Hartley Boats love with the Osprey started over fifty years ago when I was invited as a youngster to crew for Wally Gardner, an excellent sailor, at his local club. Thrilling, exciting speed and challenging, the beer tasted twice as good. “Crew for me at the Nationals asked Wally?” “No, I am not experienced, I will let you down”. Wally’s response was, “I will look after you, you will be ok”.
My first time at sea was to be in Filey with wind strength of force 6 and above, 85 entered but only 30 launched, within a few minutes around 20 had capsized or had broken equipment. This was the strongest wind a championship race had even been sailed in for an Osprey Nationals. Both of the local life boats were launched to retrieve the sailors from boats. This was going to be a challenge but I was fit and up for the challenge, would my old helm Wally be up to it! He was getting on a bit, after all he was going to turn 40!
The first beat, I could not see a thing for waves, I was hit by nearly every wave but we were passing the other boats, all was well, then I saw that my old helm had just passed the National Champion Ken Robertson, my smile grew broader and broader with every tack. First round the mark and, as I stood ready to launch the spinnaker I turned and when I saw Wally’s face, he was uncertain but that changed when he saw the second, third and fourth boats fly their kites, up went our spinnaker. Coming from Lancashire I was used to a big thrill from the bigger roller coasters in Blackpool but as soon as I pulled in the kite, I will always remember the speed, excitement and the thrill I felt until I die. How that old man held the boat up and kept me safe in those conditions I shall never forget, but on top of that to get the winners badge that day was the icing on the cake.
Thirty-five years later, to be offered the Osprey from the Proctor family was a great honour and we jumped at the chance and would spend every penny needed to make this very special boat an even greater boat to ensure a secure and lasting future for the boat. I fully understand why Ian Proctor was so disappointed, when at the dinghy trials for the Olympics the Osprey came second to the Flying Dutchman. The boat is an amazing boat and is very special to Hartley Boats, can we improve this boat was the decision to be taken by Hartley Boats? Not the hull, that is the reason the boat is so special, so stable in big seas and in big winds the boat just takes it in its stride. If I was going to sail across the channel it would be difficult to choose between the Wayfarer or the Osprey, both would get me across safely.
Ring the best Naval Architect in the business, Phil Morrison, let him work his magic, improve and modernise the deck and floor layout, but no change to that very special chined hull design, the new Mk4 Hartley was born. This was the successful part in moving the class forward and to secure new sailors to the class.
With design techniques and building development improving, Hartley Boats were convinced that it was the time again for a design update, Peter Hobson a young designer with an excellent reputation could take this boat further and combine all Phil’s work together with improving the deck layout with a sleeker deck, improvements to the side decks, remove the transom and produce a boat that would take us into the future.
The new Mk 5 was designed and built and was an instant success bringing to the fleet new sailors that were inspired with the design and looks of the new boat.
In the future Hartley Boats intended to further invest in the Osprey with a new Mk6 Osprey being launched. Modifications and changes to the way the boat is constructed, together with a much more user friendly and simpler boat fit-out. We are happy with all the design aspects and improvements made to the boat and now believe we have a very special Osprey that will be the boat to grow the fleet and make the class stronger. Having completed all the work, the new boat is ready for its rigorous testing programme. Twelve months of sailing the boat in all weather conditions at local club events, open meetings and at the Osprey National Championships to prove the new Mk6 is good enough to secure that bright and long-lasting future for the class. Following a successful testing period, we will release the boat for sale on a first come first served basis.
Why buy an Osprey?
This is a quick and exciting boat to sail, it does everything very easily, it is the Rolls Royce of the Hartley Boats range and can be sailed by two or three sailors. This boat is so stable it breeds confidence to any new helm. It is comfortable to sail, with the boom at the right height to tack and gybe easily. With a hull weight of only 138kgs it’s great to handle on and off the water. It is easy to launch and recover and a doddle to tow. The class is amazing to sail in, very welcoming, helpful and one big family. We already have over 50 entries for the 2020 Nationals with a full calendar of race meetings. The Osprey is also a great boat to sail in handicap fleets and with a good helm you can win in the Osprey. The boat performs well to its handicap and is great to sail in all weather conditions.
When we sell a new boat Hartley Boats likes to complete a full boat handover to ensure that you fully understand how to rig your new boat but most importantly that you get the best from your new investment. We also tune your new Osprey and go through the boat set up for a beat, reach and run. This helps you achieve the best results when racing.
We at Hartley Boats are very proud of our standards and build quality, to demonstrate that statement we are the only manufacturer to offer a 4-year guarantee. Should it be needed we are able to deliver.