Just as the Caribbean cruising dream was at its peak in the American consciousness, Endeavour yachts brought in Americas Cup designer Johan Valentijn to create a new breed of Endeavours to compete with an already crowded field of center-cockpit cruisers, most of them bound for the Caribbean charter trade. The end result was a boat that managed to maintain a surprisingly tolerable aesthetic, unlike the typical wedding-cake center cockpit cruiser. The combination of teak trim, bootstripe, and balanced proportions camouflages what is essentially a floating condo.
After corrosion destroyed the water-lift muffler aboard his 1972 Irwin 37 (above) and he could not find a replacement, subscriber Gene Millard fabricated his own.
Its hard to mistake the Stiletto 27s appearance-typically with blazing topside graphics and aircraft-style, pop-top companionway hatches. Its also hard for the average sailor to appreciate the sophistication of the Stilettos construction-epoxy-saturated fiberglass over a Nomex honeycomb core. There is probably no production hull built in the U.S. with a better strength-to-weight ratio than the Stiletto. And although the design is 40 years old, the Nomex honeycomb fabrication is still impressive.
This summer, Stiletto Manufacturing will be launching the all-new Stiletto X-Series, including a foiling catamaran, with the first boats expected to splash about the time this article went press. Carrying on the Stiletto tradition, the 10-meter X-Series models are being marketed as high-performance boats that are fast, beachable, trailerable, and affordable, as well as easy to handle and ideal for coastal family getaways.
Hunter Marine began building auxiliary sailboats in 1974, largely as the result of the first oil embargo and the new energy consciousness that followed. Founded by Warren Luhrs, Hunter began as a division of the powerboat-maker Silverton Yachts, which was interested in expanding its offerings and taking advantage of the new interest in saving fuel.
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.
The Dragonfly 800 comes in two configurations, one for racing and one for what the company calls cruising, which is a misnomer only in that it implies a plodding demeanor, which is hardly the case. The essential difference is a taller mast and Kevlar sails for the racing model.
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.
The first fiberglass auxiliary sailboats were built in the late 1950s. The burgeoning industry reached full bloom in the early 1970s, but the 1960s saw a rapid increase in the number of builders hoping to cash in on the new miracle material of fiberglass. No seams, no rot, no water absorption...or so we thought. Still, the claims were largely accurate, and even though the ad agencies were quick with hyperbole, the public bought it. By 1961, a handful of European builders were also working with woven glass fibers and polyester resin, laying up hulls in female molds. In Canada, one of the first was Grampian Marine Limited of Oakville, Ontario.
The Hunter 27 is the smallest boat in the Hunter line, which runs up to 43' in length. The Hunter 27 is a popular boat with first-time sailboat buyers, and with small-boat sailors purchasing their first auxiliary cruising boat. Since the boat was introduced in 1975, thousands have been built. Judging from the response of Hunter owners we've talked to, all Hunters, including the 27, are purchased for one reason: price. The Hunter 27 is just about the cheapest diesel-powered 27' cruising boat money can buy.