Design and Construction

Design details

The hull is a one-off design but taking its cues from the working craft of the north-eastern United States such as the Friendship Sloop type. I was told that she was based on a design by Samuel Crocker, similar to his Aunt Sara 35ft schooner. The gaff ketch rig meanwhile is based on the rigs of English working craft, and was designed with reference to John Leather’s book The Gaff Rig Handbook. This makes for a good-looking heavy displacement, long-keeled cruising boat, with a rig that is easily handled by the intended crew of two, and because of the relatively small area of the individual sails, can also be singlehanded. She is well-equipped and set out for a cruising couple and has enough space for occasional guests.


The hull and main deck are built of ferro-cement, and is one of the fairest examples of this type of construction that the owner has seen. The framework consists of galvanised steel rebar web-frames, stringers and diagonals, covered with several layers of ½” galvanised steel wire mesh in side and out before the whole was plastered in one shot as per recommended practice. The ballast keel is solid concrete with encapsulated ballast. The coachroof is of epoxy-coated plywood construction, with the roof being sheathed in glass cloth and epoxy. The coachroof sides and front elevation were replaced in 2014, and areas of the roof repaired and re-sheathed where water ingress had caused some areas of delamination. The cockpit with the exception of a ferro bridgedeck, is also of ply construction, and was remodelled in 2008 by the previous owner following repairs to the fuel tank (which is in the stbd cockpit locker).


The gaff ketch rig is on Douglas Fir spars, with a hollow laminated main and mizzen mast, and solid laminated booms, gaffs and topmast. The fidded topmast was added by the previous owner to eliminate the need for a topsail yard. Standing rigging is of various ages, and is a low-stress rig of hand-spliced or copper-swaged 7×7 stainless steel wire rope – note that this does not suffer to the same extent as 1×19 SWR from sudden failure due to work-hardening. The 19mm aft main shrouds were replaced in 2008, whilst the fwd main shrouds and (inner) forestay were replaced in 2010. The jibstay (outer forestay) is a recent addition when the furling gear, which requires a fixed stay, was fitted, and is the only 1×19 wire on the boat. With this one exception, the standing rigging has soft eyes spliced in the top ends, served and leathered in the traditional way and placed over thumbs at the mast cap. Chainplates are of stainless steel flatbar substantially bolted through the hull. The bobstay is of 8mm galvanised chain. The mainmast has running backstays of 12-strand dyneema with dyneema whips making up to substantial custom stainless steel Highfield levers. The fidded topmast could theoretically be struck at sea in the traditional way, but I confess that I have never tried it, preferring to take the mast apart on the hard. The spars have been stored under cover every winter in my ownership and are finished in Epifanes varnish and white paint. The mainmast is keel-stepped through substantial steel partners and wedged, whilst the mizzen is deck-stepped on the bridgedeck with substantial timber reinforcement members under the deck. There is also a spinnaker boom which needs some refinishing.