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A clean getaway

With their classic lines and long overhangs, these new daysailers were designed for beauty, recalling The Golden Age of Yachting

With their classic lines and long overhangs, these new daysailers were designed for beauty, recalling The Golden Age of Yachting

Ten years ago The Hinckley Company brought forth its Picnic Boat — a lasting, waterjet-powered beauty with distinctive, elegant, almost trademark lines. Billed as a breakthrough dayboat design, it has a short cabin and a long, open cockpit low to the water. The sporty boat is a seductive, dashing and romantic classic — a nostalgic throwback to a seemingly lost traditional yachting era of style and grace.

At big East Coast powerboat shows overloaded with top-heavy cruisers designed to sleep multitudes, this Spartan dayboat of 36 feet, 5 inches sleeps two. Yet even with its minimal slumber accommodations, the Bruce King design drew a lot of attention and stood out for me like a lovely swan among high-rise condo floats marketed to the masses.

Other boatbuilders picked up on the somewhat elitist “picnic” theme, which led to what Hinckley claimed were near knockoffs. Lawsuits followed, charging infringement of key elements in “trade dress” designs. Eventually, the legal dust settled, and many of the handsome copycat boats survived and even furthered the trend.

Even so, a Hinckley is a Hinckley …

The picnic’s not over

This nautical class act has come to the world of sail, arriving late upon the themed picnic scene in the form of three large, high-end daysailers from Hinckley, Morris Yachts and Friendship Yacht Company. With long hull overhangs and short waterlines — as well as short cabins and low profiles — they, too, were designed more for beauty than for stacking reclining bodies.

Abundant exterior varnish is a necessary part of the yachty look that demands professional maintenance. But noticeably absent in all three designs are lifelines, bow pulpits, anchors and other hardware that would seriously compromise the clean aesthetic. Raised toe- rails and staunch bulwarks, however, help keep feet on board, and encourage balance and dexterity.

These throwbacks to yachting’s gilded age were on view in October at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md. Falling into the “somewhat affordable” category (for those with discretionary income) was the Maine-built Morris 36, which shared a floating dock with the considerably pricier Friendship 40. Over at Hinckley’s usual reserved space was Bruce King’s Maine-built DS42, the first new Hinckley sailboat design in 15 years.

Hinckley says its DS42 offers “the perfect solution for the sailor who wants the ability to explore the harbor on a daysail or spend a weekend aboard a sailboat with speed and ease. … Noise reduction has evolved into the 21st century with use of the battery-powered Solomons Technologies ST37 electric motor, providing an incredibly quiet ride under power.”

So far, no builder has stepped forward to claim proprietary trade-dress rights on this new/old daysailer look, perhaps because it has been around for a long time and no one “owns” it.

And, lest we forget, a really large daysailer with traditional lines already had arrived on the scene in the mid-1990s, along with Hinckley’s powerboat.

The late designer Joel White, a master of his art, unveiled a cold-molded wooden around-the-buoys racing dayboat named Wild Horses. That first W76 (76 feet, 8 inches overall) was built in Maine for Donald Tofias, sported some 23 feet of generous overhang, and inspired a sisterly W46 racing class.

Such yachts are easy on the eyes but not so easy to build, as noted by Bill Mayher and Maynard Bray, co-authors of “Joel White: Boatbuilder, Designer, Sailor” (Noah Publications, Brooklin, Maine, 2002). They explain just some of the intricacies of such a design.

“White’s long and graceful aft overhang and long freeboard created a hull with a subtle sheer that was noticeably higher at the bow than at the stern. He paid particular attention to shaping the ends of the boat, making the stem face increase in width as it rose from waterline to deckline, and giving the transom a reverse curve (a wineglass shape) near its low point and a touch of tumblehome at its upper corners as they approach the taffrail.”

Short-handed sailing

These lovely daysailers are designed to appeal to older, wealthy yachties who may have been forced by age or circumstances to go over to power in order to continue getting out on the water. But as Friendship 40 designer Ted Fontaine discovered, these devoted boaters desperately missed the sailing part of boating.

“A large number of older sailors with large, complicated three-stateroom yachts find themselves with expensive boats they can’t sail alone or short-handed,” says Fontaine. “They want something larger than an Alerion 28, for example, but require more of an automated sailing system. So they give up sailing, sell out, and reluctantly go to power.”

Fontaine formed Friendship Yacht Company of Portsmouth, R.I., to create a large dayboat to serve the needs of those older sailors who might still sail if they could raise the main, roll out the jib, and trim the sails by pushing buttons.

But power-assisted controls aren’t just for those who cannot withstand the physical rigors of sailing. For some it’s about using free time effectively. “Leisure time is not what it used to be,” says Fontaine. “There are too many other demands and diversions, and idle time on the water is the casualty.”

Both the Friendship and Hinckley daysailers have power winches that raise and trim the in-boom main and roller-furling jib, helping single-handers who like to go it alone, or the more sociable who prefer company in the cockpit’s outdoor saloon during idle picnic sojourns. The boats each rely on a Leisure Furl in-boom system, which puts a somewhat clunky boom directly overhead. The DS42 has a single-part mainsheet led into the cockpit table forward of the wheel and down into sheaves attached to a pair of hydraulic rams for pushbutton control of the massive sail and boom. The Friendship also has a concealed single-part hydraulic mainsheet control rig.

Hull No. 1 of the Morris 36 came with a roller-

furling, self-tacking jib and a large full-batten mainsail but no power winches. A sensible lazyjack rig allows the mainsail to drop and stow easily into a zippered sail bag mounted on the boom, but raising the large sail proved not so easy on a quick sail after the Annapolis show, requiring a lot of winch grinding by a strong, young helmsman. (Hull Nos. 2 and 3 have in-boom furling and an electric halyard winch.)

All primary sheets and halyards lead under the deck to control pods and a manual self-tailing Harken winch on both sides of the wheel. All these lines and Lewmar rope clutches concentrated in one place make for major clutter and sorting-out exercises at the helm’s control center. The mainsheet, with only a 2-to-1 purchase, requires the aid of self-tailing winches for trimming and jibing, even in light air.

Tom and Cuyler Morris, father-and-son owners of Morris Yachts in Bass Harbor, Maine, say the idea for their 36-footer evolved in 2001 after they restored Poppy (now Stormy), a 33-foot Sparkman & Stephens classic built in 1965. The boat became a hit among traditionalists, and S&S drew a 36-foot design off it that would become the M36, an idea already in the works by Morris. The company says it has orders for nine more, which will create a one-design racing fleet and may even lead to an M42 daysailer, says Tom Morris.

Down below

As befits the daysailer tag, a deep, long cockpit is the dedicated center of the social maritime universe on board. Also, all these daysailers have the required enclosed head; these aren’t campers by any stretch. In fact, they could easily evolve into overnighters, then weekenders and even beyond, as cruisers for the less fussy sleep-aboards who prefer sailing performance over excessive amenities below.

The lighter Morris 36, with its fixed keel, has sitting headroom with facing settees and room for an optional V-berth forward, after ducking under the deck and climbing through varnished louvered doors. The much heavier keel/centerboard Friendship 40 has standing headroom, a shower in the head, a fixed dining table with fold-down leaves, and full facing settees to port and starboard. Forward is a full double berth on centerline with corner cubbyhole seats.

Upon entering the DS42’s cabin one is flanked immediately by two short settees on both sides of the companionway step. Directly ahead, all forward progress is halted by an enclosed head to port adjoining a centerline area swallowed up by a massive sole-to-overhead trunk for the boat’s lifting keel. To starboard, a mini-galley with a sink and no standing headroom tunnels forward to a conventional V-berth. Without a saloon and full facing settees, it seemed to me as if something had gone missing in the interior.

“Aesthetics and the daysailing concept are what drove this design, intended as a daysailer where 95 percent of the use will be on the outside, not inside,” says Ed Roberts, Hinckley vice president of marketing and production development.

The lifting keel, which takes up much of the center of the DS42’s cabin, was the choice of a Chesapeake Bay-based sailor who deals with shoal water. “If someone wants a deep bulb keel as an option, we could do that,” says Roberts, “and the price of the boat would be lowered, too.”

The standard production model, however, will have the hydraulic lifting keel, but the starboard galley will be relocated aft and to port to free up that starboard space for a longer settee.

Fixed rod rigging (no running backstays) on all three daysailers support painted carbon fiber spars. The Hinckley spars, however, are faux painted in a grain pattern to simulate varnished wood.

Here are the basic specifications:

• The Morris 36 has a bulb keel and draws 6 feet, 6 inches, or 5 feet, 3 inches with a shoal keel. It has an 18-hp Yanmar with saildrive. Displacement is 9,000 pounds, and sail area is 558 square feet. Sail-away price is around $300,000. Morris Yachts, Bass Harbor, Maine. Phone: (207) 244-5511.

• The Hinckley’s hydraulic lifting keel draws 7 feet, 3 inches and can be raised to a shoal draft of 4 feet. Power is by electric motor or a 27-hp Yanmar diesel. Displacement is 14,700 pounds, and sail area is 730 square feet. Price is $735,000, fully fitted. The Hinckley Co., Southwest Harbor, Maine. Phone: (207) 667-1891.

• The Friendship 40 is a keel/centerboard design drawing 9 feet, 2 inches with the board down, 4 feet raised. Powered by a 40-hp Yanmar with saildrive, the boat displaces 22,500 pounds, and sail area is 920 square feet. Price is around $825,000. Friendship Yacht Company (Fontaine Design Group), Portsmouth, R.I. Phone: (401) 682-9101.


An overnighter posing as a daysailer

While it wasn’t one of the heralded trio of daysailers at the October U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md., the Thailand-built Doubloon 36 made a noteworthy American debut, at least for traditionalists hung up on long overhangs.

Although this lovely overnighter can sleep two in the saloon on two facing settees and two in a V-berth in the private forward cabin, it has the unmistakable looks of a daysailer because of its narrow 7-foot, 8-inch beam and short cabin house abaft the mast.

By European standards, however, one might consider it a weekender with not quite standing headroom, but certainly ample sitting headroom. A snug, deep cockpit with a high, rounded coaming seats four or five in comfort, and the mainsheet control system is centered just forward of the tiller. Everything is manual on this boat.

A handsome but somewhat curious feature is an opening varnished skylight box forward of the mast, a bit awkwardly located on the foredeck area. As a potential stumbling block, one might consider knocking a couple thousand dollars off the price and substituting flush-deck prisms to get light below, and clear the foredeck of this potential obstruction.

The Doubloon 36 at the Annapolis show had a cutter rig with a 40-foot mast designed to fit with the boat inside a cargo-ship container. A version for the U.S. market will have a 7/8 rig with a high-aspect mast; it’s scheduled to debut at the Miami International Boat Show in February.

The boat is designed and built by Andy Pitt, a Brit who raced 8 Meter yachts in Finland. He named his boat Doubloon because it resembles an 8 Meter, hence the “piece-of-eight” connection. Standard are a teak deck, 30-hp Yanmar with saildrive, Harken primary winches, sails, roller-furling jib, head, and choice of hull color.

“Under sail she is fast, well balanced, and has an easy motion,” says Pitt. “The boat has a bulb keel. My own personal Doubloon has a 26-hp engine and a Gori folding prop. She does 7.3 knots under power and 7 knots in a 15-knot breeze. I am very happy with the boat.”

Pitt points out, “Qualified technical supervision of talented Thai craftsmen is by expatriate managers for FRP quality assurance, joinery, marine engineering and electrical installation.” Also, he notes that labor and material costs are lower in Thailand.

Five Doubloon 36 cutters with shorter masts have been built over the past 10 years by Rayong Shipbuilding. The yard is currently also building a Dubois 85, a 70-foot catamaran designed by Bill Dixon, a 43-foot catamaran, and a Doubloon. Pitt also has built three 130-foot Farr designs as well as large motoryachts.

The Doubloon measures 36.1 feet overall and 26.2 feet on the waterline. Draft is 4.9 or 5.8 feet, and displacement is 12,965 pounds. Fuel capacity is 21 gallons, water capacity 53 gallons. The sail-away price is $179,500.

The distributor is Jean Larroux of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who can be reached on his cell phone at (727) 459-4763. For more information from the builder, e-mail Pitt at

— Jack Sherwood