2011 May 3

When I was a kid there was a regatta called the Yachting One of a Kind Regatta. They would assemble one boat from pretty much all the one-design dinghy racing classes to determine just which boats were the fastest. For several years the winner was the 24-foot Raven class boat, a big, open, centerboard boat that planed when it blew. I crewed on a Raven in Seattle for years. Today you would look at a Raven and think it was an old man's daysailer. Then came the multihulls. The old Cougar cat of 1963 was a rocket in its day, but compared to this new Morelli and Melvin-designed SL33 built in New Zealand by Hakes Marine, the old Cougar would be a slug. New building materials and techniques have worked together with new design concepts to produce boats that operate at a level of performance impossible to imagine in 1963.

The goal of the SL33 project was to produce the "world's fastest 33-foot sailing boat." This requires the most exotic materials with epoxy carbon fiber pre-pregs over Nomex honeycomb cores. Every advantage in design has been taken to further reduce the weight of the SL33. With an LOA of 33 feet, the SL33 weighs 1,320 pounds and carries a crew of four or five. So, I figured five guys averaging 180 pounds each and added that to the 1,320 pounds and came up with a D/L of 27.58. Beam with the racks folded is 17 feet, 7 inches. The hulls are the wave-piercing type and there is a little spray knocker ridge right at the bow. The daggerboards are curved so the leeward board will provide vertical lift. The boards are symmetrical in section and at 20 knots can provide as much as 30% of the boat's displacement in vertical lift. I estimate the beam-to-length ratio of each hull to be 15.6. The curved crossbeams fit into sockets in the hulls for easy assembly and disassembly.

There is 726 square feet of area in the square-topped mainsail. There is 342 square feet in the jib. That gives us a total upwind sail area of 1,068 square feet. Consider that for a moment and compare it to the 699 square feet of total sail area for a Cal 40. If we go with a four-man crew, which the designers think is ideal for the SL33, we have an all-up displacement of 2,040 pounds and an SA/D of 106.23585. If you get a bit nervous with that much power there is a provision for a reef in the main that will drop the SA/D down to around 100. That should settle things down nicely. "You can uncover your eyes now, Grandma."

LOA 32'8"; LWL 32'8"; Beam 17'7" (racks folded); Draft 6'7" (boards down); Weight 1,320 lbs.; Sail area 1,068 sq. ft.; SA/D 106.24; D/L 27.58; L/B 1.87.

SL Performance Race Boats
Marienstrasse 42, D-73614 Schorndorf, Germany
(+49) 71-81-964-7235

Our Best Estimate of the sailaway price
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