Internet forums are great for swapping tips on everything from where to anchor in Anchorage, Alaska, to finding an obscure part for a boat that’s no longer in production. Judging from the Flying Tiger 10-Meter forum on sailinganarchy.com, they also appear to be a great way to design and market a sportboat. And, of course, this boat is designed to a “box” rule—but the “box” is actually the size of a standard shipping container. Intrigued? So was I. The new Flying Tiger 10-Meter project started when Bill Stevens, a custom boatbuilder in California, was looking to build a new sportboat to market to the growing numbers of sailors in China. He floated the idea on the sailinganarchy site and was inundated with interest, here in the States, and, as is the beauty (or bane) of Internet forums, opinions. As the concept took shape, Stevens kept interested forum participants informed as he puzzled over rig sizes, deck gear, retracting keels, and Chinese builders. He even solicited comments. Soon designer Bob Perry was reporting on the design process, and 50 people seemed willing to put down a $1,000 deposit on a boat/class that didn’t exist yet.
What’s all the buzz about? Stevens intends to build an affordable 32-foot sportboat that’s designed for round-the-buoys racing. The design calls for a retractable keel, a keel-stepped carbon-fiber mast, a carbon-fiber sprit, an outboard well under the bridgedeck, and a cassette rudder. He says the hull construction is “medium tech [foam core with vinylester resin], and the yard in China will be able to build a boat in less than two weeks once two sets of molds are going.” Stevens’s posts on the forum also report that class rules will allow for three sails, that he wants to keep costs from spiraling, and that he is open to the idea of bigger spinnakers. And don’t forget the price. It’s reportedly $44,000 (FOB China) with the three sails.
For more information, visit Flying Tiger Boats.