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Friendship 48

2012 January 2

If we can count on Ted Fontaine for anything it is that he won't give us a blocky looking design. Ted's designs are always graceful and grounded in the aesthetics that were well established by the CCA-era boats, with long overhangs, short DWLs and modest freeboard. This new 48 builds on Ted's Friendship line and like previous models the 48 will be built in New Zealand. For a time, Ted considered moving construction of the 48 to China, but then they decided that a Chinese Friendship was just too much of an oxymoron, so back to New Zealand they went.

Ted's design is 47 feet, 5 inches LOA but has a DWL only a foot longer than Hanse's 38-footer. There is more than 12 feet of LOA devoted to overhangs in this design. The D/L is 318, which you could consider heavy by today's standards but it affords the designer a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 40%, and this is good for stability.

The L/B is 3.46. Compared to the other two boats this month the 48 looks almost skinny. But it's not. It's "normal"-or at least it used to be normal. The stern is nicely tucked in with a very pretty transom shape with rounded corners and tumblehome at the top. Draft with the centerboard up is 4 feet, 4 inches, and with the board down it's 9 feet, 9 inches. It's nice to see that someone can still draw a pretty sheer. The sheer is accented with a varnished whale plank and a traditional cove stripe. There are lots of nice curves and eye candy on this hull.

For a 47-footer this layout is pretty small. No, you can't have four staterooms and no in-line galleys, and one head is going to have to suffice. But if you are a cruising couple you are going to be very comfortable aboard this boat with its conventional layout. Here's a new number for you: I compared the percentage of LOA devoted to accommodations for the Hanse 385 to that of the Friendship 48. I came up with 86% for the Hanse and 48% for the Friendship. None of the Friendship's accommodations intrude into the area adjacent to the deep cockpit. It's all stowage aft. There is a U-shaped galley to port and head with large shower stall to starboard. Forward of this there are mirror-image settees and outboard lockers, end tables and hanging lockers. Forward there is the owner's cabin with curved settees and a centerline double berth. There is no navigation station at all. That's weird. I think with all that LOA and that huge cockpit there could have been some way to capture enough space for a nice nav station below. Maybe you navigate on the galley counter. "We should leave the pepper to port." I suppose if you really need to lay out a chart you would take it into the cockpit and use the cockpit table. I generally just fold up the chart and put it in my lap or on the seat.

Ted has given the 48 a tall rig with an "I" dimension of 67 feet, 9 inches. The SA/D is 20.95, and that's high for a boat with this D/L. But this is not a low-wetted surface design, so it will be able to use that horsepower when the wind is light. Note that the headstay is tucked back about 18 inches from the stem, leaving room to tack the asymmetrical chute. Spreaders are swept and the headstay does not go to the top of the mast. Again, this leaves room for the chute. The mainsail has OceanFurl in-boom furling. Mainsheet controls are hydraulic and operated by foot buttons at the helmsman's feet.

The cockpit features long seats forward and a single, large-diameter wheel aft with a broad helm seat. The cockpit table hinges up to give access to the engine compartment. The primary winches are electric. The side decks are very broad by today's standards but wide side decks are great. The ground tackle pivots into a well in the bow to keep the bow profile clean. I've always thought that some clumsy, fixed anchor rollers had a similar effect on the boat's looks to something hanging off the end of a pretty girl's nose. This anchor and roller setup disappears.

I think if you were to cruise this beautiful boat you would get a lot of "What kind of boat is that?" comments. I always like that.