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Sawyer 48MS

2010 February 1

I have been designing boats for Ken Sawyer for well over 20 years. We started when Ken decided to "turbo" his Cheoy Lee 43MS that I designed. Then Ken bought a Baba 40 pilothouse version and decided we should turbo that too.

Working with the Lyman Morse yard in Maine we also made a lot of interior changes. I designed a series of motorsailers for Ken but those plans were put on hold while we designed and built a double-ended 42-foot powerboat now being finished at Lyman Morse. Ken stays busy and much of the time keeps me busy too. This 48-footer will be our next building project once we get the 42-foot powerboat launched and presented to the public.

I have my own take on what a "motorsailer" is but I don't apply my own definition to the work of others. I cringe when I hear "compromise," so my idea of a motorsailer is a boat that sails very well and can motor all day long at hull speed while the crew is warm and comfy in a raised pilothouse with inside steering. The hull features that make for a good sailing boat do not necessarily conflict with the shape features you need for excellent motoring. It's a given that you will only do hull speed and in this case that is 8.7 knots.

So, if you accept that, the only reason to start adding volume aft and immersing the transom is to add volume aft for accommodations and cockpit space. Immersing the transom can help prevent the stern from squatting as you push up against that hull-speed wall. Even taken to the extreme shown in the Nordhavn, "top cruising speed" is limited to 9 knots according to their data. My 48-footer has a fine entry for speed to weather and some flare to the topsides in the bow to help keep the boat dry. The butts are long and straight. I use the tumblehome canoe stern to help pull volume aft to keep the fanny from squatting and add sailing length. Would a transom work better? Yes, it would, but my client likes the look of the canoe stern. So that settles that. The D/L is 245 and the L/B is 3.39.

"Where did that window shape come from?" It was a Sunday morning when the phone rang. It was Ken. "Do you know what a Bugatti Atlantic is?" I said, "I know what a Bugatti is." Ken went on to tell me about the Bugatti Atlantic and directed me to a Web site. "I want that window shape." "OK." Holy cow, I thought, that is one weird window shape for a boat. I could have thrown a tantrum but knowing Ken I just went ahead and incorporated the window shape into our 42-foot powerboat. Ken wanted the house treatment of the powerboat echoed on the motorsailer.

We have a piano in the pilothouse. It's a compact Yanmar electric model with a full keyboard. Ken likes pianos and we have the same piano in the powerboat. You can substitute a nice settee for the piano if you prefer. We tried moving the helm station aft in the Baba 40 redesign and it worked very well. Aft of the helm station is a large quarterberth. The galley is sunk down two steps. I do this in order to open up the volume under the side decks for galley lockers. It also has the benefit of putting the cook's eyes at the same level as the eyes of the crew sitting in the raised dinette to port, which is two steps up. I use two steps to put the eyes of people at the dinette right in the middle of the big windows. This was all tried out on the Baba 40. You could have a double berth forward but Ken wanted V-berths. There is a double berth in the stateroom to port. We have a single-head layout and a two-head layout.

The SA/D is 15.81 and the fat head was added to the mizzen because we liked the way it looked. Note the fold-down swim step that fits in flush to the hull.

LOD 48'; LWL 41'9"; Beam 14'2"; Draft 6'; Displacement 40,000 lbs.; Ballast 14,000 lbs.; Sail area 1,156 sq. ft.; SA/D 15.81; D/L 245; L/B 3.39; Auxiliary Yanmar 4JH4-THE 110-hp; Fuel 260 gals.; Water 120 gals.

Designer: Robert Perry Yacht Design, 11530 Tulare Way West, Tulalip, WA 98271, (360) 652-7771, www.perryboat.com.

OBE: $ 1.65 million
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