When Steve and Sonya Pickel are aboard Salty Dill, their 2001 Shamrock 219 WA, with their daughters Madeline and Lilya, they couldn’t be happier. Even though they both have extensive sailing backgrounds, they have come to appreciate the practicality and safety of a stable, solidly built inboard-powered day boat.
“We bought the Shamrock three years ago just after Madeline was born,” says Steve Pickel. Two years later, Lilya joined the family. “We did this despite the advice of nearly everyone, all of whom told us we just wouldn’t have time to use it while raising an infant. They were almost right, because Madeline didn’t seem to enjoy it at first. She came around as she grew taller. But we always thought our idea was sound: This was something we could do together as a family. Both our girls learned to walk aboard the boat. If we can make sure that they’re having fun with us while we’re day-boating, they are likely to get hooked on boating for life. Best-case scenario.”
The couple chose the Shamrock because they wanted a boat in turnkey, ready-to-roll condition, of a size a couple could handle easily, with a cockpit that was deep enough to be safe for the kids. They keep the boat in a slip at the Severn Sailing Association on the Eastport peninsula of Annapolis, Maryland, where they are members, and they leave the boat in the water for as long as possible.
Before buying the Shamrock, the Pickels looked at a number of pilothouse and walkaround-style boats from builders like Grady-White, Parker, Steiger Craft and Luhrs. But as their search deepened, they realized they were interested in the Shamrock’s traditional straight-shaft inboard more than outboard power. They were also looking for a boat with a reasonable number of engine hours and the
The single 300-hp 5.7L V-8 Chevy on the Shamrock was in good shape at the time the couple purchased the boat. Only a few minor issues needed correcting. Steve was able to do a lot of the work himself. This winter, he’ll install new manifolds and risers while the boat is on its trailer. The couple has made other improvements to the boat, including the addition of a stereo and a sun shade.
The 219 WA is not based on the traditional Shamrock running bottom with Keel Drive, or a full-length keel with skeg and attached rudder. The 219 WA rides on more of a V-shaped bottom with the builder’s SP II drive system—it incorporates a shallow-angle driveshaft and prop tunnel to deliver clean water to the wheel and the benefits of a shallow draft.
“This boat is not fast, but it is fast enough for how we use it, getting the kids out every weekend,” says Steve. “It will cruise easily at 22 knots and top out at 26 to 27 knots. We take friends out on the boat to watch the local racing on summer evenings. And I occasionally use it for work, to train, coach and commute to nearby marinas to meet clients.” Steve recently joined Pelorus Yacht Consulting in Annapolis as a project manager and sailing yacht training professional.
“Kent Narrows, the South River, the Magothy River—these are just a few of the places we might go for dinner or exploring, all within an hour’s run of downtown Annapolis,” Sonya says. “We’re always on the lookout for sandbars so the kids can get out of the boat and wade and look for shells.”
When the Pickels decided to buy a family cruiser, they first considered a sailboat. Today, the couple has no doubt they made the right decision to go with the Shamrock 219 WA. “We have no plans to sleep aboard, as the cuddy is small and without air-conditioning,” says Sonya. However, the cabin with cushioned berth and porta-potti is a good feature for this young family, particularly when the children want to get out of the sun. “A boating overnight for us is a cross-bay trip to a destination like St. Michaels, where we can rent a bed-and-breakfast or a hotel room with a pool,” says Sonya. “This is a great boat on which to explore the Chesapeake’s numerous rivers and creeks that are within a day’s run from our slip.”
The Shamrock 219 WA is a good family boat because it has safety features like a deep cockpit, high gunwales and stout stainless handrails that wrap around the foredeck. The cuddy cabin has a cushioned berth with under-bunk storage, and a locker for a portable marine head. There’s plenty of room for bracket-mounted MFDs at the helm, beside the full engine instrumentation and compass. The top of the cabin door hatch can be used as a chart flat. In the cockpit, a central motorbox has two convertible bench seats that face forward and aft. The full transom has a built-in fishbox. There is no transom gate to the swim platform.
Displ. (dry): 4,210 lbs.
Power: (1) 300-hp 5.7L V-8
This article was originally published in the February 2022 issue.