachts in Gillingham.

His design of the Sunsatar 18 was a slightly bigger version of the earlier Leisure 17, the main difference is the front round side windows were replaced with larger oval shaped windows.

It was this year that AC Howard was developing the Sun Ray 21, I saw the prototype, ready for the boat show and the wooden plug that he was polishing and sanding ready for a production mould to be taken.

The Sunray 21 was the first one he designed with standing head room.

From the conversation with Arthur Howard, if I can recall, there was a split up and bad feeling around that time.

Also, prior to the Sunstar 18, there was a smaller brother called the Sunspot 15.

I trust I have recalled the information correctly, it was a long time ago.

I recall Arthur Howard buying us lunch in a local pub at that time.

Just for the record... my drink was a bottle of pop lol...

I was a teenager at the time.

The Sunstar 18 was a very stable boat, we often went into the North sea from Great Yarmouth, and we also circumnavigated Anglesey including the swellies.

Much later my father with a few friends, sailed to the Isle of Man from Conwy, in the days of no mobile phones, no GPS, he used a radio direction finder to plot his position.

The Sunstar was self righting, and the demo documentation showed that no water entered the cabin in a complete knockdown situation. ( laboratory conditions, ie no waves.)

The boat was a very safe and stable yacht, and we sailed it hard too, often one bilge keel skimmed across the water.

Re Mast lowering, my dad first used a rope around the bow roller, and then lifted the rear of the mast on his shoulder until the rope could be used.

As he got older, the rope was replaced with a block and tackle and then finally an "A" frame, in similar design to the one on Reed Bunting from Martham.

With best regards,


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My father on his sunstar18, modified the rigging wires, as he wanted quick release on the side wires as two were slightly forward of the mast, and he bought two stainless lever type tensioners, so prior to dropping the mast, he released these, levers, and the mast was able to be lowered. The rigging wires had to be shortened by quite a bit to compensate.

He also placed clear plastic hose loosely over these clamps and rigging, as the genoa would chafe against it.

On raising the mast, he was also concerned that the rigging wires didn't snag or kink, and several attempts had to be restarted part way through, especially when working alone.

He also made a broads style crutch and made some brackets for these, in order for the rear of the mast to be supported.

And yes, it went under Potter Heigham bridge like this, provided that all the crew were in the cockpit.

It sailed quite close to the wind, despite only having bilge keels, and with a draught of only 2' 3" was able to take advantage of the widest broads.

The advantage of bilge keels is... if you are healed over and hit bottom, when the boat becomes upright, she is clear again.

The very opposite for a fin keel.

He also made a boom tent, that meant that the hatch could be left open at night in all weathers.

These are very tough little boats. Well made and take the ground well on drying out moorings.

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Thanks viking23,lots of good info there. The lever type shroud tensioners sound like a good idea.

I'm glad they're a tough boat,I've got a 25-30 mile trip ahead of me to get her home,including crossing the shipping lanes at Harwich! Oh what fun for my first sail on her.

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