Friendship 36: A New Sailboat from Ted Fontaine

Ted Fontaine's new cold-molded Friendship 36 will draw a mere 32 inches to accommodate shallow harbors.

Friendship 36 rendering

Courtesy of Fontaine Design Group

Yacht designer Ted Fontaine spent his formative professional years apprenticing to, and then partnering with, the legendary naval architect Ted Hood at Little Harbor Yachts. Fontaine, who grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, learned his lessons well. When he struck off on his own in 2001, before he became renowned for his fleet of superyachts, he created a handsome daysailer called the Friendship 40, based on an old Friendship sloop he used to see in his local harbor. More Friendships followed, including 53- and 75-footers. Now, with the introduction of the new Friendship 36, you might say Fontaine has returned to roots.

The satisfied owner of a Friendship 40, who loved his boat but had one issue—the nearly 4-foot draft that precluded him from mooring it in the shallow Long Island cove near his home—commissioned the 36-footer. The 36 will draw a mere 32 inches. To achieve this shallow draft, Fontaine modified the underbody, incorporating a deep V-shaped hull and increasing the ballast ratio to accentuate stiffness under sail. The shallow “delta-shaped” hull is also equipped with twin rudders to maximize steering control.

While the design is certainly suited to fiberglass construction, hull number one is being built in Maine by Rockport Marine—well known for their restoration of classic beauties like Bolero and Adventuress—of cold-molded wood over laminated wood frames with plywood bulkheads. But with a full carbon-fiber spar package, this "woody" will hardly be a slave to tradition. In fact, with fully powered, push-button controlled winches, furlers, mainsheet, backstay, and boom vang, the 36 will be a familiar sibling to owners of her slightly bigger sister, the Friendship 40.

A June launch is anticipated. In the meantime, check out Fontaine's new website for more information and details on other designs from the Portsmouth, Rhode Island-based naval architect and his associates.