Sparrows and Guppies

by Harry Gordon

Sparrow 12: Little Known Cousin of the West Wight Potter

Ken Pagans of Corpus Christi, Texas, contributed a line drawing and spec sheet on the Sparrow, a 12-foot overnighter that was originally built and sold by HMS Marine, former manufacturer of the West Wight Potters (in the 1970s, as I recall).

The spec sheet credits Herb Stewart as the designer of the Sparrow. Herb was founder of HMS Marine and, I think, designed the American-built fiberglass version of Stanley Smith's plywood original West Wight Potter. Herb also designed the HMS-18, which became the Potter 19. The "MS Marine Inc." named as the supplier is apparently a typographical error and should have been "HMS Marine."

Sparrow 12 on a trailer (photo contributed by Larry Costa)

Randy Robison's Sparrow 12 (Click on image to see full-sized version)

Sparrow 16

There was also a 16-foot shoal keel boat called the Sparrow. Over 100 were manufactured by Northshore Marine in Bothell, Washington, according to Tom Mayer, who has owned two of them.

Sparrow 16 (This one wasn't Tom's.)

He said it was very nice in all respects except that the 22-inch fixed keel required it to ride high on its trailer and made it difficult to launch.

Here are a couple of photos of one of Tom's Sparrows in the San Juan Islands:

At high tide...

...and at low tide.

The Guppy 13 - Another Name for a Sparrow 12?

Tom Mayer also owned a Guppy, a '13 ft' boat that appears to be very similar to HMS Marine's Sparrow 12. Here are a couple of shots of Tom's Guppy.


A new owner of a 1975 Guppy 13 is Fran Lebowitz, who advises that the "M" on the Guppy sail stands for the manufacturer, Melen Marine, Encino, California.

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