Waterline 50: Seriously Skookum
A big boat from a small builder, Isolabella is capable of taking on any ocean. And her owners plan to one day do just that. From "Yachtstyle" in our December 2008 issue.
Tanks for 200 gallons of water are on either side of the keel sump; in the keel itself, 250 gallons of diesel adds to the stability of the boat. Eighteen inches of external lead ballast is fixed to the bottom of the keel; the tight turn of the bilge adds form stability.
The topsides curve slightly, which adds strength to the structure and prevents the hull plating from getting bowed in between the frames by waves, as we so often see on slab-sided hard-chine boats and big ships. It also increases the aesthetic appeal of the Waterline boats.
Rutherford, who sold Waterline Yachts to Maarten Kooijman and Mark Teisson in 2005, says that performance has always been one of his goals in designing boats. On the 50, he kept the bow fairly plumb, to increase waterline length, and the entry a little fuller than on some boats, to increase reserve buoyancy, because, he says, "Owners are going to put two anchors on the bow and attach 600 feet of chain. That weighs a lot, and we don't want the bow burying in a seaway."
Overall, Rutherford makes a huge effort to keep the boats relatively light so they sail well. "It's easy to overbuild metal boats," he says. "We're careful to avoid that, but these are still stronger than any plastic boat." One way Waterline avoids building in extra weight is to make sure that the structure is fair, eliminating the need for gallons of fairing compound. Closely spaced longitudinal stringers and frames support the hull plating, which measures 3/16 inch thick on the topsides and 1/4 inch below the waterline. The keel is made from 3/8-inch material. When I saw the new 57-footer under construction in Waterline's shop near the airport in Sidney, I was impressed by just how fair they'd managed to keep the raw, unpainted hull.
That being said, Rutherford concedes that steel isn't a material from which to build lightweight flyers, and given all the furniture and toys that a typical Waterline Yacht carries, sail area is the boat's friend. A full-battened UK Halsey Tape Drive main unrolls from a Leisure Furl boom, and a 120-percent Tape Drive genoa rolls up on a Harken furler. The sails are hung on a masthead rig from Yachttech Spars and Rigging that towers 78 feet above the water.