The Corribee Owners Association has kindly contributed much of this history of the Corribee.
Development of the Corribee
There are a number of different Corribee Mks – clinker Mk1 then fiberglass Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3. Prospective purchasers should be aware that all will be over twenty years old (some very much older), they will have had varied lives and therefore the condition of a particular boat is far more important than its age. The notes below give a sketch of the production life of the Corribee and the attributes of each Mk; where a critical opinion is given it is merely a personal opinion and should not be read as either a warranty of fitness on the one hand or a general condemnation on the other.
In the beginning was the first Corribee, designed by Robert Tucker in 1964 as a fractionally-rigged centreboarder, clinker built in plywood on the banks of Lough Corrib, County Galway, Ireland by Mallon Boats which explains the shamrock sail insignia. A small number of sister ships were built in wood and rare and beautiful though they are, it is the series production fibre glass version that is bulk of the fleet. Corribee 1 was completely rebuilt by Yallows Yard at Cowes and relaunched in May 1998. She is shown here on the stocks and being relaunched after undergoing a refit at Clare Lallows yard (by Laurie Boarer) in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Built in 1965, she was first launched on the Medway. At present she is owned by Pat Hurley who has connections with the Classic Boat Museum in Newport, Isle of Wight.
About ten Corribees were built in wood. They look remarkably similar to the clinker-built Folkboats of the same period. One of the two U.K. distributors were Newbridge Boats who were then in Wolverhampton before moving to Bridport and taking over production in 1969. The original sole distributor was R.G. Hollands of Croydon who later became Mallon Boats at the same address in Croydon.
Mike Gregory found a copy of the two page clinker Corribee Mk1 brochure which he has kindly allowed to be posted below:
Fiberglass Mk1 (early 1970’s – circa 1975)
The eye frequently overlooks a Mk 1 Corribee as although the hull is similar to later boats, the topsides are very different. The side decks are virtually non-existent, the coach roof much wider and there is consequently much more room below. There is more woodwork in the cockpit area and the lazarette has a circular hatch cover. Many owners of later boats have been embarrassed by the performance of the Mk1; it is quite slippery. Sadly this model is not in great demand and it’s market value is generally lower than the Mk2 & 3.
Mk 1s that come on to the market (there are not that many) are usually fin keeled and are often a bit scruffy but can be very rewarding to own and sail.
Mike Gregory found a copy of the two page fiberglass Corribee Mk1 brochure which he has kindly allowed to be posted below:
Early Mk2 (circa 1975 – 1980)
There is some confusion as to the dividing line between the Mk2 and Mk3; these notes follow the naming originally used by Newbridge boats.
The Mk 2 is for many people the Corribee. It can be found in both fin and bilge keeled form and with standard or tall mast rig. Most are bilge keeled and standard rigged; tall mast boats are usually (but not always) fin keeled.
There are also a few junk rigged Corribees, these are not very numerous and should not be confused with the Coromandel which is a derivative with a Corribee hull but different topsides to support the unstayed junk rigged mast.
The early Mk 2 bilge keeler has symmetrical keels (see asymmetric keels below) and there is no anchor well. These boats were made between the mid 1970s and about 1980. Age can often be roughly judged by the rig; many of the earlier boats of this type had roller reefing to the mainsail, later boats usually have slab reefed mainsails. Below the waterline many earlier boats have no skeg, later boats usually have a full skeg. Sail numbers are not an infallible guide but all these boats are likely to have a sail number under 500. A very accurate judgement of the age of a Mk 2 can be made if the hull moulding number can be found; if present this will be at the top of the transom on the port side: the first two digits of the 4 or 5 digit number represent the year of moulding.
The early Mk 2 is the model most commonly encountered. The scantlings shown below for the late Mk 2/3 also apply generally to the early Mk 2 with the exception of the cabin headroom which was a mere 4 feet 2 inches on early boats.
Rhys Cox found a copy of the three page Corribee Mk2 Kit brochure when he purchased Beatrice which he has kindly allowed to be posted below:
An extract from another Mk2 brochure:
Late Mk2 (1980 – 1983)
To the casual observer there is little difference between the early and late Mk 2s and Mk 3. The illustration here is from the brochure prepared for the 1983 boat show and the boat is a Mk 3.
The late Mk 2/Mk 3 has a slightly altered deck with an increased rake to the side decks in way of the cockpit – this eliminates the standing puddle to be found on earlier boats. The lazarette hatch is wider and there is an anchor locker on the fore deck. Below the waterline there is a lot of difference; the hallmark of these later boats is the asymmetric bilge keel (there seem to be very few fin keeled late Mk 2s & 3s). The asymmetric keel is of aerofoil section (shaped like an aeroplane wing) and the intention is to increase lift to windward. It is difficult to judge the efficacy of this arrangement as the hull moulding is also deeper than earlier boats and there is significantly more head room inside. This is a great advantage but the increased wetted area of the hull probably cancels out the gain from the asymmetric keels. The skeg on these boats is abbreviated compared with the earlier full skeg but this does not seem to have any ill effect on directional stability. Just to confuse the issue there are a number of hybrids where early or late hulls have been mated to late or early topsides, we occasionally find a Corribee which has us scratching our heads.
Mk3 (1983 – circa 1985)
The Mk 3 is really a late Mk 2 with a rearranged interior layout. Note that the deck layout is unchanged from the late Mk2.
Despite the much advertised sail drive option she appears to have been drawn with an outboard bracket for the 1983 boat show brochure. In fact this illustration has been carried forward from the late Mk2 brochure affirming the cosmetic nature of the Mk3 classification.
Below decks all was very different from the Mk2 with a two berth arrangement, a fixed galley sink, a wet locker forward, dedicated sail stowage and for the modest a private loo.
However for those sociable souls who wanted it the old four berth layout remained an option; though we know of no examples.
Pete Mears found a copy of the six page Corribee Mk3 brochure (along with a 1985 price list) which he has kindly allowed to be posted below:
An extract showing the deck plan from the Mk3 brochure:
Which to choose?
This is of course a very personal decision and must be influenced by the examples available. However there are a few guidelines. The extra head room in the later boats is very valuable and the quarter berths are also more roomy; a night in the quarter berth of an early Mk2 is not for the restless sleeper. Unfortunately many later Corribees were factory fitted with the British Seagull sail drive. This engine was not a success, they are rarely reliable and the intrusion of the leg detracts noticeably from the sailing performance. Many owners are removing these engines and replacing them with outboards. The presence of an “inboard” sail drive is not a feature to support a higher asking price, rather the opposite.
What to look for
In general the Corribee is a robust survivor with fibre glass lay-up and ballast ratio both on the generous side. Osmosis is not unknown but neither is it common and boats that have summered in cold salt water and wintered ashore do not normally suffer. Those examples that we have seen have been slight cases.
Problems encountered have included the following:
Rudders on boats without a skeg cause most problems. If the rudder stock fitting fails, the rudder departs swiftly on a one way trip to Davey Jones! This has happened to several owners so check the integrity of the tiller/rudder stock assembly. Ideally also fit a skeg.
The bow fitting is a robust casting but relies entirely on its through deck fitting; it should be supported either by an external strap to the stem head or internally.
The mast is stepped on deck and is supported by a beam below. A small number of cases of failure of the beam have occurred almost certainly resulting from over tensioning the rig.
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