When I ran into yacht designer Chuck Paine at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland last spring, he joked that he was keeping busy in his retirement by building the world’s most expensive 14-foot sailboat. True to his word, he launched Amelia, the latest in a very long line of beauties, this week in Tenants Harbor, Maine, and judging from the video below and photos he sent along, she’s downright stunning.
With gleaming varnished rub rails, coamings and stern, a robin egg-blue hull and crisp white bottom, Amelia seemingly danced around the harbor with Paine at the tiller. Who could begrudge his wide grin as he mugged for the camera while tacking back and forth decked out in a Hawaiian shirt? His new Paine 14 looked like an absolutely splendid boat in which to spend an afternoon dodging moorings in a rock and pine tree-lined harbor somewhere Down East.
In coming up with the new design, Paine borrowed liberally from the lines of the Herreshoff 12½. Amelia has the same sweeping bow as Paine’s 76-year-old Herreshoff, Petunia, the same self-tending club-footed jib and the same broad steeply raked transom. Beneath the waterline, though, he replaced the 12½’s full keel and attached rudder with a thoroughly modern NACA-foil lead fin keel and separate rudder. He also trimmed the weight of the P 14 by about a half, the result being a spirited sailor that’s easily trailerable. Details about plans, construction and performance ratios are available at his website.
Amelia, hull number one, is cold molded using West System Epoxy and wood. Paine built her in his wife’s barn over the winter. Going forward, fiberglass construction is an option, and Paine is actively seeking a builder to create the line.
Whether cold molded or fiberglass, the hull will accommodate either a Marconi or gaff rig. Paine said he has about $70,000 into the first boat, but estimates a production builder could probably reproduce the P 14 for a little more than half that.
Though a 14-foot open daysailer won’t fit the needs of everyone looking for a new sailboat, I’ll wager that the few who do buy a P 14 will step aboard with grins just as wide as the one Paine displayed on his maiden sail.