Skip to main content

Landing School 30

Most production boats are conceived with a design brief from a builder who has a targeted market in mind. Not so the Landing School 30 (LS-30). It’s built by students at a non-profit boatbuilding and design college. The Landing School and its resident designer, Steve Dalzell, design and build boats as part of the curriculum: selling them is an afterthought. As a result, only two or three LS30s

Most production boats are conceived with a design brief from a builder who has a targeted market in mind. Not so the Landing School 30 (LS-30). It’s built by students at a non-profit boatbuilding and design college. The Landing School and its resident designer, Steve Dalzell, design and build boats as part of the curriculum: selling them is an afterthought. As a result, only two or three LS30s will be built each year, which means the school may have a new problem: this cold-molded wooden rocketship just might create more demand than the students can supply.

I first saw the LS-30 at last summer’s Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, where its Seldn high-performance carbon-fiber mast, square-topped mainsail, complement of high-tech sails and powerful asymmetric spinnaker contrasted sharply with the other more traditional wooden yachts. My eye was instantly drawn to the boat’s narrow beam, open transom, plumb bow and race-ready deck layout.

Later I joined Dalzell for a test sail in 12-14 knots of wind and a lumpy, unpleasant seaway off Marblehead, Massachusetts. I found the boat responsive, but demanding to helm. While the big mainsail (341.75 ft2) dwarfed the 105-percent headsail (44.78 ft2), I found that driving by the jib was the way to go. Concentration was needed to keep the boat in its groove in these conditions. Later, in flat water, it was much easier to drive the boat while keeping the main fully powered up.

The boat tacks easily through 80 to 85 degrees and has an ultra-responsive helm. It’s a legs-in sportboat, so there’s no need to fuss about with lifeline calisthenics, although you do spend a lot of time on the rail. My only quibble with the helm was a poorly situated tiller extension. The spacious cockpit can easily seat four or five adults.

Hoisting the big kite, which sets on a short sprit, was easy. All of the running rigging is led to clutches and winches on the cabintop, and the absence of running backstays (or even a backstay) makes it easy to concentrate all effort on the kite. The boat’s off-the-wind groove is wide and easy. The helm was light and the boat felt well balanced under main and kite. Soon we were surfing effortlessly under nearly 1,100 square feet of sail. Get going fast enough and the high-aspect foils (a forged-steel strut with a lead torpedo bulb and a spade rudder) emit a pleasant buzzing sound. It starts at about 11 knots and only sounds sweeter as speed increases.

Belowdecks, the interior is Spartan. Two long settee berths can accommodate a brace of reasonably tall sailors. There’s a compartment for an optional head, but no running water. The structural box around the keel is immediately below the companionway, where it gets in the way. Stowage is limited, but there are two generous cockpit lockers.

The LS-30’s restricted production run means it’s unlikely to achieve full one-design class status. No matter. This is a challenging, grin-inducing boat to sail under any conditions. Give it flat water and 8-12 knots of breeze and it will be hard to catch on a racecourse.

Related

thumbnail_Jump-1

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Returns

It’s been four years since racers last sailed the cold North Atlantic in the venerable Marblehead-to-Halifax race—and finally, the wait is over. The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron have announced the 39th Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race set for this ...read more

Wendy-2048px

Meet Wendy Mitman Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SAIL magazine

Learn more about how she and the magazine’s team are committed to building on SAIL’s legacy of more than 50 years as an authentic voice about the sport and the sailing life, delivering stories that educate, inspire and inform. ...read more

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar, and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Dates for the 2024 America’s Cup Announced

Ever since making the controversial decision to hold the next America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain, instead of in home waters, Defender Emirates Team New Zealand has been hard at work organizing logistics for the event.  The Racing Area for the Challenger Selection Series and the ...read more