In his book Wind, Sand and Stars, famed French pilot Antoine de Saint-Expry wrote, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Fair enough. But while this may be true of airplanes, in the world of naval architecture, there are aesthetic considerations as well.
Take the new Marblehead 22 daysailer: on the one hand the boat is simplicity itself, thanks to its wishbone rig. It also happens to sail quite well. But these practical considerations miss the fact that the boat is also beautiful to look at, a joy to behold whether you are holding the tiller or watching her, green with envy, from the dock. Form may follow function, but when it comes to boats, it’s important that a designer have a good “eye,” and Marblehead 22 designer Doug Zurn has a good one, indeed.
I had a chance to take hull #1 for a sail on a warm spring day on Marblehead Harbor, Massachusetts, and was immediately impressed by both the looks and performance of this new boat. From the waterline up, the M22 is classic in its approach, with its plumb bow, graceful sheer and overhanging reverse transom.
A crowded anchorage or skirting the end of a dock. Singlinghanding the M22 on a daysail would be simple. Zurn, who was aboard for our test sail, said he also envisions the boat taking part in a kind of casual, gentlemanly one-design racing scene.
In addition to the boat’s magnificent cockpit—which at 11ft 9in provides plenty of room for you and your friends—there’s a surprisingly large cuddy forward for stowing provisions or getting little ones out of the sun. Epoxy-laminated cold-molded wood construction results in a hull that is both light and wonderfully solid.
The boat includes positive flotation forward, amidships and aft, while a varnished teak transom and coamings serve as nice highlights to the Awlgripped hull. Workmanship throughout was is fantastic. There is an option for an electric motor, though I suspect you won’t need it much, given this boat’s sparkling performance.
LOA 22ft 9in
LWL 18ft 8in
BEAM 6ft 10in
DRAFT 3ft 6in
SAIL AREA 271ft2
DESIGNER Doug Zurn
BUILDER Samoset Boatworks Inc., Boothbay, Maine, 207-633-8350
Ballast Ratio 55
Sail Area-Displacement Ratio 25 (light ship)
Displacement-Length Ratio 158 (light ship)