1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17', South Florida, $3200, Sold 5/21/04

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1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17'

The Marsh Hen was the first Hen model Reuben put into production, to be followed by the Mud Hen, Peep Hen and Bay Hen. Only 40 of these gems were built in the early 1980s. Needless to say they don't become available very often and here is a rare chance to purchase one. The Marsh Hen is a double-ended, sprit-rigged, flat-bottomed, sharpie. If you're looking for a boat that will attract attention, and questions, here it is. The Marsh Hen sports a spacious, flat deck, complete with cushions, generous storage and a self bailing cockpit. Notice the two lines coming through the forward well of the cockpit: these control the roller-furling system.

Marsh Hen #27 comes complete with dodger, bimini and trailer. With the dodger up and cushions down, there is room for two to sleep comfortably. With the zippered screen, it's like a floating tent.

The trailer is probably not original, but seems to support the hull sufficiently. I replaced the bearings last summer.

Marsh Hen #27 was one of a small number equipped with an unusual roller-furling system to control the single sprit-rigged sail. Adapted from a jib roller for a larger sloop, by means of two lines running through the hull back to the cockpit, the skipper can adjust the 165 sq ft sail to infinite sizes, to meet changing weather or haul it in entirely. As far as I know, the sail is original. In these photos you can see a tan band along the leech and foot. This UV protection fabric served to protect the sail when it was rolled up and is the major reason it's in such good condition. Unfortunately the UV fabric itself began to look very shabby so I recently removed it. There's no question this boat would look great with a new tanbark sail, but I believe the current sail still has some utility and, put through LaMauney reconditioning, could serve for several more seasons.

The Marsh Hen weighs only 650lbs and can be towed behind nearly any vehicle, even a 4 cyl compact. It has no standing rigging, making it relatively easy to get set up upon arrival. It's unusual "L-shaped" centerboard is 7' long when only dropped about 6", making the Marsh Hen the perfect gunkholer. It can go just about anywhere and go to windward in about 18" of water.

  • Green hull / White deck
  • Length = 17' 4"
  • Beam = 6' 3"
  • Capacity = 6 adults

    The rudder was recently rebuilt by a marine fiberglass shop with a new core. It is now painted red, which goes nicely with the green hull.

    Marsh Hen #27 comes with a Danforth Anchor and anchor roller,port quarter mounted motor bracket and Volvo Penta 3.9 Longshaft Outboard Motor. A small outboard is a necessary evil aboard a sailboat. The Volvo is not original to the boat nor the one that came with MH27 when I bought it. That was an Evinrude Yachtwin which was stolen from the back of my pickup. I bought the Volvo on Ebay and while it runs, it was never used on the Marsh Hen so I can't address how well it works with the boat. Volvo Penta builds some of the finest sterndrives in the world, but it's been several years since they were in the small outboard business. If you are fortunate you can sail this boat in a place where you won't have to bring a motor along.

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    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    1982 Florida Bay Marsh Hen 17

    Pictures copyright 2003 by Russell Farber
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