The Roomy Whitby 42
Spacious and sturdy, this cruiser is no slouch when it comes to sailing performance. "Classic Plastic" from our May 1998 issue.
Ted Brewer designed the Whitby 42 in 1971 for Whitby Boat Works in Canada. She has a 13-foot beam, 32-foot 8-inch waterline, and a moderate 5-foot draft. High freeboard allows a commodious interior, which in one of the two available cabin layouts boasts two swiveling armchairs, a spacious engine room, and a very comfortable aft cabin. Ample water tankage of 290 gallons provides for showers in two heads, and a 210-gallon fuel capacity assures good range under power. A cavernous refrigerator/freezer keeps perishables during an extended cruise, a locker for wet oilskins abuts the main companionway ladder, and a handy workbench sits in the passage aft by the engine room.
Some specifications listed a Volvo MD30A engine, but most Whitby 42s had a Ford Lehman 254 or Perkins 4-236, typically turning a propeller between 16 and 18 inches in diameter. This combination gives plenty of power for motorsailing, although with a generous sail area of 875 square feet, a long waterline, and well-
designed underbody, these ketches sail remarkably well - several owners report speeds of 7.5 to 8 knots on a close reach. In the 1970s, the Whitby 42 Revelation collected a number of firsts while racing under PHRF in California.
Comfortable, seaworthy, and forgiving of a novice sailor, the Whitby 42 found a receptive clientele, and Whitby Boat Works sold 233 of them before ceasing production in 1987. In 1979, Fort Myers Yacht and Ship Building in Florida obtained a license to the design and built 32 boats of reportedly high quality. Fort Myers changed the design in 1983 to a 4-foot draft with centerboard and named it the Brewer 12.8. In 1987, it was again modified into the Brewer 44, which was produced until 1991.
Joe Cordoba has owned and cruised Eugenia, his Whitby 42 (hull number two) for seven years. In 1993, on a passage from Isla Mujeres Mexico, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Joe - an experienced sailor with a green crew - ran into the "Storm of the Century." His engine quit; he continued to tack northward under reduced sail. After the reefed main blew out, Eugenia sailed on under storm jib and reefed mizzen, eventually making Key West. Joe's improvements reflect his experience. He fitted a sturdy gooseneck on the mainmast to take a mainsail roller-furling system and can now reduce the mainsail and mizzen areas more than the old slab reefs allowed. Nevertheless, he retained the trysail track for good measure. Crew can clip their harnesses onto jackstays running along the side decks and across the stern. The mizzen sheets are now mounted farther inboard from the stern to avoid obstructing access to the dinghy and boarding ladder. Joe recently installed a robust stern arch combined with davits to hoist the dinghy high enough to clear the sea when the boat rolls or the bow climbs over a wave. The arch will also support antennas and three large solar panels. A permanent bimini roof rests on aluminum tubing, which also carries removable clear vinyl panels to enclose the cockpit. To provide more space for cruising paraphernalia, he located the forward tubes of the enclosure support and a new coaming a couple of feet forward of the original companionway coaming.