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Precision 15

1997 February 12


Here is a compact daysailer from Jim Taylor and the Precision people in Florida. This boat was developed from the centerboard model of the Precision 15. The package is distinctly different from the catboat. While the catboat is traditional all the way, the Precision is a modern attempt to produce a daysailer with no genetic idiosyncrasies and a more up-to-date performance level.

The target market for this boat could be family daysailing, but the 15 would also make a very nice trainer. The hull is broad enough to provide stability without acrobatics. At 600 pounds, the boat is also light enough to be fast and responsive. The broad and flattish sections aft mean that the 15 will be stable off the wind in a breeze. In light air, you can move crew weight forward and get the fanny out of the water to reduce wetted surface. The keel is a bulb/end plate-type with only 1-foot, 8-inch draft. The rudder is considerably deeper than the keel. I'd like to see a deeper keel, but recognize that Taylor and Precision have become very adept at doing these minimal-draft keels.

The cockpit is 9 feet, 4 inches long and the side decks are wide enough for comfortable hiking. The side decks will also help prevent swamping in the event of a knockdown. No centerboard means no centerboard trunk to interfere with the cockpit.

The rig is a simple sloop rig with swept-back spreaders. It doesn't get any more basic than this. There is a mainsheet traveler, some attention to the vang is all that's needed to take care of leech tension. Jib lead tracks are adjustable for close sheeting angles.

Think back a bit to a time when we had Highlanders, Rebels, Lightnings, Thistles, Ravens, Geary 18s, Flying Scots and a plethora of other healthy and fun daysailers. Along came the Laser and all emphasis was put on blistering planing speeds. Today this is carried to an extreme with boats like the new Olympic class 49er that can humble even the most experienced and athletic crew. The Precision returns us to a more versatile type of boat, capable of satisfying two 14-year-olds or mom, pop and the grandkids.