Dees GP26

2008 October 29

Now this GP26 from designer Brooks Dees of Crockett, California, is no family cruiser. This is a pure race boat design within the GP rules that were set up by the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress) and inspired by the success of the TP52 class. The target was a "bang for the buck" box rule class that offered speed and offshore capability combined with low cost. The box rule format means that the rules for the design present the designer with limits, and he must design within a "box," so to speak. This class is up and running in Europe but to my knowledge this is the very first GP26 built in the United States.

For the GP26 the boat cannot be longer than 25.91 feet. Beam must be between 7.22 and 8.36 feet. Displacement must fall between 2,200 and 2,420 pounds. Draft cannot exceed 6.23 feet and the keel weight has to be between 990 and 1,100 pounds. The keel bulb width is limited to 1.3 feet. The rig dimensions are all upper limits except the boom above sheer must fall between 3.7 and 4.1 feet. So while the designer can play within the box for the hull form, the rig is essentially an exercise in using all the maximum allowable dimensions. There are more components to the rule than I have room to go into here but I think you get the idea. When it's all done tight you get the benefit of close, one-design racing with boats that all have some design differences.

Mr. Dees' design shows an LOA of 25.7 feet and that gives away .21 feet of length and I'm not sure why he would do that. So I called the designer and asked. Now, this is probably the kind of design information you will only read in SAILING Magazine. The answer to why the boat is short of the rule limit is that Mr. Dees was worried that his first independent design would be too long for the rule, so he made it a wee bit short to be safe. Beam is near the middle of the allowance at 8 feet and draft is 6.21 feet with the max allowable ballast of 1,100 pounds. The displacement is at the lower limit, 2,200 pounds.

This is a very pretty hull. The entry is fine with U-shaped sections and a half angle of entry around 14 degrees with no hollow. The beam at the waterline (BWL) is moderate. There is considerable aft overhang but that will go away when this boat starts to move. In light air this design will have a clean wake. This overall shape was designed with the light to moderate airs of the West Coat in mind, Southern California to be specific.

Mr. Dees has given this design rule-limit rig dimensions. To put the rig into perspective, it has an SA/D of 27.38. There are provisions for chutes from the hounds and the masthead. Spreaders are swept 23 degrees on the all carbon fiber rig with retractable carbon sprit.

The GP26 can be raced with either as many as five crewmembers or as few as three. The cockpit is very big with the mainsheet traveler just aft of the tiller head. If you wonder why a design like this even has a cabintrunk you would find the complexity and thoroughness of the rule interesting when it comes to defining the limits and requirements of headroom. In short, you need 4 feet of headroom over a 3.64-foot length.

Nice boat-a fast boat and a boat that should do well introducing this new rule to the U.S.

LOA 25'9"; LWL 21'3"; Beam 8'; Draft 6'3"; Displacement 2,200 lbs.; Ballast 1,100 lbs.; Sail area 370 sq. ft.; SA/D 27.38; D/L 102; L/B 3.2; Auxiliary 4-hp outboard.

Brooks Dees Yacht Design, 1419 Francis St., Crockett, CA 94525,(510) 691-2009,

OBE: $120,000
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