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Buppy Boat 61

2018 June 1

This offshore cruiser meets the demands of the Pacific Northwest and its curmudgeonly owner

When design commissions slow down I like to keep working so I pass the time being my own client and drawing what I think I would like. Recently, when I had some time on my hands, I took my 43-foot carbon fiber cutter and turned it into a pilothouse boat that came out quite good. But my buddy Don thought it was too small. He suggested we go to 50 feet LOA. Then we both decided 52 feet sounded better. The 52-foot length worked great. But Don, being Don, said, “Heck, why mess around, let’s take it to 60 feet.” I thought 61 feet LOA sounded better so off I went on a 61-foot dream boat designed exactly to my tastes and requirements. 


My imagined use was to sail with my grandkids, Violet and Drake and maybe my son Max and his wife Stacy. My wife is way too busy with all her projects to go sailing. The boat is intended for the Pacific Northwest with our deep water, big tides and fluky air. Then there is that rain thing. We have it. It would be an all weather cruising boat.

The fact is that we do a lot of motoring in the Pacific Northwest. I designed the hull with a long DWL for a good cruising speed under power. I’d like to do an honest 9 knots all day long if I have to motor. The D/L is 178. We would build in carbon fiber, like my four cutters currently under construction, and the weight saved in the hull and deck would go into ballast. Draft would be 8 feet. I tend to design narrow boats because they behave so well. My L/B for this design is 3.71. While the stern is broad it is narrow enough to give the boat some shape aft. I do not want “the box the boat came in” look. 

The sectional shape shows deadrise throughout. I like some depth to the hull for structure. I want deadrise aft to give the transom a pretty shape and I don’t want an aft counter that slaps when hit by a 6-inch wave. I added a bit of tumblehome aft just for looks.

I spent a lot of time on this layout. It has to fit my 6-foot 3-inch body and my son is 6 feet 5 inches tall. I started with a nice double stateroom aft with an adjoining head and large shower stall. I avoided any “minimal” spaces in this layout. The spaces have to be relative to the overall size of the boat and crew. There is a dedicated engine room below the cockpit with access from the deck and below. Stepping up into the pilothouse there is a large wet locker to port and a pilot station forward of this for inside steering on those rainy nights. 

To starboard there is a raised dinette so Drake and Violet can enjoy the view while playing Snakes and Ladders as we motor along. Two steps down there is the galley to port and to starboard the “nav/com center.” Outboard of the nav/com center is the freezer and “medicine chest.” That’s Australian for liquor locker. Deep settee/berths are port and starboard with pilotberths outboard. Kids love pilotberths. There is a fireplace on the forward bulkhead. There is another large hanging locker forward of the port settee and a head with shower to starboard. The forward cabin, probably where I would sleep, has a wide berth to port and another single berth to starboard. I wanted 36 inches at the shoulder for my berth. Hull deadlights are arranged so that sleeping forward or aft I can sit up in bed to check out what boat I hear putting by. I think my family and I could be very comfortable in this layout. I also drew a version with an on-center double berth forward. Maybe my wife will change her mind.

At my age a huge rig is not going to work. I want a rig that is easy to handle and won’t require frequent reefing. I might even go for in-boom furling. I’d have my pal Steve at Offshore Spars do me a nice carbon fiber rig and he can do boom furling. I kept the SA/D down to 16.75. If I can’t manage 5 knots VMG I’ll probably rely on my 180-horsepower diesel and 250 gallons of fuel for light air boat speed. Time is fleeting. I would have a staysail for heavy air but under most conditions I’d use the 120% working jib. I’d fly a cruising chute off the bowsprit for downwind sailing.

The style of boat I have chosen is pure PNW. I have borrowed from several designers to get this look. I love the work of William Hand. His motorsailers from the 1930s had a no nonsense, “You talkin’ to me?” look about them. I like that. Your boat can say a lot about you. It should. You probably see Bill Garden in the pilothouse. Try as I may I can’t escape the influence of my old friend. Bill is a large loomer in my life. I most certainly wanted a boat that would appear the antithesis to anything Euro. This boat is about rocky beaches, rain and evergreens, not white sand, sunshine and posh hotels.


Deck design and layout is always a challenge. I wanted a big cockpit and a single wheel. With the cockpit amidships I can put the mainsheet traveler aft of the cockpit. All winches are within easy reach of the helm. If you look really carefully you will see what I call a “bubble deck.” This means I have superimposed a higher cambered section of deck over a normally cambered section of deck. This gives me headroom below while retaining the look and practicality of a flush foredeck. I have done this successfully several times. 

I played with different transom details and dink arrangements. I looked at a drop-down boarding platform. But, in the end I followed my friend Steve’s advice and just dug a trough in the stern with easy steps up to the deck. It’s not beautiful but given the state of my knees it sure would be handy. Note the plethora of hatches. You can never have too much ventilation.

Why is this design called the Buppy Boat 61? When my granddaughter was younger she couldn’t quite manage “Grandpa.” But she could say “Buppy” and so I became Buppy. I drew this design primarily with her and Drake in mind. My builder friend Jim Betts loves this design and is itching to build it. The cost would be around $3.2 million with the carbon build. But this is my dream, and in my dream, money is no object. This was a fun project. But the client is a crotchety curmudgeon.

LOA 61’; DWL 56.04”; Beam 16’6”; Draft 8’; Displ. 63,951 lbs.; Sail Area 1,778 sq. ft.; D/L 178; L/B 3.71; SA/D 16.75; Auxiliary 180-hp, Fuel 250 gal. Water 200 gal.

Our best estimate of the sailaway price$3.2 million

Robert H. Perry Yacht Designers, Inc.

11530 Tulare Way West

Tulalip, WA 98271