come original

local knowledge

come original

A few months ago, Sailing Anarchy ran an article featuring an innovative
design for a boat called "Presto" a 30 foot cat-ketch with wishbone booms.

It stoked my attention because I live in Coconut Grove where Ralph Munroe,

one of Miami’s original pioneers, designed the original "Presto" in 1885.

He was an innovator and a prolific designer. A salvor, agriculturalist,

sailor and photographer, he designed about fifty five sailboats and he was

Nathaniel Herreshoff’s good buddy. Early in his life on Biscayne Bay, he

pretty much had the whole thing to himself and his exploration of its

shallows and inlets led him to adapt the design of the sharpie fishing

boats of Long Island Sound and Chesapeake Bay. This first produced "Egret",

a flat bottom very shallow centerboarder and later, "Presto" which was the

first sharpie yacht built with round bilges for going offshore.


Munroe was also the founder, at the turn of the twentieth century, of

Miami’s Washington’s Birthday Regatta and just day before yesterday,

Saturday, I was working on a mark boat for the 2010 running of that event.

The live version of Presto 30, the boat you featured with drawings was

there and it was very impressive. It was light and lively and fitted with

nicely shaped sails. They smoked the competition including Miami

sailing icon Dave Westphal’s "Scintilla"–a beautiful, light, stretched,

powerfully rigged version of the Commodore’s "Egret" that looked like it

was built for the sole purpose of winning this race. Unfortunately, I

wasn’t able to get a closer look at Presto as we had to rescue a swamped

boat and tow it to shore but when I can I’ll send in the pictures.
  – Kit Temple.