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What makes a good motorsailer? Ted Hood

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Ted Hood, president and chairman, Ted Hood Yachts, Portsmouth, R.I.,

I decided five years ago that motorsailers could be made to sail as fast as, or faster than, the average sailboat, and motor faster than the average trawler on the market, if it is designed to do so. To begin with, use the racing rating rules, which tell you what makes a boat fast. Since we don’t care about the rating, we can use all of the ideas that make your rating high — and a fast boat — to make a better cruising motorsailer.

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To start with, you have a long waterline, high prismatic for a higher speed hull, and very little overhang in the bow and stern. At the same time, build it as light as possible, with a 6-foot draft, but with all the ballast on the bottom 18 inches of the keel. Add a fine, thin, low-resistance fin between the hull and the ballast, and add an efficient, small centerboard for better performance upwind. I would also use twin rudders of a very good airfoil shape for good leeway resistance and excellent steering control. They are designed with weather helm so they always have a slight angle that acts to lift the boat to windward, which is even more efficient than a centerboard.

The waterline should be narrow, the deck beam wide, and the freeboard high to give interior volume, which will result in a dryer boat with huge buoyancy up high to resist any tendency of capsizing because of the huge buoyancy above the center of gravity. The cockpit can be aft or forward and needs a very large pilothouse with inside steering under sail or power.

The Expedition 50 from Ted Hood Yachts is designed for speed under sail or power.

The port and starboard helms should be well aft of the pilothouse and well outboard to see around the pilothouse. I would put the engine room in the stern with full headroom, along with all the generators, watermakers and so forth. I would suggest the use of single or twin Volvo I/O drives that come up into a trunk for the prop in the up position, with a hatch on top to clean and service the prop from inside the boat.

The rig should be very tall with tall, narrow sails, which are penalized under rating rules because of their efficiency. High clews and no overlapping jibs are easy to tack, see under, and are easy to reef without changing the sheet leads. Furthermore, an inner headstay up high on the mast and much farther aft at deck with a reefable storm jib works very well. An outside the mast furling main would be best for simplicity and safety. The very best rig is a wishbone ketch because of its speed and it can quickly and easily change its sail areas.

See related articles:

- A modern motorsailer

- The best of both worlds

- What makes a good motorsailer? Jim Leishman

- What makes a good motorsailer? Bob Johnson

- What makes a good motorsailer? Mark Bruckmann and Mark Ellis

- What makes a good motorsailer? Walt Schulz

The article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue.


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