When it comes to describing a sailboats most valuable attribute, its surprising how varied opinions can be. Staying afloat should be our first priority, and although you seldom read or hear much about it at boat shows, the structural elements that hold a sailboat together are an all-important consideration.
The EXPO Solar Sailer was conceived by Hoyt (who has a long list of conceptions to his credit), designed by Hood (who needs no introduction) and built by TPI(at present, or one time or another, the builder of J Boats, Aldens, Jeanneau catamarans and Freedoms). Put Gary Hoyt, Ted Hood and Everett Pearson in a canoe and you have the marine industry's maximum tripartite brain power. The cerebral sparks from these three New England dynamos produced the EXPO Solar Sailer.
While we wouldn't consider the Tartan Ten to be one of the better-built racers, she doesn't have to be. Since she is primarily intended to race against her sisters, consistency between boats is perhaps more important than superior (and hence, more expensive) construction. The major construction criterion she must meet is to be sufficiently seaworthy to endure an occasional short offshore race. She meets this criterion, although, like too many production boats, she barely makes it.
With summer upon us, light, quick sailing dinghies that are easy to sail and easy to transport make summertime on the water a blast. Practical Sailor reviews some of the perennial favorites-the Optimist, Sunfish, Hobie, and Laser-and looks at how newcomers like Bic Sports Open Bic match up. Testers also review a do-it-yourself sailing dinghy kit, the Eastport Pram from Chesapeake Light Craft, and Hobies newest catamaran, the Bravo, a quick-to-launch beach cat with plenty of get-up-and-go. We also take a look at Laser Performances newest club trainer/racer for the wee sailors, the Bug.
The BMW Oracle teams recent win of the Americas Cup-along with a flood of e-mail from multihull fans-has given us good reason to revisit the performance multihull alternative. In this reader-requested sequel to our Need For Speed monohull report (September 2009), we focus on design features that make multihulls fast and fun to sail, and examine why many feel that two or three hulls are better than one. It quickly becomes obvious that todays boats diverge sharply from the iconic Hobie Cat 16. To really get excited about performance in sailing catamarans and trimarans, lightweight, lean hulls and sizable sail area are a must. In this review we look at five terrific performance multihulls: The Hobie Getaway, Weta Trimaran, Windrider Rave, Corsair Dash 750, and Telstar.
For better or worse, the Columbia 8.7 is modern in appearance, with a very straight sheer, pronounced forward overhang, and no overhang aft. The stern is decidedly unusual, with an exaggerated wineglass-section transom. This reduces the apparent size of the back end of the boat, which would otherwise look very ungainly since beam is carried well aft. From an aesthetic point of view, you either like the stern or you don't.
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The experience of the owners of the 14-year-old, six-man, valise-stored Avon liferaft pictured here reminds us of the importance of following the manufacturers inspection schedule. With air leaking from the seams and through the fabric itself, the raft is a graphic example of how even a professionally serviced liferaft that remains dry in its hard canister can deteriorate to the point of becoming worthless.