The shapes arrayed on the windward rail are rounded mounds. In the dark they look a bit like a row of igloos.The simile is apt. It’s a cold night. The 15-knot northeasterly wind is heavy with vapors rising from 48-degree water. The sailors are padded in layers of fleece or down under foul-weather suits and inflatable life vests, with boots on their feet, wool caps on their heads. Shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, they ride high above the choppy water as the heeling boat close-reaches toward a distant waypoint.
Francis Lee was named in honor of a father’s boating lineage, but everyone knows her as Sliver. To the dockside crowd of sailors who reveled in the champagne-soaked launching, Sliver was celebrated as a hometown wonder designed and built in the Pacific Northwest. The wood composite 62-foot double-ender was designed by Bob Perry and built at Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.
I suppose you could go so far as to call this 20-footer a motorsailer given that you could sit at the mini dinette and have enough visibility to see forward and enjoy the scenery while the autopilot does the driving.
This is a heavy boat, weighing 72,600 pounds, but with the long DWL and minimal overhangs, the D/L is only 140. The L/B is 3.55 making it on the narrow side of medium beam. Two keels are available, one drawing 9 feet 10 inches in a T-bulb configuration and the other drawing 8 feet 6 inches.
At first look I was inclined to think, “Oh God, please don’t make this fast.” But I knew that scow bows have a long and successful history so the chances were strong that this bow would work. It works on the many scow one-design classes and even the old, sedate, CCA rule had Hoot Mon, a scowlike yawl with a successful race record.
Folding a sail is a task that sailors do every day, on the dock or on the deck, and while it won’t make or break you as a sailor, knowing how to fold a sail correctly will make your sails last longer, make them easier to set and ingratiate you to the rest of the crew.
Cruising catamarans were well established before Gunboat. Twin-hulled boats had become mainstream and very popular with charterers. As time went on, the two hulls, connected by a main cabin, expanded to the point that almost the entire rectangle was filled with accommodations. Cruising cats got heavier and heavier. Efficient daggerboards gave way to shoal, very low-aspect, stubby keels. With this evolution the hope of good speed to weather was dramatically reduced. In time the big cruising cat became an accommodation-focused platform that was a far cry from the performance-oriented cats that had initially caught the attention of sailors.
Fountaine Pajot was one of the first companies to build large cruising cats. Its designs have always been well crafted and very good looking. Barret Racoupeau designed the new flagship model, the Ipanema 58. In the ultra-competitive world of cruising cats it was only a matter of time before someone looked at the huge footprint and thought, “Hey! We can add a second story!”
In Bavaria’s Open 40, Marc Lombard created an interesting design that blurs the line between cockpit and interior. The freeboard is high to allow for headroom in the hulls, and the hull ends are chopped off to maximize the DWL. I see square-cornered fixed ports in the hull sides. This seems to be a very popular styling feature of the new European models today. I think the look works well in this design.
The crash may not have been heard by all the competitors as the two A-Class catamarans collided at the windward mark on the first day of racing, but by the time the boats hit the beach, every sailor in the fleet was ready to help repair the damage.It’s clear to even a casual observer that there’s something special about the people in the singlehanded A-Cat class. During a break in the action at the class’s North American Championship in Panama City, Florida, the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club lawn was crowded with sailors helping patch up the boats damaged in the collision earlier in the day.
Careers and years have a way of tugging friends apart. So photographer Bob Grieser’s 29-year-old godson Sean, who had a landmark birthday looming, resolved to gather his pals from all corners of the continent for a tropical vacation. The trip would launch from Grand Abaco Island, one of the Bahamas’ 700 islands and cays that sprawl across 80,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean.
Long live the America's Cup! Yes, I know, some of us have been disappointed by the morphing of this historic yachting institution from a respected international competition among sailors representing yacht clubs and their countries into a spectacle that features participants in helmets and body armor and is fueled by the inflated wallets and egos of billionaires and marked by shameless rule-rigging, but now we can again proudly embrace this once beloved sailing icon, for the America’s Cup has finally delivered on its promise to sailors.