42' Blue Water Ship

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42' Blue Water Ship

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The Blue Water Ship.

As an independent Marine Architect, my main task is to create products; boats, for individuals who come in with a wish list to be fulfilled.

Once in a while, the opportunity arises to reassess my own feelings of what would constitute a state-of-the-art and more important state-of-the-future yacht.  It takes years to have boats designed and built, so it is good to be headed in the right direction, at least for the future of boating.

I have been in Yacht Design for a long time. From designing wooden Twelve Meters, to designing and building ULDB's; to top IOR racing; to manufacturing early carbon fiber free-standing masts, to designing the first oven-cured Maxi in Europe, to be the first in Taiwan to build one-offs straight from a female mold with vacuum bagging and the use of kevlar for material. Many, many designs. Here is one more - Design #240.  The Blue Water Ship is a test bed to determine the values and priorities for a purpose-designed vessel addressing the high seas, high latitudes, high abilities with high demands and expectations.

The opportunity arose with a design brief from the Blue Water Sailing Magazine.

So here she is.

The Lines.

The lines are dictated by the overall length of the boat that I limited in my own mind to be between 42 and 43'. The actual length on deck is 37’. The "scoop" is reserved for the fully inflated Walker Bay RID 9, and accounts for the difference. When the number of berths is defined, there is no need to increase the overall length of the boat beyond the required increments associated with berth lengths. In this case, for two live-aboard crew, with sea berths for taking on additional crew on passages. There is a lot to be gained in the Interior arrangement of a sailboat by means of increasing the beam. Our Beam has been selected to be 15'.  So do we have a fat boat or what? Don’t jump to conclusions. The boat is actually quite slim on the waterline with a Length/Beam ratio of 3.50. The waterline length of 40' helps to stretch the available dimensions inside and out. The displacement addresses the realities of gravity.  Hull depth with waterline beam and waterline length determine the volume available for the targeted load conditions. Weight is weight, and there is no way around it.  The volume represents the envelope of the boat with its virtues or faults. The result gives the Blue Water Ship a shape with plenty of flare and long flat buttocks. The latter for speed under sail and under power.  Therefore it was possible to push the prismatic coefficient to a high .567 for best performance.

The Appearance.

Designing for the future implies the production of something modern, preferably more than modern. There are visual tricks in the drawings.  For instance, the deck centreline is actually the bottom of the boat mirrored. The knuckle at the bow is duplicated upside down on the small pilot house. The deck centreline is again mirrored with the stealthy angle of the roof at side.  Judgment about taste will tell, but I love doing things like that. The sheerline has sheer and the overall aspect rendered in 3 D shows a nice blend to my eyes. Of course above and beyond the liberties of design, there are reasons for everything.  I think.

Including the incorporation of a full-fledged tender to the boat, I am glad that the brief spelled clearly the necessity to deal with a dinghy. In this case, the Walker Bay RID 9.  Too often, the "annex" is an after thought in terms of dealing with its storage. Simply because there is just no room to put it. By tackling this problem first and for all on this design, I chose to create a transom scoop to accommodate the Walker Bay 9' in an inflated state. The width of the trendy wide stern helped in this respect. Slanted on its side, the lapstrake hull covers the aft watertight bulkhead, well inside the boat.  Serious strap attachments should suffice to secure the dinghy. Of course horizontal folding doors are an alternative to cover the transom properly, albeit more cumbersome.  You might not want to move something that will be of heavy construction no matter what. A strong cloth cover is probably a good alternative to protect the boat from the sun.

 

The Hull Material

Metals, and aluminum in particular, are making in-roads in the US for relatively small cruising boats.  It seems to me to be the material of choice for one-off cruiser building without a mold.  The integrity, the watertighteness and lightness are serious advantages.  Not as light as composite construction but pretty much on a par with conventional cored fiberglass building. The main advantage I see for an adaptation to FRP would be the built-in insulation and the absence of the large aluminum web frames necessary for the type of construction that I am thinking about. 

The boat is built on a combination of stringers and transverse framing systems, using built T-webs and angle longitudinals. Frames and stringers are placed judiciously to meet strength with respect for interior space. The integral tanks for fuel and water form a double bottom hull. For additional stability, tankage has been increased over the norm to explore the possibility of transferring fuel and water to weather on long passages.

The Deck.

Of course the starting point is the transom scoop.  Almost a private beach - bring your towels.  As previously mentioned, the reason for this boat’s existence is the placement for the 9' RID.  Now, on deck.  The cockpit starts with the steering system. The helmsman seat overhangs the Tender giving protection to both. This cockpit offers comfortable seating and lounging. A built-in box on centerline forms a table and contains the liferaft. The pilothouse is next with the companionway slightly off-center.  An arch is built above it to support the mainsheet and to incorporate a dodger transforming itself into a Bimini. The bubble pilothouse and the forward deck are straightforward in their mutual functions.  Hatches,dorades, blocks etc. are located as needed. The addition of under-deck boxes offers the ability to store lines, gas bottles, even sails. Over the years, most boats have been given very narrow bows from the waterline to the deck.  Fast and wet, and offering no room for moving around dangerous pieces of equipment like anchor, chains, and windlass. I deliberately increased the width at deck level to correct this fault. The waterline itself remains as fine as ever, but I have given a better spread upwards. A 4" bulwark runs all the way aft.

The Rig, Mast and Sails.

A single mast with double spreaders has been chosen. The mast section is conservative to take account of the augmented load of a mast stepped on deck. On a metal boat, there is no reason to penetrate the deck. The mast is raked aft to open the leach of the sails. It also gives a better staying base for the shrouds while narrowing the chainplate location to the house sides.  Clear side decks are important.

I like to combine high aspect ratio headsails. The result is a smaller base for the fore triangle than is usual. Most boats are equipped with roller furler.  By keeping the “J” relatively small with little overlap behind the mast, the sails do not loose too much shape as you roll them up to meet the weather. Design #240 features a cutter rig with Yankee jib and Staysail. A light air genoa is also shown as an alternative for the sailing one would do in the summer or around the bay. A spirited sprit loads up the horsepower going downwind. 

The fully battened Mainsail is fairly conventional. The area is low enough to be handled by one person, especially if reefed early as is intended. The sail area coefficient is high, and is based on the actual dimensions of the sails.

The Interior

The companionway gives access to the accommodation plan, which was designed for both sea time or down time. How to do this? 

I read that long-term cruisers only spent 10 to 17% of their trips sailing. This leaves a lot of room to pay attention to the rest of your life. There is already a reason why the boat is not center cockpit. The choice of location for the dinghy precludes that solution. But, midship cockpit on a boat this size is in my mind not a good approach. Too high sided, too vulnerable to spray and the elements, they usually finish up with a smaller cockpit, all for the single benefit of a private aft cabin located in a high-motion area.  My solution is to create an aft cabin as close as possible to the center cockpit version but without being one. So, down below to starboard, a curvaceous bulkhead gives access to a double cabin with 2 scissors berths.  Sliding one against the other forms a single double berth.  Drawers under the berths, hanging locker and shelves complete the picture. Privacy is kept by direct access to the separate shower and toilet located further forward.  Coming down on the port side, I have placed a real wheel steering station with pedestal.  The most elegant solution I could think of.  A little incongruous but I think will work very fine. Too often on small boat this secondary helm location is addressed as an afterthought.  By removing the wheel in harbor or by disconnecting it from the hub under sail will prevent it from turning. This area is built for the Navigator function, with its own quarter berth, navigation table and instrumentation.  A folding bulkhead-mounted seat can be fitted. The cabin sole is of course elevated to offer a 360 degree view.  Reaching the bottom of the companionway steps, you face the galley to port. With the normal components of a stove with oven, ice box and refrigeration systems, drawers, sink and lockers The U-shaped furniture is ideal at sea and shows good communication with the saloon forward. Also, being located near amidships, the motion is lessened.

The engine is located on centerline.  At 100H-P, it is definitely powerful.  A smaller engine is perfectly capable, but the choice is in view of the capability of the boat to reach high speed under power. A feathering propeller is a must, in this case a 3-blade Max prop.  Engine service location is on starboard and therefore allows for a walkway around the engine to move on forward. 

The Saloon occupies the whole width of the boat.  A settee to port with outboard lockers and a middle shelf for TV and entertainment center. To starboard I have designed comfortable captain's chairs. In the middle of the boat, a large folding table covers the whole apparatus of the keel trunk and the associated hydraulic system to raise the variable geometry keel.  The actual actuation lever does not obstruct access around the table and seats. I have also placed a pilot berth to starboard above the chairs to offer this second sea-berth so necessary on a real offshore boat.

A full watertight bulkhead forms the forward end of the saloon.  Supporting the mast, this structure separates the forward area of the boat. I envision the possibility at sea of literally shutting down that area.  This would be a real safety factor.  All activities can be fulfilled with a small crew within the aft part of the vessel. 

In harbor, this double cabin possesses its own head, hanging locker, shelves and a workbench. Variations can be built-in. With Vee berths for instance. The cabin terminates with another watertight bulkhead with access to the forepeak. The chain locker occupies this place with the possibility to move the chain aft when at sea.

The Rudder.

With such a wide hull, one would expect to see double rudders. They are efficient sailing at angles of heel. But, they make maneuvering under power a miserable affair, especially going astern. You need a lot of anticipation because the propulsion is not being directed to the rudder blades. I also wanted to avoid the installation of a bow thruster if I could help it. Therefore, a single rudder has been chosen. The depth of it being 4'-9" below the waterline, I felt necessary to add a skeg to get to the correct surface area. The protection and strength derived are always welcome.

The Keel.

To research the future, you have to look at the past. Sometimes.  As I am designing this cruising boat, the image of Finisterre came regularly popping up in my head.  Finisterre, the Sparkman & Stephens designed CCA rule beater. This preamble to talk about the keel?  Finisterre is a keel-centreboarder and made good use of it.  With the ever-present pressure to reduce draft, retain stability and performance, the combination is appealing.  But what sort of keel?  What sort of board?  There is nothing new about what I am proposing but I think it will go well with this type of craft. The ballasted Keel-Board articulates to variable geometry. With essentially three positions - all the way down to 30 degrees, then to 45 degrees and all the way up for a total depth of 5' from the waterline. This ballast arrangement is deep when you need it. The question of ultimate stability is always raised with wide boats.  Finisterre was also a " Study in Beam" case at the time. By paying attention to the location of weight, with a conservative displacement to start with, the stability will be there in the first place. Shape the deck superstructure with some volume and camber, incorporate a pilothouse bubble then you reach ultimate stability, or rather instability if you have the misfortune to find yourself upside down. 

Conclusion

When I mentioned Finisterre above, I was not looking to the racing aspect of that boat immortalized by winning the Bermuda race three times. What I was thinking was the reaction of sailors when the boat was first launched. "Too round, too fat to be believable. A clunker". So much for that comment. I much prefer the fact that when Carleton Mitchell, the Owner said: "Of the total mileage sailed a relatively small percentage has been in competition. In 1956, for example, a year in which Finisterre won the Southern Racing Circuit and the Bermuda race in addition to several lesser events, a little more than a tenth of the 10,000-odd miles covered was while racing. It is actually in cruising and passage making that Finisterre is at her best". 

This last phrase would be a good conclusion for this New Blue Water Ship"Finis-Terra".