Commentary by Maynard Bray

Yachts designed these days for speed under sail invariably come out as a somewhat cigar-shaped hull atop a fin keel, and have a pendant-type rudder back near the after end of the waterline. They're reminiscent of the fin-keelers of 100 years ago, except they're far bigger and have a marconi instead of a gaff rig. Unquestionably, boats of this type have proven to be fast, but they're usually so damned ugly that they hold no interest for me. If I had to choose between one of those and a pretty boat that was slow, the nod would go to the latter. But this design is an exception — a modern yacht that could hold her own in about any company when it comes to performance, yet one that is very handsome as well.

She grew out of a two-year client-designer effort with numerous telephone calls, over 70 letters, and four iterations of drawings. She'll go upwind like a scalded cat with only her working sails, and by hoisting an asymmetrical, poleless spinnaker, she'll be no slouch downwind, either.

Long, skinny boats don't usually do very well unless there's a good breeze, but this one carries enough sail area to make her go in light weather, and, most unusual, has the stability to stand up to it when the wind begins to blow in earnest. She's geographically specific in that she was designed for the light average-wind velocities of Puget Sound, but still...if she were mine and I were to sail her anywhere else, I'd be inclined to use this same sail plan and keep her from being overpowered by reefing. You can always shorten sail, but with a given length of spars, it's difficult to add more if you find you need it.

As to the construction, she's to be built of glued-together %-inch cedar strips over bulkheads and wide-spaced laminated frames. Three crisscrossed layers of Winch veneers are vacuum-bagged over the strips.

The hull is built upside down, then turned over to receive the interior, the deck and cockpit assemblies, the power plant, and the few, simple systems she'll have installed. The fin — with a bulging, five-ton chunk of lead at the bottom edge — and the rudder are installed last, just before launching.

~W "W bw is a design like this created? Here's t M the story:

A reader of WoodenBoat magazine who happened to be a seasoned sailor and an experienced wooden-boat owner wanted a long, narrow boat similar to the Swede 55 Vortex but with some minor changes — a larger sail plan, a bit more sheer, and a traditional aft-raking transom. The 30-Square-Meter sloop Bijou II, with which he was familiar, also served as inspiration, as did the writings of Uffa Fox and L. Francis Herreshoff.

The client wrote to Joel White, who soon responded with a proposal based on his son Steve's boat Vortex. Both the designer and the client liked simplicity, performance, and good looks — so they went back and forth, letter after letter, fine-tuning the proposal until it satisfied them. Both parties agreed she'd be fast in all conditions.

Vortex has proven to be just about unbeatable except in light air, and the proposed boat was about the same length (56 feet) and shape but had 28 percent more sail area, a 4-inch deeper and 2,000-pounds heavier ballast keel, and 6 inches more beam. The numbers confirmed that she'd be fast. The sail area/displacement ratio was 22, compared to 16.36 for Vortex, and the plots of stability at various wind velocities and angles of heel suggested that she'd stand up to her rig within reason.

The designer and client agreed, too, not to count on a rule-beating genoa for speed, but to figure on using

Particulars Fast Cruising Sloop

LOA 62'2"

LWL 45'11"

Beam 11'8"

Draft 8'0" Displ

26,370 lbs Sail area

1,200 sq ft

The product of extensive correspondence between owner and designer, this 62-foot sloop combines traditional appearance with the promise of high performance under sail.

Maynard Rifle PlansMaynard Rifle PlansMaynard Rifle PlansGaff Rig Sail Plans

A Fast Cruising Slooi a working jib. In fact, they agreed to ignore rating rules altogether and come up with a boat that would be fast, beautiful, and simple to sail. The thrill would come from boat-for-boat racing and from getting the first-to-finish gun from the committee boat.

Alternatives were considered along the way. A double-ended hull, Joel thought, wouldn't have the straighter sailing lines of a hull with a transom, and therefore would not be as fast. Tiller steering would be simple, but it would preclude having an after cabin.

Meanwhile, the client bought a fiberglass Swede 55 and cruised, raced, and otherwise studied it, for the purpose of refining the new design, especially the interior arrangement. But, exciting as the new design was, neither client nor designer felt quite comfortable with it. Their nearly simultaneous conclusion (reached independently after several months of reflection) was that there should be more usable interior space.

Joel's suggestion at this point was to scale down his 74-foot Dragonera design to 56 feet to match the overall length of the Vortex variant. This solved the interior space problem and showed great potential, but its stubby overhangs resulted in an unacceptable profile; the boat just wasn't sleek enough.

How to add sleekness to an otherwise right-on-the-money design? Simple, if you're as good at it as Joel is. You pull out the ends so there's more overhang at both the bow and the stern. The 62-foot 2-inch sloop was the result. It should be sleek enough for just about anyone, and will still be the same wolf in sheep's clothing when it comes to performance as the 56-foot Vortex. Compared to that design, this one is 14 percent wider, 32 percent heavier (and that much more costly), and has 19 percent more sail area. Because there's more freeboard, especially forward, she'll be drier when beating into a chop.

Let's go aboard and look around. At the bow, there's a self-bailing well for the anchor and its rode so they're out of the way when you're sailing. To get at them, you simply open up the hinged covers. Besides the anchor, the drum for the roller-furling jib also hides in this well, leaving the foredeck exceptionally clear.

Joel is an enthusiastic advocate of carbon-fiber masts on go-fast boats, and planned on specifying one from the very beginning. The difference in stability, compared to this design fitted with a heavier aluminum mast, is the same as lowering the ballast keel 18 inches, so it's not diffucult to understand his reasoning.

The shrouds are set in from the deck edge so as not to interfere with flat-sheeting the jib, so the best route going forward may be outside, rather than inside the shrouds.

Moving aft, there's a big, deep cockpit where the passengers and/or crew will feel secure — they will feel as if they're sitting in, rather than on, the boat. The slanted cabin back provides a comfortable backrest if you want to sit facing aft and straighten your legs. All sheets lead to the forward two-thirds of the cockpit. The after one-third, separated by the mainsheet track assembly, is for the helmsman, and here he can choose either to stand or to sit on the pullout, camel-back seat. Either way, he'll have good visibility thanks to the low doghouse and the relatively small, high-cut headsail. There's a low bridge deck — it really amounts to a step — that makes climbing up out of the cockpit, over the sill, and down onto the com-panionway ladder very easy.

The coamings are like curved, hollow boxes with tops wide enough for the winch bases, and for sitting on; while winch handles, sunglasses, cameras, sail stops, and other small gear can be stored within. Access is through the oval cutouts along their inboard sides.

Heavy weights are always best kept out of the extreme ends of a boat, so there's a big storage compartment both at the bow and at the stern in which sails and other relatively light items can be kept. Access to each is through watertight deck hatches.

Running backstays terminate on the after deck where there's a dedicated winch, near which a crew member will be stationed during a race. At other times, the hauling parts of the backstays can be led forward and operated from the cockpit.

Now for the accommodations. First, because the engine is a V-drive, it can be totally separated from the living quarters and completely contained in its own soundproofed space, which very effectively cuts down on the noise and smell. Its air supply comes in through the ingenious Dorade-type vents in the after ends of the coamings. You get access to the engine by opening the big hatch in the cockpit sole, and so long as you're not taking solid water over the coamings while you're trying to work on the engine, that big hatch has lots of merit.

Two doubles? Those comfortable-looking berths, one in the forward stateroom to port, and the other an enlarged quarter berth to starboard, are not what you find in most boats, although they'd be great for two couples cruising. But they're not so good for an allmale race to Bermuda, even if the pilot berth and the convertible settee (another double berth) are brought into play. But this boat was never intended to be an ocean racer; she'll be a two-couples cruiser, an around-the-buoys day racer, and, most of all, simply a grand daysailer that's easy to get underway, and delightful to sail after the mooring is dropped.

Is she strong? You bet! The fin is attached to the hull through a big bronze weldment that spreads the load so there's no critical weak link. It's the same con-

struction that Joel used for the 74-foot ketch Dragonera, which was hammered by a Gulf Stream storm on her maiden voyage from Newport to Bermuda. Dragonera has cruised extensively since, with not a trace of weakness or failure.

But boats that are strong can also be light; this one's hull is light enough so that almost half her displacement is in her ballast keel. Her vertical center of gravity is almost 2 feet below the waterline, due both to the light-but-strong hull and the lightweight carbonfiber mast. The tanks, batteries, and engine are located down low as well, which helps achieve this low center of gravity.

Here's just one example of Joel's design philosophy, as he expressed it when asked about his keel design:

"I have tried to make your design a high-performance sailing racer /cruiser without going to extremes. I dislike extreme boats because I find they often have limited usefulness under varying conditions. Going to a 9-foot draft seems to me counterproductive. It will limit your cruising grounds to some extent, and probably reduce the resale value of the boat. It will also have structural consequences, and the keelbolt arrange ment will have to be redesigned. In a heavy grounding, something that happens to the best of us, the very deep modern keels with narrow chord configuration and small footprint landing on the hull often cause severe hull damage because the impact forces are concentrated in such a small area. You will notice on the construction plan that the after end of the fin lands on a heavy structural bulkhead and at the after end of the bronze keel frame. This is done deliberately, in an attempt to minimize damage in a bad grounding."

Sounds like good reasoning to me.

Would I want a boat like this? I sure would, but I'd make a few minor changes to suit my whim and fancy. Starting forward, I'd give her a handsome cast-bronze stemhead fitting that would encompass the chocks and support the always-ugly-as-sin anchor roller assembly (which would be removable). The cove stripe would be routed into the upper hull, which I'd make a little thicker to allow for the depth of the groove, and her name would be carved into the transom. Both would be gilded with genuine gold leaf.

The toerail would be of varnished teak and set in from the hull about V» inch (which is one of the options

Particulars 56-foot Sloop

LOA 56'0" LWL 41'8" Beam 10'3" Draft 8'0" Displ 20,000 lbs Sail area 1,009 sq ft

Joel White derived the lines for this 56-foot sloop from the Swede 55. He and his client liked this sleek design, but they agreed that it lacked the desired room below. The 62-foot sloop is the ultimate result of their concerns.

Pic Bb10 Sailing

Joel White derived the lines for this 56-foot sloop from the Swede 55. He and his client liked this sleek design, but they agreed that it lacked the desired room below. The 62-foot sloop is the ultimate result of their concerns.

A Fast Cruising Sloop already shown on the drawing). There'd be a folding gallows near the after end of the doghouse in which to secure the boom. The boom would be of varnished spruce, made hollow for the reefing lines. I'd pay particular attention to the cockpit's appearance and use a fair amount of wood trim to avoid the look of a bathtub. Beauty is important here, because the cockpit is always in the foreground while sailing or sitting. The steering wheel would be turned-spoke traditional, with an outer wooden rim, and every block on the boat would be either wood- or bronze-shelled. In fact, there'd be absolutely no stainless showing anywhere, if possible, meaning that the winches and tracks, stanchions, and pulpit would be bronze.

Since there'd never be a reason for going way aft while under sail, I'd be inclined to eliminate the stern pulpit and try using that area to carry my tender when I didn't want to tow it. The tender would, of course, be a Nutshell Pram — never, never an inflatable!

Below deck, I'd make the door openings rectangular and have the doors, the bulkheads, and the berth fronts of raised-panel construction — or at least made to look like raised panels. There'd be a bare teak cabin sole and countertop. Otherwise, except for varnished edge trim, ladder, cabin sides, and cabin table, she'd be painted satin-finish, off-white. Cushions would be darkish green corduroy.

For the exterior colors, she'd have a light tan, Dynel-covered deck and cabintop, and a mast of the same color. Although the topsides (including the transom) would look lovely black, they'd soak up enough heat that there'd be a risk of the veneers coming unstuck, so a light, green-gray will have to do, along with a single, wide, dark red boottop, and black bottom. Cabin sides, including the edge trim, and both faces of the coamings would be of varnished teak, while the coaming tops would be left bare.

The systems would be few and simple. But, for singlehanding and for long runs, an autopilot would be great, and with an 8-foot draft, a fathometer would come in handy.

Finally, the sails. They'd be of off-white Dacron, as lightweight and soft as practical for easy furling, and would have parallel seams and narrow panels. Convincing a sailmaker to build a less-than-bullet-proof sail takes some effort, but I believe the end result would be worth it. For running rigging, white Dacron, either three-strand or braided — no colored stuff!

If I had the money, I'd already have one of these slippery sloops on order. If I didn't quite have enough for the 62-footer, I'd go with the 56-foot Vortex variant.

Plans from Joel White, Brooklin Boat Yard, P.O. Box 143, Brooklin, ME 04616.

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