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Know Your Boats

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Tartan 34

Builder: Tartan Marine
Designer: Olin Stephens
Number Built: 525
Years Built: 1968-1978

For the time, this boat was considered a high-performance cruiser, with a short fin keel, rudder on a skeg and big centerboard, and even now is capable of fast passages. With a fairly high freeboard, there is plenty of headroom in the narrow cabin, and the nine-foot cockpit can hold a party. The mainsail is high aspect, and most examples sheeted to a traveler in the cockpit. This one has a long boom to allow for sheeting all the way aft.

You will often find this boat referred to as a 34C, for "classic", to distinguish it from later Tartan 34 designs, but that was not an official designation. Some interesting records have been racked up by sailors aboard the Tartan 34. In 1981, Jon Sanders set out aboard one on a double circumnavigation, sailing 419 days and 48,510 miles single-handed without a stop. Several records for youngest circumnavigator were set during the 1990s and 2000s by Tartan 34 sailors. David Dicks completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation in 1996 at age 18. Jesse Martin did the same in 1999 and completed at a slightly younger 18. Jessica Watson sailed her Tartan 34 around the world non-stop solo in 2009-2010 at the age of 16.

Niagara 35

Builder: Hinterhoeller Yachts
Designer: Mark Ellis
Number Built: 260
Years Built: 1978-1990

Traditional appearance above the water line, long fin and spade rudder below. The boat has wide side decks and a big open foredeck to make sail handling safe and easy. The high freeboard and springy sheer remind me of the lines of the Allied Princess. Construction quality and detailing are top-knotch, as is typical for boats from this maker.

Westsail 28

Builder: Westsail Corporation
Designer: Herb David
Number Built: 78
Years Built: 1975-1979

With only 78 built, you are much less likely to see one of these than big sister Westsail 32s, but they share many spotting characteristics - long bowsprit, cutaway bulwarks at the bow, external chainplates and transom-hung rudder, to name a few. The hull form is different, with more cutaway in the forward sections, and the rig is higher in aspect. This makes them a bit more nimble and responsive than the big Crealock-designed, Colin Archer-inspired 32s.

Pied Piper 28

Builder: Liberty Yachts
Designer: Cyrus Hamlin
Number Built: ?
Years Built: 1960-?

The early ones were wood and built by various yards, the later ones fiberglass built by Libery Yachts of Leland NC, not to be confused with Liberty Yachts of Riviera Beach, Fl, builders of the Liberty 38. Easily recognized by its external chainplates and Pacific Seacraft style rubrails. Some were built with a long fin keel, others with a keel-centerboard arrangement. To confuse matters, another boat known as the Pied Piper 28 was built with a completely different profile, flush deck and high doghouse, ostensibly by the same yard. And the Liberty Yachts of Florida built a very similar (as in almost identical) boat known as the Liberty 28.

These boats were built on a semi-custom, commission basis, and the owners had the option to work closely with the builder to get a real one-of-a-kind boat. I have seen pictures of at least one with gorgeous, Hinckley-style cabinetwork.

Fantasia 35

Builder: Tung Hwa Ind. Co. Ltd.
Designer: Bruce Bingham
Number Built: 78
Years Built: 1976-Late 1970s

It's rare to find a center-cockpit boat in the 35 foot range, but designer Bruce Bingham made it work in this beamy Taiwanese-built cutter. The boat features a big aft cabin, a head on one side of the cockpit and a workbench on the other, with a saloon and v-berth forward. The high bulwarks, canoe stern, full keel and powerful dual spreader rig make this a true blue-water boat. It has good antecedents - Bingham also designed the Flicka.

Cape Dory 28

Builder: Cape Dory Yachts
Designer: Carl Alberg?
Number Built: 240
Years Built: 1984-1990

Yes, Cape Dory made powerboats as well as their familiar sailboats, ranging from 24 feet to 40 feet. The various models of the 28 make up most of them, and they are fairly common on the east coast. They feature typical Cape Dory heavy construction in a semi-displacement hull with rounded bilges. They were built with big Chrysler gas engines or Volvo diesels, but many have been repowered. The boats have large open cockpits and pilot houses with comparatively small living areas forward. Some models have flybridges.

I found one site that credited Carl Alberg with the design. Alberg drew most of the Cape Dory sailboats, but whether he also designed the powerboat line I have not been able to confirm.

Com-Pac 23

Builder: The Hutchins Co.
Designer: Clark Mills
Number Built: Many
Years Built: 1978-Current

Easily recognizable by the external chainplates and tiny portholes, these little trailerable boats are well-regarded by the sailing community. They have been in continuous production since 1978, which must be some kind of record. The boats draw just over two feet, and most are powered by a transom-hung outboard, though a few were built with tiny 10-horse Yanmars.

The designer's name may not be familiar, but the man drew two of the best known sailboats on the water, the Com-Pac 23 and the Optimist pram.

Folkboat

Builder: Various
Designer: Tord Sunden
Number Built: 4,000+
Years Built: 1942-Current

The boat resulted from a design competition in Sweden in 1942. The sponsor, The Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union, couldn't decide on a winner, so they chose the best features of several plans and commissioned Sunden to create a design. He did, and the Folkboat has gone on to race, cruise and sail worldwide for seven decades. The originals were carvel planked, but starting in the late 1960s fiberglass models were (and are) being built. Blondie Hasler raced a modified Folkboat to second place in the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in 1960. The heavy iron ballast keel (over 50% of total displacement) makes for a very stiff and seaworthy boat. The fine lines make it fast and the fractional rig makes it easy to sail. I took this photograph at the marina in Brookings OR in 2003.

Freedom 28

Builder: Tillotson Pearson Inc
Designer: Gary Hoyt/Jay Paris
Number Built: ?
Years Built: 1979-?

With an unstayed cat ketch rig, these boats are distinctive and easy to spot. The earliest examples had wishbone booms but later ones, like the one pictured, had conventional booms. Underwater is a long shoal keel and centerboard. There were a whole series of Freedom catboats from 21 to 45 feet, built in the U.S. and by license in Great Britain.

Liberty 38

Builder: Liberty Yachts (USA)
Designer: Joe Fennell
Number Built: 6
Years Built: 1983-1985

With only 6 built (the builder was a casualty of rising resin prices and the luxury tax), you may never see one of these, but they are easy to identify by their external chainplates, canoe stern, high gunwales and cutter rig. To my eye, they look like a big Westsail 32, and the similarities extend to a full keel and heavy displacement. One difference - the rudder is hung under the counter. Another - steering is by wheel rather than tiller.

J/92

Builder: J Boats Tillotson Pearson
Designer: Rod Johnstone
Number Built: 180
Years Built: 1992-2003

J-Boats have proven some of the most popular class racers around. The builder has produced over 9,000 in various sizes and is still going strong.This racy 30-footer sports a retracting sprit for carrying an asymmetric spinnaker. About as far from a heavy displacement cruising boat as one could find, the J/92 normally carries a crew of six for class racing. Looks like it would be a blast to sail - any J/92 skippers looking for rail meat, give me a call.

CS 27

Builder: Canadian Sailcraft
Designer: Raymond Wall
Number Built: 480
Years Built: 1975-1983

Easy to spot with lots of tumblehome and a transom-hung rudder. She has a fin keel and draws just over 5 feet. The designer had been chief designer for Camper and Nicholson before emigrating to Canada and taking the same position with Canadian Sailcraft. The builder was known for quality work.

Downeaster 32

Builder: Downeast Yachts
Designer: Bob Poole
Number Built: 132
Years Built: 1975-1980

Traditional heavy displacement, full keel boats known for quality construction, sea-kindliness and classic lines. Easy to spot by their external chainplates, clipper bows and wineglass sterns. These boats are popular among sailing couples and single-handers.

Sabre 30

Builder: Sabre Yachts
Designer: Sabre Design Team
Number Built: 244
Years Built: 1979-1993

Fin keel, high aspect rig make for a capable racer-cruiser. Built to high standards, these boats are well-regarded in the sailing fraternity.

Alberg 30

Builder: Whitby Boatworks
Designer: Carl Alberg
Number Built: 700+
Years Built: 1962-1984

Another classic Alberg design. Notice the close family resemblance to the Alberg 35 and to the whole line of Cape Dories. Huge fleets of these sail the Chesapeake. The pictured boat is hull #30, built in 1964.

Lightning

Builder: Various
Designer: Olin Stephens
Number Built: 15,000+
Years Built: 1938-Current

The quintessential racing dinghy, also makes a pleasant and tractable day-sailor. Planes easily running downwind under a spinnaker; fractional rig, hard chines and heavy centerboard allow her to go to weather.

Cape Dory Typhoon

Builder: Cape Dory Yachts
Designer: Carl Alberg
Number Built: 2000+
Years Built: 1967-1986

Heavy displacement, full keel in a nineteen-foot package. Tall mast, fractional rig. Auxiliary power provided by a transom-hung outboard.

Nordic Tug 37

Builder: Nordic Tugs
Designer: Lynn Senour
Number Built: 200+
Years Built: 1998-Current

Modern fast trawlers. Full-width saloon with no side decks. Swim platform. Little exterior teak trim. Nordic Tug makes boats ranging from 26 to 54 feet, all sharing a family resemblance.

Lord Nelson Victory Tug

Builder: Lord Nelson Yachts, Inc.
Designer: James Backus
Number Built: 86
Years Built: 1983-1997

The pictured boat is one of 75 37-footers. The remaining 11 ranged in length up to 48 feet. The design cosmetically is based on the Moran working tugs of New York harbor, while below the waterline the boat is based on the traditional Maine lobsterboat hull form. These boats are easy to spot - there is nothing else on the water quite like them.

Southern Cross 31

Builder: C.E. Ryder Corporation
Designer: Thomas Gillmer
Number Built: 150
Years Built: 1976-1987

Stout blue water cruising cutters in the Colin Archer heritage. Double-ended, tiller-steered.

Pacific Seacraft 34

Builder: Pacific Seacraft
Designer: Bill Crealock
Number Built: ?
Years Built: 1984-Current

Scaled-down version of the renowned Crealock 37. Canoe stern, external chainplates, high gunwales, small cockpit. This photograph shows that at least one example was fitted with a tiller.

Catalina 22

Builder: Catalina Yachts
Designer: Frank Butler
Number Built: 15,000+
Years Built: 1970-Current

During over 40 years of production the boat has changed some cosmetically but the pictured boat is typical of production from 1970 through 1995. The Catalina 22 popularized the concept of the trailer sailor though marina-kept boats are common. Huge racing fleets of these boats can be found in sailing centers all around the country.

Cape Dory 25

Builder: Cape Dory Yachts
Designer: George Stadel
Number Built: 843
Years Built: 1972-1982

This is one of the most common Cape Dorys, and it seem like almost every marina has one. They are easy to identify by the lazarette at the stern that covers a well for the outboard motor. Starting in 1977 they had a bridge deck added at the front of the cockpit. They have a reputation for being seaworthy and solid - also for being wet beating into the wind.

Flicka

Builder: Pacific Seacraft
Designer: Bruce Bingham
Number Built: 400+
Years Built: 1972-2007

An ocean-going sailboat 20 feet length on deck sounds unlikely, but that is just what the Flicka is. These boats have sailed the seven seas, through storms, groundings and collisions and they are just unstoppable. They have a huge cult following and never fail to attract gawkers. They're easy to identify - they are the only 20 foot boats you will ever see with chainplates and pinrails. Don't confuse them with their big sister Dana 24s, which look similar but have some extra length.

DeFever 44

Builder: CTF Taiwan
Designer: Arthur DeFever
Number Built: About 100
Years Built: 1981-2004

These big, sturdy power cruisers reflect their designer's heritage of drawing commercial tuna clippers for the San Diego fleet in the 1950s.

Westsail 32

Builder: Westsail Corporation
Designer: Bill Crealock
Number Built: 830
Years Built: 1971-1981

Beamy, deep and heavily built, these boats are the modern fiberglass embodiment of William Atkin's classic cutters, which in turn were based on Colin Archer's Norwegian lifeboats. Double-ended, tiller steered, long bowsprit and boomkin, chainplates - once you know what to look for, they are easy to spot.

Alberg 35

Builder: Pearson Yachts
Designer: Carl Alberg
Number Built: 280
Years Built: 1961-1967

Relics from the earliest days of mass-produced fiberglass boats, these boats are still common in east coast marinas. The Alberg trademark stepped cabin top is a spotting guide, as is the spacious, open foredeck. These boats came in sloop and yawl configuration, with tiller or wheel steering.

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Email me at paul@neuseriversailors.com