Home . Articles . Boats . Perry on Design . Bluewater 56

Bluewater 56

2013 May 2

Bluewater cruiser

I call them "orphans." These are designs that are never built due to clients changing their plans partway through the design process. In the case of this attractive design from the Stephens Waring office, the wife decided that she would prefer a catamaran, so the partially completed design was abandoned. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can adopt this orphan if it appeals to you. I'm sure it would make someone a great cruising boat. My pal Paul Waring showed me this design when he visited the shack. I thought it was worth presenting here.

This 56-footer was designed for world cruising. The L/B is moderate at 3.48. The D/L is 144 and draft is 7 feet 9 inches. The DWL forward goes distinctly hollow, but the beam on deck at the bow is almost full. This puts a lot of shape forward and I like that. It will help keep the bow dry.

The transom shows typical camber in plan view but the upper corners are rolled over, and there is even vertical camber in this transom. The rudder sure looks big to my eye. But nobody ever called me to complain that their rudder is too big. The medium-aspect-ratio fin keel has a beavertail bulb tip.

Two layouts have been drawn for this design, but I will focus on the three-cabin layout. The pilothouse is the focal point of this layout. Visibility will be 360 degrees. There is a nav station and pilot seat to starboard. You could have inside steering if you wanted it.

To port there is a big, U-shaped dinette that I presume is raised so you can see out the windows when seated. There is extra dining space in the large cockpit.

Stepping down as you go forward from the pilothouse, there is a stateroom to port with a double berth and a large hanging locker. Adjacent to this and to starboard is the galley. I'm not sure why the counter does not extend inboard on the aft end of the galley. It should. I think this galley is short on counter space for a 56-footer. There is another stateroom to starboard with a double berth, and a large head is to port. Forward of this is the owner's stateroom with an adjoining head and a large shower stall.

The rig is very modern with a square-topped mainsail. There is a track for a self-tacking jib. The tack of the jib is pulled just aft of the stem leaving room for a genoa or reacher tacked to the stem. The bowsprit will allow the asymmetrical chute to be tacked well forward of the headstay. The SA/D is 22.6.

While a mainsail like this is very efficient there is a downside to it. With that square head you can't have a standing backstay. This means you will need to be comfortable with running backstays. There is a lot of sweep to the spreaders-27 degrees-and that will help do the work of a backstay, but the design I have shows running backs and checkstays to help support the rig. Looking at this sailplan I think this is a good looking boat. I would probably take a bit of the slope out of the pilothouse top if it were my boat.

The cockpit features twin wheels and the transom opens up with the center portion dropping down to become a large boarding platform. This looks like a very comfortable cockpit. I'd want to check the site lines over the pilothouse carefully. I don't mind looking through the house. I don't mind looking over the house. But if the line-of-sight lines up directly with the top of the house it can be very annoying.

Give the fact that this is an orphan design you can tweak and change the details to suit you. You can build it in aluminum or composite. You can adopt this design, call it your own and give it a good home. It will reward you over the coming years with faithful service. It seems a pity to see it just sitting on the shelf.