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Designing a Boat For Our Personal Use

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

I will start this message with a Broker’s advice, “If you truly want to go sailing, don’t leave it too late.”   Here we are, 2 years later and probably 18 months or more from seeing our boat afloat.  So if your hair is grey and your teeth, well, not all yours, then maybe it’s time to get on with it and stop dreaming. 

I only get to play if my family, primarily my wife, gets to play too and play happily. Sebrina is claustrophobic, basically ruling out monohull yachts.  She likes space, so we looked at Cats, took some out on charter, went to the shows, did a few deliveries.  You do more motoring than envisioned if the destination is the end goal.   I’m also in my 60’s, and there is an age limit to jumping around; our thoughts turned to motorboats.

As a child, I watched Gilligan’s Island on our black and white TV in the UK.  A lot of the product design philosophy in the USA reflects that “down east” style.  There is also a tendency to add volume. For me, if you want a cottage then buy a cottage. It is great fun sailing around the islands on a breezy day, but the sea is not always like that and certainly not picky when it changes.  I wanted something rather more seaworthy.

So we went looking again, converted fishing boats, trawler yachts, certainly getting warmer though there were murmurings from my Sebrina, function follows form would be her mantra.  We went traveling to look at a few likely hulls, Covid notwithstanding its still possible.  My luck was to get her on some pure eye candy but of dubious stability.  And then, on the same trip, we visited a less-than-pretty utilitarian design of impeccable stability. So the stage was set!

Form follows function.  I like the philosophy pioneered by Dashew and the FPB series. The Circa Marine yard no longer builds these hulls, but it has created a genre that others have started supply.  We went for a hull form that was stable but with a duration that could be softened.  A hull with miserly fuel consumption and superb range.  Economical to build, to own, to run. One where we could specify ourselves rather than adopt another’s dream.  Superbly safe and capable of venturing to far-flung and rarely visited coast. A yacht that was a fishing boat on the outside and Aladin’s cave on the inside.  

Explorere Yacht XPM78-02 Vanguard

And so was born our venture with Vanguard.  78 foot, 60 ton aluminum-hulled Explorer Yacht, specifically designed to sail very long distances, short-handed, and incorporate a lifetime of lessons on and around boats.   Vanguard is our boat, built to answer our personal needs; this is the tale of her creation. 

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