Adventure 40—Deck and Rig

This post has now been superseded by the Adventure 40 Rig and Deck Design Chapter; however I have left it in place so we can refer to the excellent comments attached.

I have written a lot of general articles on the Adventure 40 including one on the hull form, but now it’s time to get down to specifics. I’m going to start with the deck layout and rig.

But before we dive in to the details, there are a few things I need to say and clarify:

This is Not Final

To give you an idea of the attention to detail that will go into this boat, I have been very specific in this and the following specification articles. But we will be looking for, and I’m sure finding, better ways to do things, right up until the prototype phase is finished.

For example, the usability and ergonomics of the deck and cockpit layout will be exhaustively tested and optimized. In fact, I’m going to bet that the prototype’s deck will look like it has a case of the pox what with all the filled in holes resulting from moving fittings around—sometimes as little as an inch can make all the difference.

I addition, with things like chain size and type, I have guessed what will be appropriate based on experience, but I have not done any engineering. Rest assured that an engineer will check everything during the design phase and that we will use a safety factor of at least 2:1.

No Options, But Plenty of Customization

In putting together this specification I have kept firmly in mind the Adventure 40 core principle that the boat will come with important items that would be difficult for an owner to build and install, like the arch, while not unnecessarily robbing the owner of the flexibility to customize his or her boat with items that are relatively easy to source and install, like, for example, solar panels to go on the arch.

Don’t Forget The Goal

As you read this specification, please remember that the Adventure 40 is not meant to be the ultimate cruising boat with every piece of cool gear known to man aboard.

Rather, the Adventure 40 will be totally focused on safe, comfortable, and reliable offshore voyaging, at an unprecedentedly low 10-year cost of ownership.

Also, I strongly urge that, as you read this and subsequent specification posts, you don’t let yourself fixate on one or two details that you don’t happen to like. Rather, look at the boat as a whole.

All boats are compromises and no one gets everything they want, particularly not for less that US$200,000.


  • Single bow roller with attachment point for the tack of an asymmetric spinnaker or Code-0 sail, protruding far enough to be sure that the anchor will not hit the bow on retrieval. Engineered to take a downward load equal to the breaking strength of the chain and the upward load of sails set flying.
  • Bow roller to be designed so that the anchor can be stowed securely for all weathers simply be tensioning the rode with the windlass and locking it off with the brake.
  • Rocna or SPADE anchor (which one will depend on stowage and interference issues) of about 55-pounds—one size larger than manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • 200-feet 5/16 G43 high test chain.
  • Chain stopper, strength equal to breaking load of chain.
  • Anchor locker that will stow all 200-feet of chain without hand flaking.
  • Electric windlass with manual backup that meets this criteria.
Docking / Mooring
  • Six oversized cleats—most cleats on production boats are way too small—two forward, two aft, and two amidships.
  • If it can be done without compromising the hull to deck joint, cleats to be mounted in gaps in the toe rail (or possibly incorporated into the toe rail) close to the edge of the deck so that fairleads are not required.
  • Two fully enclosed and very strong fairleads about 1/3 forward from the stern at the exact pivot point of the boat under power, to be used for docking springs (article coming). Exact placement to be determined by experimentation on the prototype. Fairleads to have clear lead to primary winchs.
Tracks and Blocks
  • All deck fittings by Harken.
  • All sheet tracks (jib, staysail, main) to have roller bearing cars with tackle adjustment lines such that they can be adjusted under load. Jib track(s) to be long enough and correctly positioned to accommodate all possible jibs from blade jib to high cut reacher.
  • Toe rails to be aluminum extrusions perforated for the attachment of fittings and blocks.
  • All blocks to be roller bearing.
  • Mainsheet traveler on top of hard dodger, clear of cockpit.

Life Lines

  • Pulpit, pushpit, and stanchions at least 30” high.
  • Stanchion bases to be reinforced by toe rail and to be stronger than the force required to bend a stanchion.
  • Life lines to be of high quality 7×19 stainless steel wire nicropressed around thimbles and attached at each end with lashings.
  • No boarding gates.
  • Mast pulpit for security when working at mast.
  • Tiller steering. Tiller to be hinged so that it can be tilted to the vertical to clear the cockpit when not in use.
  • Vane gear self steering. Model not selected. This will be the subject of a lot of testing in the prototype phase.
  • Mounting strong point, cable gland, and power connection for owner fitted tiller pilot.

Two options under consideration:

  • Massively strong semi-balanced—eases steering, both by hand and for vane gear or tiller pilot—spade rudder, mounted in high quality bearings with weaker sacrificial lower half. Rudder removable for inspection or repair without hauling boat (one of the many advantages of tiller steering). I am satisfied that a properly designed and built spade rudder can be made at least as reliable as a skeg hung rudder.
  • Transom hung rudder that will kick up (fused) in the event of a hit from a floating object. A big advantage here is that the whole rudder can be made from composites without the need for a stainless steel shaft—always a potential source of trouble. The problem with this option may be interference with the vane gear.

Lots of design work will be required on the rudder before we come to a final decision.

  • Hard dodger low enough to look over and strong enough to take the loads from a knock down and the mainsheet. Curved lip moulded on aft edge of dodger to ameliorate sharp edge, to be used as hand hold and to drain water away from cockpit. Top surface to be non-skid.
  • Red/white lighting under dodger.
  • Space under dodger to mount owner supplied plotter/radar/AIS, VHF, with cable raceway to switch panel.
  • Cockpit narrow enough that person sitting on one seat can brace their feet on the edge of the opposite seat.
  • Drain so that water does not collect on lee seat when heeled.
  • Large cockpit drains with sea cocks.
  • Good ergonomics to be applied to seat heights, depths and angles to insure comfortable sitting for long hours.
  • Length of cockpit is presently unknown since there are too many design variables, but we will aim for 6-1/2-foot seats for lounging, although this may not be possible.
  • No bridge deck.
  • Entrance to cabin via watertight door with window for light, or if washboards selected, due to ergonomics and space considerations, bottom washboard to be easily and securely locked in position in adverse weather—I prefer the door option. System must support owner supplied bug screens.
  • Companionway hatch to be capable of being securely latched close, and opened, from on deck or in the cabin.


Substantial anodised aluminum (not painted) arch with following capabilities:

  • Mount for dinghy outboard with lifting rig.
  • Antenna mounting, including radar.
  • Wind generator mounting.
  • Solar panel mounting.
  • Generous cable way to equipment bay below.

All equipment on arch to be owner supplied and installed.

Storm Survival
  • Horizontal chain plates on each transom corner each capable of withstanding a load equal to 75% of the boat’s displacement.
  • Self draining locker with lid capable of stowing appropriately sized Jordan Series Drogue (JSD) with bridle attached to chain plates.
  • JSD itself will not be supplied standard because some owners will not be going off shore, at least at first, and some will want to save the considerable amount of money to be realized by making their own JSD.

To understand the above requirement, please read this series.

  • Secure 6 person life raft storage as close as possible to cockpit, perhaps at aft end between seats.
  • Ten jack line pad eyes: in cockpit inside faces of seats, fore and aft; each side of mast; on deck at forward end of cockpit and at bow. Pad eyes to be sighted such that a crew member can be clipped onto a jack line at all points on deck and able to clip on before leaving the companionway.
  • All cable ways to have messenger lines.
  • All fastenings to be high quality stainless steel and treated with Tefgel or Duralac as appropriate.
  • Vapour proof locker draining overboard sized for two propane tanks (Europe or USA). I hope we can make the tanks 20 pound, but we may have a space problem and need to go smaller.
Hardware Mounting

The hull and deck material for the Adventure 40 has not been selected and won’t be until a builder comes forward, but whatever deck material is used I am committed to mounting all deck gear with fastenings that are threaded into backer plates that are integral to the deck so there are no nuts. This means that any fitting can be removed for re-bedding, working from the deck side only, and such a system will be more efficient in the build. Also reduces the chances of deck leaks.

Chain Plates

I have agonized over these for hours. Stainless steel chain plates in a fiberglass composite boat—the most likely material for the Adventure 40—are just a problem: They always leak eventually, and then they deteriorate.

I’m really hoping we can figure out a way to do the chain plates in some kind of composite at a price we can afford and then bond them into the hull. Or better still, have them as part of the hull. However, such a problem is for an experienced composites engineer, so I’m leaving this issue until we have one on the project.


Mast head sloop with removable staysail stay. I have agonised about making the boat a true cutter with the mast stepped further back and have also thought about fractional rigs. But for simplicity and multi-function capability the masthead sloop is hard to beat.

Enough sail area that overlapping genoas are not required for good performance, but not excessive since in very light air most owners will motor anyway, which is, incidentally, cheaper than beating up your sails tying to keep sailing when it gets light and sloppy. The real keeners can add overlapping genoas, Code 0 type sails and spinnakers, if they wish.

  • Anodized, not painted, aluminum mast and boom.
  • Two spreaders, only slight angle aft, if any.
  • J length spinnaker/whisker pole stowed on front face of mast with alternative chocks on deck for heavy weather stowage.
  • Hall Quick Vang. No topping lift required. Short strop from arch  to boom end to retain boom when the sail is down.
  • Antal or Tides type mainsail track system.
  • Separate storm trysail track down to deck so trysail can be stowed on the track in a bag, when not in use.
Standing Rigging
  • High quality stainless steel 1×19 wire.
  • Swages at the top, Sta-Lok fittings at the bottom.
  • Open barrel bronze turnbuckles.
  • Forward and aft lowers.
  • Forestay with Harken roller furling gear.
  • Staysail stay, removable, no roller furling (owner may add).
  • High modulus rope running backstays for use with staysail or storm staysail and to stabilize rig in big seas.
  • Mechanical back stay adjuster.
Running Rigging
  • All halyards and reefing lines to be low stretch and reasonably high modulus rope, although I see no reason to go with the really exotic and expensive options.
  • Sheets to be Dacron.
  • Halyards, one each: jib, staysail, spinnaker (or Code 0), mainsail.
  • Pole topping lift, down haul and after guy (Dacron).
  • Three reefing lines for leach cringles. Simple horn at goose neck for luff cringles.
  • All shackles to be from Wichard, Harken, and Tylaska.
  • Pre-rigged boom preventer system, like ours on Morgan’s Cloud.
  • Simple lazy jack system, like ours on Morgan’s Cloud.
  • LED tri/anchor light. (Purpose-built LED array, not bulb replacement type.)
  • Incandescent steaming light.
  • Incandescent lower navigation lights. Owner may replace bulbs with LED if desired.
  • No deck lighting. Head lamps do a good job for this purpose. Conduit, mast exits, and messenger for owner supplied and installed spreader lights, if desired.
  • All winches to be sized to make trimming reasonably easy for a middle aged couple with bad backs, not race boat gorillas.
  • Five sheet winches in cockpit: two jib, two staysail / runners / roller furling lines (runners and roller furling line(s) to have clutches), mainsheet.
  • Two halyard winches mounted on mast, one each side. All halyards to have clutches.
  • One reefing winch mounted on deck just aft of mast with turning blocks for reefing lines at base of mast and clutches for number one and two reefs.
  • Two winch handles with holders, one at mast, one in cockpit.


This has been a difficult one. Originally I thought that the boat would come with a suit of sails consisting of high cut 100%  jib-topsail (yankee), staysail, and mainsail. But, while that would be great for an offshore circumnavigation, it would not be optimal for inshore sailing or weekending, which a lot of the people who have signed up for the boat are interested in, at least initially.

And then there is the whole issue of light air sails, if any, and storm sails, again, if any. And what about the owner who adds roller furling on the staysail stay? He or she will have different requirements again.

So, after much thought, and in keeping with Adventure 40 core principles (see above), I have decided that the boat will be sold without sails.

However, rest assured that during the prototype phase we will work with a sailmaker(s) to develop and test a full package of sails that will be available directly from them, and that we still have the goal of bringing the boat in under US$200,000 with a basic suit of sails.

Did I Break The Budget?

In looking over this specification, you may wonder, as I have, if I have broken the budget? After all, eight Harken winches, most of them two speed, will cost a pretty penny in themselves.

However, I think we are still going to make our target number of less than US$200,000 ready to sail away, particularly because of the factors explained in this post.

But even if I’m wrong about that, I’m not going to start chopping gear, that I know the boat needs, just to hit a number.

After all, do you want a boat with just two undersized cockpit headsail winches, like many production boats, just to save US$2000? Trust me, after your first offshore passage you will be buying two more winches and installing them anyway. And they will cost you a lot more than the builder would have paid. And what about doing something about undersized primaries? Let’s not go there.


If you have a suggestion to improve this specification, particularly if it is based on first hand experience, please leave a comment, I’m all ears. Please do not go off the topic of this post (rig and deck).

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

179 comments… add one
  • Chris Daly Oct 14, 2013, 1:40 am

    Just wanted to contibute to the staysail and rig issues. I struggled with a removeable inner forestay and hanked on staysail for years. At last I converted it to a dyneema luffed staysail with a continuous furling drum. The benefits are numerous: no flaked sail crowding limited foredeck space, no flogging when hoisting or dropping, no need to go forward to hoist or drop ( and when the staysail is required I don’t want to be going forward), furled sail on its own luff rope can be quickly dropped and run along deck for lighter airs or quickly decoupled from the drum and bagged. The continuous fuling line does require a tensioning mechanism ( I use a small 4:1 block and tackle at the cockpit to tension this line after running 3 turns of the furling line around a secondary winch) – there is an arguemnent here for a small fixed drum which requires only a single line. Sailmakers put velcro on the clew area of the staysail and you over furl the sail with a few sheet turns to ensure that unintended unfurling will not occur. Tensioning the luff is an issue and does require a 2:1 halyard. My rig shares the pole topping lift and staysail halyard function and it was easily converted to 2:1. There were many times in the past when I was forced to use a tiny triangle of furled headsail simply because hoisting a hanked-on staysail was not an option. If I did get the staysail up, it was a often a nightmare dropping it and then having to crawl up to the fordeck to lash it down.
    I use a main with 3 reefing points and make full use of all 3 reefs. I do not have a storm trysail or separate track on the mast and if conditions get beyond my 3rd reef I will rely on the staysail alone. Note that several of the yachts that survived the 1998 Sydney Hobart yacht race were Radford designs and ran with staysail alone (see ) so stability, easily driven hull and staysail are a proven heavy weather formula).
    I’m very interested to see the discussion on the permanently installed preventer (pip). I have had this installed on my boat since 2007 after struggling with various boom brakes. The pip is both incredibly functional as both a brake and a preventer and adds several safety features. I use it for controlled gybes in upto 15 knots, it allows the boom to be locked in any position or centred, making it safe to work on the boom while flaking the sail. In light airs and rolling conditions, the boom vang and preventer can be set to lock the boom and maintain sail shape (also assisted by tooping lift). The pip uses tension only on the leeward side, whereas a boom brake tensions both sides, which can result in the windward line rubbing onthe cabin top. I run the lines through a deck clutch and then onto a secondary winch. The active line must always be accessible for quick release. This preventer system is fully controlled from the cockpit and it is very easy to use – one less trip forward to rig an end boom preventer. This is one extra line that I would never go without!

    • John Oct 14, 2013, 1:22 pm

      Hi Chris,

      All interesting and useful thoughts, thank you. My concern would be making sure that the staysail halyard and related gear was really strong enough to support the mast in storm force conditions. The point being that if the mast, sheave box, halyard, winch etc, were designed from the start to be a vital mast support, as I believe a staysail stay to be in storm force conditions, then OK. Otherwise I’m not really happy with this idea.

      Also, if you were ever forced to change over from staysail to storm staysail in storm conditions, I would worry, although, having used a rolled staysail for years as a storm staysail, I agree that this is unlikely.

      Also, I do not believe that a staysail of any type is a replacement for a storm trysail, for one reason, and that is that a staysail alone will not enable you to beat off a lee shore.

      One other point, I get really uncomfortable with the assumption that a storm survival technique that worked for fully crewed racing boats can be assumed to work for short handed cruising boats. What is safe for a full-on racing crew of highly skilled helms-people is very dangerous for a middle aged seasick couple.

      More on these issues and answers to the short handed storm survival chalance here.

  • Bill Attwood Oct 15, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Interesting and useful comments from Dick, Erik and Chris (and of course from John). I have a substantial boom gallows which I would like to have on any boat. Apart from being able to firmly fix the boom, it is great when I have to climb out of the cockpit to go foward. I have all halyards at the mast and nice granny bars, so feel fairly safe there when it´s rough. I intend to add the permanently mounted short safety strops recommended by John this winter – a wonderful idea. I also like having a substantial topping lift which could serve as a main halyard if necessary. And if you ask, yes I wear a belt and braces!
    Yours aye,

  • Egil Oct 16, 2013, 9:48 am

    I’m sorry if it is allready written somewhere. Do you plan for the mast to be keel-stepped or deck-stepped? I would prefer deck-stepped, as I hate the (in time) un-avoidable leak through a keel-stepped mast. But i guess it is stronger with keel-stepped. But if it’s planned for it might be possible to have an extremele strong mounted deck-stepped mast? Hallberg Rassy do it?

    • John Oct 16, 2013, 1:17 pm

      Hi Egil,

      I’m thinking keel stepped because its way easier to tune a keel stepped mast properly, but that’s not cast in stone. There are advantages to both.

      By the way, there is no reason that a properly done keel stepped mast should leak at the deck. All that is required is a decent flange in the deck, and the use of Spartite and a Waterboot. Using this combination we have not had a drop of water below in 20 years.

  • Dick Stevenson Oct 16, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Even without the Spartight method (some partners make that difficult) we keep water from outside the mast completely with a rubber collar brought up tight at the neck and a dollop of silicone where the mast track indentation is. Cover for UV protection. Kept us dry for decades. A keel stepped mast does allow water into the bilges as the holes for lines etc allow rain in. A deck stepped mast would stop that water intrusion.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • Marc Dacey Oct 16, 2013, 3:50 pm

      I do something similar on my 33 footer (my 41 footer is deck stepped in a convenient tabernacle with a hinge for canals and such). I wrap rubber stripping, about 1/16th” thick and approximately four inches wide around the partners and mast shims in a spiral. I use three hose clamps end-to-end to secure at the partners. Then I continue the spiral up the mast about eight inches or so. This uses about 15 t0 20 feet of the rubber stripping. I secure the top of the spiral with a second set of hose clamps and run a bead of silicone (simple house window type will suffice) around the topmost “circle”.

      Then I get a roll of cheap white tape and cover the lot with cheap white tape.

      I reuse the rubber three or four seasons from a 100 foot roll I bought for about $12. The hose clamps were about $20 and seem in good shape. The tape is $1/roll. Results are that I get no water down the outside of the mast but about the same amount as before down the inside from rain through the sheave boxes. On a day with rain and little wind, I get very little in my bilges at all.

      Compare this to the $50-$60 of a mast boot that must go on before the mast goes in and will, if you do not do what Mr. Stevenson does and protect it from sunlight, rot in a couple of seasons, and it looks pretty good. Lastly, if someone damages it (I had a guy working at the mast with an unsecured knife once), it’s no biggie to repair or replace mid-season.

      I prefer keel-stepped for reasons of keeping weight low and (perhaps) having a jury-riggable stump should the mast snap at the spreaders, but really, I wouldn’t (and didn’t) reject a boat for having a deck-stepped mast, which have their own advantages and downsides.

      • John Oct 16, 2013, 7:23 pm

        Hi Mark,

        The boot I refer to does not have to go on before the mast goes in, is easily repaired, and will last way more than a couple of seasons, even if not covered.

        One of the maintenance guide lines I live by is never make anything when there is an item that is just as good or better that you can buy. The reason is that if you want to get out there you will never have enough time to do everything that needs doing and therefore any task you can get rid of or make simpler by buying a well designed product will help. Also, this course of action often saves money because it leaves you more time to be more focused on other areas where there is not a good off the shelf solution or to install gear in in a better way.

        More maintenance tips here.

  • Dick Stevenson Oct 16, 2013, 1:44 pm

    John, Just an FYI. I am receiving as an email the comments I have just sent to the site. Not a big deal, but this has never happened before so something is different. Dick

    • John Oct 17, 2013, 10:10 am

      Hi Dick,

      I think that’s because you may have inadvertently checked the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” check box just under the submit button on the comment entry form. We haven’t changed anything in the comment logic that I know of.

      If you go back into the comment you originally made on the post you can manage that feature and turn it off.

  • Egil Oct 16, 2013, 3:59 pm

    It is not leaks between the mast and the deck i’m concerned about. It is the internal leakages inside the mast, with water coming out in the bottom of the mast, or other openings in the mast below the deck. This is especially anoying if the boat is unatended for a while and water in the bilges makes the interior of the boat humid and smelly. To fix such leakeges without being an expert in mast profiles and now how cables are placed etc seems hard.

    • Erik de Jong Oct 16, 2013, 4:20 pm

      Hi Egil,

      There is a very simple fix for that problem.
      When your mast is laying down, make a “floor” in your mast of epoxy hardener resistant foam with a piece of tubing through the centre for your electricity cables. Make the foam fit the mast profile as good as possible, and have the cable conduit about a foot or so above the foam and a couple of inches under the foam. Diameter will depend on the amount of cables you want to run through it.

      Slide the foam piece up the mast till a height that is just above the deck seal and make sure it does not move and mark the top edge of the foam piece on the outside of the mast. When you place your mast back in position onboard, drill a drain hole of approx 1/2″ about an inch above the top of the foam. Poor some slightly thickened epoxy in there till you reach the level of the drain hole. Do this preferably with the boat heeled over about 5 degrees to make sure that the drain hole is the lowest point after it is all done.

      This is a method I have used on quite a few boats that always had rain water in the bilge, and it always “cured” the problem, the only thing you will see is a little hole in the mast just above the deck. In case it would start leaking over the years, just elongate the drain hole upwards, tape off the lower end of the hole and poor another thin layer of epoxy on top of it.

      As for a personal preference of keel or deck stepped: I prefer a deck stepped mast with the main reason being, that you will have a very big hole in the boat if the mast decides to go overboard. Which would cause a major breach of rule number one of John’s list of “what really matters”.

      Best Regards,

  • Egil Oct 16, 2013, 5:25 pm

    Hi Erik,
    Thank you for a good description.
    However i think that eliminating this problem is one good argument for a deck-stepped mast on the Adventure 40.

  • Dick Stevenson Oct 16, 2013, 5:56 pm

    Egil, Having lived full time with a keel stepped mast that allows a trickle of water into the bilge when it rains, I can assure you that I have never found it to be an issue nor that the bit in the bilge was felt to contribute to boat dampness making it humid and smelly. Boats certainly can get musty and mildew-y and some boats are certainly damp and un-appealing, but I suspect the little bit of water in the bilge from the mast is not the culprit. There are many potent criteria for choosing deck vs keel stepping and my feeling is good engineering can make each work. However, I would want you to consider that the trickle of water coming in from rain is not the make or break criterion for such an important decision.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • Roger Neiley Jan 24, 2014, 2:08 pm

    Since the Saga 43 was mentioned early in this post, and I’ve owned one for the past 14 years, I thought a comment about the bow extension might be helpful: It’s a fabulous design. Benefits include:
    – Ability to securely store two anchors. In my extensive anchoring experience I’ve had many occasions to deploy two bow anchors, which not only increases security but eliminates yawing.
    – No risk of clipping the hull while setting or retrieving anchors
    – Forward attachment point for an A sail that keeps it out of the way of the headstay
    – Easy to inspect for any structural issues
    Just my two cents from extensive experience!
    Roger on S/V SoLunaMare

    • John Jan 24, 2014, 8:17 pm

      Hi Roger,

      Interesting suggestion. The A40 would not need a long bow extension like the Saga, because the boat Erik has drawn does not have a plumb bow like the saga. Having said that thinking about an attachment point for an asymmetric does bear thinking about, thanks.

  • Egil Feb 5, 2014, 10:47 am

    Regarding hallyards and reef lines led to cockpit. I understand your argument both in what regards to cost of gear and philosophy of operation. Would it be an alternative to have the Adventure 40 prepared for leading lines to the cockpit? I guess it would require some reinforcments for winch(es), clutches and “line organizers”. And possibly opening for lines in the hard dodger. This way buyers of the A40 would have the possibilty to relatively easily arrange it.

    • Erik de Jong Feb 7, 2014, 11:39 am

      Hello Egil,

      It will be possible to change the setup of the halyards as you desire. The area under the hard dodger will be reinforced.

      The main reason for us to reinforce the area is that we know that the engine will almost guaranteed have a shorter life than the boat itself. At some point in time, the engine will have to be taken out, and a new one must go in.
      We will prepare the adventure 40 in such a way that the engine can be taken out in a matter of hours. In order to do so, the dodger and under laying deck structure will function as a gentry style crane that can be used to lift the engine without having to modify or remove any interior parts, deck hardware, disassembling the engine itself or building temporary lifting and or support structures. This will save hugely on man hours, for both taking the engine out and putting a new one back in, and will therefore reduce the cost of a re-power.

      The same coach roof reinforcement could be utilized as a winch and clutch foundation. The dodger itself will be solid glass, no core. That means that one could easily make a slot in there and laminate some pieces of tubing in to avoid most of the water ingress under the dodger.

      But bear in mind, when changing the setup of halyards, you will also have to buy new halyards as well as another type of mast step that will allow turning blocks being attached to them. In order to replace the mast step, the mast will have to come off the boat. Eventough the boat will be ready for it, it is not something that can easily be done between coffee and lunch.

  • Bill Attwood Feb 7, 2014, 12:27 pm

    Dear John,
    One thing that this whole project makes clear is just how complicated yacht design is. May I add several points:
    Chain – I haven´t found in the anchoring book how one can use the lighter chain with the equivalent connectors. Oversize links to accomodate shackles with the appropriate strength present a problem when replacing, lengthening etc.
    Chainplates – I am surprised that no-one has mentioned bronze. I have replaced my 316 with NiAlBr which cost me double for the materials, and considerably more for the machining. But on a works-built series yacht this price difference should be negligble. I would be concerned that plates moulded into the deck (chainplates and deck hardware) would be invisible, and would corrode if out of stainless. Can one not accept that chainplates and other deck hardware will always leak after a time, and make them easy to pull out, clean and rebed? I can do this to my 6 chainplates in half a day. Composite, moulded-in chainplates would be a great solution, but would seem to go against your rule that only technology at least 20 years old should be used on an offshore cruising boat.
    Running rigging – parallel core ropes such as StaSet X from NERopes and Gleistein Cup are very low stretch and only slightly more costly than braid.
    Steaming lights and lower nav lights – I would like these to be LED as well, not just because of low current drain, but also long life and reliability.
    Mainsheet winch – wouldn´t an appropriate set of mainsheet blocks, with endless mainsheet – gives one or two speed option – serve just as well, cost less and be lower maintenance?
    Mast hardware – wonderful if one can mount a separate trysail track, but the mast winches can prevent this.
    The Adventure 40 is going to be a fantastic boat, thanks to you and all the contributors.
    Yours aye,

    • John Feb 7, 2014, 1:02 pm

      Hi Bill,

      Lots of good thoughts. To take them in order:

      Chain: G40 chain can be attached with standard alloy shackles of the same strength, as I state in the Online Book. G70 must have oversized links. I suspect we will use G40 for the A40. Looks like Erik has figured out a way to get the chain stowage way aft from the bow, so the extra cost and complication of G70 will not be required.

      Chainplates: Bronze is certainly a good option, but does not solve the fundamental leak problem. And if you are at sea half way across the Atlantic there is no fixing the leaks, no matter how easy it is. We are confident that composite can and will stop leaks for the life on the boat, so why not use it? And carbon has been used for such things for well over 20 years. (I first used carbon on a boat 28 years ago.) Rest assured that the chain plates will NOT be stainless.

      LED lights are a possibility, but they are costly and far from reliable. Keep in mind that you can always retrofit. Be that at it may. The key thing to keep in mind is that lower nav lights are generally used when the boat is motoring and there is power to spare, so why spend more on LED? Also, if you make all the lights LED and have a problem, as we and many others have had with Lopo lights, then you have potentially lost everything.

      Rope Type: Sure low stretch ropes are good in the right application, but they are not such a good option for sheets on a cruising boat because they substantially increase the chance of a gear failure just because they don’t stretch. Keep in mind that every system has a weakest point, a fuse as it were. Do you want that fuse to be a winch tearing out of the deck, or a sheet breaking, or more likely just stretching?

      Double ended mainsheets can be great, we will certainly look at that option.

      If you plan it well, mounting a trysail track and mast winches can be done fine. We have just that on our boat and it works fine. Like most things, its all in the design and planning.

      The bottom line in all of this is that I made very detailed choices in specifying the Adventure 40 to clearly demonstrate the thought that would go into the boat. But all those choices are now being subjected to Erik’s critical eye in the design phase, and, most importantly, each choice will be subjected to a rigours prototype testing phase. I assure you that if something does not work well, it won’t survive.

      • Marc Dacey Feb 9, 2014, 5:17 pm

        Regarding LEDs, I concur: I have 25 w incandescent Aquasignal 40s on the pilothouse sides and as a deck-level stern light. There is no advantage to swapping them out as they are used while motoring and are, compared to bow pulpit mounted lights, more sheltered and easy to access. The steaming, anchoring and mast top trilight fixtures, however, would benefit from switching over to LEDs, as would most (but not all…I like my Alpenglow in the pilothouse) interior lights.

        I am very fond of the promise and (most of the time) the execution of LEDs aboard boats, but they are not a universal answer for lighting. I would, for instance, miss the “look” of lantern light over the saloon table of an evening, and I would feel under-equipped if I didn’t have at least one Deutz-type hurricane oil lamp aboard.

        I feel similarly about line: we live in interesting times when the line is potentially stronger than the fitting! Having had a length of genoa track rip out of the deck in a blow, I would have preferred a parted line.

  • Egil Feb 7, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Thank you for a very detailed answer! The plans in regards to engine replacement sounds very good.

    Would it be an alternative to have a mast step with attachmentponints for turning blocks as standard? And maybe having prepared (plugged) slots in the dodger for lines?
    Will there not be any lines going from the mast to the cockpit (pole lift, kicker/wang, outhaul, main sheet (if “german” type) etc..)?

    • John Feb 7, 2014, 1:41 pm

      Hi Egil,

      If I can jump in here. Having a mast step with some attachment points might be a good plan, simple because it can be useful to attach a snatch block to.

      Having said that, we do have to be very careful that we don’t start trying to turn the Adventure 40 into an all things to all people design. The fact is that every thing we add costs money and adds complications. If we were to put in everything required to make leading the halyards and reefing lines aft easy and quick, compromises would inevitably be made that would effect something else, almost certainly negatively and money would be taken from something else.

      These decisions are hard, but keep in mind that what you leave out is often far more important to good design than what you leave in. The fundamental issue here is that leading the halyards aft is a want, not a need. And further, there are many experienced voyagers, including me and the late Hal Roth, that actually find halyards at the mast a better solution.

      Bottom line, if we are going to bring the Adventure 40 in at the $200,000 and have it be a great boat, we must focus ruthlessly on needs and exclude wants.

      • Kit Laughlin Aug 23, 2018, 2:52 pm

        John wrote: “we must focus ruthlessly on needs and exclude wants”. That’s a form of perfection.

  • John Tynan Feb 13, 2014, 9:22 am

    FWIW here is a new French design which has certain similarities with the Adventure 40 :
    It’s built of Strongall and so will be quite a lot more expensive €315k.

  • michael strong Jun 12, 2014, 1:49 am

    Hello to you both,
    re the standing rigging, and this may also be pertinent to elements of stability, we have been using Dynex Dux as standing rigging for some years without issue. This is UHMPE in a high strength heat set braided Dyneema rope
    Price is comparable to quality s/s wire but the rope offers significant weight savings (90%) , breaking strength is usually at least 40% higher and stretch% can match wire but with slightly larger diameter. Uv is not an issue as the ropes are supplied covered with dyneema
    Longevity matches or exceeds wire.
    The variable quality of much of the stainless wire available is a cause for concern with corrosion appearing early. Much of my business is supply to industry outside of leisure marine, supplying dyneema derived ropes as a steel replacement, in one instance a government department here in Australia made a study of all stainless steel they had purchased over a 5 year period and found only 2 examples that actually met the requirments of 316 stainless.
    Much of my customer base is in industries where the demands are far harsher than sailing and the exposures to failure high, the rope is regarded as a standard replacement for steel
    Our own testing here of wire when we were making comparitive testing of the rope v wire showed us that not only did the rope far out perform the steel in bench testing but also most of the wire samples did not meet the published specifications, that was if the wire was supplied with specs.
    The rope rigging is not just a test idea, we have equipped many yachts with full rigs and over 100 with partial re rigs with no issues at all.
    The largest a 140ft charter yacht.

    My own yacht is a 40ft s&s, kept on a very exposed swing mooring, over a 8 year period with this standing rigging she has made many rough ocean passages rig tension is always firm and there is no evidence of stretch or creep.
    What i like about this material ( and your boat) is its immense practicality, we normally use thimbles to mast tangs and standard jaw/jaw turnbuckles, everything is visible and easy to inspect.
    Anything steel that i can replace with it, i do.
    Its worth consideration.

    good luck
    mike strong

    • John Jun 12, 2014, 7:54 am

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the well reasoned plug for Dynex Dux. Several others have recommended it for rigging.

      One question, what is the experience base with it now? Do we have a representative sample of boats with say five years and 50,000 miles use of Dynex Dux? The issue for us with the A40 in choosing any new technology is that we must be absolutely certain that there will not be an unanticipated problem several years in. Can you imagine, a couple of hundred boats out there and a problem…

      • michael strong Jun 12, 2014, 10:29 pm

        Hello John,
        although there was plenty of evidence showing the longevity and reliability of dyneema 75 fibres, it was not until the extra Dux process of heat setting under tension was developed that enabled its use as standing rigging.
        We re now entering the period where insurers often demand a wire rig be replaced (8 years+) but we are not seeing any sign of wear or damage to Dux rigs of this age.
        However failure or early degradation in wire or steel rigs is commonplace and is almost regarded as acceptable, the question perhaps should be ” what certainty and what product quality control is offered with wire standing rigging?”.
        All experience from a wide variety of industries and end uses clearly shows that the rope outlasts the steel or wire it replaces i confidently expect the same to be true in sailing.
        kind regards

  • Greg Rubin Jun 13, 2014, 6:54 pm

    I would highly recommend junking the idea of the symmetrical spinnaker all together. Dealing with a pole, mast fittings, topping lift and down haul just doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore. By eliminating all that gear you save a lot of money, which allows a much more elegant solution.

    I know you are planning on designing the roller to accept an asymmetric, so just build on that a little. Add a short prod (Ala TP52’s) allows easy jibing, doesn’t require a bob-stay, and cleans up the bow fittings since things are spaced out a little. By eliminating the symmetric and gear you do eliminate the ability to sail DDW wing and wing or with a spinnaker, but allows much easier reaching for less money.

    Adding a roller furling asymmetric also allows it to be stored hoisted during a passage (within reasonable wind conditions), and the current generation of top down furlers work very well. Allowing something like a 1A or A2.

    On a completely different note, one of the best ideas I have seen recently as a builder who in areas where there is no core placed an additional layer of glass on the outside of the hull. This allowed those areas to stand just a little proud of the rest of the deck. While it doesn’t matter much at the factory, knowing where the uncored portion of the deck is will make a huge difference 15 years down the road while doing refits, or when adding new gear.

    Finally, if at all possible I would love to see the mooring cleats moved to the toe rail instead of inboard. First it clears up the deck which is always nice. Second it eliminates the need for fair leads (which never are), and finally it eliminates a huge friction point for dock lines.

    Of all the boats that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina that I inspected, over 50% of them had their dock lines fail right at the fair lead turn. Almost all of them from heat related failure due to friction.

    • C. Dan Jun 14, 2014, 5:07 am


      I am not sure if a spinnaker and pole were part of the original specs, nor if they were meant to be included in the basic cost of the boat (which does include sails), but I agree with you that I would rather those dollars to towards other features. Adding length to the LOA might be tough, given some of the other constraints that are being solved for, but in general I am of your mind in terms of sym vs. asym preference.

      Also love the idea of some kind of visual delineation for the non-cored “pads” on deck. That is a great design feature and I think might have been discussed in one of the other posts.

      Your point on the cleats/fairleads is very interesting. I would love to hear John and/or Eric weigh in on that point. I think perhaps it may be easier to design what you have in mind with a metal hull?

    • John Jun 14, 2014, 9:12 am

      Hi Greg,

      Not sure where you got the idea that the boat would have a symmetrical spinnaker. In fact the post mentions provision for tacking down asymmetrics and code sails. However, even without a symmetrical, an ocean cruising boat requires a pole to pole the jib out down wind. This is a much safer and easier trade wind rig than any sort of spinnaker, which would require constant trimming, not good for a double handed crew. Also, vane gears don’t work well, or at all, with asymmetric spinnakers because of the sudden apparent wind changes that set up steering oscillations.

      I hear you on the benefits of free standing furlers. Again, as we say in the post, all the gear will be there to support them, but said sails and furlers will not be included with the base boat. The reasons are explained in the post.

      In the post I also mention placing the cleats close to the side of the boat so no fairleads are required. Of course whether or not we can do that will depend on how the hull to deck joint is engineered.

  • michael strong Jun 14, 2014, 9:34 am

    Hi all,
    agree that assymetrical sails, and any light air sail should be on a furler, for this, each sail needs its own anti torque luff rope, and it is essential that the best anti torque rope is used, luckily there have been advances and we now have an excellent one available at the right price, also, if the right furler brand is chosen, the furling unit can multi task, so one furler can be used with simple fast click attachments, as a code sail furler ie big light air genoa, or a top down assy sail furler or moved back and used as a soft luff stay sail furler as it is unlikely that these sails would ever be used simultaneously
    A well designed short sprit to mount light air sails off is a very good use of funds.
    Using soft luff sails and furlers makes the same difference to light air sail handling as genoa furlers make to standard sailing
    All of these sails should work off 2 to 1 halyards as suggested by an earlier writer, the swivel at the head is always fixed on the halyard, these are high load, and as the halyard is long, this rope can act as secondary mast support if required
    Double braided ropes with a dyneema core and polyester outer, is suited for this.
    Main halyard, boom topping lift, running back stays use dynex dux 5 or 6mm uncovered, if running through a clutch, splice to a braided rope tail.
    My main halyard is dux 5mm straight to what was a vintage wire winch at the base of the mast, has been perfect now for 8 years and no sign of any problems. Boom topping lift in 5mm can simply be slackened and left to trail in the wind, they cause zero sail abrasion, then just pull on when needed, ditto dynex running back stays

    Sheets should all be polyester double braid, some give is desirable, high modulus is not an advantage in this application, both in terms of cost and practicality ,all ropes everywhere should be braided for the simple reason that it allows splicing and braids are reliable.

    good luck

  • RDE Jun 14, 2014, 10:15 am

    Hi Michael,
    re your comment about using a topping lift of equal strength to the main halyard and just letting it fly slack: Years ago I had a small loft build my first full batten main. The sailmaker was a friend well aware of my congenital impoverishment, so he came up with a simpler method of controlling the main during reefing and dropping maneuvers. A number of rings were threaded onto the topping lift line. From each batten end and from some intermediate points light nylon cord attached them to the corresponding ring and were adjusted for length. Once the topping lift was tightened the sail was well controlled and would drop onto the boom with little problem, and when slackened the topping line and cords simply flew off to leeward with no chafe and no possibility of fowling on a lazy jack. Worked great in ordinary usage, but I never tested it under gale conditions.

  • Bill Attwood Jun 14, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Interesting comments about Dux. I understand that it suffers from creep, meaning that it shouldn´t be used in any application where this might be a problem (ie standing rigging).
    Yours aye,

    • Greg Rubin Jun 14, 2014, 2:14 pm

      Dux is fine for standing rigging. You just design around creep instead of breaking strength. The target goal for my Dux standing rigging was 0.1″ per year. A fair trade off for cutting rigging weight by 75%, and doubling the strength.

      • David Jun 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

        Greg &/or Michael,
        Could you give us a source or two for rig design standards to design dux rigging around creep rather than breaking strength? I’d like to look into it but am not sure where to start. The spec sheets seem primarily focused on breaking strength. The best approach seems to be terminals attached to standard turnbuckles (the modern equivalent of deadeyes and lanyards is challenging), can you point us to the terminals you like best?

        • RDE Jun 14, 2014, 4:07 pm

          Give a shout to Brian Toss, a rigger based in Port Townsend who has used Dux..

          I bet the Dux would saw your sheet rather than the other way around! There is a reason why fisherman use it for their trawl lines when bottom fishing.

  • Dick Stevenson Jun 14, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Hey all,
    What I wonder about with the HM ropes being used for rigging is what happens when I tack on a dark & ornery night, sheet in, but neglect to notice the now lazy sheet has hung up a bit on the winch (or anything) and the sheet is sawing away at the windward shrouds each wave bounce as we pound our way to windward.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jun 14, 2014, 2:40 pm

      Hi Dick,

      Now there’s an interesting question I had not thought of. Really reinforces my thinking that we have to be really, really, careful about introducing any new (even relatively) technology to the Adventure 40 project.

      Or to put it another way: the law of unintended consequences can be really nasty at sea.

  • Dick Stevenson Jun 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Michael Strong,
    Are your intentions educative or to sell product?
    When you say “we have” and “right price” it feels to me like a salesman.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • Greg Rubin Jun 14, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I will try to cover a few comments with this one, so I apologize if it runs long. I should also mention that I don’t have any commercial interest here, I am just convinced of how much better rope is than wire.

    1) The guy with by far the most experience dealing with Dux is John Franta at Colligio Marine. They are the OEM supplier now for Corsair Trimarans, and have done a lot of research into how to work with it. I am using his deadeyes and fittings for my boat but I don’t like the lashings so I got rid of those and switched to turnbuckles instead. They added a little weight, but I prefer to be precise about my tuning.

    2) Brion Toss, probably the best known working rigger, is a public advocate for it, and has done a number of major refits with Dux. Would be the next person I would speak with about designing or talking to about swapping over to Dux.

    3) the engineering isn’t really that difficult. Figure out what shroud tension will be, compare that to the creep tables published by the manufacturer, and select the size that controls creep to the target goal. Typically this means going up a size, but a heavily tensioned boat may be higher. The upside is that it results in a rig that is much stronger than would be expected with wire. Again it depends, but replacing 1/4″ wire with 9mm Dux results in a MBL increase from 7,300lbs to 26,400lbs for instance. ( see ) for one review.

    This stuff now has a proven track record with everything up to Open 60’s running 50,000lbs of shroud tension via hydraulic rams using it.

    4) as for durability… Chaff from a line just isn’t an issue. First Colligio’s stuff comes with dyneema chaff/UV guards in place. Secondly, well frankly you just can’t cut this stuff like normal rope. I do all my own splicing, and keep having to replace ceramic knives regularly just to be able to cut it. My dock lines all have dyneema pennants coming off of the concrete dock and are probably due for replacement now after 5 years, and three hurricanes. In some recent testing ( ) amsteel, a less abrasion resistant line than Dux, actually deburred a lifeline stanchion before the line was substantially weakened. And actually outperformed wire in the same test.

    5) lifetime costs for Dux are a fraction the cost of wire. After the fittings are purchased the same Dux fittings can be reused forever. They are anodized aluminum instead of stainless and so don’t suffer from crevice corrosion. So you just replace the rope every decade or so.

    6) splicing Dux is child’s play, and like line it coils well. So a complete backup shroud can be carried on board for underway emergency repairs. Starting from a spool you can have a new shroud installed in under an hour with only the tools available onboard.

    7) even if the line starts to chaff, it is visually easy to see. Since the included safety margin is so high on the MBL even if half the line is eaten thru you have more residual strength than the wire that was there, and you can replace it ahead of failure. Compared to stainless, where a visual inspection is barely better than nothing.

    • John Jun 14, 2014, 5:08 pm

      Hi Greg,

      Great information, thank you.

    • RDE Jun 14, 2014, 8:41 pm

      Hi Greg,
      Good to hear someone with more direct experience support the idea of using Dux for standing rigging on the A40 that I suggested a couple of years ago. If it is technically equal or superior in strength and durability it would provide a very good marketing point as well.

  • Dick Stevenson Jun 14, 2014, 5:43 pm

    John (and everyone), Once again, It is wonderful and enlightening to have available the breadth and depth of experience and knowledge brought out in these discussions.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jun 15, 2014, 9:27 am

      Hi Dick,

      I couldn’t agree more. I learn something, and often several somethings, every day from the comments. Thanks for saying it.

  • Bruce Savage Jun 14, 2014, 9:51 pm

    I recently put a new carbon mast on my Allures 44 which had been dismasted under previous owners. I thought long and hard about Dynex Dux standing rigging, but in the end decided on dyform wire as the best compromise between price, reliability etc. Nevertheless I am a huge fan of Dux. We are using it for backstays, runners and inner forestay. For the A40 regardless of sidestays decision I highly recommend its use for:-
    Detachable inner forestay – light, easily handled, low chafe impact when tied back. We use a soft-hank staysail on it and works great.
    Runners – this is a no brainer, low chafe.
    Backstay(s) – light and I think makes for much cheaper and easier aerial installation options than wire with insulators. We use a large block at the mast crane with the backstays effectively being a huge bridal running from each stern corner, adjustment purchase on the one side.

    Adding to the above comments on topping lifts. My new mast had no facility for adjustable topping lift as it is a GP42 racing boat section adapted for me by Southern spars. I have fitted a permanent length 5mm Dynex dux topping lift. The extreme light weight of the material mean it just floats in the breeze behind the leech, with little contact with main leech. So far I see no reason why I need it adjustable, it is just short enough so that the boom can never hit my Bimini solar panels and seems to have plenty slack when sailing. If I ever need adjustment I will probably do it by making my main out haul non adjustable and using that boom end sheave to attach extension to the topping lift.
    I highly recommend dispensing with adjustable topping lift in A40 and doing similar, with associated simplification and cost saving.


    • John Jun 15, 2014, 9:31 am

      Hi Bruce,

      Sounds like you and Southern Spars put together a great rig. I think your suggested hybrid between Dux and wire might be a great way to go. I would be interested in hearing what factors finally tipped you toward wire for the primary standing rigging?

      • Bruce Savage Jun 15, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Hi John
        In the end the factors against dux for the primary rigging were:-
        I was initially led to believe that dux would be the same price as standard 1×19 wire. This was just not true, the quote for dux was more than 1×19 and a little more than the Southern dyform package. Whilst the difference was not a lot I was put off by what I think is a false claim.
        To eliminate creep the dux equivalent of my 10mm dyform sidestays would be at least 14mm dux . I was concerned with the windage of this as well as some reports of rigging humming.
        Chafe issues. Whilst dux is by all reports extremely hard-wearing, it certainly cannot be as good as steel. I imagine that you could get ropes or mainsail battens wearing for long periods on the same spot. Probably not a big problem but one more worry I would rather not have.

        • John Jun 16, 2014, 8:28 am

          Hi Bruce,

          Once again, thanks very much for the very useful information. Sounds like you made a good and well reasoned call.

  • Dick Stevenson Jun 15, 2014, 4:55 am

    Where did you find your Dyform wire? My researches as of 2 yrs ago indicated that Dyform UK was no longer making wire as its patent had run out and they could not compete with Asian markets. Dyform as such, then, no longer exists (or I could not find it) and what you could get was compacted wire which looked exactly the same. Except that I could not establish province/manufacturer etc and there were reports I found of compacted wire that quickly deteriorated among other reports of Asian wire that was fine. Not being able to establish origins, in the end, I replaced my rigging with rod, as it has been rigged, but I would have liked the option of compacted wire and its attributes, including being able to do the rigging myself.
    Thanks, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • Bruce Savage Jun 15, 2014, 6:47 am

      Hi Dick
      My mast and wire rigging was supplied by Southern Spars, Cape Town South Africa. I believe they use Wire from Arcus Australia but I’m not sure. Basically I just trusted them because I know they do good quality. Also the rigger in Sydney who installed the mast for me commented that it was good wire, supple etc?

    • John Jun 15, 2014, 9:35 am

      Hi Dick,

      Our rigger just replaced our Dyform headstay. I will check with him on where he sourced it and revert. Jay is a holy terror for quality, so I’m confident that it’s good stuff.

      Like you, Dyform has worked well for us as a replacement for rod (headstay only) because it does not require upsizing from rod to get the required strength, which normal wire would.

    • John Jun 17, 2014, 3:37 pm

      Hi Dick,

      Heard back from our rigger about Dyform type wire. He gets it from “Bay Sailing Equipment in Fall River, Mass. They use Carl Stahl – a wire manufacturer in Chicago“. Hope that helps.

  • Dick Stevenson Jun 15, 2014, 7:37 am

    Bruce, Thanks for the heads up about Arcus Wire. It sounds like their “Hamma” brand is their equivalent to the old Dyform. It is nice to know there is a firm saying they are doing due diligence on their wire sources as compacted strand is a good alternative for me. Some friends have found that the compacted strand shrouds cut their sheets a bit more than the more rounded edges of conventional wire. Have you found that to be the case at all?
    My bvest, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • Bruce Savage Jun 15, 2014, 9:16 am

      Hi Dick
      I’ve not done enough sailing yet to comment on the sheets cutting but the wire seems really nice and smooth on the outside. If anything I would expect less cutting than standard 1×19.

  • Egil Jul 1, 2014, 4:48 pm


    I have two questions:
    1. Will the hard dodger be open to the aft, like the hard top you can get on the biggest Hallberg-Rassys or closed with a door like on the Boreals? If it will be with a door like the Boreals will there still be closing between the main cabin and inside of the dodger, or open like the Boreals?

    2. I understand you have choosen a vind vane for self steering. Would this be an alternative:
    -Test and adjust the boat with the model of wind vane you decide for. And make all the necesarry perparations to all boats produced, so that this particular type of wind vane can be bolted on by the owners in short time.
    -Have the boats prepared so that a high quality auto pilot can be mounted easily. I don’t know if this is possible now that a transom hung rudder is choosen? Will the rudder stock pass through a compartment that is dry enough to mount a drive unit?
    -Deliver the boats with a tillerpilot (simrad TP32 or Raymarine ST2000). Have arrangement with the tiller, so that there is one short part that have the correct length for the tiller pilot, and a longer main part for hand steering that can be tilted up when the tiller pilot is in use.

    By doing this you can probably save some money on the base price, as the vane is not included. Those who realy want it simple can buy an extra tillerpilot to have in spare, and go crossing oceans. And those who prefer a proper autopilot over a vane can install that. Still having the tillerpilot as spare. And those who prefer the recomended option, the wind vane that the boat is prepared for, can buy one and bolt it on i short time.

    • John Jul 1, 2014, 6:20 pm

      Hi Egil,

      The hard dodger is just that, a dodger, very like a fabric one in shape, but made from fibreglass. Even if we wanted to, there is simply no way to do a wheelhouse like the Boreals on a boat as small as the Adventure 40. (Boreal selected 44 feet and much higher displacement for their smallest boat because that was the absolute smallest size that would support a wheelhouse.)

      On the autopilot. One of the tradeoffs of an outboard hung rudder is no under deck autopilot. But keep in mind that you can’t just add an under deck autopilot to a boat in isolation, you have to think about it as a system. A big autopilot steering all the time offshore requires much bigger batteries, much bigger alternator, probably a generator, or at least a very powerful hydro generator. Add it all up and doing an under deck autopilot properly will easily add $15,000-20,000 to the cost of the boat. And that’s without any backup to the autopilot system, not a good situation for a short handed offshore boat. This is simply not what the Adventure 40 is about—way too much added expense and complexity for way too little benefit.

      Having said that, I guess we could leave the vane gear off, but anyone who really wants to go offshore is going to need one (given the above) so that would again seem not really fair since we say the boat is ready to go offshore.

      As to delivering the boats with a tiller pilot. That once again violates the fundamental of the boat since the builder would be selecting and installing something that is easy for the owner to do. (We will make provision for a tiller pilot.)

      • Laurent Jul 1, 2014, 7:05 pm

        I have seen boats with a transom-hung rudder driven by an under-deck tiller protruding through a hole in the transom. This rudder was driven by an old-fashioned tiller (not for transom-hung rudders…), through some kinds of under-deck connection rods and quadrants.
        It looks quite OK, it should not be much more expensive than a classic transom-hung rudder with a classic tiller, and it is should not be very difficult to add an autopilot’s hydraulic ram to this kind of setup, or to make it ready for installation of an hydraulic ram for those who want it.

      • Egil Jul 3, 2014, 5:48 pm

        Hi John,

        Thank you for a detailed answer.

        Arent your arguments “killing eachother”? Is a boat delivered only with a wind vane ready to go offshore? No self steering when motoring..? You are not starting in the middle of the ocean?

        Is not delivering the boat with the wind vane violating the fundamentals of the boat since the builder will be installing something that is easy for the owner to do? (Everything prepared, even the holes drilled and plugged..)

        Regarding the under deck autopilot (I have also read what is written below): I understand your arguments, but I still think you should consider making it possible to install one. I think most of the sailors crossing an ocean today is using an under deck autopilot, and is happy with it. The A40 will hopefully be easy to steer and the autopilot will probably use less power than on most other boats. The A40 has a great arch for mounting solar panels and/or a wind generator. A wind vane is probably the best for the ones that fit right into the target group of the A-40, but by making it possible to (some time in the future) install a under deck autopilot I think you will include a lot more potential buyers.

        • John Jul 4, 2014, 8:42 am

          Hi Egil,

          Motoring while offshore: A tiller pilot will fill that need and we are even making provision for one (see post above).

          As to most sailors using an autopilot, that’s probably true, but most of them have boats that are larger and less easily steered than the A40. As to those sailors being happy. I don’t think that’s so. In fact in my experience, electronic autopilots are the most reviled piece of gear on voyaging boats after refrigeration. Talk to just about any offshore sailor with significant miles under their belts and they will have an autopilot horror story to tell you. I know that Erik, Colin and I all have such stories.

          I guess the builder could deliver the boat all set up for a vane gear, but without the gear, on request, but I’m not keen on anything that even smacks of an option since I suspect it would become the thin end of the wedge that would lead to other customization requests and so to disaster for all concerned.

  • Bill Attwood Jul 2, 2014, 6:34 am

    Hi John.
    Here´s my twopennyworth on self-steering.
    Rustler 36´s have a link to the rudder similar to that described by Laurent. Kinsa was fitted with a wheel, with the quadrant in an opening through the transom. I removed the wheel and fitted a tiller which pokes through the same opening. The tiller option is also available from new from Rustlers. The transom aperture is small, high and wide enough to allow movement of the tiller/quadrant, with a larger space inside between transom and cockpit – drained port and starboard through the transom. With this design it would be easy to fit an under-deck autopilot. But for owners who want belt and braces, there is the option of the big tillerpilot from Autohelm, with ram mounted in cockpit, and electronics, compass etc mounted below decks. Easy for an owner to self-fit after purchase. I am with you 100% about fitting a windvane self-steering. Tony Gooch (a fellow Canadian who I believe you know) did a very interesting comparison on his non-stop circumnavigation, testing both sorts of self steering, wind and electronic, against each other, and summarising the pros and contras.
    Yours aye,

    • John Jul 2, 2014, 6:04 pm

      Hi Bill and Laurent,

      I’m sure your right that an under deck autopilot could be done as you describe, but I don’t think we will be doing that since there are still the system and cost concerns that I list in my comment above.

      And, in addition, we will need that volume in the stern for other things including cooking gas stowage, outboard and fuel, liferaft, Jordan Series Drogue, etc. The point being that on a 9 tone boat you really have to think very carefully about what features you are willing to sacrifice volume for.

      • Kevin B Jul 2, 2014, 9:32 pm

        Hi John,
        I have thus far suppressed my desire to comment on the coming together of the A40. There are so many good things being considered, and most certainly by individuals with much more experience than myself. I am one of those seriously considering the new boat, not to cross oceans, but rather to explore remote areas closer to home in a short handed capacity with a bullet proof and well mannered vessel to be my seasonal home. The construction of boat show offerings remain a disappointment.

        Notwithstanding the approach taken thus far, I do think the project would benefit from comments like those of Bill and Laurent…a design that could accommodate a wheel (think wife!) and autopilot (think shifting coastal conditions) may in fact broaden the appeal of the vessel and ultimately the resale appeal. Without speaking for others, I know it could affect my ultimate decision.

        I have read every post and of course the design brief…the positives are many and like others I anxiously await further reveals. Understanding the risks inherent with committee design (think camel!), I would submit that efforts to accommodate different user profiles and inputs may ultimately bolster, not hinder, the project.

        • John Jul 3, 2014, 9:21 am

          Hi Kevin,

          I agree that it is desirable to design the A40 to fit as many user profiles as possible. However, we must be very careful not to introduce too many conflicting criteria because that will result in us straying from the fundamental of the A40 ethos: elegant simplicity.

          For example, the layouts for a good cockpit for tiller and wheel steering are completely different, so if we tried to come up with a cockpit that would support both we would end up with a cockpit that would be awkward for both.

          The other fundamental of design that must be kept in mind is that it is a zero sum game, particularly on a 9 ton boat. In other words, everything that you add, means that something else is removed, or at least diminished—see my last comment on the trade offs resulting from using volume aft for an autopilot tiller.

          Finally, why do you want a wheel and an autopilot? A tiller pilot will be fine for coastal sailing and the boat will be more fun and easier to sail with a tiller than a wheel. The key to appreciating this is to understand that the only reason to put a wheel on a 9 ton boat is poor design resulting in hard steering. The A40 with her hull form and partially balanced rudder won’t have those problems, so why spend at least $10,000-15,000 to add a wheel and full on under deck autopilot, and into the bargain, make the boat much more complicated? (Cost estimate is without the systems upgrades required to make the autopilot practical offshore, add those and call it $20,000-25,000.)

          • Laurent Jul 3, 2014, 4:20 pm

            I agree that an under-deck hydraulic autopilot might not be part of the “as delivered” inventory, because of cost and complexity, but buyers of this boat are supposed to keep it for longer time than current practice, because replacing sailing yachts to stay in tune with evolving needs & evolving financial capabilities is generally way more expensive than improving the equipment of a yacht bought 5 or 10 years earlier, with perhaps better physical conditions and less money. So I understand that the capability to add a professional ram-actuated autopilot should get a rather high value-mark during the value-analysis part of the design. I think it is probably too early to conclude on those kind of points (need more precise value & cost figures….) and I think that entry-level under deck autopilot are better, and not necessary more expensive, than tiller autopilots.

  • Bill Attwood Jul 3, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Hi Laurent.
    The Raymarine SPX-5GP Tillerpilot satisfies my needs, and I think would be a good solution for the A40 owner who wishes to have an autopilot as well as self-steering. This system has all the electronics under deck, and only the ram is in the cockpit. I also have a cheap tillerpilot which I can hang off the pushpit and connect to the self-steering instead of the vane. The GP version (above) is I believe rated to 6 tons displacement, but my boat is probably 8.5 fully loaded, and is quite heavy on the tiller. The GP model copes admirably and would certainly have no problem with a well-balanced boat like the A40. I don´t much like under-deck autopilots because they are almost always difficult to get at if things go wrong. I am near finished a major refit/rebuild of my boat, and there have been many occasions when I have cursed the boatbuilders/designers for making things so difficult to maintain/repair/replace.
    Yours aye,

    • John Jul 4, 2014, 9:01 am

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the thoughts and suggested tiller pilots. We will be experimenting extensively with tiller pilots on the prototype A40 and you are giving us a good starting point.

  • Roger Jul 3, 2014, 11:26 pm

    I installed a Garmin autopilot with an electric linear drive (made by Jefa) two years ago, and will never have a boat without an under deck autopilot going forward. BTW, I also have a Monitor vane which is great, but not as useful inshore as the Garmin. Being able to use the wireless controller at any time is a real plus. The features, like holding apparent wind and tacking are very useful. Designing the A40 without consideration of how an under deck autopilot might be installed would be a mistake, even if that means going to a conventional rudder rather than transom hung.

    • John Jul 4, 2014, 8:55 am

      Hi Roger,

      In that case I’m going to guess that the A40 is simply not the boat for you. If you are going to use a single non-vital convenience criteria like an under deck autopilot to govern you boat selection, you would simply not be happy with the simple but elegant ethos that makes the Adventure 40 possible at the $200,000 price point.

  • Bill Attwood Jul 4, 2014, 1:32 am

    Hi Roger. Your conviction that an under-deck autopilot is indispensable, surely has good reasons, and I should be really interested to know what they are. The cockpit ram with under-deck electronics would seem to satisfy all the requirements you have listed above, are there maybe other benefits? I guess most sailors have strongly held opinions (my mind is made up, don´t confuse me with the facts) , and I am certainly guilty. I suspect that this may work against the A40 project to some degree, but the friendly exchange of opinions on this website is a valuable asset. I even notice some of my prejudices being slowly eroded!
    Yours aye,

    • John Jul 4, 2014, 6:17 pm

      Hi Roger,

      In rereading my comment above it sounds a bit harsh, sorry. My intent was not to suggest that there was anything wrong about your position, just that it probably meant that you would not be happy with an A40. Or to put it another way, to bring the A40 in at the target price we have to stay totally focused on the minimum needed for offshore voyaging.

      • richard s. (s/v lakota) Jul 4, 2014, 9:06 pm

        fess up john…i’ve been on this site too long not to immediately see phyllis’ hand in this last post

        richard in tampa bay

        • Roger Jul 4, 2014, 11:44 pm

          To be clear, I like the idea of a tiller and I would prefer that provision be made for owner installation of an under deck pilot, including owner installation of the necessary tiller arm for the drive. I believe that a transom hung rudder creates some issues (which have been discussed here and elsewhere) and that it would not prove to be significantly cheaper to build in the long run. I appreciate the arguments about repair, etc., but don’t find them convincing. I like being able to simply push a button to engage the pilot at any time, rather than fiddling with getting a tiller pilot out and connecting it up. The reverse scenario also holds true.

          • John Jul 5, 2014, 5:16 pm

            Hi Roger,

            I started off firmly in the spade rudder camp myself, but in the end, the benefits of outboard hung were so compelling and the costs savings so substantial that I have just as firmly switched my thinking.

        • John Jul 5, 2014, 5:13 pm

          Hi Richard,

          I agree that would be likely, after all, she is definitely the steading influence in this crew, but in fact this mea culpa was all me. Lately I have been trying to get into the habit of rereading my comments later in the day to make sure there is no untoward edge to them.

  • RDE Jul 5, 2014, 10:09 am

    Hi Rodger,

    Before you give up on the A40 and buy a Hallberg Rassy 53 (LOL) , check out the Cape Horn wind vane. It can be configured in many different ways, among them a transom hung rudder with a below deck ram. Because the ram power is boosted by the servo rudder force, the below deck unit can be small, cheap, and draw little electric power.

  • Laurent Jul 5, 2014, 11:54 am

    If the boat and the autopilot or wind vane are designed together, it looks not very difficult to make a transom-hung rudder with a trim and a small electric actuator to move this trim according to an electronic control box that may be rather simple or not. Mechanical design is simple, and, setup consists mainly in adjusting command electronics parameters (which need to be adjustable…).
    Same kind of system can also be actuated by a wind vane, but I guess that, in this case, design and setup are much more complex than autopilot’s.
    Trim-based autopilots are cheaper and needs much less electricity than classic ones, and trim-based wind-vane are cheaper and more robust than classic ones. I guess the only reason we don’t see more of them is that they demand transom-hung rudders and they need much more adaptations to any given boat-model than classic autopilot or wind vane

  • scott thomson Sep 11, 2014, 3:17 pm

    If you end up manufacturing in Nova Scotia, why not keep it Canadian and use a Cape Horn windvane!

    • John Sep 11, 2014, 5:24 pm

      Hi Scott,

      We will certainly look at the Cape Horn, but nationalism will not in any way influence any of our choices—the best gear for the A40 and her mission will always win out, no matter where it is made.

  • Bill Pogson Sep 8, 2016, 6:19 pm

    Just like to add a thought about the wind vane you will be fitting. My Pacific Seacaft 37 has tiller steering and a monitor Windvane. What I find really useful is the ability to push the tiller over so it points aft and connect the vane in reverse so to speak. It works great for me and frees up the cockpit while sailing.

    • John Sep 9, 2016, 5:28 pm

      Hi Bill,

      That’s interesting, not sure if it would work with the A40, but it’s worth thinking about.

      • Mike Sep 9, 2016, 6:48 pm


        I also like the idea of getting the tiller out of the cockpit when using the tiller pilot or the vane steering. I came across a nice solution which consisted of a short and a long tiller. Both tillers could be lifted to the vertical position independently. The shorter, bottom tiller, was attached to the steering gear. The boat had a lazarette and the short tiller was short enough to not reach the cockpit. Another solution would be a split tiller.

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