Dark Harbor 12 1/2 by BB Crowninshield
Few would argue that for a combination of looks, performance, and “feel”, nothing beats a sleek, long-ended, deep draft boat with plenty of ballast and sail area. The Dark Harbor Twelve is about the smallest boat that delivers all of those things without compromise.
Fast and wet, with only a hatch and the self-bailing cockpit footwell penetrating the flush deck, this boat is essentially “a corked bottle” and can safely be driven without mercy, for a truly spectacular and impressive sailing experience. Exceptionally fast under all conditions, they are terrific ghosters in light air, under their working sail.
There is considerable room for storage below decks, and a young person might even be able to arrange a place to sleep below, but this is a racing boat by nature and could not be successfully modified into anything else.
While they are classic beauties, with a well proportioned gaff rig, a knuckle bow, low freeboard, and a sweet sheer, it is also clear that in their day they were intended to be fast above all else, and this is part of the drama and personality of the boat. Not ideal for very young children due to her power and nearly flush decks, a Twelve will hold the interest of teenagers and will offer deeply satisfying sailing thrills to everyone who loves such things.