Tripp 54

1997 February 7

Performance cruiserr

It has always been fun to watch cruising boat technology work to keep up with race boat technology. This design from Bill Tripp's office shows us again that the gap is closing. The design parameters called for a simple boat with modern design features. Construction was completed by Yachting Developments in Auckland, New Zealand, and the boat was launched last summer.

With a D/L of 89, this is a light cruising boat. Stability will be provided by a bulb-type keel and 8-foot draft along with some help from freshwater ballast tanks. The entry is slightly hollow and the topsides are quite flared. Beam is modest at 14.7 feet but we are consistently seeing beam shrink these days. The sections show a hull shape with a very flat bottom.

The big fractional rig just might be the best for short-handed cruising. You can sail with only one jib and change the shape of the main to suit the conditions. I am sure that with an SA/D of 24.5, this may be more rig than many of you would want to handle when cruising. A boat like this can quickly generate its own apparent wind through boatspeed so it sails fast in light air. If you were concerned with light-air speed, why would you use a 100-horsepower Yanmar diesel? I think the general tendency is for designers to get confused between racing and cruising rigs, and generally overpower these cruising boats. Still, looking at this design, I would think there is some consideration given to a race or two.

Here's that interior again. I told you that this basic layout is becoming the standard for midsized 50-footers, and for good reason. It works. It just turns out that the main bulkhead is at exactly, or almost, the right place to anchor the swept chainplates. The chainplates are swept aft from the spar centerline at 18 degrees in this design. The engine is nestled under the centerline galley counter. There is a guest stateroom on the starboard quarter and a navigator's quarterberth to port. Note the long fo'c's'le.

The deck layout features electric primary winches located forward of the wheel. In a design like this I often wonder if you aren't better off having the primaries closer to the wheel. The chainplates are located outboard, almost right at the sheer. This indicates that the boat will not sail with overlapping genoas. There is about 48 inches of adjustable genoa track adjacent to the mast. (I think genoas are on the endangered species list.) The big cockpit has deep seat backs and comfy coaming tops for seating. The mainsheet traveler is on the cockpit sole. I would do away with this traveler entirely. I can't imagine when I would need it with a boat like this plus a good vang. Note the retractable anchor roller and recessed windlass for a clean foredeck. A retractable pole will be used to fly an asymmetrical chute.

Construction is high-tech all the way with varying core thicknesses to save weight. There is tankage for 260 gallons of diesel and 260 gallons of water each side.

I'd love to see photos of this finished boat. The rather bland computer drawings do little to bring the design to life. The unusually straight sheerline may look better in three dimensions. This is a nice big aggressive cruising boat that will give most of the racing fleet better than a run for its money.