Humble Bee

Iain Oughtred


The classic 8' clinker pram was traditionally one of the most popular of small boats, because of its combination of excellent carrying capacity within a minimum overall size. This makes it ideal for use as a tender to small and medium-sized cruisers. 

The plywood planking makes the pram an even better tender, allowing lightweight construction in a tough and durable hull, which stays tight in all weather conditions. This is especially significant in long-distance cruising, where a tender is often stowed on deck in the hot sun, yet still is frequently soaked in salt or fresh water.

The HUMBLE BEE (a fat one came buzzing on one summery day around the time I was wondering about a name) is carefully worked out to maximise the very demanding compromises implied in a design of this size. She performs very well, rowing or sailing, within a wide range of displacement: a crew of one to three, or the occasional 4th for the row out to the yacht in calm water. The bow transom is moderately small, and well above the waterline so she can be pulled through a bit of choppy water without being stopped in her tracks by every second wave, as some prams seem to - and staying remarkably dry.

These are three optional sailing rigs: the simple sprit or standing lug is perhaps the most practical. They are very similar in performance and handling. The high-peaked Gunter is a rig that was most popular in the traditional British yacht tender; the battens are inconvenient but the roach increases the sail area to 40 square feet on spars of minimum length.

Humble Bee 2nd image