Monohull designs

As revealed in my ‘bio’ section, I met Chele, my wife and soul mate, in Texas. The joke goes that I was recently divorced and had a couple of children in tow and she was recently divorced and had a 40ft sailboat. There's no doubt that sometimes the way ahead can be clearly marked!

But Chele’s boat – a Bill Lapworth designed Cal 40 – was an eye-opener for me. Slender and light, a bit like a big dinghy, her performance totally outshone keelboats I had sailed before. So, it was an intriguing prospect: not quite the vivid performance of a thoroughbred multihull but much better than the sluggish keelboats I had previously sailed, and hopefully a much friendlier welcome when I checked into those marinas. Since we were returning to the UK where mooring space is at a premium, I decided on a shift in direction for my designs which I have pursued without too much regret ever since.


Spook almost becalmed in UK watersDesigned in the mid-1980s as a compact ocean cruiser, at 30ft LOA, Spook was the prototype for the series of related designs that followed. She sailed down to and extensively cruisied the Mediterranean but is now back in England, based in Lymington.
The characteristic stepped sheer increases the utility of both the cockpit and the space below it – a feature I've never found the need to change. The hull has quite a pronounced tumblehome, which will reduce her inverted stability if you're unlucky enough to roll. Her flush foredeck is a delight to work on and the unobtrusive doghouse gives virtually all-round vision from below.
Spook's hull and deck are of GRP foam sandwich construction, cored respectively with Airex and end-grain balsa – a structural combination which is both light and very strong.



Alacazam off AntiguaOwned by Dick McClary and Mary Swift, the 38-footer Alacazam was built in the UK but is now based in the Caribbean. She can be sailed either as a sloop or cutter – the latter being an ideal rig in trade wind conditions where reaching is the most common point of sail. Her hull is of epoxy/glass sheathed cedar strip with a marine plywood deck (also sheathed) and ply and cherry trim interior.
She is fast and weatherly and extremely easy to handle. In appropriate circumstances, she carries water ballast, which increases her stiffness and decreases heeling. Her ballast ratio is sufficient to make her stable without it – but to be able to crank up the stability when you need it is very useful.
Despite her internal volume, Alacazam has only 5 berths – two of which are for occasional guests, the fifth being a water resistant sea-berth. Light and airy below, she makes a comfortable floating home for Dick and Mary.


'Vlad the Impaler'

Vlad competing in the 3 Peaks RaceAnother cedar strip 38-footer, but this one designed for flat-out racing. After a career ‘around the cans’ in the Solent area and elsewhere Vlad’s itinerary became focused offshore where she competed in three successive Three Peaks Yacht race, winning two of these gruelling events and coming a very respectable second in the third.

She has since been converted into a fast cruiser with a new foam-sandwich deck and a more comfortable interior layout. Her re-launch is planned for next summer. She is currently in northern Spain.



Shindig sailing in the IonianShindig is our boat – by which I mean Chele's and mine. We sailed her to Greece where she was based for 5 years. She is now in Mallorca. We plan to sail down to the Canaries in 2013 and then across to the Caribbean early in 2014.
Her hull is both narrower and finer forward than Alacazam's, indeed, it was derived from Vlad’s, though is not quite so extreme. Again, the hull is cedar strip, but this time has a layer of khaya (African mahogany) veneer beneath the epoxy sheathing. However, her deck and most of the interior structure is of lightweight Herex cored composite, using vinylester resin in the deck laminate for improved strength and durability.
Shindig also has water ballast, though less than Alacazam, since her slightly deeper draft gives her a little more inherent stability. A somewhat 'retro' feature is her lowish aspect ratio rig, cutter designed to reduce the heeling moment while still giving lots of drive. An easy boat to sail, she is both quick and comfortable – not always the case with faster cruising yachts.


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