Two days after the close of the Newport Boat Show, we had a chance to take out a couple of the smaller new boats wed visited there, the Scandinvian Cruiser and Class 2M. Despite their diminutive size, both were standouts at the show, with their striking good looks, unique design and excellent build quality.
Quick but forgiving
The first boat we took out was the Class 2M, a 23-footer with a retracting bulb keel that was one of the most eye-catching boats in the show. Long and lean, with a beam of just 4ft 11in, the deck constitutes an unbroken series of sweeping curvesall the way from the blunt, destroyer-style bow, a la the Americas Cup, to the wonderfully long reverse transom. Light-colored bamboo decking and metallic gray topsides emphasize the boats clean lines. The cockpit is a sculpted ovalyou sit on the side decksthat blends into a small, removable cuddy forward of the mast. There is a lip for hooking your feet when hiking out. Hiking straps are an option.
The fractional, single-spreader, square-top rig spreads 290ft2 of sail and is simple by design. There is a vang, but no main traveler. There are fixed sheet leads for the roller-furling jib and no spinnaker option. (Builder Naval Force 3 describes the 2M as a true upwind keel boat.) Although the hope is that there will be enough interest to create an exciting one-design class, the boat is also intended to serve as an elegant daysailer.
Underway, the boat was nimble, yet stable and steady. SAIL associate editor Meredith Laitos, a veteran of the Northwestern University sailing team, insisted we try some roll-tacking (ah, youth!), but it was a challenge with that 484lb bulb on the bottom of the boats 5ft 3in deep, high-aspect lifting keel.
Both on and off the wind, the boat tracked well and was a joy to steer. It was also refreshingly predictable. Ideally, I would have liked a bit more windwe never had more than a gentle breezenonetheless, the 2M responded to the puffs we had like a true keelboat, digging in and powering ahead, immediately translating the increased pressure into forward motion. The boat also turned on a dime. Despite the profusion of moorings and a nearby finger pier, threading our way back to the dock was a piece of cake.
As a side note, I was pleased to discover that the polished bamboo deck was not as slippery as it appeared when I first examined it during the show. Of course, with all sail controls led to the cockpit, there was little need to spend much time traipsing around the foredeck anyway. That having been said, sock-clad boat show attendees beware!
The mainsheet is cleated in front of the elegantly sculpted tiller. Jib sheets are led under the side decks, preserving the boats clean lines. The rudder and tiller are both mounted in a removable cassette, which can be easily be swapped out for a small electric motor to help you back home in a calm.
This is one nice boat, one that sails as good as it looks.
LOA: 23ft 7in
BEAM: 4ft 11in
DRAFT: 5ft 3in
SAIL AREA: 290 sq ft
U.S. Representative: Forum Marine www.forummarine.com