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From the drawing board: the Sawyer lineup

During Ken Sawyer's 39-year quest for the ultimate motorsailer, he and his Yarkitecture team have developed three semicustom lines of performance-oriented, seakindly yachts - sail, motorsailer and power.

Prototypes for each line, built by Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding (www.lyman, exhibit meticulous joinery, impeccable finish and hulls constructed with the patented SCRIMP resin-infusion system. The hulls - Core-Cell foam impregnated with vinylester resin under a vacuum - are stiffer, more impact-resistant and 14 percent lighter than non-SCRIMP hulls.

A customizable common hull mold makes each series more cost-efficient, and deck and interior options are as endless as the owner's imagination. Sailboats feature a fin keel/spade rudder configuration, carbon fiber mast and discontinuous rod rigging. Hydraulic gear and a 125 percent genoa as the largest sail simplify short-handed cruising.
Sawyer says future yachts will be built by a "team of people with experience, who love the project. If the yard is Lyman-Morse, that's great."

"In this day and age," Sawyer says, "we have to abandon the idea of 60-foot sportfish boats going 28 knots," while burning copious amounts of fuel. Lionhearts Concerto, a retro-styled 42-footer with hard-chine hull, plumb bow and rounded stern, burns 6 gph at 15 knots with a 400- to 600-mile range. "That's significant," he says. "For that price, I'm willing to drive around at 11 knots, knowing I can go 20 in an emergency."
Concerto rates stares. The hull is a brilliant teal, a color Awlgrip created to match a 1934 Rolls-Royce that Sawyer customized. The sensuously smooth cabin sports Bugatti, Porsche and Ferrari details. The airfoil around the cabin's after end deflects breezes away from passengers in the cockpit, a concept Sawyer predicts will become standard. Strategically placed windows provide the helmsman 330-degree visibility.
In Concerto's French walnut interior, copper flowers on hand-carved maple vines embellish the titanium main bulkhead. Owner-designed Art Nouveau furniture complements the customized digital Yamaha piano of lightweight hand-carved woods. Sawyer enhances Yamaha's Modus audio technology with video that monitors all ship's systems and turns Concerto into a floating concert hall.
"I can be in France on my mini-megayacht, watching a concert anywhere in the world on my screen, seeing the fingering on my piano and hearing the music through Concerto's surround-sound system streamed through Yamaha's dedicated satellite," he says. "Hull No. 2 will be a modified, less decadent 42- or 50-foot version with a variety of options owners can choose. If we get orders for Concerto, we'll concentrate on building those. If not, we'll build the 48-foot motorsailer."
Whatever the design, all of Sawyer's yachts meet his criteria. "When you arrive at the dock after a safe, comfortable voyage, if you don't look back at your boat and smile, something's wrong." n

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LOA: 41 feet, 11 inches

LW: 40 feet, 2 inches

BEAM: 11 feet, 6 inches

DRAFT: 2 feet, 8 inches

POWER: 260-hp Yanmar diesel

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 4 gph at 14 knots to 7 gph at 17 knots


Sparkman & Stephens designed the Fairweather series of 52-, 58- and 68-foot classic-looking offshore yachts based on Bolero and previous Sawyer/Perry/Lyman-Morse models. The sail plan, deck layout, interior and modern underbody were optimized for maximum go-anywhere speed, comfort and easy handling by a short-handed crew.

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LOA: 52 feet

LWL: 38 feet

BEAM: 14 feet, 7 inches

DRAFT: 7 feet, 8 inches (standard keel with bulb)

SAIL AREA: 1,411 square feet

POWER: 100-hp Yanmar diesel


The Rhapsody Pilothouse Motorsailer series includes Sawyer's on-the-drawing-board dream boat - a 53-footer (with piano) that balances aesthetics, technology and comfort. Like the 45- 48- and 56-foot versions, it has nearly 360-degree visibility at both inside and outside helm and sail-trimming stations for safety, comfort and security. Cruising speed under power or sailing on a reach is 8-plus knots, with a 1,500-mile range under power. A concealed drop-down swim platform is a new option.

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LOA: 48 feet

DWL: 41.76 feet

BEAM: 6 feet

POWER: Yanmar diesel (160-hp range)

ESTIMATED SPEED: 9 knots under sail


See related stories:

- The Sawzall School of Boat Design

- Flooded with water, light and sound

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue.