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AirBerth: the easy way out

Though seldom mentioned, there exists a range of personal boat liftsways you yourself can keep your boat out of the water when not in use.

Of all the methods available, AirBerth ia perhaps one of the most promising. In a nutshell an an AirBerth is a floating cradle. It raises and lowers to allow your boat entry or to bisembark. It can be secured to your regular pontoon mooring, though not permanently. It is designed to be portable and also features a fresh water cleaning system to rinse the underside of your boat after use. They are fairly expensive however. Simon Nadin from the Pontoon and Dock company makes a very convincing argument: "There is no need to anti-foul your boat" - and thast's a big plus in anyone's book.

Because the boat spends all of its time out of the water when not in use and thanks to the fresh water rinse system marine growth simply does not have the time to prosper. "AirBerth is great for the winter as you will not have to pay any extra yard fees for a lift and scrub, plus the inflatablerubes are made of hard polyethylene so there is no corrosion from the water and no air will escape over the passing of time - meaning you won't have to come check on it during the off season.

Final advice - you are not alone

If like many of us, you lack the confidence to tackle any of the technical jobs, remember that your yard will offer, winterrising services.In fact, many boaters go for this option as it guarantees peace of mind and if something does go wrong you can just take it back to the yard rather than explain what you did to it. On that note, keep in minf that boat yards fill up early for both storage and maintenance so make sure you plan ahead.

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Down the Hatch

-a cruising column of sorts

Getting to boat shows is usually a prosaic business of wintry trains and planes travelling in- land, but as the Southampton Boat Show is right on the edge of both sea and summer, there's a temptation to mix business with pleasure, and sail to it. And when the man comes along and says he has this 75ft staysail schooner, she's going to take a charter party to Southampton a spot of luxury yottin' getting there, and handy accommodation right at the show when you arrive and that moreover she's going to depart right from your own doorstep, why then the tempta- tion very quickly becomes a feasible project.

The man is Myles Frankel, who came to cruising by as peculiar a route as anyone. Once upon a time he was working as a doctor in New- foundland, and despite the icy seas and rugged coasts of that distant land, decided he should learn to sail. So he sent off to Westerly Marine in Portsmouth and ordered a Centaur, and in due course it arrived all beautifully packed up in polythene and brown paper.

With instruction book in one hand and scissors in t'other, he unwrapped and rigged it, and after some trial and error learnt to sail it sufficiently well to cruise round Newfoundland single-handed; as well, the boat was handy for reaching patients in remote coastal settlements in summer. Later, having returned home, he sold the Centaur and moved up to a Nicholson 38, and then he and his wife Frances sailed it back to Canada by way of Iceland.

Eventually he finished his spell of duty in Newfoundland and Labrador, and by way of complete contrast became a country doctor in the rich farmlands of North Cork, with the Nich 38 now floating in the serene harbour of Kinsale. But peiirars cortrast wasn't so great as Newfoundland is set down off the East Coast of North America, so Ireland perches off the West Coast of Europe, and the un- crowded nature of both together with a certain disconnection from mainstream life, made him wonder if South West Ireland, with its much easier sailing conditions than New- foundland, was ready for the advent of a charter yacht operation. Not small craft on bareboat charters there were already one or two local firms successfully engaged in that. Rather he thought of some- thing really big, traditional Caribbean size, so with this in mind he and Frances moved up to a 75ft staysail schooner, designed by Robert Brasted and built in steel by Joyce Marine of Southampton in 1974, more of a little ship than a yacht. They re-named her Spirit of Labra- dor, not so much in honour of that extraordinarily harsh coastline to the north-west of Newfoundland, but more for the man after whom it is named. Back in the late 15th century, around the time Columbus and the Cabots were re-discovering America, the men of the Azores were great sailors who ranged the far north-west of the North Atlantic on cruises of exploration, and on one such voyage Joao Fernandes, a "lavrador" or farmer of the Island of Terceira, happened to be the first person aboard to spot the coast of Green- land. The rest of the crew thought it highly humorous and named his dis- covery Tiera del Lavrador, the Land of the Farmer, and though at that time the maps made no distinction between Greenland and North East Canada, when the separation was finally discerned Tiera del Lavrador lived on as the Coast of Labrador in Canada.

Thus that tough coast is a memorial to one of the earlest cruising men, for fernandes built himself small seagoing craft in which he made notable cruises almost wholly for their own sake. So Spirit of Labra- dor really means "The Spirit of the Farmer", and she sails the seas in honour of this predecessor of Mc- Mullen, Worth and Hiscock. And by heavens she really does sail the sea. Under her professional skipper Florence O'Driscoll of Sherkin Island (as readers of that quaint book The Irish R.M. will know, down in West Cork Florence is a very manly name) Spirit spent last winter lengthening the charter season through being in the Canaries. Then barely had they returned to Ireland before she zoomed away north to Iceland and the Denmark Strait, hav- ing been chartered during June and July by a Belgian film crew who wanted to record whaling operations in the Arctic. At the time this appears in print, they expect to be in the Azores, their charter cruises includ- ing pilgrimages to Terceira, the island of The Farmer. Somewhere in between they brought her round to Ireland's East Coast for slipping, sand-blasting and re-fitting, and with a week or two to spare, there she was available in Howth for a gentle jaunt to the Solent and the Boat Show, possibly with a bit of diversion in the Scillies. Strolling down to join ship on the Saturday morning, it was something of relief to note again how hefty she looked, for the omens were bad. Al- though the weather was good to the south, the remains of Hurricane Flossie were very busy to the west, and as well there was going to be a partial eclipse of the moon in the early night . . . It was interesting to see how a group of comparative strangers began the various processes of be- coming a holiday crew, or at least a holiday party, despite the weather outlook. For me the association began almost immediately, for the first person I met on going aboard was Ronnie Adams, who was the last real amateur to win the Monte Carlo Rally, which was a very long time ago, even longer than the last time I'd met him, which was 20 years ago when my father bought a boat from him. He was on his way to Southamp- ton not only because he wanted to see the boats at the show and pos- sibly buy himself a faster cruiser- racer, but as well his son is an officer on the QE2 and if all went according to plan both vessels would be berth- ing at much the same time. The rest of the gang had equally diverse reasons for wanting to take this unusual method of getting to Southampton, indeed it was some- thing like the Canterbury Tales of the Sea, so much so that another bloke aboard was Walter Love, the Man from the BBC in Belfast, who'd be- come intrigued with the whole business and had brought along his tape recorder to see if he couldn't make a programme out of it. He was to succeed in that project; he also turned out to be a dab hand on the wheel, and the producer of much drollery. Not that we'd an excess of drollery in the early stages; heading down the Wicklow Coast, we got a flick of the hurricane's tail; it was from south of south-west, there was the full spring ebb running against it, and by the time it reached Force 10 the sea was ridiculously rough, especially considering that the sun was shining and the splendid coast nearby was looking its handsome best when it could be seen through the spray. So we ducked into Wick- low Town, and later in the evening when various little fronts were going through, nipped on down to Arklow, not exactly a port in the St Tropez league, but the snuggest spot on the East Coast. It was dark by the time we were making fast in the basin, but the clouds cleared raggedly to sea- ward, and there was the moon, eclipsed no less . . . Distinctly sinister, but it didn't bother the hedonistic hard core of crew and charterers who adjourned up town and had a long night of it, finding themselves involved in the aftermath of the local rugby festival, of all things. Myself, I'd a reasonably early night and awoke to find we weren't just in a different world, it seemed to be a completely different galaxy. Away to the north, there was still much filth to be seen in the sky, where Flossie was doing her worst in the Hebrides and on through to the North Sea. But to the south, the sky was clear, it was still summer, and out we went and away to the south, setting five sails including the handy if not totally efficient "wishbone" (it's actually boomless) to make the best of the nice westerly wind, trundling along in Spirit's effortless style.

by W. M. Nixon

Yachting World | November, 1978

Second-Hand Boats

the test of time

A world-embracing, blue-water cruiser from the drawing board of Holman & Pye, the Super Sovereign is a boat to get away in. Martin Smith meets one delighted owner

Best of charts seem to be all the rage at the moment. It's almost impossible to turn on the telly or dip into a magazine without coming across the latest list detailing: the best albums of all time, the world's most beautiful women ever! or Knightsbridge's most popular pets. Rut, if ever a list was published of reasons for owning a boat, 'I want to be able to get away from it all' would be right up there alongside Astral Weeks, Marilyn Monroe and the Toy Schnauzer. Well, 'being able to get away from it air is the reason Duncan Gray gives for buying his Super Sovereign, Sephina, and it seems that he's got the right boat to do it in, when he chooses to. For when the boat left the drawing board of renowned designers Holman & Pye in the late 1960s it was billed as an ocean-goer and, though only a handful were built, the design has clocked up more than its share of blue-water miles.

On the dock

Duncan and I are standing on a pontoon at Hythe Marina where Sephina is moored in front of his house and Duncan is filling mc in on the pedigree of the yacht ofwhich I am not very familiar. The Super Sovereign - or Sovereign 35, Sovereign 35 mkII, all names by which the boat had been known - came from the same drawing board as other notables such as the Rustler, the Stella and the Twister. It seems that, from its inception, it was to be a world- embracing, blue-water cruiser and, casting an eye over Sephina, you can see the signs. There are her rising bulwarks that give the bow a powerful and purposeful look; her main mast is low and well stayed, and her ketch rig will give plenty of sail plan alternatives to suit all conditions. The Super Sovereign is a design that looks of its time: produced at the very end of the 1960s and built until the early 1980s, it keeps the narrow beam that differentiates it from the later accommodation-led designs. And, with the doghouse coachroof and modest overhangs, it's obviously not from the age-old classic mould. But Holman & Pye knew what they were about and the builder, Uphams of Brixham, produced a quality yacht that has stood up well to the ravages of the years and the environment for which it was built.

Below decks

Going below, the first impression is of a purposeful workspace. The nav station, to starboard, dominate and, as befits a boat designed to traverse oceans, is given plenty of space. There are chart drawers and stowage aplenty. Opposite is a U-shaped galley containing gimballed gas cooker with oven and, again, plenty of storage. Builders Uphams offered a couple of different layout options for the saloon. A single berth was located to port, with bookshelf outboard and aft. However, purchasers were given the choice of having either a convertible dinette arrangement that could be used as two singles - the outboard one raised - or as a double berth; alternatively, owners could opt for a fixed lower saloon berth and raised full-length berth outboard. it appears that Sephina was built with the former arrangement, but a previous owner modified this, perhaps to make converting from singles to double berth more straightforward. An option was also offered for a berth running aft from the nav station seat beneath the cockpit. Sephina does not have this and, consequently, has a larger starboard cockpit locker. Combined with a vee-berth forward, it is possible to sleep up to six adults. A large and wcll-fiddled table folds away neatly, flush with the support pillar for the mast. The saloon is surprisingly roomy for a boat with just a 10ft (3.1m) beam, and with plenty of storage beneath the bunks - accessed through inboard facing doors -it makes sailing her with six people a viablr proposition, though it's difficult to imagine this being comfortablr during extended cruising. The interior fit-out of mahogany-faced panelling and dark wood combined with white plastic surfaces, large windows and clear hatches, make the general ambience feel bright, comfortable and modern. There are plenty of handholds and grabrails, which would prove indispensable when moving about below in a seaway.

Under power

Back on deck with Sephina's original Thornycroft diesel engine idling, Duncan introduces me to our fellow crew members, Peter Charles and Tony Foster, both SS35 owners. We slip the lines as the conversation revolves around all things Super Sovereign. Peter Charles has been an owner for three years and has nothing but praise for the design; he is definitely smitten with his own, Queeb Bee which is moored on the River Tamar in Devon, not far from where she was originally moulded at the Sea Glass works. Peter has researched much of the design's history, while Tony Foster has racked up an impressive log of transatlantic crossings and single handed voyages in his SS35. Tony also proved a mine of information regarding maintenance as he is deeply involved in an on going, two-year-plus, complete rebuild of Brigus.

It takes some judicious use of warps to extricate Sephina from her light marina berth but, once off, we all retire to the cockpit, while Duncan, at the wheel, negotiates the tortuous route through the marina to lock out and into Southampton Water. In common with other large long-keelers with keel-hung rudders, manoeuvring an SS35 in a confined space is a daunting procedure - though not as bad as some, as she gets plenty of power and drive from her 35hp engine and three bladed prop. But once out into open water everything becomes more relaxed.

Under sail

Outside the lock and with some clear water to hand we set about raising sail, and immediately the ketch rig comes into its own - she seems perfectly happy under genoa and mizzen while we attempt to unroll the in mast furlecd main. It's been a

while since Duncan's been sailing and the gear is stiff and the main emerges only grudgingly. The wind was only light, but it was still a godsend that the boat remained balanced under the two small sails during the uncomfortable moments while the main was not fully set. The mainsail furling gear is an after marker addition, riveted to Sephina's original aluminium mast, and it's something that Duncan will be removing soon - it seems a liability, as well as marginally cutting down the sail area. Once under full sail Sephina at first seems surprisingly tender for such a big boat, but in the gusts she heals to a point, then sets a rail and goes no further, which, given her ocean-crossing aims, is certainly as her designer intended. She also has the ocean-goer's characteristic of getting into a groove and appearing to plough a furrow through the water, just shouldering seas out of the way and eating up the miles. But the SS35 is 110 racehorse and takes time to pick up to speed; in the light breezes that we encountered her log showed no more than 4.5 knots, even with the mizzen staysail set. This would obviously improve with more wind, but all three owners were keen to point out that, though lacking the ability to produce big numbers on the log, Sail boat gain over what at first appear to be more nimble boats by the fact that they do not get knocked off course or pound in rougher conditions, and can also carry their sail into stronger winds. To prove this point Duncan related the story of his trip from Southwold in Suffolk to Southampton. Conditions were heavy with winds of Force 6 8, and a 40ft+ Jeanneau overhauled Sephina. Both boats were motor sailing but, as they passed Dungcness, the conditions changed with the wind going against tide, causing a much shorter, steeper sea state.

The modern yacht

was forced to slow down as she began pounding and crashing, while Sephina simply shouldered the waves aside with no adjustment needed to her speed. It sounded like a good testament to the design's sea-keeping qualities, and it was a story that turned the thoughts of our crew towards lunch and the course or the conversation to the Super Sovereign's history. It seems that JVV & A Uphams of Brixham built the majority of the 19 boats constructed between 1969 and 1975. During this time, the moulds were held at the Sea Glass factory in Plymouth, where the hulls were laid up before shipping to Brixham for fitting out. After the Uphams yard closed in the late 1970s, Sea Glass built two more SS35s in 1976/77 for private commissions. They were fitted out by the firm EC Gransden, from Essex, and are believed to be the last of the ketch-rigged examples. Gransden was a former high-quality shop fitter and these boats were completed to an equally high standard. Super Sovereigns were fitted with either Perkins or Thomycroft engines, and all but the later yachts were rigged as ketches. At first they were built with wooden coachroofs and it is not known at what stage the design was amended in favour of all-GRP construction, but at least three wooden coachroof boats are known to exist today. The more angular look that the wooden super-struc- ture gives the yacht is rather appealing. Eventually the moulds were taken over by Maltings Boats, which was subsequently bought by Barbican Yachts. Here, a small number of boats - all sloops, known as the Barbican 35 were manufactured. In the late 1980s a storm destroyed the moulds along with any realistic chance of any more Super Sovereigns being produced. By now the sandwich wrappers were being packed away and we were motoring back through the marina lock. Back on her berth I once again quizzed Duncan on his motives for owning a Super Sovereign and what it feels like to have the ability to sail half a world away sitting outside your living-room window. "Well, I've always wanted to go to New Zealand," he says, uand in a few years' time, I'll be off, on my own, and I'll sail down there. Mayby I'll go all the way around the world, but New Zealand's where I want to get to." And as I left I couldn't help thinking that in a best of boats list, the Super Sovereign would probably not even feature in the top 100, but now little would all those statistics mean to Duncan as he sails Sephina off on a voyage around the blue planet.

Thrial still has wow factor


From the war through to the 1960s the standard Olympic three-man boat was the Dragon. But many felt it too slow and heavy for modern racing. So a new Olympic formula was drawn up in advance of the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Having watched this year's Olympic regatta, Garth Cooper believes one of the rejected challengers back then - still sailing off the East coast after being given a new lease of life - is still the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

All I can say about sailing in Thrial, designed in the 1960s as a challenger to be the three-man class Olympic boat, is WOW! I was warned before we set off that I would come back grinning like the Cheshire cat and would suffer from irregular bouts of the 'Thrial smile" at often inopportune moments (like in a business meeting next day). Why she was never developed into an international class I'll never understand. Long, low, with stunning lines and, once set up, so incredibly light and easy to sail, this rocket on the water really is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Actually it was this ease with which she can be sailed that set the Olympic adjudicators against her. They wanted something that would be more challenging for her crew to work, yet still needing to outperform the Dragon, which it was replacing. The formula was for a craft 22ft long at the waterline, with 4ft 6in draft, weighing 3,700 pounds, and with only 310sq ft of sail area. The first trials were held in the late summer of 1966 in Kiel, Germany. Eight boats entered, including two, Thrice and Trial, built to a design by top Dutch designer E G van der Stadt. Also in the trials was the established Norwegian Soling - while all the races were won by two American boats, Conqueror and Shillalah, designed by leading Star class builder Skip Etchells, who went on to develop the Etchells 24. Shillalah won eight, Conqueror the other three - and the adjudicators liked Shillalah, but then declared they wanted a boat which would give the international class "kudos". They damned Shillalah as "too parochially American".

With no decision made, a second set of trials was organised in Germany in August 1967. A second Shillalah made of GRP, was joined by eight other challengers, including Conqueror, the Soling and van der Stadt's new Thrial (a combination of the names - and qualities - of Thrice and Trial). Again the two American boats dominated, with Shillalah winning 10 of the 13 events - while the very best of the remaining Dragons finished a distant last every time. There was a word of encouragement for Thrial, one of larger boats competing, at 30ft overall, which they said should be developed by the International Yacht Racing Union if a larger boat was required.

But it was the Soling which got the nod, despite not performing as well, because it was cheaper, was already an established class and was a harder boat to sail. Thrial was basically too big and expensive. As for the Americans, they went home greatly disappointed. Forty years on, to say that I'm a convert is putting it mildly. If one short sail in Thrial does this for me, think what it has done to her current owner, Dave Melton. Actually, it's Dave's second spell of ownership. Years ago, he bought her after she had been crudely converted to a weekend cruiser. He returned her to her original dayboat state and then sold her to Duncan Lougee (of Jester Challenge Azores fame), who reconverted her to a stunning and extremely fast cruising boat. Duncan then sold her on before Dave bought her back last year. Now Dave and Duncan BOTH use her, boatbuilder Duncan's useage in return for some maintainance and refurbishment work. "She is such a fabulous boat to sail I couldn't turn down Dave's generous offer," he said.

Now he often takes her out for an hour or so of an evening after working for Clarke and Carter at Suffolk Yacht Harbour. Dave, too, is so smitten that he'll grab a couple of hours on the water of an afternoon whenever work allows. "I bought Thrial from Tony Nunn, of Waldringfield, who had apparently raced her locally for several years," said Dave. "I only sold her in the first place because I felt I was getting too old for such a high performance yacht. "When she came back on to the market I decided that the last 10 years had been good to me and I was now sufficiently rejuvenated to once again enjoy sailing her." Only three Thrial hulls were built, moulded by Tyler's of Tonbridge, once the largest hull moulders in the UK, and all three were used during the Mexico trials. She's laid up like a tank compared to today's boats - but the Olympic committee were right: she really is an extremely easy boat to sail. Close-winded, happy on a beam reach and vice-free when running, in all aspects her quiet turn of speed actually catches you out if you are not prepared for it. Seven knots in a light breeze is a doddle to her. In fact she is so incredibly fast that on the first tack across river I narrowly missed a channel buoy because we got there so much quicker than I anticipated. Onco up and in the groove there really isn't much on the water to catch, let alone beat her. Duncan did get 12 knots out of her one day under a "short" rig when roaring up the English Channel in fresh breeze.

When you first see her you wonder how such a low hull can carry three crew and gear, let alone accomplish some of the voyages she has done - she's long, low and thin, like a racing whippet. Step on board and she hardly moves. It is when you're aboard that you realise that less than a third of her is above water. She has no guard wires, yet her deck is a safe and steady platform on which to work. When originally an open boat she had a shellback cuddy at the forward end of the cockpit, which gave a large sheltered work area for the two trimmers to work in. Where the main aft bulkhead is now used to be a heavy, thick thwart, which gave the hull considerable rigidity. The helmsman worked aft of this, steering and tending the main sheet. Today, she has a watertight cockpit, where once there were slatted benches. There's a well on the port side for an outboard, with a special plug to keep all dry when sailing. Not that a motor is used that much - she's so handy you can sail her right into a marina berth. "We use the outboard (a 4hp Honda four- stroke) just to get us home if the wind dies," said Dave. "And with a pair of large sweeps with rowlock pads on the side decks, she can even be rowed home if necessary!" There's good sitting headroom down below. The main cabin is roughly nine feet long to the mast support frames. To port is an 8ft berth while to starboard is a full-length unit containing two-ring gas burner, chart space and navigation instruments, and sink. Forward of the mast frames is an open full- width compartment which contains a sea toilet, while forward again, beyond a further set of half-frames is an open storage space used for warps, fenders and sails. Originally she had an aluminium mast but Duncan changed this to a much lighter carbon fibre stick.

Over the coming winter Duncan will be refitting her and bringing her "up to scratch". With a new suit of sails there is little doubt she would still give some of the modern day Olympic boats a good run for their money.

However, a sail-boat over 35 years is a oldboat. Both vehicles can, over time...

Sailing cruiser test


Anderson' 22

For Text Browsers:

A lifting keel means that this 22-footer can be trailed by a two-litre car. But the Anderson is more than just a big trailable cruiser. She has the performance of a thoroughbred and the looks to go with it. And it is not only on those counts that she comes out a winner, as we found out.

Though all its oysters now

come from Japan—pollution did for the home grown onesWhiistable in Kent does have at least one worthwhile product, the Anderson 22. A small boat team spent a memorable weekend on one earlier this season. Anderson, Rigden & Perkins are mainly involved in Ministry of Defence boatbuilding contracts. On deciding to diversify into the small sailing cruiser field they took the wise step of commissioning a design from the under used East Coast naval arcliitect, Oliver Lee. He is best known for the Squib keelboat day-sailer -and Andersons asked for a cruising man's boat with the same thoroughbred performance. With 71 boats afloat after three years' production, they have certainly got the formula right. Looking right is part of it. The 22's sleek hull and coachroof arc enhanced by the 7/8th rig - she is a greyhound in appearance (we'll talk of performance later). The standard hull colours arc white and pale or dark blue with an off white deck. Others are available for the small extra price of £37-50. Her next plus factor is trailabilitv. A two litre car is quite sufficient for pulling her and as long as there is enough water (she draws 2ft (61cm) with the keel wound up) she can be floated on and off the trailer with relative ease. Weekend sailing trips are quite feasible so there is no need for mooring costs or worries and you can go where you will. One proud new owner is taking his Anderson on an overland odyssey through Europe. It makes a nice caravan and you never know when you might find some water. A well built GRP cruiser is perhaps the exception rather than the rule. The Anderson is an exception. Our boat was nine months old and had been used hard but was in extremely good nick. Nothing was falling apart and the gel coat showed no signs of fading -an unusual state of affairs these days!

Most of the deck has a first class non-slip finish moulded im The 6ft by 5ft (l.-8mx 15m) cockpit has comfortable slatted teak seats and leads via the companionway to the saloon (goodness!). Further eulogy is called for. Most boat builders seem to have forgotten that their creations, however small, can encounter violent storms. The hatch and washboards are not just decoration—they are there to keep the elements at bay while allowing easy access. Full marks to Andersons for a good, strong hatch which slides without jamming, and beefy, ventilated washboards.

The interior was designed by two of the directors' wives. We are wary of rambling on in such a euphoric vein but they have really made a very good job. Space is utilised to maximum advantage, joinery is first class in varnished teak faced marine ply - it's very attractive and quite olde worlde. A lined interior is available (it was not coming unstuck!) setting off the thick red berth mattresses. The maximum headroom is only 4ft 8in, but that is quite enough for moving around in comfort.

Deck layout of the Anderson. The foredcck is reached via the forchatch (narrow) or over the cockpit roof. The non-slip surface is first class though it does flex rather alarmingly at one or two points. Probably nothing to worry about but it wouldn't pay to be over elephantine. There's not much to clip a safety harness to. The anchor loeker is in the bows and is first rate with a grooved lead let into the deck for the warp. Mast controls are led aft via deck sheaves cutting forodeck excursions to a minimum. We towed a small tender with no problem. An inflatable could be stowed on deck.

Looking forward from the cockpit over the port side of the coachroof demonstrates the Andorson's attention to detail. Everything is in the right place and does its job. The Barlow winch looks after sheetsthere's a third one for the foresail halyard. The control lines are spinnaker and foresail halyards and spinnaker topping lift and downhaul. There's a washboard along the edge of the coachroof and forward of the winch to keep out the briny. Notice the top quality ventila- tor. We could have done with a canvas pouch to stow those loose ends of string. The antislip surface can be clearly seen, especially around the Barlow winch.

The chart table is on the port side facing forward. Beyond the bulkhead are the heads and forepcak. Notice the finish on the woodwork. The table will hold a full chart with a couple of folds which is held in posi- tion by the jar rack and fiddled edges. The outboard half of the table top slides out to reveal a two burner gas cooker on gimbals—a very neat arrange- ment. There's plenty of atten- tion to detail; racks for plates and cups, padded shelves, a knife box behind the jars and a depth sounder which can be read by both helmsman and navigator. The windows have first rate alloy frames.

Accommodation is for fourtwo berths either side of the saloon and a double in the forepeak. Unless one opts for rhe 'B' specification with no hanging space and a longer starboard berth, it would be a case of two children or one adult. As it is, a certain standard of fitness is required. If you're worried about dressing in public, yoga like contortions will be called for. Anyway, three journalists of varying shapes and sizes including our photographer, David, a 6ft 4in bionic man, spent a very comfortable 48 hours aboard. The galley is particularly well thought out. First time october 1976 afloat, biouic man prepared a luncheon of proportions exotic enough to make la grande bouffe look like a health farm nut cutlet. He created it punching to windward and rolling downwind in a hearty force four. Pas de probleme nor with the eating of it either. The Anderson may not be in the floating caravan comfort class -she's more than adequate for a small familybut she doesn't sail like one either. We were blessed with weather conditions from the infinitely light to a large swell and 25 knots of wind. She is a thoroughbred. One's reaction to a boat's performance is far harder to chronicle than when testing a car—the parameters are much more indefinable. We found she handled like a dinghy while remaining good and stiff at the same time. She's light on the helm, close winded (tacking through SO degrees) and easy to manage under spinnaker. She seems a fast boat though losing out in the light stuff. She can carry full sail right up to force live after which it's time for smaller foresails and slabs in the main, and would certainly be quicker with increased sail area. Would it be worth the trouble ? It's all a matter of what you fancy. We think not. All the gear falls to hand in exactly the right places; winches, cleats, sheets etc, most of them being led back to the cockpit.

Delight to sail

One grouse- there's no suitable stowage for the spinnaker pole. You could lash it to the railings but wc chose to carry it down below where it was little more than mildly tiresome.

The 5hp Crescent outboard (other makes can be used) is stowed in the port cockpit locker along with the sails. When it is not in the well, a plug keeps out the briny. Lifting the outboard in and out of position is easy though the aft lockor top can be frustratingly difficult to get off and boasts some sharp edges. The fuel tank and bilge pump live next door.

We have sailed all sorts of boats and take them as our parameter. The Anderson comes out near the top -she's a delight to sail. Under engine, she's adequate. The 5hp Crescent pushed her along at four knots through flat water and she was easy on the helm. Berthing is easily accomplished under engine, sail or bare poles. If your mooring is going to dry out, wind up the keel. The transom hung rudder can be pulled up its full length stainless steel pintle by means of a lanyard and the tiller can be lashed vertically to the backstay.

Emma Chissett

The Anderson will then take the ground at 20 degrees—life aboard becomes a mite uncomfortable- and the bulb is designed to spread the load and keep out intruding pebbles and other extraneous matter. There only remains our old friend Emma Chissett (Cockney rhyming slang -get it ?). Boating is expensive—so what's Remember you will want an outboard at between £200 and £300 and the trailer weighs in at a very hefty £445. Whichever way you look at her, the 22 is not expensive as boats go. She is a good design, well sorted. We wouldn't mind one ourselves. -J. T. E.

The keel winding mechanism. Woighing 9001b (408kg) it comprises a cast iron bulb on the end of a fin (2cm) mild stool plate and can be wound up or down in a couple of minutes. It travels on rollers in the box and is held very rigid. Take off the handle and a very sharp point is revealed -bionic man nearly disembowelled himself. The SL 400 loo does its job in the good old British tradition of imperturbable reliability.

The step down from the companionway conceals the washing-up bowl. The water inlet and hand pump -we prefer a foot pump which leaves both hands free but that's a mat- ter of choice, aside from being more expensive -are housed under the bridge deck where they are unlikely to be trod upon by some dimwit. The bowl can be emptied into the bilges, into the cockpit or over the side.

The plastic Whistler 32'-Its form is charming, traditional, build in 1981,inspires passion and demands attention.



Pretty Little Head Turner

published: Cruising World - March, 2006

Easy on the eye, the Able Whistler 32 rewards attention with contentment

When Able Marine founder Cro Fox set out to build the Whistler 32 in 1981, he enlisted Chuck Paine to develop a seakindly vessel that would comfortably accommodate a couple for loca] and extended cruising between Nova Scotia and the Bahamas. The boat had to have a shallow draft and be solidly built, easy to handle, and, perhaps above all, pleasing to the eye.

Our Whistler, built in 1982, the third of the 17 built, was launched as a cat ketch with carbon spars and wishbone booms. Shortly after my husband purchased her in 1992, a backhoe operator removing snow mistook her spars for PVC pipe, and that was the end of the cat-ketch rig. On Chuck Paine's advice, we had a sloop rig designed and installed. Most Whistler 32s are now cutters.

The Whistler inspires passion and demands attention. Its form is charming, traditional, and eye-catching. It feels a little like a big boat in a small-boat shell. The shapes and dimensions of the cockpit are just right, and the true bulwarks give it a safe and purposeful feel on deck. Although the side decks are a bit narrow in places to provide headroom below, they're still secure and easy to navigate.

No amount of thick Maine fog could dampen the tradi tional, understated charm of the Whistler's Herreshoffstyle interior—white bulkheads and ceilings, varnished mahogany trim, raw-teak cabin sole—when lit with a kerosene lantern and warmed by a little Force 10 gas heater. The V-berth is large and comfortable. The enclosed head is small but acceptable, with lots of storage in lockers and a sink faucet that extends to serve as a handheld shower, an arrangement with a camp ing feel to it but adequate. For fair weather and secluded spots, there's a cockpit shower that's delightful.

In the main cabin, on the port side, a settee surrounds a handsome trestle table. To Starboard is a comfortable pilot berth that's great on overnight passages and has copious storage beneath (where we installed a watermaker to supplement the 40 gallon freshwater tank).

The galley is surprisingly functional for a small boat, with deep lockers, a relatively large icebox, and a handsome Broadwater stove. Opposite the galley, on top of a set of large storage drawers, is the nav desk. It serves all the necessary purposes but suffers for lack of comfortable seating. Aft of the nav station is a large and comfortable quarter berth—an exceptional sea berth when needed. The Whistler is at its best on a broad reach. The boat squirms a bit as it rides down waves, but for the most part, it s comfortable and stable to sail. Adjusting the centerboard helps to trim the helm, and the boat's under-4-foot draft is useful in finding a spot to anchor in small, shallow, or crowded ports.

Sailing to weather is a different matter. If a chop develops, the Whistler is hard- pressed to tack through 105 degrees, and that doesn't account for leeway.

Despite these imperfections, the Whistler inspires admiration and devotion from sailors who appreciate traditional form and aesthetic trim. Recent asking prices, from $79,000 to $135,000, reflect condition and level of outfit.

Dorsey Board takes time off from her consulting business in Jamestown, Rhode Island, when the cruising bug bites.

Additional Sailboat Resources

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