2007 Westlawn/ Island Packet Yachts Design Competition: Finalists

To view renderings of all 10 finalists, click here.

July 16, 2007


Judges Norm Nudelman (left) and Dave Gerr of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology helped whittle the 53 submissions to 10 finalists, then shared them with other judges. Chris Wentz

Richard Boult’s Quick Clinker 31

Richard Boult added some specific requirements to define both his design and the parameters by which it would be judged. Boult restricted his ambitions to “coastal and estuary cruising, with the capability for short ocean passages, 500 to 600 nautical miles maximum,” and he further specified that to enhance safety, the boat should have a limit of positive stability (LPS) of at least 140 degrees and two watertight bulkheads.

From its simplicity of outfit and philosophy, it could easily have appeared in a design competition of the 1980s, but it’s thoroughly modern in terms of its hull shape, rig, and blend of construction materials. It reflects both the progression yacht design has followed over the last two decades and the parallel advances in computer-aided-design technology that can help simplify the construction process. Boult has defined the hull contours, not by conventional waterlines, buttock lines, and diagonals, but by lapstrakes geometrically developed in a CAD program (lapstrake and clinker-built effectively describe the same process). It’s harder to interpret the hull shape from the drawing, but the technique enables it to be assembled essentially from a kit of pieces computer-numerically-cut (CNC) from plywood panels.


Wood may not appeal to everyone. Bruce King pointed out that Boult’s hull, constructed by his Quick Clinker technique, would lend itself to being splashed for a one-piece mold, so that the design could be built in fiberglass.
“It seems to me somewhat like the ‘folk boat’ for the 21st century,” wrote King. “I was impressed with the designer’s knowledge, his mention of the adverse effect of stern width on sailboat balance, and his adherence to that knowledge in the execution of the design.” Boult gave up some volume in the quarters to ensure that the boat has good manners under sail. “Consideration was given to the width and shape of the transom to try to ensure that the vessel’s heeled waterlines remain balanced such that it doesn’t become difficult to steer or the mainsail requires trimming,” Boult wrote.

The Quick Clinker 31 isn’t luxurious by present-day standards, but it should certainly provide comfortable enough accommodations to match the sailing-as-an-outdoors-activity theme of the design. Says Dave Gerr: “Richard Boult’s Quick Clinker 31 wasn’t only beautifully presented but also promised simple, enjoyable sailing in a boat of modest cost-a boat you could cruise on with few more complexities than a daysailer.”

Quick Clinker 31 Specs


LOA 31′ 3″ (9.52 m.)
LWL 30′ 1″ (9.16 m.)
Beam 10′ 3″ (3.12 m.)
Draft 5′ 7″ (3.12 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 495 sq. ft. (50 sq. m.)
Ballast 3,771 lb. (1,710 kg.)
Displacement (half load) 9,351 lb. (4,241 kg.)
Ballast/D (half load) .40
D/L 153
SA/D 17.84
Water 34 gal. (130 l.)
Fuel 22 gal. (84 l.)
Mast Height 47′ 3″ (14.4 m.)
Engine 18-hp. Volvo D1-20 with saildrive

First Runner-Up
Keimpe Reitsma’s Cruising Sailyacht 57 feet

Keimpe Reitsma set as his goal a vessel for serious offshore cruising that would be suitable for sailing long distances and able to accommodate its crew living aboard for long periods of time in different climates. That crew would typically be a couple, with or without children, and they could work from the boat in space set aside to be fitted out as an office.


The Westlawn Group found it to be a “beautiful, attractive, practical boat,” and “very businesslike and seaworthy.”

“I like the relatively narrow hull by today’s standards,” wrote Bruce King, a sentiment I shared. Bob Johnson rated it in his top three despite its being “too big for a couple to handle” and “potentially too expensive,” while Johnstone had reservations: “This is a beautiful boat that could be a great passagemaker, but I’m not sure I’d like the ride.”

Reitsma incorporated many features into his 57-footer that would appeal to passagemakers: a sunken cuddy forward of the cockpit, a storage cabin, the headstay set aft of the bow and clear of the anchors, a garage aft for the dinghy. With a little more development, this boat would be a serious head turner in cruising anchorages the world over.


Cruising Sailyacht 57 feet Specs

LOA 56′ 10″ (17.31 m.)
LWL 53′ 6″ (16.31 m.)
Beam 14′ 8″ (4.48 m.)
Draft 9′ 0″ ( m.)
Sail Area (100%) 1,368 sq. ft. (127.1 sq. m.)
Ballast 14,800 lb. (6,712 kg.)
Displacement 37,700 lb. (17,098 kg.)
Ballast/D .39
D/L 110
SA/D 19.47
Water 190 gal. (720 l.)
Fuel 150 gal. (569 l.)
Mast Height 75′ 1″ (23.1 m.)
Engine 100-hp. Yanmar 4JH3-hte diesel

Second Runner-Up
Paulo Bisol’s Deep Blue 48

“You know how big the boat is and where it wants to go,” Bisol wrote in his concept statement, referring to the title he gave this design, and many of the features that he’s included speak to that sentiment.

“I like the concept-narrow, easily driven, short rig, shallow draft,” commented Rod Johnstone. Bob Johnson liked it for its “reasonable size,” adding that Bisol presented “practical features [and] original thought.”

“Nice attractive profile, good presentation,” wrote the Westlawn Group, agreeing with Bruce King’s “nicely proportioned design with pleasant relationships between the visual masses.”

They also agreed, however, that the engine installation was tight, and this proved the thin end of a wedge of inconsistencies that undermined its otherwise well-reasoned specification, which included both a control station modeled after those seen in Open-class racing yachts and several watertight compartments.

Both Johnstone and I remarked that it would be tender, and I remain doubtful that “light displacement” and “round-the-world sailing for a family” are compatible statements, but the basic design has considerable merit and is well worth exploring.

Deep Blue 48 Specs

LOA 47′ 1″ (14.35 m.)
LWL 44′ 4″ (13.50 m.)
Beam 12′ 4″ (3.76 m.)
Draft 5′ 10″ (1.78 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 926 sq. ft. (86.0 sq. m.)
Ballast 6,020 lb. (2,730 kg.)
Displacement 20,286 lb. (9,200 kg.)
Ballast/D .30
D/L 104
SA/D 19.9
Water 185 gal. (700 l.)
Fuel 122 gal. (460 l.)
Mast Height 58′ 5″ (17.8 m.)
Engine 67-hp. Perkins-Sabre M65 diesel

Fourth Place
Robert Buck: 52-foot Yawl Abigail

Robert Buck, of Swampscott, Massachusetts, drew a yawl with a traditional profile to match its period rig. The yacht is for an experienced couple in their mid-fifties to cruise the northeast North American coast with occasional forays to the Caribbean. Lines that look seakindly and a heavy ballast package mounted low would give her an easy motion, the accommodations are practical and comfortable, and the designer has given due thought to the essential functions of sail handling, docking, and anchoring.

I felt that this designer met his clearly defined mission statement in most respects, including the desired look and feel. Rod Johnstone concurred: “Abigail has a beautiful, traditional profile.” Bruce King, who’s made a specialty of “retro” designs and understands the subtleties of making them right, wrote, “With a little tweaking, this could be a very beautiful design.”

Bob Johnson considered it “too retro” and was troubled by the deep (8-foot) draft, and the Westlawn Group (Gerr, Nudelman, and Wentz), while impressed by the overall design and its presentation, felt it suffered because, “It’s been done before.”

Obviously, the panel was divided on the benefits of matching a more traditional appearance above the waterline with a modern underbody, but all acknowledged that Robert Buck’s presentation was clear and professional. Some panel members noted that the low displacement specified was optimistic for a yacht of this type and, despite the boat’s size, the engine was tightly confined. Still, with some modest adjustments and with careful monitoring during construction to control weight accumulation, this yacht could make the transition from a nice-looking design to a cruising boat that’s both a pleasure to sail and to behold.

52-Foot Yawl Abigail Specs

LOA 51′ 10″ (15.81 m.)
LWL 41′ 8″ (12.70 m.)
Beam 12′ 0″ (3.67 m.)
Draft 8′ 0″ (2.44 m.)
Mast Height 70′ 6″ (21.5 m.)
Sail Area (100% Fore + 50% Miz) 1,271sq. ft. (118.1 sq. m.)
Disp. 31,000 lb. (14,059 kg.)
Ballast 14,260 lb. (6,467 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .46
Disp./L 191
SA/Disp. 20.6
Water Not specified
Fuel Not specified
Engine Not specified
Designer Robert W. Buck

Fifth Place
D.M. Frolich: Offshore 65

Doug Frolich, of Larkspur, California went to the max, pushing the top end of what two people can be expected to handle. The Westlawn Group sum it up with their description of the design as a “very attractive contemporary cutter” and go on to praise the belowdecks arrangement and the number and distribution of storage bins for deck equipment. A battery of 8 winches, some of them hydraulically powered, serve the sail controls, most of which lead to the center cockpit. A large doghouse foward of the cockpit offers shelter and seating for six people and forms a vestibule protecting the entry into the saloon.

Frolich also designed a handsome 17-foot nesting sailing dinghy to go with the yacht. Compacted to 9 feet, this stows under the aft deck in a vast garage which is separated from the boat’s interior by a watertight bulkhead. A door comprising most of the transom doubles as a swim and boarding platform.

The hull is relatively slender by current standards, which normally would promote good manners under sail. However, maximun beam is two thirds aft from the bow, which raised questions about the potential for handling problems in gusty conditions. “The hull is a little too asymmetric for great steering characteristics,” wrote King. “This asymmetry combined with the very short keel will likely make this design tend to round up in the puffs.” Johnstone echoed these thoughts and also expressed doubt about the design meeting its specified displacement and vertical center of gravity.

Johnson thought the boat attractive and luxurious but was troubled by its size. He wondered if it wasn’t too big for a couple, and perhaps too expensive. I felt that the designer underestimated the physics of a boat this size, but the plans were well presented and offer great potential.

65-foot Offshore Cruiser Specs

LOA 65′ 0″ (19.81 m.)
LWL 59′ 0″ (17.98 m.)
Beam 17′ 0″ (5.18 m.)
Draft 7′ 7″ (2.31 m.)
Mast Height 87′ 3″ (26.6 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 1,948 sq. ft. (181.0 sq. m.)
Disp. (half load) 60,000lb. (27,210 kg.)
Ballast 21,000 lb. (9,524 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .35
Disp./L 130
SA/Disp. 20.3
Water 600 gal. (2,274 l.)
Fuel 150 gal. (569 l.)
Engine Yanmar 151-hp diesel
Designer Doug M. Frolich

Sixth Place
Johan Strydom: Ultra Low Budget Optimum World Cruiser (ULBOWC)

A generation or so ago, many of Strydom’s fellow countrymen left South Africa in boats built to a similar theme-inexpensive but seaworthy enough to escape across the South Atlantic from that country’s conflicted culture.

In many ways, Strydom’s junk-rigged cat ketch, despite being rather crudely hand drawn, meets his objective. “A narrow, easily driven hull requiring minimal drive from a compact sail plan makes a lot of sense in terms of efficiency, ease of construction, and sea-keeping qualities,” wrote Johnstone. The Westlawn Group concurred: “If the intention for this unusual junk-rig design was absolute lowest cost, the intention was well met.”

With its double-chine construction employing simply curved flat panels, and minimalist accommodations, at first glance this design appears to meet the simplicity goal. However, Strydom suffers from a compulsion to over engineer simple systems. Instead of using plywood as the base layer for the hull, he builds his flat panels from planks, bends them in place over forms, and then laminates two more layers at 45 degrees. He has also designed wrap-around sails, which the Westlawn Group commented were no improvement over traditional junk sails while being heavier and more expensive.

“Where absolute lowest cost is wished,” King wrote, “I believe there are better approaches. Hull design and construction is generally not a great place to attempt to cut costs. Even the most complicated, difficult to build, ‘curse-the-designer’ hull is seldom more than 20 percent of the completed boat cost.”

At its core, the ULBOWC, offers alternatives to today’s conventional answers to cruising’s perennial questions, and the panel gave it credit for that. If the designer could step back, look at his original concept, and reassess his approach to realizing it, he would meet his own mission statement much more effectively.


LOD 37′ 1″ (11.30 m.)
LWL 34′ 6″ (10.52 m.)
Beam 10′ 0″ (3.05 m.)
Draft 4′ 0″ (1.22 m.)
Mast Height 37′ 3″ (11.4 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 714 sq. ft. (66.3 sq. m.)
Disp.(Loaded) 17,200lb. (7,800 kg.)
Ballast 7,056lb. (3,200 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .41
Disp./L 187
SA/Disp. 17.1
Water Not specified
Fuel Not specified
Engine Electric motor driving “dolphin drive”
Designer H.J. Strydom

Seventh Place
Eric Sponberg: 45-foot Cat Ketch Eagle

Eric Sponberg, of St. Augustine, Florida, had the panel in many minds with his utterly professional presentation of this design, which drew attention for its nonconformity but lost it when closer study revealed its impracticalities.
As far as the boat’s general arrangement goes, Sponberg has homed in on the retiring boomer taste, providing a big galley and a sheltered steering station. Eagle would make a comfortable platform for cruising the Snowbird route on the Atlantic coast. However, it was the “transoceanic voyages” in the designer’s mission statement that caused most of the hesitancy on the part of the panel, because the boat appears vulnerable in several ways.

While the unstayed cat ketch has a proven record, Sponberg’s rotating wing masts and attached “half wishbones” add a level of complexity that, coupled with the windage issues they raise in heavy conditions both offshore and at anchor, is probably above the comfort level of most cruisers. A simpler, proven arrangement, detailed with the same care seen in other elements of the design, would have found better favor with the panel.

Bob Johnson thought that the boat’s size was good, and called the design “creative and practical,” adding “The rig is a mixed bag.” Johnstone didn’t like the prospect of being caught in a big sea on this boat.

As to the overall impression, Bruce King said simply, “This design is quite far from connecting with my values, both functionally and visually.”

45-foot Cat Ketch Eagle Specs

LOA 45′ 0″ (13.72 m.)
LWL 41′ 0″ (12.50 m.)
Beam 14′ 0″ (4.27 m.)
Draft 6′ 4″ (1.93 m.)
Mast Height 58′ 6″ (17.8 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 1,293 sq. ft. (120.1 sq. m.)
Disp. 32,266 lb. (14,633 kg.)
Ballast 12,000 lb. (5,442 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .37
Disp./L 209
SA/Disp. 20.4
Water 100 gal. (379 l.)
Fuel 90 gal. (341 l.)
Engine Yanmar 54 hp diesel with sail drive
Designer Eric W. Sponberg

Eighth Place
Michael Hartline: 42-foot Cruising Sloop

Michael Hartline of Laureldale, New Jersey, submitted a rather ordinary looking design that drew admiration from across the board for its clear, detailed drawings but offered little inspiration in terms of new ideas. Bruce King was brief in his summary, speaking for most of the panel: “Well done design with nice presentation. Well shaped hull with nicely balanced ends.”

In profile, the hull shows many features common to designs that appeared in early editions of Cruising World: “Everything about the boat is a bit 1970s-ish,” wrote Johnstone, and that includes the high aspect ratio mainsail with partial battens and the shape of the underwater sections. “I don’t like flat bottoms on offshore cruising boats,” he added, “but I like a lot of the features, including the large amount of volume below.”

Hartline has used that volume to create a spacious saloon that encompasses the galley, dining lounge, and nav desk in a convivial grouping, but it forgoes a convenient sea berth in favor of a curved settee.

I wrote, perhaps harshly, “Nothing inspirational here-a concise mission statement executed with little passion.” If Hartline had set himself a less general target he would have forced his imagination to reach out for solutions. As we’ve seen in some of the other designs that the panel rated more favorably, in a design competition we’re looking for new ideas, or at least old ideas in new settings. In that respect, and perhaps in that respect only, this design misses the mark. In the words of the Westlawn Group, “Everything works and is well thought out, but it’s not unusual or exceptional. An average boat.”

42-foot Cruising Sloop Specs

LOA 41′ 10″ (12.74 m.)
LWL 35′ 10″ (10.92 m.)
Beam 13′ 7″ (4.14 m.)
Draft 6′ 3″ (1.90 m.)
Mast Height 64′ 6″ (19.7 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 923 sq. ft. (85.7 sq. m.)
Disp. 24,962 lb. (11,323 kg.)
Ballast 9,700 lb. (4,400 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .39
Disp./L 242
SA/Disp. 17.3
Water 128 gal. (485 l.)
Fuel 103 gal. (390 l.)
Engine Yanmar 55 hp Diesel
Designer Michael Hartline

Ninth Place
Mark Bowdidge: Oceansky 57, Ocean Racing/Cruising Catamaran

Mark Bowdidge, from Queensland, Australia certainly boosted the panel’s adrenalin with this elegant and beautifully presented catamaran, the only multihull to make the Top Ten. Its mission, Bowdidge states, is to combine the comfort and safety of a cruising yacht with the potential to take line honors in major races.

“I find this design the most exciting of the group,” wrote King. “It exudes speed and efficiency. The smaller visual mass of the central pod compared to the more usual massive cabin structure of mainstream cruising catamarans is a real aesthetic plus.”

Johnstone, too, was enthusiastic, writing “If I were going long-distance cruising on a catamaran, the Oceansky is as good as any I have seen afloat.”

There’s no question the boat would be fast, but that speed comes with the cost of the high-tech construction materials and methods needed to achieve the target weight and with a significant sacrifice in cruising amenities.

“Its compact central area clearly anticipates the safety concerns of traveling at high speed in large seas,” Johnstone commented. However that central pod accommodates two watches of two in minimal comfort and little privacy, tight quarters in 57 feet.

In the end, it was the high cost and size-“Too big, too expensive,” wrote Johnson-as well as the emphasis on performance that troubled the panel, with the exception of Johnstone. The Westlawn Group considered it “Really too racing oriented to be a real cruiser.” Overall, the view was that while this boat would be exciting to race in the hands of the right crew, it would be stressful to cruise.

Oceansky 57 Specs

LOA 57′ 4″ (17.47 m.)
LWL 52′ 8″ (16.05 m.)
Beam 34′ 6″ 10.52( m.)
Draft (Boards up/down) 1′ 6″/10′ 2″ (.46/3.10 m.)
Mast Height 79′ 3″ (24.7m.)
Sail Area (100%) 1,505 sq. ft. (139.8 sq. m.)
Disp. 16,440 lb. (7,456 kg.)
Ballast None
SA/Disp. 37.2
Water 136 gal. (515 l.)
Fuel Not specified
Engine Not specified
Designer Mark Bowdidge

Tenth Place
Thomas D. Egan: Egan – 49

Thomas Egan, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, explored the possibilities for fast cruising offered by a design derived from the Open Class world-girdling racing yachts. The shallow, skimming-dish hull form follows the type closely and the interior verges on Spartan to keep its weight in keeping with the concept. Egan provided 3-D graphic representations of some of the more radical features, such as the canting keel that’s cushioned to absorb grounding impacts and the dinghy stowage under the aft deck, but didn’t back them up with working drawings or even basic design data.

“Crucial descriptions of this design are lacking,” wrote Johnstone. “Having no stability calculations, construction details, or weight study make this design seem somewhat unbelievable and unexecutable at anything but extremely high cost.”

Panel members also questioned Egan’s assertion that this design would create, as he describes in his outline, “a seaworthy and comfortable cruising boat for an active early-retirement couple . . . to complete a circumnavigation using warm-climate routes.”

“I believe this would be an exciting boat to sail, especially for the few individuals with the right stuff,” wrote King, “but [it would] require a level of knowledge, expertise, and vigilance beyond that of most sailors.”
Fundamentally, Egan presented a design concept from which no boat could be built without a great amount of expansion and elaborate engineering calculations. Even then, the end product would harbor too many vulnerable systems to be reliable in remote cruising grounds. Johnson rated it highly on some aspects, particularly its size and the manageability of the rig, but his brief assessment summed it up for the panel as a whole: “Bold concept, [but] complex and probably too extreme for most.”

Egan – 49 Specs

LOA 49′ 11″ (15.21 m.)
LWL 49′ 0″ (14.93 m.)
Beam 14′ 4″ (4.37 m.)
Draft 10′ 6″ (3.20 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 1,130 sq. ft. (105.0 sq. m.)
Disp. 23,000 lb. (10,431 kg.)
Ballast 8,000 lb. (3,628 kg.)
Ballast/Disp .35
Disp./L 87.3
SA/Disp. 22.4
Water 70 gal. (265 l.)
Fuel 70 gal. (265 l.)
Engine 70 hp diesel
Designer Thomas D. Egan

To view renderings of all 10 finalists, click here.


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