by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004There is a reason why West Wight Potters have been in production for over 42 years. They may appear tiny compared to modern thin-water pocket cruisers, but their hard-chined hulls, simple sailplans, and economical accommodations are just as fun, safe, and effective as they were 40 years ago. Price: West Wight Potter 15, $7,395 (including sails, engine, and trailer, FOB Inglewood, CA);
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004All variable-draft boats depend on a fully deployed keel for windward performance. Walt Schulz of Shannon Yachts set himself the challenge of designing a 32-foot cruising boat that would sail to windward without drawing more than 30 inches. The result is the Shannon Shoalsailer, and Schulz's beamy design with dual shallow-draft bilge boards reportedly does just that. Schulz says the hull shape is
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004At 34 feet and 10,000 pounds displacement, the Seaward Eagle is one of the larger variable-draft coastal cruising monohulls you can haul and launch from a trailer with relative ease—and you can sail it with the keel at a variety of depths. It achieves shoal-draft status thanks to its 2,500-pound retractable bulb keel. An electric winch raises and lowers the keel within a keel trunk.
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004The MacGregor 26M is the latest version of Roger MacGregor's successful MacGregor 26X. This remarkable 26-footer can reportedly log speeds of over 21 knots under power, float in 12 inches of water, and sleep six. It has a galley and an enclosed head. Stability under sail comes from 300 pounds of permanent ballast, 1,150 pounds of easily removable water ballast in the hull, and a narrow
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004The Feeling 44 is another offshore cruiser with gunkholing capability; its optional lifting keel reduces draft from 8 feet, 6 inches to 2 feet. Considerable fixed ballast is built into the bottom of the hull to enhance stability and provide a solid grounding plate. This cruiser is thin-water friendly—its shallow rudder provides positive control with the keel fully retracted. It's also
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004The Catalina 250 Centerboard has some unusual features for a pocket cruiser—a built-in swim ladder and stern-pulpit seats. And it has the essentials: an easy-to-fill water-ballast system, a spacious cockpit and accommodation plan, a big kick-up rudder and a durable centerboard, and a stove, sink, and a bit of counter space in the galley. There is also a private head compartment. You'll be amazed
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004Not all pocket cruisers are water-ballasted. The Jim Taylor-designed Precision 23 achieves stability with fixed ballast and a shallow keel/centerboard configuration. With the board up the minimum draft is just under 2 feet; draft increases to 5 feet, 4 inches with the board down. The Precision also bucks pocket-cruiser convention in that it has a conventional cabin-top and legitimate side decks.
by Sail Staff, Posted September 23, 2004It may not be the first boat that comes to mind when you're considering a shoal-draft cruiser, but the Southerly 135 should grab your attention simply because of its size and what it can do below the waterline. It's a 45-foot offshore cruiser that displaces close to 30,000 pounds and boasts a well-appointed interior. What's remarkable about it is that it's equipped with a 3,610-pound cast-iron
by Sail Staff, Posted September 22, 2004The Grand Soleil 40, built by Cantiere del Pardo, is one of a gaggle of new 40-foot performance cruisers that purportedly strike a balance between elegant accommodations and grin-inducing performance. Many boats make this claim, so I tested one off Annapolis, Maryland, to find out for myself.On deckThe deck and cockpit are set up primarily for racing, but the layout is also