Rodger Martin’s Presto 30 is clearly a descendant of the round-bilge sharpies made famous by Ralph Munroe’s Presto and Egret. The origins of the hull and rig date back to a classic American oyster-tonging boat, the New Haven sharpie, which first appeared in Long Island Sound around 1850. Martin wanted the Presto 30 design details to include trailerability and shallow draft. The Presto is 30 feet long and 8 feet, 6 inches wide. With the centerboard up, it draws just 13 inches; with the centerboard extended, it draws 5 feet, 6 inches. The 320 feet of sail area is evenly divided between two sails set on wishbone booms, and while the designer calls it a schooner rig, the maker, Ryder Boats, has deemed it a cat-ketch rig. The Presto’s 1,000 pounds of lead shot in the keel help address this shoal-draft weekener's tender handicap, but like any shallow-water boat, the Presto will need to be actively sailed in a blow.
The Catalina 30 is a remarkable success story. We suspect that more Catalina 30s have been built than any other boat of that size anywhere in the world. While the basic boat has remained unchanged since it was introduced in 1975, there have been dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of minor developments in the boat in the course of a production run that is approaching 4,000 hulls. The advantage of a boat in production for so long is a high degree of product refinement over the years. The challenge for the owner of an early version of the boat is to upgrade his boat to the standards of models currently in production.
The Catalina 30 is a remarkable success story. We suspect that more Catalina 30s have been built than any other boat of that size anywhere in the world. While the basic boat has remained unchanged since it was introduced in1975, there have been dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of minor developments in the boat in the course of a production run that is approaching 4,000 hulls.
The Tord Sunden-designed Swede classic, the International Folkboat, shares many of the same features as the Nordic Folkboat: the displacement and sail area are the same, the shallow drafts are similar, and the $10,000-price tag runs about equal. The IF, though, has done away with Nordic Folkboat clinker hull, the Nordic’s reverse transom has been cut short, and the IF’s shallow self-draining cockpit replaces the Nordic’s deep well. The most notable difference is that the IF is fiberglass. This well-made boat with a loyal following performs well under blustery conditions, and remains popular with coastal cruisers and weekenders.
Practical Sailor reviews a custom, backyard-built Tiki 30, a wood boat designed by cat-cult hero James Wharram (www.wharram.com) and built by bluewater voyager Dave Martin. Like most of Wharram's designs, testers found, the real genius in the Tiki 30 comes more from whats not found than whats present on board. No lead, no liners, and no inboard engine adds up to a displacement that is so light that a low-tech, no-boom small sail plan can provide enough drive to make way. In light zephyrs, this agile cat will tack and make progress to windward. Not only is the light-air cruiser efficient under sail, but it's also efficient to build. The price point is attractive, as long as one views the labor commitment as part of the recreational experience. But when all the glue and paint has finally cured, the bottom line is that the Tiki 30 is best suited to cruisers willing to slip away without huge battery banks or large-volume tanks, and with less mechanical propulsion reliance.
Introduced last year, the sleek J/95 is a lightweight, 30-foot sloop with a plumb bow, a bronze centerboard, twin rudders, and a Spartan interior. The J/95 is the brainchild of Rod Johnstone and is built by C&C Fiberglass Composites (CCFC) in Bristol, Rhode Island. An ideal option for baby boomers settling in the shallow estuary areas of the Carolinas and Southwest Florida, the race-ready J/95 is a high performance daysailer thats fun and easy to sail right off the dock. It also offers the potential to take off as a one-design race boat.
Boat maintenance master Don Casey, on the BoatUS website (www.boatus.com), suggests cleaning the surface using a mild abrasive like Bar Keeper’s Friend (www.barkeepersfriend.com) and fine bronze wool, and then sealing the surface with a wax. Sparmaker Seldén Mast recommends applying Woody Wax (www.woody-wax.com) using bronze wool to seal the surface and remove the pox. Casey cautions against using a polish on aluminum as some are so abrasive they will peel away the anodizing. We’ve had success with Mothers (www.mothers.com) and Prism Polish (www.mppros.com), but we do not recommend using the Mothers with the Powerball on aluminum. Be sure to read the label on any polish before using it; some advise against use on anodized aluminum.
After sifting through the field of sailing sports cars on the market today, Practical Sailor identified five very different watercraft that met our speedster criteria. At the top end of our size and cost profile is yacht designer Bill Lees legacy, the Santa Cruz 37, a wolf in wolfs clothing that offers performance as priority one, two, and three. Next in line is the Andrews 28, a breakaway racer/cruiser that packs performance and a Spartan minimalists cruising package into a 25.7-foot waterline. Hard to miss is the Open 6.50, an out-an-out go-fast sportboat with room below for little more than a cooler and bevy of high-tech sails. For the diehard dinghy sailor, we highlight the quick-planing Stealth, a 14.5-footer that redefines reaching, and in true giant-slayer fashion, can fly by most 40-footers on a power reach. And if thats not action enough, we hop aboard a turbo-charged windsurfer, the Starboard Futura. Powered with a Neil Pryde sail, it runs away with the award for most speed and fun for our dollar.
On the water, the Morgan 30 is a fine boat to look at, with springy sheer and an attractive stern. Although the boat has a full 6-foot, 2-inch headroom, the freeboard is low. This graceful form predates World War II and can be found in late Cruising Club of America-era boats. Our sea trials aboard reader Ray Mummerys Morgan 30 Wavedancer in South Floridas Biscayne Bay, offered proof of the boats impeccable balance. In 12 knots of breeze, with a 130-percent genoa, Wavedancer easily steered herself to windward, even holding a course as deep as 120-degrees relative wind angle, with no attention to the helm. Compared to modern 30-footers with canoe underbodies and fin keels, the boat is far from nimble. What the boat lacks in thrills, she makes up for with a seakindly ride.