A Quartet of New American Designs
Away from the docks at last October’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, the buzz was all about the just-announced Hinckley Bermuda 50. This is the first new sailing boat from Hinckley since 2004, when the venerable builder got in right at the forefront of the daysailer movement with its DS42.
Hinckley’s Bermuda 40, designed by Bill Tripp Jr., is one of the most beautiful boats ever built, in my humble opinion. This “gentleman’s ocean racer,” as Tripp described it, was designed in the late 1950s to the CCA rule that eventually gave way to the IOR in the late 1960s, after begetting a generation of the prettiest boats afloat. It looks gorgeous from any angle, and although not famed for its windward performance, it shone on any other point of sail. It was an iconic boat for Hinckley, so it is therefore only fitting that the Bermuda 50 comes from the design office of Bill Tripp III.
It’s a thoroughly modern cruiser-racer, designed to be competitive under IRC and also take its crew cruising in comfort. Composite construction and a carbon rig will keep weight down—cruising displacement is a hair over 25,000lb—and with its hydraulic lifting torpedo keel drawing nearly 12 feet, this boat will go to weather like no Hinckley before it. At the press of a button, the keel will retract to a more harbor-friendly 6ft 6in.
The deck layout and sail handling systems are optimized for a two-person crew, with all desirable conveniences (and a few luxuries) belowdecks for comfortable cruising between—or instead of—races. The renderings show a spacious and classically styled interior—you would expect nothing less. Welcome back, Hinckley.
Few yachts are as head-turning as the Friendship series of bespoke sloops designed by Rhode Island-based Ted Fontaine. In fact, the Friendship 40, designed in 2001, was the forerunner of the modern-daysailer trend—boats designed for pure, unadulterated sailing pleasure. Will Fontaine’s latest design, the Surfari 53, be another trendsetter?
There is certainly nothing conventional about this boat. Fontaine set out to create what he describes as a “good looking, good performing, family oriented, sailing lifestyle platform.” The result is a striking coastal cruiser that will stand out from the herd in any anchorage.
As Beneteau did with its Sense series, Fontaine has borrowed from the catamaran concept of single-level living, but without the pressures of designing for volume production the end product is quite different. Instead of a bulkhead dividing the cockpit and saloon/galley, there is a sliding glass door, motorboat-style, with the side windows also sliding open for extra ventilation.
Combined with the plexiglass-topped roof—it’s more of an aircraft-style canopy than a cabintop—this makes for an exceptionally light and airy interior; the boat can be steered from an inside helm station that has all-round visibility. You step down from the saloon into the sleeping quarters, where there are two cabins plus a full-width master stateroom forward.
Good performance is guaranteed, with polars showing that the twin-ruddered, bulb-keeled hull should easily achieve double-digit cruising speeds. If you really want to get home in a hurry, fire up the twin 78hp diesels and power straight into the wind at 11-plus knots.
Hull and deck moldings are resin-infused composites, and the rig is carbon fiber. A short sprit provides a tack point for offwind sails. Sailhandling is all done by thumb—powered winches all round, with a square-topped main on a furling boom. Expect to write a check for a little over $2 million for this unique yacht.
I first met Jeremy Wurmfeld some years back when he and sailmaker Robby Doyle collaborated on the e33, a sweet daysailer with a performance edge to it. Wurmfeld has since set up shop in New York along with fellow S&S alumnus Carl Persak. Among Persak & Wurmfeld’s growing superyacht portfolio is the odd “rogue” design that shows the duo have not forgotten their sailing roots. The Motive 25 sports trimaran is one such; this 44ft Performance Yacht is another.
Designed to be built in epoxy/wood composite by Lyman Morse in Thomaston, Maine, the 44 has distinctive styling marked by a fairly bluff bow, a long stern overhang, a squared-off house and a mainsheet arch. A fine entry, narrow waterline beam and deep foils—draft is 7ft 8in—combined with a displacement of 18,000 pounds, promise zippy performance. Mast and boom are carbon fiber and the fractional sailplan comprises a square-topped main, self-tacking jib and an asymmetric spinnaker flown off a stubby sprit.
The drawings show a large galley and heads/shower, with saloon settees set forward of amidships and a double cabin in the eyes of the boat, but Lyman Morse will customize the interior to suit the buyer.
Finally, Steven Weiss, who for many years worked for Hinckley and has also spent time at Oyster Yachts and Morris Yachts, sent news of his latest design, the 36DS. It’s a pretty 36-foot daysailer, with a pleasing classic style and a no-frills aspect. A long cockpit leads to a small cabin with room for the essentials—an enclosed head, a pair of settees and a V-berth. There’s space for minimal cooking facilities should you not be of the sail-all-day, go-home-at-night school of yachting, but this boat is not intended for long-distance cruising.
Long, low and—displacing just 8,350lb—light, she has a small sundeck abaft the tiller and a good-sized cockpit with all sail controls led to within arm’s reach of the helmsman. With a full-battened square-topped main sail and self-tacking jib, she’s all a singlehander could ask for. Weiss’s drawings show the boat with a tiller, but no doubt you could have a wheel if you wanted one. I don’t know why you would, though.
The Hinckley Company, hinckleyyachts.com
Fontaine Design Group, fontainedesigngroup.com
Persak & Wurmfeld, persakwurmfeld.com
Steven Weiss Yacht Design, weissyachtdesign.com