Shaw 650

2011 July 19

Sport boat

Here is an interesting 21-foot, 4-inch sport boat from Shaw Yacht Design in New Zealand. Yes, my friends, yet another sport boat. So it makes sense to me to look for what makes this one different from the rest. I have some nice photos that show a plucky little boat, very dinghylike, with wings to get the crew weight outboard and a huge asymmetrical spinnaker. To sail this boat safely you are going to need a crew of three and preferably four who know exactly what they are doing. And when all is working correctly you will have a fast ride. This design is also aimed at home builders with a hull of 8-millimeter cedar with fiberglass skins inside and out.

The hull lines show a boat with no deadrise and a narrow BWL. There are no hollows in the waterlines forward. There is a curious hollow in the lowest waterline just aft of amidships but I think this just might be an artifact of the program used. I can't believe it is an intended shape. I like the absolutely sharp forefoot knuckle on the drawing but the photos show a small radius there. The wings protrude from the hull by about 12 inches. This is just enough to keep the Shaw within the trailering limits. These wings will work well to get crew weight outboard but they can be the kiss of death if you drag the lower wing. The D/L is 72.4 and the prismatic coefficient is .554. The L/B is 2.66 but you have to factor in the wings before you assume this is a "fat" boat. There is 238 pounds in the ballast bulb at the end of the keel fin. Draft is 5 feet, 7 inches.

This is a high-powered boat. The promo material mentions a "modest sailplan." I'm not sure how you go from "modest" to an SA/D of 35.67. That is a lot of horsepower per pound. And with the sprit in the fully extended position you add about 10 feet to the J dimension, making for a huge spinnaker. The specs list the genniker size at 538 square feet. That is impressive. In fact, as I studied this sailplan it came to me that this rig is almost like the old rigs you saw on the sandbaggers of the early 1900s. The sailplan also shows a marked hook to the top of the mast but the photos of the boat sailing show a relatively straight mast and a boat going very fast.

The success of a design like the Shaw 650 relies upon developing a good one-design class. Shaw 650s are found in New Zealand, Thailand, Australia and the United States, with several more boats in the build stage now. You can buy a production model 650 or you can build your own. Shaws are also winning in mixed sport boat fleets. The fleet is quickly developing a reputation for speed and the most outrageous boat names.

LOA 21'4"; LWL 20'6"; Beam 8'1"; Draft 5'7"; Displacement 1,430; Ballast 238 lbs.; Sail area 285 sq. ft.; SA/D 35.67; D/L 72.4; L/B 2.66.

Shaw Yacht Design
PO Box 31 300, Milford, Auckland, New Zealand

Our Best Estimate of the sail-away price
o.b.e. $40,900

Our Best Estimate of the sail-away price
o.b.e. $40,900