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Ideal 18: a daysailer bred for local waters

Frank Shumway of Shumway Marine, in Rochester, commissioned Laser designer Bruce Kirby to draw the lines of the Ideal 18 in the late 1980s. The Shumways sailed Bulleyes each winter in Florida and sought to create a boat that was safe, simple to sail, but performed well on the water.

Ontario Yachts of Burlington, Ontario, built the first Ideal 18 in 1990 and has produced 225 since then. Dozens of yacht clubs in the Northeast and Florida maintain fleets.

Shumway Marine remains the U.S. distributor and North American Headquarters for the Ideal 18 Class Association.

The hull is built of hand-laid fiberglass with Cormat coring and built-in flotation. The one-piece assembly incorporates a reinforcement grid to strengthen hull, deck, cockpit (deck and cockpit are a single unit), mast step and chainplates. The keel is a 700-pound epoxy-encapsulated lead casting.

Eight-foot-long molded seats are designed for a comfortable cockpit. The non-skid sole drains into twin bilge sumps. The boat’s open transom can serve as a swim platform, which helps explain why some Ideal 18s are used as cottage boats or daysailers, while others serve as racers.

The mast and boom are made of aircraft-grade aluminum, with the mast hinged for trailering. At just under 18 feet with a slightly more than 6-foot beam, and a 3-foot, 3-inch draft, the Ideal 18’s fractional rig carries 168 square feet of sail with a mainsail and jib (self-tacking, roller furling), plus an optional 245-square-foot spinnaker.