The Minstrel comes home

Getting a new boat is always exciting - and also a bit frightening especially when it is bigger than the other one and comes with a trailer.

I went down to see the boat which was advertised at £8,500. Jill and I went to see it and pretty much decided that we would love to buy it. There were two other Minstrels on the market at the time - an immaculate one with all the bells and whistles as well as a good engine for £9,500 and a grotty one for £6,500.

In the end I got £1,000 off the price and I think that both John, the former owner, and I were happy with that.


Then it was a case of tracking down a van to rent. I found one for £40 a day which makes buying an old car to tow the boat with an absolute nonsense. The journey home went amazingly smooothly

getting the boat into the garden was impossible with the van - I could not get the long wheel base around the corner - as you will see it is a pretty tight location. I have towed bigger boats into the garden using a 1600 cc sierra. I used to be a tractor driver so I am pretty good with a trailer. In the end a neighbour with a four wheel drive came and drove it into the garden

so here is the boat tour

The boat has two rigs - one high peaked gaff gunter and one bermudan. John had been sailing it with the bermudan but I want to play with the gunter.... so a couple of snags to deal with

The main slides up a slot in the gaff - or at least it should

the outboard well looks great from on to[p but a a bit weird from under the boat - it is designed to work with a short shaft outboard

It will be really interesting to see if it works

and while we are in the garden.... the Seawych is still here. getting it ready for the water has turned out to be a big job - most of the bulkheads had rotted out so the interior has needed a lot of glass fibre work and the temperatures have not helped much

but I am confident that the Seawych will be sailing this summer

generally I like the look of the boat - the stern will take some getting used to

This is about Dylan Winter's Blog, Hunter Minstrel. Tags: ,

42 Responses to “The Minstrel comes home”

  1. 9 May, 2012 at 11:02 amNeil says:

    Lovely looking lines on her. You’re mum would have been happy knowing, not only how much joy she will bring to you, but everyone else from around the world who enjoys and appreciates your work. Keep it up Dylan.

  2. 9 May, 2012 at 11:41 amIan Johnston says:

    I know a couple of people with Hunter Liberties, and they both swear by them. She looks like an excellent choice, and I wish you all the very best in her.

  3. 9 May, 2012 at 12:11 pmGavin Atkin says:

    The Minstrel looks pretty practical… I love that wheeze with the windows.

  4. 9 May, 2012 at 12:46 pmJim Cruise says:

    Nice boat Dylan. I think you couldn’t have anything better for KTL.

  5. 9 May, 2012 at 1:15 pmchuck yahrling - O'Day 20 In Maine, USA says:

    Out to be be more reliable and economical than the venerable old Slug, although I will miss the angst of her maintenance projects. I wish you joy of your new command.

    Re teak: I “took a page from Don Street’s book” and experimented with Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer (oil based) on my teak, after some minor prep. Passes the 10-foot test and is easy to apply (even on damp days) and maintain. IMHO varnish is impractical for boats based North of 40 degrees, unless you employ a footman to keep after it.

  6. 9 May, 2012 at 5:35 pmVester says:

    While I enjoyed the shipwrights interviews and various machinist you’ve had to deal with, it will be nice for you to getting along with the actual adventure you’ve set yourself.
    The boat appears a better way to be going on with, and more comfortable also.

  7. 9 May, 2012 at 8:10 pmLuis Candeias says:

    One more vote with the general consensus: nice boat, crap name.
    If I was going to sail that boat on my own, I would keep the Al mast and bermudan rig. Gunter rig with wooden spars = too hard to sail solo.
    Just my honest opinion

  8. 9 May, 2012 at 8:41 pmSteve says:

    I’m with Luis.. beautiful boat.. sell the rig for project funds…. I disagree about the name though,I like it.. :o)

  9. 9 May, 2012 at 9:17 pmdylan winter says:

    going to start with the gunter

    short spars are good

    and I can really cut the windage when the chips are down

    I think that the boat might sell more vids than a standard bermudan

    or bermudian

    My plan is to put the aluminium mast and sails in the garage – who knows I might break the gunter by hitting a bridge.

    The aluminium rig might be better fro when I get to the broads – although amazingly there is really no difference in sail area or much difference in height


  10. 9 May, 2012 at 9:18 pmdylan winter says:

    I like the name because of its extreme eccentricty

    might prefer it if it was called Botham or Boycott though

  11. 9 May, 2012 at 9:53 pmkeith lewis says:

    How about using an anagram of Wendy and Jill for her name and get the family to vote for the best?

  12. 9 May, 2012 at 9:56 pmdylan winter says:

    voting in families

    democracy in my domaine

    u crazy man

    besides my family do not watch the films so you guys have more say than my nearest and dearest

  13. 10 May, 2012 at 2:11 amDavid says:

    How about a naming contest and the winner gets their choice of DVD?

    I like “Katie Elle” if it hasn’t been suggested yet.

  14. 10 May, 2012 at 4:28 amRichard says:

    Dylan: You love the birds so much. How about “Winter’s Flock”.

  15. 10 May, 2012 at 7:26 amdylan winter says:

    Katie L


    Katie Elle



  16. 10 May, 2012 at 7:27 amdylan winter says:

    naming it after myself might be a bit weird – although no weirder than a cricketer

    flock is too close to a well known other word

  17. 10 May, 2012 at 4:08 pmStan Richards says:

    An enjoyable morning today seeing these videos of your new Minstrel. Always entertaining!

  18. 10 May, 2012 at 4:41 pmRon says:

    Like the boat, crap name.
    Katie L is fine.
    Prefer the Gunter rig for same reasons you do – appearance, short spars, get windage down when needed, more appealing on video too.

  19. 10 May, 2012 at 6:47 pmJim Cruise says:

    Minstels fitted with the standard gunter rig as supplied by Hunters are not slow by any means. You may be pleasantly surprised by the performance – she is a David Thomas design after all!

  20. 10 May, 2012 at 7:00 pmMac McDonald says:

    Another one for “Katie Elle” or “Katy Elle”. Rude not to, in the circumstances.

  21. 10 May, 2012 at 7:40 pmkeith lewis says:

    Count me in ‘Katie elle’ or how about as one word ‘Katielle’.

  22. 10 May, 2012 at 7:54 pmMac McDonald says:

    Ok Dylan, here it is.

    Just see the vid. If I may suggest, a couple of things need to happen. Here’s what I’d do.

    1) Dry the spar out for a week. You don’t say the wood is wet and swollen, but that may be a start.
    2) Get some 80 grit sandpaper, wrap this round the sides of a wallpaper scraper (nice stiff blade). Clamp this in place with one or two mole grips, one either side which serve as handles.
    3) Insert into end of gaff and then rub back and forth to suit.
    4) Drill out the track from the end. You can also get a smaller drill and secure a wrap of sandpaper round it with thin wire and bits of gaffer tape enough to sand out the hole, but you’ll need a drill with good slow speed control to not scare the poo out of youself doing this. Or use a rat tail file but this would take onge but the health and safety people would approve.

    If 80 grit won’t fit try anything smaller till it will. You have to leave room for the varnish so it really doesn’t need to be a tight fit at the end, especially as the eye in the throat of the sail will get lashed to the gaff anyway, so you can almost lose the first 6″ of the track.
    If the wood at the foot of the track is rotten, this will need cuttig out, replacing and re drilling as above.

    But thinking about it, dinghy masts don’t usually have the luff track starting right at the tack, but they do have a “lead-in” section. As long as the eye of the throat on the sail is properly lashed to the gaff, there ought to be no strain on the bolt rope up the head of the sail for at least a foot, so it doesn’t matter if you take too much wood off and make it too loose for the first 4″ or so.

    Galley: another thought, you could build ( not easy but do-able) a sliding galley cooker + sink tray unit that slides totally into the quarter berth. You could even include a folding tap unit. Camper van shops have loads of these things. In fact, you could make a huge sliding unit that does both storage and cooking facilities but liminates the need to crawl in and rummage about, which is always a pain.
    Ok, that’s it. Finished.

    Now that toilet door, you mention. What you could do is….

  23. 10 May, 2012 at 8:41 pmdylan winter says:

    great suggestions here Mac

    I know none of this

    I think the problem is in the lower end – the slot looks a bit wider further up.

    as for the sliding box

    not thought of that

    very sinsible suggestion

    I need to sit and think with cardboard and tape and sizzors


  24. 11 May, 2012 at 1:33 amSean Mulligan says:

    Love the site Dylan! Another “must follow” for me. Have fun with the new boat!!!



  25. 11 May, 2012 at 7:32 amThor from Tasmania says:

    The boat looks a lot more seaworthy than the slug this will help when you get up around the coast of the big men in skirts. You will soon workout what to do as it is already on your mind you just havent thought it all out yet.cheers thor and thanks for the great journey so far.

  26. 11 May, 2012 at 1:56 pmwarren says:

    I made a sliding galley yeas ago in a small 22footer, i still have the first quicky prototype, made final unit from 1/4″ door skin type plywood. even had a removable wash bowl built in. Catalina22 over here has one that gave me the idea, they were copied in Uk i think.
    You could still do the cockpit thing as well if you liked.

  27. 11 May, 2012 at 2:47 pmDylan Winter says:

    do you have any snaps


  28. 11 May, 2012 at 3:52 pmRoger says:

    Happy sailing in the new vessel Dylan.Personally I just adore a rounded stern! The Gunter Rig with wooden spars I fully agree with. Changing the name- now that is supposed to be unlucky! I did read somewhere that if you swim around the boat naked, three times, then this will get rid of that omen though. Those port blinds are a great idea! Where can I get some?

  29. 11 May, 2012 at 4:18 pmRoger says:

    Bye the way, I manage very well without a sink. Washing up bowl works fine but just check there is no cutlery hiding under the foam before you ….

  30. 11 May, 2012 at 4:36 pmDylan Winter says:

    KTL enterprises has just established a production facility

    if you take a paper pattern off the windows – fold it up and send it to

    KTL mega corp
    the old post office
    botolph claydon

    we will then hand craft bespoke window blinds to fit your boat

    single colours – yellow or blue on both sides are £12 per window

    the bi-colour as in the film are £14

    We can also get one of our highly skilled caligraphers to hand write in indellible quill your chosen slogan on one side. On the other is the legend


    you can go to a camping shop – buy a sleeping mat for £4 and do it yourself using good strong kitchen scizzors


  31. 12 May, 2012 at 12:16 amNiall says:

    Hi again,

    re the sliding galley arrangement. A lot of the Rydgeway boats (Prelude, Pandora 700, etc) had this type of galley. See here:


  32. 12 May, 2012 at 10:44 amthor says:

    last year I was boating on the murray river,the worlds third longest navagable river, down here in victoria australia and I saw a lot of house boats that had wooden covers over the outboard motors. An old bloke said that it was to reduce the noise and provided a seat, he said the motors ran well as long as the cooling water was checked now and again. This could help with your boat as you would be steering with the tiller as I do. My outboard is centrally mounted on a 25ft 3 1/3 tonner deep keel.I also have a high pitch prop which gives me 5 1/2 knots it is a yamaha8. food for thought.

  33. 17 May, 2012 at 4:20 amPaul says:

    Very nice Dylan, huge improvment on the Slug. Yes, the gunter and wooden spars will sell more vids! Disagree about the name. If something happens to it, simple, you name the next one you buy with the insurance money Wendy too! I reckon your old mum would be very happy with it and it seems to suit that boat. As to the galley, yeah, move it, and couldnt live without a sink myself, where would one leave the washing up piled up! Looking forward to seeing this new boat on the water so get a move on with her okay :-)

  34. 22 May, 2012 at 10:44 pmBob says:

    What a lovely looking boat; 15″ draft – I want one!

  35. 23 May, 2012 at 9:07 amDylan Winter says:

    no-one ever said that about the slug


  36. 30 May, 2012 at 9:17 pmIan says:

    Man bought Hunter, rigged as gunter, quite a punter,filming stunter, his comments blunter, just add S and call her Shunter!

  37. 7 July, 2013 at 11:23 pmWindy Tonique says:

    Saw a Hunter Minstrel moored up in Ambelside today and thought of you!

  38. 18 July, 2013 at 7:37 amwillie cameron says:

    hello what length is your hunter ? as i have a cox 21 and want to fit roller reefing as you have done the cheaper version fits boats upto 20ft my boat is 20ft 8 inches will the reefing you selected fit my boat .
    regards willie cameron

  39. 18 July, 2013 at 2:21 pmdylan winter says:

    Willie, Katie L is 23 feet and the plastimo 406 is is a great bit of kit and it will be fine on your boat I am sure

    it has yet to let me down


    PS – good choice of boat by the way

  40. 16 November, 2013 at 9:44 pmTom Taylor says:

    I think you are right to stick with the Gunter rig. It’ll offer all sorts of practical advantages and it’ll also probably be looked on favourably by the Old Gaffers Association. I certainly recommend joining them and joining in on some of their events.


  41. 27 December, 2014 at 9:40 pmTed B. says:

    You never mentioned what virtues lead you to the Minstrel-design — or what sins you were willing to live with. My first guesses would be;
    a. Shallow-draft so that she could be safely grounded and mud-berthed.
    b. Inboard-well mounted small outboard. (no stern-hangers on brackets)
    c. A dedicated head with some headroom and wet-locker. (The American solution of a forwards v-berth toilet under a a cushion with an open-hatch is terrible…and so many boats here have them.)
    d. Coachroof-stepped mast that can be hand-lowered and raised for bridges.

    And outright sins;
    a. A galley that not at the hatchway. (Another common American design sin too.)
    b. No mounted table.
    c. No dry hanging-locker.

    – After sailing Harmony around the North of Scotland, any thought of adding a folding dodger to Katie L? When I first started sailing in the 1980s I thought they were “odd”, but now I wouldn’t sail extensively without one with a nice cockpit overhang — especially on a tillered-boat. And you’ve convinced me that my next boat is going to have a tiller and Ray-the-autopilot.

  42. 27 December, 2014 at 11:26 pmdylan winter says:


    the upsides are as you describe

    the downside is the lack of full standing headroom

    The galley is now under the hatchway so that I can stand to cook

    a lack of a table is a bit of a nuisance and I have thought of ways of contriving one

    I will trun my attnetion back to it as the table is lovely

    I do have a spray hood for the minstrel and now that I am in scotland I will fit it – and put the dodgers on the boat as well

    a dry locker would be good – although the heads passes muster

    my aim is generally when it rains to run for a marina and plug in the fan heater. In harbour I have a boom tent that at least allows you to chuck the wet gear outside

    I shall miss the seaworthyness of the Centaur – I would be confident in her in almost any wind strength – the minstrel needs more careful hamdling under tough conditions – but it is best to hide from the bad weather


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