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Seaward 19RK

2013 October 3

Pocket cruiser

From Hake Yachts comes this true pocket cruiser. The designer's name is not listed, but I think I spot the work of Nick Hake's hand in this design.

This is a handsome little cruiser with a perky spring to the sheer and a low, well proportioned cabintrunk. The short ends give it a purposeful look. The LOA of 21 feet 6 inches includes the rudder. The actual LOA from tip of stem to tip of transom is 19 feet, hence the 19RK.

With 19 feet of hull to work with you might expect this to be a chubby little boat. The D/L is 159 and the L/B is 2.53 indicating a very beamy boat. The hull is all pure sailing length with only a tiny bit of overhang in the bow. Both the keel and the rudder retract vertically for shoal-draft capability and trailering convenience.

There is an 800-pound bulb at the tip of the lifting keel. My guess is that with the keel down and the 4-foot 6-inch draft, this little hooker will go to weather quite nicely and be a sweet little sailing boat.

Note that the plan form of the rudder blade is about 80% of the plan form of the keel fin. That means the rudder will provide a lot of lift for the 19RK to go to weather. With the rudder and keel retracted the draft is only 8½ inches. That should let you step right off onto the beach. Who needs a dinghy?

The accommodation layout is critical in a pocket cruiser. Of course, cruising in Florida in September is one thing, and cruising in the Pacific Northwest in September is another. Cruising a small boat in a chilly and wet climate is always a challenge. If you cruise in a dry and warm area you can use the cockpit as an extension of the accommodations. In Seattle? Not so much on many days. You will be stuck inside the boat.

So, keeping that in mind the fact that I live north of Seattle, I look at this layout and think: Where would I sit? The settee portion of the quarterberths are short, but it's important to remind myself that this is only a 19-foot LOA hull.

The enclosed head is convenient and a luxury on a 19-foot pocket cruiser. If the enclosed head were eliminated and replaced with a stowed portable head, the starboard berth could creep forward alongside the keel trunk to increase sitting room.

The galley is really tiny, but with a one-burner stove, some ingenuity and some creativity, I would image some decent meals could be prepared. It's asking a lot for a 19-foot boat to have "cruising accommodations."

This is a very simple rig and will be easy to take down for trailering. The swept shrouds do not need spreaders due to the wide beam of the boat. Diamond shrouds stiffen the lower section. There is enough sweep on the shrouds to eliminate the need for a backstay. This means you can use a square-head mainsail and not worry about clearing the backstay. The SA/D is 16.94. The short LP jib will be a breeze to tack and this should be a very easy boat to sail. An optional 6-horsepower outboard will provide auxiliary power.

Doing a cruising boat in 19 feet is a real challenge. I think Nick Hake and the crew at Seaward have done a good job putting together a design that will have a lot of sailors dreaming about starting out on a life of cruising.