Olson 30

1978 November 11

Ultra light racing yacht

Following Bill Lee's advice, George Olson has designed the Olson 30. The new Olson 30 is another very ultra light racing yacht from the Monterey Bay, California area. Accommodations are certainly secondary to this design and quite clearly depicted on the drawings; therefore, I will give the accommodations their due and not mention them.

When studying the Olson 30 one becomes immediately aware of maximum waterline length and deep draft. I have noticed in studying several similar designs that displacement is no longer a function of hull shape, but hull shape is now a function of displacement. In short, I'm sure the displacement of the Olson 30 left little to the designer's imagination in terms of hull shape. While this undoubtedly provides for very fast yachts off the wind, I think these boats suffer for lack of power on the wind. Certainly a slight compromise may prove fruitful in terms of displacement. The Olson 30 is emaciated to the point that its displacement to length ratio is 75. If the sole objective is to build lighter, I'm sure we will see this very low figure surpassed in the future. As I have indicated the Olson 30's forte will be off the wind. And her Achilles heel will be on the wind against boats with more moderate proportions.

The designer has chosen a masthead sloop rig for the Olson 30. The low aspect ratio of this rig I'm sure was intended to keep the center of effort low to enhance stability. With a sail area to displacement ratio of 26.4, the Olson 30 should show devastating performance in light air. It would simply not be fair to compare the performance of the Olson 30 in light air with a typical IOR type performance design. But remember, the Olson 30 is by no stretch of the imagination a racer-cruiser.

The hull of the Olson 30 utilizes sandwich construction with end grain balsa core for stiffness. There is 1,700 pounds of ballast for a ballast to displacement ratio of 46.6 percent. I'm sure construction and joiner work details are excellent. It is very difficult to maintain the weight control necessary for a yacht such as this with sloppy workmanship.

Dear Reader, please grant me my prejudices. If the total criteria for a design is speed, at all cost, let's have 60-foot catamarans or better still radical one way proas. Or, if you are a die-hard monohull fan, an Etchells 22 is a nice way to go. I guess I'm becoming too much of a cruiser, but the Olson 30 appears to be a design of little versatility. We'll see.
Far West Yachts, P.O. Box 194, Venture, CA 93001.

LOA 30'
LWL 27.5'
Beam 9.5'
Draft 5.5'
Displacement 3,500 lbs.
Ballast 1,700 lbs.
Sail Area 380 sq. ft.
SA/D 20.97
D/L 268
Auxiliary Yanmar JGM 10