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S & S 40: Cutter for solo sailing

LOA 39.42' I LWL 31' I BEAM 11.5' I DRAFT 6.25' DISPLACEMENT TO DWL 21,336 LBS. I BALLAST 9,000

Yachts designed for extensive single-handing are always in- teresting to study. The clients are usually more than a little experienced and the design solutions tend to be on the pragmatic side. With that in mind, let's take a look at this S & S design prepared for John R. Schmidt. The hull form is what we would expect from the S & S office: a conservative wine glass mid-section coupled with a low aspect fin keel and skeg hung rudder. Note that the lower gudgeon of the rudder is not at the bottom of the skeg. I would guess that this is a safety precaution and intended to make the rudder less vulnerable to major damage. The displacement to length ratio is 320. I think the most significant thing about the rig is the use of a mechanical vang on the boom. I have long been an advocate of mechanical vangs or hydraulic vangs on cruising yachts. The only thing that prevented me from using a Navtec hydraulic vang on my own boat was cost. With this type of vang you no longer need to use a topping lift. The vang holds the boom up and at the same time holds the boom down. You also eliminate the need for a traveller, thusly Simplifying the mainsheet arrangement. Note the extreme mid-boom sheeting on this rig. The sail area to displacement ratio is 15.17. This is quite low, but you must consider that the singlehander will not be making as frequent sail changes as a fully crewed yacht will.

The amazing thing about this interior is that if you converted the sail bins forward to V-berths and the work bench to hanging lockers, you would be back at square one with our "basic stock boat interior." This Is not to derogate the stock interior, just simply to say that most people don't realize how adaptable and suitable the basic layout is. The engine location helps with the galley configuration by pro- viding a keyhole shaped galley and at the same time gives excellent access to the galley. There is an oil stove specified. These are very common in the Northwest where we sail year 'round and need the heat. Many boats carry alcohol stoves to use when the weather gets warm.

The bubble that protrudes from the cabin trunk provides an inside steering location with the aid of a tiller located inside the boat. This is a simple arrangement and should work well. If one is singlehanding, there would be nobody on board to ob- ject to someone sitting in the companionway. Construction of this yacht will be in cold-molded mahogany covered with fiberglass. The builder is Gerald Driscoll Custom Boats of San Diego. Some of the most beautiful yachts I have ever seen have come from that yard. Driscoll's interpretation of an S & S design is surely to produce a work of art.

Gerald Driscoll Custom Boats, 2438 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego, CA.

Star Chaser 220

by Jim Barron

Starfire's Star Chaser 220

Tests & Trials

Hot Rod Cuddy
Family Sportboat
Center Console
Outboard Skiboat

A sporty departure for this company, but without sacrifice to family boating

The Star Chaser 220 is Starfire's entry into the sportboat market, and it has created both a stylish package and one that continues to offer many of the traditional Starfire features. Starfire has always built handsome, well-constructed boats with generous accommodations and conservative styling. The Star Chaser 220 has all the attributes of previous Starfires. It is a big 22 footer. It's wide, it's deep and it's roomy While the styling can't be called conservative, it is not as wild as some ot its competition. Those who feel comfortable in older Starfire will feel right at home in the Star Chaser.

Starfire has been building boats for over 30 years, which makes it one of the more enduring, trailerable boatbuilders. The company is not large, but has grown steadily by cultivating a loyal dealer network and offering family-oriented, quality products. It builds runabouts primarily, plus a comfortable cruiser and a few fishing-oriented models that still don't forget the family theme. The new Star Chaser 220 has sporty styling, but with its large cockpit, still offers room and utility for family fun. Our trial boat was powered by a 260 MerCruiser that was capable of pushing the Star Chaser into the mid to high 40s. The hull features a knife-edge, deep-vee bottom with approximately 22 degrees of deadrise. The hull has a soft, controlled ride that does not pound when crossing wakes or waves. The hull tracks straight and true, with no tendency to chine-walk, and corners with a fair degree of banking. Turns are precise, and the hull does not bobble or skid. The hull responds nicely to the effects of power trim; however, accurate trimming is not critical to gaining good performance.

The Star Chaser 220 is not quite as fast as some comparable boats—larger engines are available—but it is rockstable, easy to handle and a boat that mom and the kids can easily handle while dad takes a turn on the skis. The Star Chaser 220 is basically a family type of open-bow runabout with a sportier bottom design for high-speed, rough-water operation and the styling features that have swept the industry in the past few years. These styling features include molded-in swim step, rear sunlounge, bench seat across the stern, pedestal helm chairs and a sweptback, wraparound windshield. The bow area is quite conventional and roomy, with storage under the seats and a filler cushion to turn the area into a forward sunlounge. The wraparound windshield is heavily framed and the glass at the curve is distortion-free. The center of the windshield has a unique hinge arrangement that allows the walkthrough section to open and close similar to the door on a jet liner. Instead of folding back, the center panel slides back and lays flush with the port glass, which enhances the appearance when the windshield is open. A louvered, teak door separates the bow area from the cockpit at the windshield. The portside glove compartment is molded of black acrylic and the starboard instrument panel features easy-to-read, round gauges on a black background. The dashboard area is simple, functional and attractive. Upholstery materials consist of good-quality, heavy-gauge vinyls, and the design is attractive without the gaudy or overdone appearance common to many boats of this type. We have, in the past, commented on the difficulty of servicing the engine on sport runabouts with a rear sunlounge deck Starfire has solved this problem bv hinging the entire rear deck and seat at the rear coaming. This whole section lifts up to provide excellent and easy access to the engine. The stern grabra.l blends into a boarding ladder on the center of the swim step. The ladder is mounted in the center to provide a symmetrical appearance. We would prefer to see the ladder mounted to the side to keep swimmers' feet farther from the drive unit. The engine should always be off when using the swim step, but prop blades are sharp and can still cut even if they are not turning. The Starfire is a well-built boat using balsa-core construction. Cored hulls allow strength with light weight, yet the Starfire isn't light. There is lots of glass on both sides of the core and a heavy stringer system helps to ensure that the hull will stay together for a long time.

We said earlier that the Starfire wasn't quite as fast as some other boats in this size range, and heavy construction is the reason. Starfire owners are not the type to tolerate hull problems in exchange for a few more mph in top speed, and the Star Chaser 220 won t disappoint them. Hull and deck are bolted together with stainless fasteners. The gelcoats are flawless and the hull molds are smooth and free of ripples.

The Starfire Star Chaser 220

is a handsome, solidly built boat that provides a good turn of speed with excellent handling, stability and comfort. Styling is thoroughly modern but not exces- sively wild, and the interior is handsome without an overdone look. Detail fit and finish is first-rate. The Star Chaser 220, like Starfires before it, is a quality product that should give years of trouble-free service and hold its value in the process.

by Jim Barron


double click for zoom

LOA 33' 0"
LWL 26' 4"
Beam 9' 3"
Draft 5' 0"
Sail Area 609 sq. ft.
Displacement 8,000 lb.
Water 8 gal.
Fuel 18 gal.
Engine 20-hp. Yanmar
Designer Pearson Marine Group
Pearson Composites
(401) 247-3000

If you're in the mood for the pure, unadulterated joy of sailing, you'd be hard pressed to find a better tool for the job than the Alerion Sport 33. A revamped edition of the Alerion Express pocket cruiser, the Sport version has shed several hundred pounds and is ideal for daysailing and, though accommodations are minimal and standing headroom nonexistent, the occasional overnighter. Where the boat really comes alive is un- der sail. The cockpit is long, deep, and inviting. 'Hie tiller is feathery and oh so light to the touch. The sail plan is generous—a big, fully battened main with lots of roach is paired with a fractional self-tending jib—but the deck layout is well thought out and highly efficient, so the 33 can be soloed with ease. On top of all that, with SCRIMP infusion-molded construction and a sweet sheer line, this Alerion is not only rugged but handsome. In short, the Sport 33 addresses a cool if narrow niche with panache. Herb McCormick

Published: Cruising World Magazine | JANUARY 2011