Home . Articles . Boats . Perry on Design . Mystery 43

Mystery 43

2012 April 2

Classic cruiser

The new Mystery 43 was designed by Stephen Jones. Jones was responsible for some very radical designs in the very early days of the IOR. I found his design work fascinating. This new design is a world apart from the early Jones work I know but still is a very interesting boat. Above the water the look is traditional but below the waterline the shape is unusual.

This design has a D/L of 366. That's heavy for the 29-foot waterline. But 29 feet of DWL is short for an LOA of 43 feet, 6 inches; so we have 14 feet, 6 inches of total overhang. Nothing wrong with that, if you like overhangs. I see a lot of missing sailing length. The bow profile with its lack of any knuckle is a natural way to fair that spoon profile into the forward sections. But aft we see a distinct, almost 1970s-era bustle with the rudder jutting off the bottom off that bustle. This feature reminds me of some of Brit Chance's work in the early 1970s. It does have the benefit of putting the rudder blade low where it will be harder to stall as you heel. I'm not wild about the look of the bow but I do like this stern. It's intriguing. I would like to have seen a bit more freeboard difference between the bow and the stern. The sheer looks abnormally flat to my eye. It's nice to see a plan view where there is some shape to the boat and a trim transom. The L/B of this design is 3.84, indicating a quite narrow boat. The moderate aspect ratio fin keel shows some bulbish development at the tip. I'd sure like to see a set of hull lines for this design.

The layout of the Mystery 43 is very conventional, but it's also very functional. I guess everyone wants two heads. I know I don't but here we have two heads again but no real shower stall. My attitude is that it's better to have a big roomy head without a shower stall than an inadequate head space attached to an inadequate shower stall. The galley is fine but it could have been finer if that head wasn't aft. This is a very comfortable layout for two couples.

The 43 is designed as a cutter and here we can see more of Jones' original thinking. Two headsails are shown, cutter style, but the headstay is not on the stem. It is about 18 inches aft of the stem. I would always take the headstay to the stem on a cutter to help open up room for the staysail and move center of pressure forward. But I do like this look. Pulling the headstay back gives the 43 almost a Meter-boat look. The SA/D is 18.69 and that should give the 43 good all-around performance. With the cockpit not extending to the transom there is plenty of room aft of the cockpit for the mainsheet traveler, so you get the advantage of clearing the cockpit and end-boom sheeting.

The Mystery 43 is being built by Cornish Crabbers in Cornwall, UK. I have admired their boats for a long time and I imagine they will do their typical beautiful job on this new model. The hull is hand laid-up GRP, solid with no core. The deck is balsa cored with hardwood pads under hardware attachment points.

I would really like to see this boat in person. I'd like more to sail one.