The Flicka is one of the most capable small cruisers ever built, with many having completed ocean passages. With their full keel, strong sheer, bluff bow and heavy displacement, it's no surprise to find that they in fact have a workboat heritage--the story really began over 100 years with the workboats sailing out of Newport, Rhode Island. Bound for the Block Island Sound to work the fishery, these vessels had a reputation for being fast, seaworthy and bringing their crews back to port safely--no easy task considering the weather these fishermen faced when they were at sea days on end.
The Flicka story begins when Bruce Bingham discovered two derelict wooden sailboats on a New England riverbank; he soon learned these were workboats referred to as "Newport boats" by the local fishermen. Bingham liked the character and ruggedness of the boats and started working with their lines to create a new design of his own. The plans first appeared in a 1972 Rudder magazine article, a plug was made soon after and sold to the then-young Pacific Seacraft corporation in 1977. They in turn made some minor modifications and manufactured the vessel more or less unchanged until the late 1990s.
Note the Flicka is included in the classic book "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere". In his review the author notes, "She's in many ways a dream boat...with charms that become more apparent the closer you get to her and fitted out with no expense spared with material or workmanship. Strongly and sensibly constructed, she's capable of crossing oceans in safety, yet you can bring her home on a trailer and store her in the garage for the winter." The Flicka was also favorably reviewed by Practical Sailor and the article can be seen by clicking FULL SPECS above.
This particular factory-built example was kept in the fresh water of Lake Tahoe until the current owner bought her seven years ago. Low time on Yanmar diesel, very recent canvas, just hauled and bottom painted last year.
The Flicka looks well built even to an untrained eye. And to the trained eye that impression is not deceiving. This is a boat that should be fully capable of making offshore passages. The basic question any buyer must ask is whether he is willing to pay (in money and performance) for this capability for the far less rigorous cruising on Lake Mead or Chesapeake Bay, to Catalina Island, or up and down the New England coast.
This is a 20' boat with the weight and space of a 26- to 28-footer of more modern proportions. The Flicka is an expensive boat, and she still has a waterline length of only 18' and accommodations for two, as well as rigging not found on more conventional contemporary boats. Nor does she have the performance to rival more modern designs. Having said this, the Flicka is a quality package that should take a singlehander or couple anywhere they might wish to sail her. There are not many production boats anywhere near her size and price that can make that claim.
The faults with the Flicka have to be weighed against her virtues as is the case with choosing any boat. Fortunately, though, her faults are the type that can be readily seen; they are not the invisible ones of structure, handling, or engineering so typical of other production boats. Similarly her virtues are traditional and time tested, She is built by a firm to whom the owners give high marks for interest and cooperation and the Flickas on the used boat market have maintained their value better than the average production boat. At the bottom line is a boat with much to recommend her.
100 Bay Street
Sausalito, CA 94965