Best Boats 2012 Winner: The Com-Pac CP 23 Pilothouse


“It’s bright and livable, and as adorable as a Teddy bear”

Among the many large, expensive sailing vessels at this year’s Annapolis show, the crowd-stopper was this diminutive 23-footer with a tall pilothouse. Something about it—perhaps the proportions, perhaps the novelty, perhaps the accessibility— made people pause, do double takes and smile. It was a memory of childhood books about Little Toot the tugboat or the persistent dream of cruising away to quiet coves with the one you love that caught their attention.

Stepping aboard the Com-Pac 23 Pilothouse reinforced all those feelings. That pilothouse has headroom for a six-footer and windows that let you see all around even while sitting at the cute two-person dinette. The V-berth forward is as big as that on a 35-footer. There’s even an enclosed head with a sink. A 12-horsepower diesel huddles under the cabin step. It’s bright and livable, and as adorable as a Teddy bear.

The detailing is as clever as the overall design. The mirror in the head drops down to give visibility aft from the inside helm. The dinette table is cantilevered for legroom, can be removed to form a filler for a berth, and is strong enough to support a man’s weight. When the weather is fine and you want to sail from the cockpit, the nicely engineered linkage between the inside wheel and the tiller can be disconnected to improve the responsiveness of the boat underway.

Com-Pac has a reputation for strongly built boats with neatly executed details, and this prototype was a work in progress. The builder is enthusiastically coming up with even more neat touches, and the production models that come from the factory this winter should be finished better as well. The hull is the company’s standard 23-footer, whose shoal keel and large volume make the pilothouse version possible.

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LOA 23ft 11in
LWL 20ft 2in
Beam 7ft 10in
Draft 2ft 3in
Displacement 3,500 lb
Ballast 1,340 lb
Sail Area 240 ft2


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