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Great small boats for big adventures

2019 May 1

Dana 24

Few would argue the fact that Bill Crealock was a skilled yacht designer responsible for many wonderful designs. But when a Dana 24 owner who lived onboard for five years and sailed more than 10,000 miles, including a transatlantic passage, declares Crealock to be “a genius,” you know the designer hit on something special.

Sailors haven’t been shy about putting the Dana 24 through the rigors of serious sailing, and ocean passages, bluewater cruising and even circumnavigating are on the list of the boat’s accomplishments.

Crealock designed the boat for Pacific Seacraft in 1984 when he was 65 and had a lifetime of designing performance cruisers under his belt. The Dana has classic looks, with a beefy bowsprit, lots of sheer and a healthy amount of freeboard. 

All that comes with a healthy amount of displacement: 8,000 pounds, which is a lot for a little boat. The full keel, which provides 3,200 pounds of ballast, is molded in. 

Heavy displacement requires a good deal of sail area to keep the boat moving, so Crealock designed the Dana with a relatively big rig that came in both sloop and cutter configurations.  The mast is deck stepped.

The Dana’s cockpit is big enough for up to six people to sit comfortably and 6-foot-long seats make it great for lounging or sleeping as well. In fact Crealock wrote that he felt the long seats were worth sacrificing some cabin space for exactly this purpose.  High coamings make the cockpit feel secure.

The boat is remarkably spacious down below, where 6 feet of headroom makes it livable. A proper galley has a two-burner stove and oven, icebox, sink and a good amount of cabinetry. A desk forward of the galley serves as the nav station and folds out of the way when needed.

Four people can sleep aboard, with two settees and a 6-foot 8 inch V-berth. A dining table slides out from under the V-berth and, with a hinged center, fits around the interior post to be used full or partially extended.

There’s also a small head, hanging locker and several other storage areas tucked around the interior. 

The Dana 24 was expensive for a 24-footer, but Crealock and Pacific Seacraft weren’t interested in compromises with a boat intended for big cruising. It’s held its value fairly well, with boats for sale starting in the mid-$40,000 range but often double that for newer boats decked out for world cruising.

LOA 27’3”; LWL 21’5”; Beam 8’7”; Draft 3’10”; Displacement 8,000 lb.; Ballast 3,200 lb.; Sail Area 356 sq. ft.


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