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Tartan 4300

2007 March 7
March 2007

Bluewater cruiserr

Here is a new design from Tim Jackett and his crew at Tartan. With the exception of the hard dodger I like just about everything I see on this boat. The look is classic Tartan with crisp, clean lines, careful control of the deck contours and not a hint of Euro styling. With six more feet of LOA than the Malö, the 4300 is a faster and far more spacious boat and aimed at the sailor who is reluctant to trade boat speed for cruising comfort.

I can tell by looking at the hull lines drawing that whoever did it had fun crafting this shape. The shape reflects a very specific set of parameters that take it out of the generic category to my eye. The D/L is 195 based upon the shoal-draft displacement of 23,800 pounds. But that includes using the same DWL as the lighter-by 2,000 pounds-deep-draft version. If the deep-draft version has a DWL of 37 feet, 10 inches, and we add 2,000 pounds, we will sink the boat about 1.25 inches and pick up an additional 5 inches of DWL in the ends. This will give us a D/L of 180 instead of 195. The deep-draft D/L is 179. The L/B is 3.17, indicating a beamy boat. The ballast-to-displacement ratio for the deep-draft version is 31 percent, and for the beavertail bulb, shoal-draft version it is 36.8 percent. The DWL/LOA is 87 percent. In fact, the average of this DWL/LOA ratio this month is 84.25 percent. For the heck of it, compare that to the DWL/LOA of a Concordia yawl from 1938: 71 percent. Twenty-nine percent of the Concordia's LOA was in overhangs. The 4300 has a firm turn to the bilge for good initial stability and 11 degrees of deadrise amidships. The half-angle of entry is 20 degrees. The beavertail bulb keel gives you 5 feet, 10 inches of draft while the deep fin draws 8 feet, 3 inches. This design represents a nicely evolved cruising boat hull form.

There are two layouts. One has three staterooms with mirror image quarter staterooms aft. The other has one stateroom aft to starboard, an aft head with a shower and more lazarette space. The chart table of the two-stateroom version is tucked aft on the port side. With the three-stateroom layout you get a smaller sit-down nav station just forward of the aft head. Comparing these layouts to that of the 37-foot Malö, you can easily see that six more feet of LOA buys you a lot of elbowroom, an extra head and stowage.
Tartan uses a carbon "Pocket Boom" on this model. This is a boom with a deep groove molded into the top of it so it can catch and hold the mainsail when it is dropped. The sail cover is integral with the system.

So that takes care of the main. Now, what about those pesky jibs? One jib won't do the job. It will be either too big or too small, and on some rare day it may be just right. But most of the time you need the ability to shift gears with your headsails. You always roll the jib up to make it smaller but the resultant shape is usually awful with stretch marks at the head and the tack and a big deep bag in between. To maintain correct sail shape you have to control luff tension and the location of the sail's draft or fullness. Sure you can limp along with everything looking awful but you will go slow, perhaps put you and your crew in danger and look silly. There is no perfect solution short of a variety of jibs, and today no one wants to go there. Tartan's approach to the problem on the 4300 is to use a full-hoist blade-style jib sheeted to a self-tacking track and, tacked forward of this working jib, a reaching genoa for light air and off-the-wind work. With the 4300's SA/D of 19.3, this arrangement should be fine for cruising.

I like the sheer of this boat. I like the high bootstripes and the clean covestripe. I like the rake angle to the bow so the anchor doesn't bash the stem. I like the fold-down transom platform for boarding. And the way Tartans are detailed, I know this will be a very good-looking boat.