The HARPOON 5.2 Day Cruiser is one of three monohull sailboats that were built by
Boston Whaler from the late 70s to the early 80s. The following is a quick overview
of each boat. For those who take avid interest in these superbly designed and
crafted boats, I have included the complete pages of the original brochures. Please note
that the brochure pictures as well as most other links open into a new page and can
be minimized for later viewing or closed to return to this page. For the Harpoon 5.2 there
was an earlier brochure which depicted the actual prototype. The four pages of this brochure
are here available with the a-extension. Close inspection will reveal some differences between
the prototype and the actual production boats.
These boats were all designed by the C&C YACHTS
for Boston Whaler and built by Boston Whaler at their Norwell, MASS facility which is now closed.
The unsinkable hull consisted of foam sandwich construction (two fiberglass skins bonded and filled with urethane
foam bubbles). The boats were sold with
NORTH Sails and
The location of the bailers allowed for self-bailing even while on the mooring.
Besides the Harpoon line, Boston Whaler also built the lateen-rigged 9'2"
built from 1965-79 and again from 1983-85 and three sizes of SuperCats (15', 17' and 20') which were built elsewhere
in 1984 and sold under the BW Logo.
The Lucky Find:
The Harpoon 5.2 design has been referred to as the MERCEDES of Dinghies
and Harpooners concur enthusiastically. In March of 1998 - after a lengthy search - I became
the lucky owner of a 1978 Harpoon 5.2 . I consider myself
fortunate to have found a boat that virtually was in showroom condition.
Not only did it have all the original manuals and instructions but it was
equipped for racing, i.e. including spinnaker and related gear. The Harpoon 5.2
was sold with or without a cuddy. My boat came with a removable cuddy.
The original teak benches looked as if they had just been
installed. (In later years, BW had the Harpoon benches built out of solid mahagony instead of
teak laminate.) The gel coat was in immaculate condition. It was a combination of this lucky find
and the total absence of any information about the Harpoon on the internet which prompted
the creation of these informational pages.
Why a Whaler:
What had brought me to the Harpoon 5.2
was an exhaustive search for a daysailer
that fulfilled several criteria:
The Harpoon 5.2 not only fulfills all of these
criteria, it can also be
trailered comfortably even by a compact car.
- is manageable entirely by a single person,
including stepping the mast,
launching the boat,
sailing it in most winds.
- accommodates four people comfortably
- offers a reasonable amount of excitement
a planing hull
a spinnaker or option to install one.
- has an efficient bailing systems
- has relative stability and simple rigging
At some point I saw a 3-part sailing training video by
US Sailing which throughout used
the younger sister of the Harpoon 5.2 (17 feet) namely the Harpoon 4.6 (15 feet)
in all demonstrations. I immediately became intrigued by the sheer beauty and practicality
of the design. Certainly, there were other boats that would have fulfilled my search criteria, but
I was hard pressed to find another type that fulfilled these requirements more
In opting for a boat that was quite rare
and no longer in production, I realized that
I would be unlikely to do any one-design racing with the Harpoon since the Harpoon 5.2 Class
Association has long since become defunct. However, Portsmouth handicap
racing can be quite enjoyable if you race with boats of similar abilities.
The Harpoon 5.2 has a rating of 96.1 D-PN
Since this racing limitation applies to all Harpoons,
the other two Harpoon models have the following
Harpoon 4.6 - 102.5 D-PN
Harpoon 6.2 - 94.5 D-PN.
In either case, the racing component was initially not
of concern to me. However, at Lake Arthur there is a very friendly group of sailing
enthusiasts in the Moraine Sailing Club.
Every weekend, the Flying Scott fleet races
one-design and all other boats race on a second start in an open class.
I have come to enjoy it a lot.
The Harpoon is very VERSATILE: The STABILITY of the craft even with only one person aboard
is impressive. In large part this is due to the wide beam. When you hike out, your weight
counts for almost as much as it would if you were out on a trapeze on a more narrow hull.
The design of the cockpit is very ROOMY.
When you do not have the cuddy cabin, you can walk right up to the bow.
This makes life on a dinghy very convenient. Whether you drop anchor, douse the chute, hoist the jib,
dock the boat or accommodate a few unexpected friends for a day under sail - you've got room "up front".
And when the friends have left, and winds kick up to 20-25 knots you can still do it alone. Just reef
your main (the mainsail has provisions for jiffy reefing) and off you sail on a plane.
If it gets too much, the boat still handles well just under the main.
If you own a Harpoon and are looking for a supplier of parts, you might try
Rig-Rite. (2005) Since there is
now a growing number of Harpooners in search of parts, Rig-Rite has organized
their Harpoon parts for kenyon mast, spreaders, boom, components as well as bailers by boat size:
other hand, the Harpoon hardware is simple and straight forward. It should not be too difficult to
get most of what you need from any sailboat shop.
For replacement bailers and bailer gaskets, you can also contact Joe Sivore at Andersen U.S.A.,
a Fort Lauderdale, FL distributor of Elvstrom-type bailers. Their phone number is 954-565-3882.
The Boston Whaler and Harpoon *.* decals are available at Magic Brush in DeLand, FL.
You can contact them via their email address or on their
Sailor's Tailor in Spring Valley, OH
(800-800-6050) can make mooring and trailering covers for your Harpoon 5.2 as well as for the 4.6. They
have the specifications and dimensions for these boats and have available a variety of
styles and materials to protect your investment.
Old sails can be re-furbished. I had my 20 year old
Harpoon Sails cleaned and re-resined by SailCare and the result is
nothing short of astonishing. Some sailors have their sails treated every winter. While this
is not necessary from a day-sailing perspective, it is certainly worth considering if it has never been done
rather than ordering new sails. SailCare also does a terrific job repairing your sail.
If you do need new sails, a number of sailmakers such as Super-Sailmakers at
have the Harpoon sail specifications
in their database and are able to make new sails to order without you having to
Of course, Harpoon sails can also be optained from North Sails, the original provider of Harpoon sails.
They usually have a ready supply of Harpoon mainsails and jibs in inventory and also make spinnakers and
other special order items such as furling jibs and various types of head sails.
For information you may visit their North Sails Gulf Coast Web Site or you
can email North Sails (Gulf Coast) or call and speak with
Ethan Bixby or Lin Robson at 727-898-1123. Here is a direct link to their Harpoon Sails Page.
For top performance and
handicap racing, you will undoubtedly get the best result with a good suit of new sails.