The Cookson 50 from New Zealand's Cookson Boats belongs to the new generation of high-performance boats sporting canting keels and blistering speed potential. Mick Cookson, who worked with Farr Yacht Design to develop the concept, didn't start out to build a canting-keeler. "This began as a fixed-keel boat with a trim tab," he said. But Cookson also wanted a lightning-fast boat that had enough internal volume to be reasonably comfortable belowdecks and could be raced and cruised with small crews—doublehanded or even singlehanded. A canting keel's ability to get significant weight to windward without a large crew on the rail piqued Cookson’s imagination, but he thought a canting keel and forward foil would make the boat too expensive.
The resulting hull form has a bulb keel with a trim tab that cants 35 degrees (there is no forward foil) and displaces 7 tons. Eliminating the forward foil reduced drag, allowing for a more cost-effective, larger-chord medium-tech fin of fabricated steel. "When you really want to increase righting moment is while blast-reaching. In those conditions, you’re going so fast you need very little lateral resistance and can have the keel fully canted," said Cookson. Since there’s no forward fin, the keel won't be fully canted to provide lateral resistance on the upwind legs. But the boat should blast off downwind. Plans are for both race and racer/cruiser versions. The race version will have a bigger cockpit, smaller cabins, and an optional coffee grinder. The racer/cruiser will have an owner's double cabin forward of the mast, bigger cabins, and a smaller cockpit. www.cooksonboats.co.nz