In what may be one of this industry’s more agreeable cases of déjà vu, the Newport (RI) boat show last September unveiled a nicely turned out rendition of a Pacific Northwest cruiser already well regarded, this time in the guise of the Sceptre 43 Atlantic. She is a rework of designer Hein Driehuyzen’s popular Sceptre 41, with two feet added to the stern to increase the effective waterline length, elongate the profile and provide space for a convenient sugar scoop transom. Preserved are the earlier boat’s joyful sailing qualities, strong construction pedigree and inside steering capability.
The 41 was a worthy vessel in her own right (see Cruising World June ’86, March ’92). The notion that you can incorporate a separate steering station below and avoid stacking the profile with a raised pilothouse or invoking the motorsailer moniker is fetching, especially in a boat designed for off-season or upper-latitude cruising. The 43, even sleeker with her added length, offers the same advantage. The beauty these days is that given the versatility and dependability of modern autopilot systems, you can opt for an electronic station in the saloon in lieu of another wheel, which allows the main cabin to remain in essence an unadulterated living space when it’s not being used as a command post.
Currently Sceptre Yachts is in the very able hands of Heather Rouse and her husband Jeff, an Australian-born shipwright whose involvement with the construction of these boats dates back to hull #14 of the original 41. The hull is solid glass, the deck cored with Baltek balsa. The keel is a prolonged fin, the rudder skeg-hung with three bearings — at the deck, just above the waterline and at the shoe. Primary steering in the aft cockpit is by way of Edson chain, cable and quadrant. The entry is fine, and hull sections are fairly deep to provide for good payload-carrying ability and a bilge that’s deep enough to accept milk crates. The installation of systems is first-class, stressing accessibility, redundancy and equipment right off the top shelf.
The rig is a custom-built two-spreader keel-stepped affair with cutter capability, fore and aft lowers and a set of “fixed” running backs. The chain plates are secured mechanically to four-inch aluminum pipe that runs fore and aft on each side of the hull, carried by massive fiberglass knees.
Our experience aboard the 43 Atlantic topped off a sparkling day on Long Island Sound last fall. True to form, the vessel is solid as a rock and quite beautifully put together abovedeck and below. In a steady 12 knots of true wind she jogged along to weather at 6 to 7 knots and remained remarkably nimble at the helm for a boat so designed to tackle serious bluewater cruising. On a broad reach she slid home beneath an asymmetrical kite flown off a conventional spinnaker pole that stores vertically on the mast when not in use. The 43 is balanced, powerful and responsive.
With her enhanced teak-finished interior, she’s also elegant and inviting. Here’s a boat with a million little details that make sense and a long-distance track record that’s been proven many times over. Pricing for the upscale Atlantic series is in the $330,000-$350,000 range. Contact Heather Rouse at Sceptre (1993) Ltd, 23-12491, No. 2 Road, Richmond, BC V7E 2C3, Canada; phone (604) 241-9331. Or Jake Leo at Northrop & Johnson, 100 Essex Street, PO Box 207, West Mystic, CT 06388; phone (860) 536-8087.
Sceptre 43 Atlantic Specifications:
- LOA: 43’0″
- LWL: 36’0″
- Beam: 12’8″
- Draft 6’1″ (deep): 5’9″ (shoal)
- Disp: 21,500 lbs.
- Ballast: 8,700 lbs.
- Sail Area (100%): 774 sq.ft.
- Mast above: DWL 59’0″
- Disp/Length: 206
- SA/Disp 16.01
- Designer: Hein Driehuyzen