On a crisp early-fall day, designer and builder Brian Bennett unfurled the self-tacking jib on the VX One Design prototype and we moved to the weather side, feet under the hiking straps, pulling the boat upright and effortlessly accelerating in the puffy northerly. Feedback from the mainsheet and the tiller told me to ease the main a bit. My first thought was, “Brian’s got it right with this design!”
The VX One Design looks fast just sitting at the dock. Its square-top main, low freeboard, fine plumb bow and wide stern with a hard chine that softens as it runs forward along the topsides all shout that this 19-footer is a rocket. The side decks are very comfortable for hiking—you’ll maintain feeling in your legs even after a long beat—and a gnav (a vang located above the boom rather than below) means that the crew has a clear path to the other side of the boat during tacks and gybes. Harken hardware ensures that sail controls work easily. Helping keep the boat upright is a 135-pound lead bulb hanging from a milled, fiberglass-covered 30-pound aluminum, high-aspect fin.
To ensure that future boats are exactly the same as the first, construction is simple and repeatable, with an emphasis on products that will stick around. Biaxial E-glass fabric is infused with vinylester resin either side of a Divinicell foam core. Components are glued together with Scigrip, a super adhesive that chemically becomes a part of the structure. Overall fit and finish is superb.
Sailing the VX One Design is a rewarding experience. The controls are few and well laid out, and Bennett worked closely with Southern Spars to develop a carbon mast, boom and sprit that complement a high-tech yet economical sail package from North Sails.
The VX can be adapted to appeal to a wide range of sailors. I sailed the standard model that will suit crews weighing between 375 and 450 pounds (heavier crews will gain upwind, but lose their advantage downwind), but there will also be a slightly de-powered version for lighter sailors or those new to this kind of sailing. Bennett envisions a pro circuit featuring a turbo-charged third version that loses the lead bulb and adds a pair of trapezes, a masthead spinnaker and twin backstays.
A flick of the hiking stick was all it took to dodge a cluster of moored boats as we sailed the VX toward open water, where Bennett hoisted the asymmetric spinnaker and extended the sprit. We hiked hard and sheeted in as I headed up to the fastest angle possible, hitting 13 knots on the Velocitek GPS before I reacted too slowly to a puff and wiped out. The spreaders stayed just above the waves, and as we ragged the sails, the ballast bulb dragged us back on our feet. Soon we were screaming along again.
I could easily see a VX One Design leaving the rest of the boats in my personal fleet crying for attention.
LOA 19ft // LWL 18ft 10in // BEAM 7ft 2in
DRAFT 4ft 4in // DISPLACEMENT 550lb
BALLAST 165lb // SAIL AREA 215ft2 (main and jib)
DESIGNER Brian Bennett and Ross Weene/ Rodger Martin Design
BUILDEREdgewater Boats, Edgewater, FL, 912-236-3911
PRICE $26,000 base