Very few boat designs have withstood the passage of time like the West Wight Potter. The first West Wight Potter 14 was designed and built in 1960 by Stanley Smith of the Isle of Wight in the UK for a planned transatlantic crossing. Smith designed the Potter with the comfort, stability and handling of a bigger boat capable of open sea sailing. Smith made history when he delivered a Potter to a client in Sweden. As the story goes, following Smith’s first sea trial there was such demand for the new design that he gave up on his transatlantic plans and became a boat builder, eventually producing more than 150 copies of his little yacht. Since then, over 3,000 West Wight Potters have been built in the United States by International Marine in Inglewood, CA. This pocket cruiser, recognized worldwide, has delighted its adventure seeking owners by carrying them safely to a multitude of exotic shores.
The Potter’s all hand-laid fiberglass construction boasts the most modern materials available. Positive flotation core materials include high density foams and quality end-grain balsa to achieve an extremely strong stiff hull and deck structure without added weight. All hardware on the Potter is over-sized and through-bolted with backing plates and extra thickness in areas of stress. All fittings are of the highest quality stainless steel and anodized aluminum. The retracting keel allows the use of a larger, longer keel. The result is a boat which will easily sail into the wind while getting the weight lower down for greater safety and stability. The keel retracts completely into the hull, flush with the bottom of the boat to provide the absolute lowest profile possible for easier trailering, sailing and beaching your boat. The unique wide bottom, hard chine hull configuration is found only on the Potter.
Although this flatter bottom design is considerably more expensive to build, with additional inside stringers and structural members not necessary in regular round bottom boats, the benefits are quite important: greater chance to plane up and over the water, higher flotation for less forward resistance, wider water line for greater stability under rolling conditions, greater smoothness in heavy seas as the “V” of the hard chine slices leanly through the heavy chop of the sea, higher stance in the water for easier beaching, less draft for shallow water sailing, less chance for sea spray to reach the cockpit area, better tacking into the wind as the flatter sides resist drifting, a lower profile for easier launching.
Inside, comfort and practicality are foremost. Each sleeping berth in every Potter is a wide, adult-sized 6 ½ foot bed. You never have to convert a table or slide away the galley to get to your berth. Many far larger boats do not have the actual sleeping accommodations of the Potter. Outside seating is high and dry, with the boom of the main sail positioned well over the head of the tallest crew member. All controls are within easy reach. Even the mainsail control is located in an easy to reach center position.
West Wight Potter allows you to hit the water in its largest model, the Potter 19 for under $25,000. They also offer other options in the Sanibel 18 for under $26,000 and the Potter 15 for $14,995. All are trailer-ready vessels saving you slip/mooring and cleaning fees. Some of the Potter 19’s special features include retractable keel, 15 gallon fresh water system, built-in 36-quart cooler, marine cooking stove, fabric covered cabin cushions, stainless bow pulpit and cockpit rails, mast raising system, Tohatsu 5 horsepower engine, all which sits tidily on a galvanized Baja trailer.
Check out Potter’s long rich history and passionate following on the thousands of websites and blogs documenting the adventures and excursions of their happy owners. Read how they towed their vessel to their favorite seaside/lakeside venues and went from trailer to water in under an hour. And did I mention that the boat and trailer can be towed by a vehicle as small as a Mini Cooper? That’s right! You don’t need to invest in a gas-guzzling truck to haul a Potter pleasure craft.
Do you need to be an experienced sailor to handle a Potter? Not at all. While experienced sailors love the West Wight Potter line the novice can handle this stable, forgiving, unsinkable vessel with ease. You can also add a package to have your boat rigged for single-handed sailing.
“She will look after you when the skies turn grey and open up wide new horizons barred to boats of a more demanding nature.” – Dave Greenwell, one of thousands of happy clients.