Small BEOWULF/Custom building

My question is this. I feel that BEOWULF is too big for me. I don’t really want to deal with so many sails and the cost and effort to maintain, dock, haul, paint, etc. a 78-foot ketch, even if I have to go a little slower. I expect that, as in the past, you can’t help but always be thinking about how you might build a successor to your current yacht. Historically your yachts have always gotten bigger, but I was wondering if you had ever given any consideration to a new design, maybe in the 50-foot range, for those of us that are a little less aggressive in our cruising requirements than are you and Linda. A boat like the Farr 50 Pilothouse seems to have interesting design characteristics but I have not test sailed one because it doesn’t have sufficient headroom for me and I don’t want to waste their time. Because I am 6’3″ tall, and refuse to have to duck anywhere on my own boat,I require an absolute minimum of 6’6″ headroom throughout, including heads and showers. After many years of trying to find a boat in the 48-53-foot that is based on the design characteristics that you have pioneered, with an attractive pilothouse and an interior that is designed for both voyaging and live aboard, I am finally giving serious consideration to custom building a boat. I have eschewed this option until now for fear of making a mistake and owning a white elephant, which I can ill afford, but it seems that no production builder is going to build my dream boat for me while I am still young enough to use it. Whether you are interested in such project, or might suggest a couple of yacht designers whom you favor, I would appreciate your thoughts. Jeff

Hi Jeff: First, do everything you can to avoid a custom project. It will cost more than you think possible, and it is a huge amount of work, and for most very inefficient. You are way ahead of the game to find a good used boat, and then spend a few bucks fixing it up to make it your own. Pilot houses are hard to do on 70 footers–and just begin to look good as you get close to 80. Smaller than this and there are a lot of tradeoffs Obviously there are lots of smaller pilot house boats–but you pay big penalties (the Farr boats to which you refer I would call raised saloon designs). And then there is the issue of scale. The way we do boats the 55-footer carries basically the same stuff, people, and supplies as the longer boat. However, there’s a lot more waterline and interior into which this can be supported/divided. Right now we are swamped with project, so here are two suggestions for talented designers–Angelo Lavaranos in Auckland, NewZealand–and Roger Martin in Newport– Good Luck–Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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