During the 1960s, the fiberglass sailboat was at the height of its popularity. Marinas and yacht clubs were filled with cruising sailboats, racing sailboats and combinations of the two. The big names included Pearson and Columbia, Irwin and Cal; even the motorboat maker Chris-Craft built 11 sailboat models. In 1965, a new entry was designer Taylor Newell’s 27-foot Cadet. Today, more than 50 years later, it still stands as a good example of the multipurpose sailboats of its time.
Newell, with an office in Rowayton, Connecticut, was well-known for his sailboats. He produced a host of successful designs during his career, including the 40-foot sloop Musketeer and the 38-foot Duchess, built by Norge Boats in Scandinavia. The Newell Cadet, also known as the Offshore 27, was built in Hong Kong at the Cheoy Lee shipyard, which would go on to build a variety of sail and power craft, including the 100-plus-foot motoryachts it offers today.
Newell’s design was 26 feet, 5 inches length overall with an 18-foot, 9-inch waterline. The Cadet’s hull showed handsome overhangs fore and aft, to go with a spoon bow and a long, easy sheer. Mainsail area was 160 square feet, with the boat carrying just over 320 square feet of sail in all. Power came from a standard 7-hp Volvo Penta diesel, or from one of the optional gas engines: the 30-hp Universal Atomic 4, and the 22-hp Palmer 1-H 60. The hull and deck were fiberglass, with a teak overlay gracing the cabin house and decks. Spars were Sitka spruce, although aluminum could be substituted. Down below, the Cadet slept four, with a V-berth (the head was under the port berth) and settee berths in the main cabin. The galley could be set up aft or amidships, and it was equipped with a stove top, an ice box, a sink and a dining table.
With its clean lines and teak detailing, the Newell Cadet stood out among its all-fiberglass fellows. It was, one reviewer extolled, “a little gold-plater.”
This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue.