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This post has now been superseded by the Adventure 40 Rig and Deck Design Chapter; however I have left it in place so we can refer to the excellent comments attached.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
  • C. Dan Jan 10, 2013, 1:16 pm

    “[stainless] stanchion bases to be reinforced by [aluminum] toe rail”

    How does this work? I can’t think of an example I’ve seen.

    “6-1/2-foot seats for lounging, although this may not be possible”

    John, I know it’s not a consideration for someone sailing the high latitudes, but in warmer climes I know that many people will be wanting to sleep in the cockpit, so I’d hope that the design would include a minimum length of cockpit seats to accommodate this.

    “we still have the goal of bringing the boat in under US$200,000 with a basic suit of sails”

    Just wondering what is the implied cost of a suit of sails in this statement? $10,000? $15,000? Also, a compromise could be that all boats come with a mainsail only.

    • John Jan 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

      Hi C. Dan,

      Thanks for the thoughts/questions. I will take them in order.

      There are many different effective ways to isolate stainless steel and aluminium: nylon shims, Mylar shims, Tefgel, etc. Also the stanchion bases could be aluminium with plastic sleeves to isolate the SS stanchions—this is the way we do it on our boat. The point is that if you want a really strong stanchion base, one of the best ways to do it is tie the base into the toe rails.

      On the seats, like I said, we will try, but I’m not going to constrain the designer with a must satisfy specification on cockpit length, there are too many other issues at stake that might be more important. Any boat is a series of compromises and you don’t reach the best set of compromises by being dogmatic about a dimension like this, particularly this early in the process.

      For example, suppose we insisted on the cockpit being 7 feet long and that resulted in the V berth being only 6-feet long and crammed way up in the bow with a tiny foot space? I think most live-aboards would rather that the V berth were a bit longer and further aft and the cockpit seats a bit shorter. I’m not saying that this is what will happen, but you get the idea.

      On the sails, it is not really a good idea to supply just a mainsail since sails generally work together a lot better if they all come from the same designer. So that would lock the buyer into getting the rest of the sails from the loft that supplied the main.

      As to the implied cost, depends what you call a suit of sails. If main and jib, I would guess a lot less than $10,000. If a full suit includes staysail, storm sails, spinnaker and a code 0 type, then way more than $15,000. However, understand that there is no attempt being made here to cover up a price increase. Sails are an item, unlike, for example an installed winch, where there is little or no cost benefit for the builder sourcing them, so why not let the buyer get what he or she wants from the sailmaker that best meets that buyers needs at the best price?

      • C. Dan Jan 10, 2013, 7:11 pm

        Thanks John, for the response and for all your work putting the details together. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

        Regarding the mythical builder who has yet to step forward, what, if anything, can we encourage them to come out of the woodwork?

        Also, on the cockpit seats, I am only 5’9″, so selfishly I would be OK will seats less than 6’6″ in length. =)

        • John Jan 11, 2013, 9:28 am

          Yes, a builder is the big issue. What you can do to make that happen is talk the boat up in every way you can (in person, Facebook, Twitter etc) and encourage people to sign up for the boat. Think about giving a talk at your local yacht club on the concept. The more potential customers we have, the more attractive a business proposition it becomes. Over to you.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) Jan 10, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Hi John,
    Thanks for putting the effort into such a detailed list. See, there are advantages to convalescence after all! Good stuff.

    A few minor additions:

    I’m not a fan of short bowsprits or any protrusion that requires a bobstay on modern boats. (see Bob Perry’s Saga 43). On a traditional full keel boat that needs the sail area to move it and looks naked without it— of course. For the same money and more simplicity, why not just give the boat an extra foot or 18″ of bow overhang and pull the forestay back the same amount? No worries about crevice corrosion in the lower bobstay fitting, and better reserve buoyancy when you stick your nose into a really big one. If you are designing for the tax man and he swallows the fiction that a 40′ LOD boat that measures 42′ from anchor point to stern is a 40′ boat that is another matter!

    While we are on the subject of anchor handling, it sure would be nice to store the heavy chain in a vertical locker mounted on the forward side of the primary (mast) bulkhead. Moving the weight of the windlass back there doesn’t hurt a thing either! The design problem is how to deal with dragging the chain all the way back over the foredeck?

    With the chain back at the center of buoyancy where it is happiest, the bow can now be used to store shore lines on reels or bagged, fenders, the staysail and Code O, and other lightweight bulky items.
    As much as I like composite chainplates I can’t see them being part of a boat built to a budget. Stainless chainplates leak so frequently because they are usually poorly designed. Simply building a boss on the deck to raise the exit point out of standing deck water is half the battle in preventing leaks.
    A solution to the wet butt problem that I’ve used successfully in the past are removable slat seats built with enough curvature to be ergonomic that simply sit on the fiberglass seat base. Simple to build, and zero maintenance if left natural teak.
    There are a lot of well designed (for their intended purpose) cockpits out there. One thing I really like to see is a coaming top large enough to sit on to provide an alternative seating position with visibility around the dodger on the uphill side.
    The only way to really get a feel for how a cockpit or an interior layout will work is to mock it up full scale before locking in the design. Computer renderings are all very fine as napkin drawings and pre-sales tools, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing. And MDF, not fiberglass is the right material for the job.

    • John Jan 10, 2013, 3:44 pm

      Hi Richard,

      All good points, thank you. And all viable alternatives that we will explore.

      I too really like a wide coaming top, for the reasons you stipulate. Sitting up there steering the A-40 with a tiller extension on a “pretty day”, as my friends from South Carolina say, should be close to heaven.

      And I’m absolutely with you on the mock up—for the layout below too.

      You might be right, but I still want to talk to a composites engineer on the chain plates. Even with the precautions you mention, which I did on my old boat, SS chainplates leak eventually and we are planning for at least ten trouble free years here.

      • Matt Marsh Jan 12, 2013, 11:23 am

        Re. chainplates

        Stainless steel chainplates are not cheap, and there is simply no way to create a through-deck metal fitting of any kind that will remain structurally safe, indefinitely, without periodic maintenance. Even if they are perfectly designed and installed, they have to be pulled now and then to check for corrosion and cracking.

        I simply can’t see how composite chainplates would be more expensive than metal ones. The outrigger struts for my Starwind 860 tri are essentially a double-ended composite chainplate; even doing it all by hand with no tooling, they took no longer to make than metal equivalents would have.

        I hope to have a more detailed article up later today or tomorrow about composite chainplates.

        John’s point about “at least ten trouble free years” is only the beginning; I expect that a 2014 model Adventure 40 will sell for a decent price in 2044 and not need any structural repairs at that time. Long term durability is the key to slowing depreciation, and that (along with the initial price) is what will make this boat affordable to people who can’t buy what’s currently on the market.

        • RDE Jan 14, 2013, 8:33 pm

          Hi Matt & John

          If the A40 is to become a reality we must keep the eye on the ball and not let the perfect become the enemy of the practical. The discussion about chainplates is an excellent case in point.

          Three different styles have been proposed:
          1- Traditional stainless steel flat bar bolted to inboard knees. (example Dick Stevenson’s V 42)
          2- Some variation on the tension rod design where a large base external plate is through bolted to a similar fitting inside and a tension rod led down to a stringer or frame in the bilge.
          3- Composite chainplates attached to bulkheads or knees inside the hull. (sheer mounting location deemed unacceptable because of sheeting angle.)

          First of all, lets identify requirements:
          Forestay chainplate
          Staysail chainplate
          Four lower stay chainplates*
          Two double tang side stay chainplates to carry the intermediates and uppers
          Two aft chainplates integrating the Drogue and split backstay functions. (or three three or four if not integrated)
          Two running backstay chainplates or very strong pad eyes.
          * I’m operating under the assumption that we want a traditional stiff double spreader mast that stands in place rather than one that allows bending and tweaking to tune the mainsail shape.

          So we have at least ten chainplates to build for each boat.

          Matt has a nicely illustrated and descriptive article about composite chainpates on his web site.

          In it and in his posts here he says he “can’t see how composite chainplates would be more expensive than metal ones.” and posits that it would be simple to infuse them all at the same time the hull is being infused. Sorry Matt, but I have to ask if you have ever done such an infusion project, or know of anybody else in the world who has? I can’t conceive of any way to jig up, locate, bag, and infuse the necessary bulkheads, mandrels, and fibers as part of a single shot hull infusion. I was in charge of a production megayacht tender for Zodiac/Huricane that had the most complex deck mold I’ve ever seen, and have friends in the business who did a one shot infusion of a 138′ sportfisherman hull, but neither project is anywhere as nearly complex as what you are suggesting.

          The reality is that composite chainplates must be built in place one at a time, individual infusion would be as time consuming as hand layup, and the process has no place in a production run of a hundred or so boats built to a price point even though it is “better.”

          So what is the best way to design stainless chainplates so the have more than the ten year life expectancy alluded to?
          First, don’t use “stainless steel” consisting of sweepings from the shop floor and who knows what else like the early Taiwan boats that have given the material its reputation!
          Do engineer a reliable water seal. (See Dick Stevenson’s comments)
          Do over-design and over-size them at the cost of a few dollars and pounds.

          And don’t fabricate them by welding as was the cause of at least one rig failure on an early Valiant. (after 40 years of service) Which brings us to the grounds for rejection of the plate/tension rod design. Weld a tang onto a plate and you have created different metallurgical characteristics in the part and often weakened its capacity to resist corrosion. CNC mill it out of a solid piece of material and you’ve added 10X2 very expensive pieces of jewelry to the boat unnecessarily. And then drill four bolt holes through the deck instead of one? No thanks.

          There is no reason why stainless bar stock chainplates and a little forethought in preventing water intrusion shouldn’t outlast several sets of standing rigging.

          Simplify, prioritize, and get on with it!

          • John Jan 15, 2013, 10:11 am

            Hi Richard,

            I’m certainly not qualified to get between you, an experienced boat builder, and Matt, a very smart engineer, in this debate, so I won’t, even though it was I who brought up the idea of composite chain plates in the first place.

            One thing I will say is that Matt’s well-reasoned enthusiasm for the idea does mean that I will continue to look for and listen to ideas from him and others to improve on the standard stainless steel bar stock sticking up through hole cut in deck chain plate. Even if we only use a different method for the chain plates that must be set inboard, which would reduce the number required.

            I do take exception to your assertion that by bringing this up and encouraging Matt’s investigations that I am somehow taking my eye off the ball or messing about when we should “Simplify, prioritize, and get on with it!”.

            The Adventure 40 is a radically different boat from those that are currently successful in the market and many of the reasons that she will be a better boat than anything out there are counter-intuitive, particularly to those who have not sailed offshore much: the target market. Therefore, to sell her we must explain and justify the boat, right down to the final detail. I believe that this series of posts and the resulting debate is the best way to do that—-a belief that is reinforced by the number potential buyers that have signed up.

            Over the course of the debate, there have been many suggestions that I have taken on board that have improved the boat. But, if you re-read the comment stream, you can see that I have also been ruthless in rejecting ideas that do not contribute to the core mission of the boat. However, those rejected ideas and the debate on them still have great value because the process makes it clear to prospective buyers that we are considering all suggestions and when we reject a suggestion, particularly for an item that is popular in the market, like, for example, wheel steering or cockpit reefing, it is for a good and defensible reason.

            We value your input hugely, but please don’t try and stifle that of others.

          • RDE Jan 15, 2013, 11:31 am

            Hi John,
            Sorry if my comments could be interpreted as attempting to stifle discussion. However, I tend to value the real world experiences of product users more than partially developed engineering concepts. I’ve watched Boeing flounder around trying to build a composite airliner for years, making mistakes that I myself had made and learned from. So when it comes to engineers designing for production I believe in the old quote from Ronald Regan: “trust but verify!”

            Your basic theme which underlies the A40 concept has always been simplify, prioritize, and go sailing! Couldn’t agree more.

  • Dick Stevenson Jan 10, 2013, 3:37 pm

    John, A most thorough presentation. I want to suggest a stainless steel chainplate to fg deck solution that I have been using for 5+ years and that I believe to be very long lasting, dare I say a lifer. The parts are appropriated from many much smarter than I but I do not know any who have put the pieces together in quite the same fashion, though I suspect someone has. A pad is made of fg similar in size to the usual stainless steel deck plate. This is epoxied to the deck around the chainplate hole after a similar sized hole in the pad is made. (If designed into the deck from the get-go the deck around the chainplate could be just raised ¼ inch or so achieving the same result.) I believe this is what Richard meant by: “Simply building a boss on the deck to raise the exit point out of standing deck water is half the battle in preventing leaks”. Then butyl rubber is used instead of the usual caulking and the stainless plate is put on in the usual way sandwiching the butyl rubber. As Richard says, no standing deck water is a great deal of the battle. There is very little other area where water could even hope to enter and butyl rubber is a far better sealer. Please go to the Compass Marine site for the best presentation of the use of butyl rubber although this very good demo is for the bedding of deck fittings. I can provide photos and more detail if interested.
    My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jan 10, 2013, 4:11 pm

      Hi Dick,

      Sounds like a good system and I’m 100% with you on the benefits of butyl rubber in comparison to goop.

      I guess after 20 years of having a boat that has never leaked through the deck simply because there are no holes to leak, I’m a bit fixated on this chain plate issue. Still, I do want to pursue it with a composites expert.

      • Simon Jan 11, 2013, 12:21 pm

        It may be a dumb question, but why not embbed a massiv block/plat o fstainless steel in the deck? Maybe you could even use some sort of rubber between the block and the laminat around it. And then you screw the chainplate up on to the block, and the deckplate down on to it. That way you would get a no hole going through, and even if between the block and the laminate a crack begins to build, it would be very long and not easy for water to get trough in comparison.
        It’s just a thought.

        • John Jan 11, 2013, 12:44 pm

          Hi Simon,

          Not a dumb idea at all. Something like that might be a way to solve the problem. I built something very like it when I installed an internal headstay chain plate on my old fiberglass boat—worked great, never leaked.

  • Dick Stevenson Jan 10, 2013, 3:48 pm

    John, You likely intend this but could not include every detail. You say: “Two halyard winches mounted on mast, one each side. All halyards to have clutches.” Clutches too often eat lines. I would suggest cleats below the clutches.That way the halyards can be overtightened just slightly, the halyard secured on the cleat through the clutch. The clutch is then released (giving up an inch or so) but the load, even after the clutch is secured, is (largely) on the cleat. A much nicer situation for the longevity of the line. Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jan 10, 2013, 4:14 pm

      Hi Dick,

      You are absolutely right, there will be horn cleats, I simply forgot them. Although, having said that, the new clutches seem to be pretty gentle on rope. We have a bunch on MC from two different manufacturers.

  • Dick Stevenson Jan 10, 2013, 4:31 pm

    I would also urge you to (re-)consider a cutter rig (as defined by the mast being closer to amid-ships). Too few are aware nowadays of how wonderful and versatile a rig it is for wandering widely and it is just so in sync with your design goals from my perspective. To mention just one attribute: how nice it it is to have a roller furling staysail always at the ready with a foredeck space (a J) large enough to accommodate both sails. To me it optimizes off shore sailing. The rig you suggest is very common, but those I know with that rig have not been happy. The idea is great, but the execution of going on the foredeck, with the weather that warrants doing so, rigging the staysail wire and tensioning it, hanking on the staysail etc. means that generally people just reef the jib more and more. Leaving the staysail wire and sail rigged to go makes for a tacking hassle unless offshore where tacking is a once in a while affair. Having a roller furl staysail decreases the times necessary to roller reef the jib (good for the jib), keeps you off the foredeck, and allows sailing in heavier winds with uncompromised sail shapes. It can pose interior design challenges as the keel stepped mast may be in an awkward position. I suspect there are marketing and money considerations that preclude the cutter, but it is a shame that its attributes are not more widely recognized.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jan 10, 2013, 4:43 pm

      Hi Dick,

      No one is a bigger true cutter fan that me—I have owned and sailed one for 20 years. But remember a A-40 owner that wants most of the cutter benefits can get them very simply by adding a roller furler on the staysail stay and buying a yankee jib and staysail instead of a Jib.

      On the other hand, sailing a true cutter inshore where short tacking is the norm is a royal pain in the neck what with runners to deal with and the jib top to get through the smaller gap. And many of the A-40 owners will want to do that kind of sailing, at least initially.

      Given that, I think that the sloop, with the staysail option, is the best compromise—lots of flexibility gained, and only a little of the power of a true cutter lost.

      Also, keep in mind that this is a lot smaller boat than yours, so changing things around, or sheeting the jib in, will be a lot easier.

  • Steve Jan 10, 2013, 6:31 pm

    Great work John,

    Have you thought about a Sampson post on the bow? Seems like forgotten deck hardware but one that can be used for so many things.
    We really like the over sized cleats on the Boreal, a great design when you need industrial size lines tying up to some old commercial tuna boat.
    Thanks again for all your hard work.

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 9:20 am

      Hi Steve,

      No, I had not thought about a Sampson post. Since the boat will have a chain stopper and really big cleats, I can’t really see a reason for one. And doing a Sampson post right would be a lot of expense.

      • Joihn Franklim Jan 13, 2013, 12:33 pm

        The really important use of a Sampson post is for being towed, if ever you need to be! We have one and use it all the time for double-ended mooring lines, with the other end on the bow cleats. With an alloy boat, of course, a very strong installation is cheap and simple.

        • John Jan 13, 2013, 1:19 pm

          Hi John,

          I hear you on the towing application, but I don’t think that is enough to justify the added expense, particularly since the two big bow cleats will accommodate a double ended line and will be pretty good for towing too.

  • Michael Jan 10, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Hi John,

    I like your idea on having threaded backing plates for deck fittings. The idea of threading things through the deck instead of just sliding it though with some goop came about when my wife was not able to assist in a re bedding project and I was alone to get things done. Below is what we did.

    We do not have threaded backing plates, but the holes in the deck are themselves tapped, either with a tool or by just potting the bolts in the epoxy before it cures within the deck. Tapping the hole with a tool is easier but we’ve been successful both ways. Once the hole is tapped we counter sink both sides, wrap the bolt with Teflon tape and put butyl rubber on both sides of the fitting before its all tourqed down. Works like a charm! We have had the best luck adding solid G10 board in place of core in areas that had been repaired.

    Lots of work initially, but it saves the cored deck and the nasty job of re coring in the future. Not to mention the whole unit is solid, especially with G10 board.

    All the best!


    • John Jan 11, 2013, 9:34 am

      Hi Michael,

      Sounds like a good system. On the A-40 I want to take that one step further and eliminate the nuts altogether, much as we do on metal boats. This will probably require aluminium backer plates since G10 does not have the thread strength for this application. (I’m assuming you put nuts on the bolt ends under the deck.)

      And yes, it’s a lot of work on a one off basis, but on a production basis where the backer plates are cut out on a CNC milling machine and mounted in place using tools and jigs, I think it could be very quick to do.

  • DAN Jan 11, 2013, 5:43 am

    Hi John,

    what about dingy storage location, securing it, and how it interacts with the jackline arrangement and stay when secured if the dinghy is to fit forward of the mast.

    If the boat is not going to come with sails but will be laid out for many different options, then why specify sheets and include spinnaker pole(s)?

    If the boat always comes with the aft arch then could the arch assembly can also serve as the push-pit and do dual function and save some cost/weight. Since the mast is anodized aluminum, the mast-pit could be aluminum to match, again saving cost/weight.

    If you are looking to reduce the cost of the rig and fittings you could consider 2:1 halyards which would offer a slight reduction in mast compression load from the halyard/sail and would also reduce the effort although take longer to hoist with the 2:1 in the top block. Since the head sail is going to be on a roller, it can also be a 2:1 since it will rarely be hoisted to again save more mast compression. The other halyards could remain 1:1.

    What is the though with regard to chain plate placement? The further outboard the chainplates are the lower the loads will be which will reduce costs. If all the way out and if the chain plates are composite they can tie into the hull/deck joint at a frame and be very strong.

    Three halyards forward (stay, jib, code0) and only one aft, how do you raise the trisail (unshackle the main?), what is plan-B if the main halyard breaks?

    FYI you can make a spade rudder without a stainless shaft and inner assembly, it is done all the time, you can just epoxy stainless or bearing sleaves onto a carbon stock (see for examples though lots of folks make sleaves).

    If you want to drop the rudder in the water just get in deep enough water and with a threaded tap at the upper end of the rudder stock for a eye, attach a line, unclamp and let it fall if it sinks (if its all composite and does not sink then you will need to go swimming and attache couter weight to make it sink). You can re-install it in the water doing the reverse. Many river tugs are set up like this as they are prone to rudder damage. I would assume with the described tiller arrangement the rudder tube to be tight to the deck. With the aft deck hoist for the outboard it would be simple to get the rudder up on deck.

    The carbon fiber chain plates on the Navy 44 mkii are a pretty nice detail.

    while expensive, G-10 core inserts iwo deck hardware are also pretty nice, you can always helicoil the tap if it goes bad, plus they neither leak nor corrode.

    moving the windlass aft opens up the options for a real chain locker but adds the issue of chain damage on deck, you can add a strip of UHMW under the anchor chain path to mitigate damage to the deck, cross cutting the UHMW on the top surface will mitigate the slip and fall potential, the benefit to motions with mass being more centered is obvious

    what about deck hatches and ventilation?

    There is mention of a locker for LPG tanks but what about gas storage for the outboard?

    What about deck lockers in addition to the LPG storage locker?

    The solid rod bob-stay could simply become amsteel or Dux and remove the corrosion issues, reduce cost and weight in the bow.

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 9:48 am

      Yikes, Dan,

      Where do I start? Lots of good ideas, thank you.

      Dinghy Storage: Until we have drawings it is not possible to work out but you are right that it would be good if we can stow a dinghy securely on deck for coastal sailing. For offshore sailing, the dinghy should not be stowed forward of the mast, so that means ether a fairly small dinghy aft of the mast, or an inflatable struck below. See this post. Either way, I will make a note that we need to address this.

      2:1 Halyard: I can’t see how this would reduce any costs. The cost of the additional high modulus rope, never mind the blocks would be far more than the savings by using a slightly smaller winch.

      Spinnaker pole: Everyone will need one, if only for poling the jib out down winds.

      Sheets: Good point.

      Chain plate placement: Will be dictated by optimal sheeting angles. This will be a close winded boat, so a fairly narrow sheeting base is indicated, probably precluding plates at the hull to deck joint unless we are willing to make any overlapping sail very inefficient, or the boat very narrow, neither are likely.

      Storm Trysail Halyard: I did consider one, and we do have one on MC. But with this boat being built to a price, we can’t have everything. On a boat this size transferring the main halyard will be quite doable. And, I can’t see why a properly engineered main halyard should break. Even if it did, we still have the storm drogue ready to go.

      Dinghy gas storage: Good point, we could add that to the gas bottle locker, say 2 gallons.

      Hatches: Will be discussed in the interior post.

      Rudder Post: I certainly understand that rudders can have carbon shafts, however, I would be very surprised if we can afford one.

      Solid Rod bob stay: If required, must be rod to take compression.

  • Svein Lamark Jan 11, 2013, 9:09 am

    Hi John!
    This is becoming a very interesting yacht. Like you, I am a cutter fan. I have re-rigged a masthead sloop to cutter and the boat is better with the new rig. Unlike you, I do not put the boat ashore in winter, but sail also this season. This is getting more and more common i Northern Eurpoe. Please do not send us (as you do above in FAQ) to the Ovni, the Boreal or the Garcia. This boats have to many drawbacks that I do not accept. The A40 should also be a good winter boat. Then I think the cutter rig is the best solution. All the very many miles you have sailed in Arctic waters must have learned you that.
    Good luck!

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 9:40 am

      Hi Svein,

      We do not always put the boat on the hard in winter—two winters in Arctic Norway, many fall trips on US east coast with snow on the deck—so I get what your saying about a winter boat.

      However, this is not the A-40 since she is not going to be a high latitude boat or a winter boat. That is simply not her mission. Please read my FAQ post.

      • Enno Apr 20, 2013, 11:49 am

        Hi John
        You have repeatedly stated that the A40 is not going to be a high latitude cruiser and here you say that she is not going to be a winter boat. I am wondering what exactly you mean with this. Can you specify which characteristics of a high latitude cruiser the A40 will not include? It is obvious that she won’t be built with seaice in mind but why shouldn’t she be used in winter? Many people around here use production sailboats both summer and winter. The single most important feature for a sailboat used during winter in northern Norway is good insulation above the waterline. Well done sandwich laminate with enough and the right core material should do the job just fine. My boat is build that way and I use her all year round. In terms of needs and wants this is definitely a need for me. Otherwise the A40 sounds like great boat to sail in Scandinavia.
        You’d also need a heater of some kind but this is easily installed by the owner. It would be great if the interior would be designed in a way that makes installation easy.
        This is one of the strong points of the A40’s philosophy that I like best: Not coming with every possible extra installed but build with easy installation in mind. This makes a very serviceable boat too.
        If it ever comes to cutting costs I’d suggest to primarily sacrificing user installable items. I can install wind vane self steering myself but I can’t change the hull core material.
        Best wishes

        • John Apr 20, 2013, 2:15 pm

          Hi Enno,

          All good points. The A-40 will be cored above the waterline and so be perfectly capable of being cruised in Norway in the same way any production GRP boat with a good core would be. And, as you say, adding heat should be easy.

          When I said not a high latitude boat I meant that she will probably not be metal and won’t have the 10cm of insulation that I like to see on a boat that is truly designed to spend most of her time in the high latitudes.

          Any, you are absolutely right about the places to cut costs. If we can’t hit the target number, I would take the vane gear out of the spec and use the money to pay for a really good hull laminate.

  • richard s. Jan 11, 2013, 10:08 am

    do you think a few strategically placed recessed tie-down eyes on deck would be worthwhile ? would add to the boat’s versatility…also, i presume carbon fiber mast and some or all fittings would be cost prohibitive ? i understand this is the ultimate in strength, durability and weight efficiency

    richard in tampa bay, s/v lakota

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 10:51 am

      Hi Richard,

      Tie down eyes might be good, but you don’t want to recess them—collects water and promotes leaks.

      And yes, a Carbon mast is way outside our budget.

  • George Jan 11, 2013, 10:58 am

    This is a great project and has the opportunity to bring together the latest thoughts on a seaworthy cruiser. I’d like to suggest two information sources that might guide the design.
    1) Desireable and undesireable haracteristics of offshore yachts
    2) Seawoorthiness the forgotten factor


    • John Jan 11, 2013, 11:06 am

      Hi George,

      Very good point. I have both books and have read them too! Having said that, might be time to read them again.

      It would really help the Adventure 40 if more people would read these books since they would help them understand many of the design criteria.

  • RDE (Richard Elder) Jan 11, 2013, 11:33 am

    Last year I built a nice nesting dingy that stores in 4′ x 5’4″ x 1′ 8″ (Danny Greene Chamelon design). And in Kevlar/CoreCell/epoxy it is practically weightless and indestructible.

    If planned for it can easily store behind the mast on a 40’er, or if you add grab rails and store it upside down in chocks it can be a permanent foredeck addition to a flush deck configuration. I realize that hard dingys and human power are passe but it is a great way to get your morning exercise.

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 12:49 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Great idea. I love Danny’s designs. (He lives in Bermuda).

      I have meant to talk to him about a nesting hard dinghy that rows and sails for “Morgan’s Cloud” for years.

      Maybe we could get Danny to do a special design optimized for the Adventurer 40? How cool that would be, and it really fits in with the ethos of the boat.

      • Paul Jan 11, 2013, 8:20 pm

        Hah, the Chameleon…
        The first boat-design I bought! I build it 15 years ago. Fantastic to sail and row. Didn’t have an engine for the first 8 years and it never gets stolen because of the special look. I wouldn’t advice it for 2 reasons.
        The banging against the boat and the wet acrobatics you have to do to get the two parts together in a choppy sea.
        Think I would go for a portabote.

  • Antoni Campins Jan 11, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Hi John,

    Your post is full of ideas I like, but let me add something of my own.

    I know you strongly advocate having all reefing and halyard hardware at the mast for the sake of simplicity. I would not object it in a boat the size of Morgan’s Cloud, but I think there are good reasons to consider bringing it to the cockpit in a 40 footer. Sure you need additional lines and stoppers for reefing, but you can possibly save on winches, and the possibility of reefing under the dodger, without having to fully dress in the middle of the night is very appealing to me. In my boat I always want to do the reefing for myself, even if the crew (commonly not very experienced) has to wake me up, and I can do it even in sleeping dress if the weather is manageable. If you can eliminate the need for a hook in the boom, the manoeuver is very simple: you let the halyard go the predetermined length and then pull in the reef lines. Of course you need two lines for every reef (one single line is complicated and not reliable in my opinion).

    I very much like a permanent dodger, but if you are going to sail in the Mediterranean you need to be able to fully open it at the front side when at anchor or when sailing in mild weather and summer time.

    I strongly agree with the placement of the chain locker close to the mast even if it comes at a cost in terms of living room. Any boat is a different boat when you remove its chain from the bow and a center placed chain locker would be deep enough as to be free of problems. You would never have to put your hand to accomodate the chain.

    Concerning the anchor, a Spade would be preferable in my opinion because it would be very easy to stow it below in two parts when under way.

    Another suggestion is having the main shrouds at the boat sides and the lower shrouds at the cabin sides to facilitate circulation on deck. It is also preferable from a structural viewpoint.

    Concerning the rudder, I like the idea of the outboard rudder for its simplicity, but it is true that it interferes with the self steering gear. Why not two rudders? They can be smaller, easier to handle if you have to repair any one and you will always have at least one if you have a colision.

    Pleaso go on!

    • John Jan 11, 2013, 3:46 pm

      Hi Antoni,

      All good and interesting ideas, thank you.

      However, the big problem is that some of them involve more money, in some cases a lot more. For example, opening windows, if good quality, for the dodger would be very expensive. And running all lines aft, at least US$1000 to do it right and probably closer to US$2000. Add the ports and running the lines aft together, with installation labor, and I’m going to guess more than US$5000. Twin rudders, say $2000 more. We simply can’t add this kind of stuff and hit the under US$200,000 budget.

      In summary, if this is going to work, this boat must stay super-simple. Things like twin rudders can’t be even considered. Anyway, I would argue that much of the redundancy benefit of twin rudders are lost by the greater complication and vulnerability.

      As to reefing from the cockpit, we will have to agree to disagree on that one. Regardless of the size of the boat, I believe that is good too get out of the cockpit, both mentally and physically, and, like you, I do almost all the reefing on our boat, particularly on dark and stinky nights.

  • Dick Stevenson Jan 11, 2013, 3:44 pm

    John, I wish to support Svein and Antoni in their comments about leading mainsail reefing lines back to the cockpit. To be able to put in 2 reefs from the cockpit alone in minutes is always nice and sometimes a blessing. I have lived with this system for 12+ years now and would never go back. Its attributes are myriad. Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • John Jan 11, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Hi All,

    Let’s step back for a moment. We are trying to hit a budget number here for a really safe and reliable offshore boat.

    Now, lets assume for a moment that leading all the lines back to the cockpit is desirable and good—I don’t agree, but that’s a personal preference, so let’s forget it for a moment.

    Even with the above premise, you don’t need lines led aft to the cockpit to sail safely offshore. After all plenty of very experienced sailors including me, Hamish Laird and Hal Roth all actually prefer reefing at the mast. I’m the junior member, but between us we have sailed safely for over half a million miles reefing at the mast.

    See my point? Lines aft is a want, a convenience, a personal preference; not a need. And if we are going to make this work, we must focus on needs.

    If I spend the money on wants we have two choices: cut quality, or put the price up. Neither are desirable, and either will lead to just another expensive junk boat.

  • Brett Eaglen Jan 11, 2013, 7:38 pm

    We are fortunate enough to own a sundeer 60 and without going to composite chain plates I think are the best designed out there…easy to manufacture and never leak. re bow roller..just scale down the sundeer…another engineering masterpiece. really enjoying the ongoing discussion.


    • John Jan 12, 2013, 9:42 am

      Hi Brett,

      Thanks for the thoughts. I will have to see if I can beg the drawings of both from Steve.

  • Charles Jan 11, 2013, 8:12 pm

    You lost me at masthead sloop. High-tension, high-pressure rigs, such as the masthead sloop/cutter, inflate your costs and greatly add to the complexity of handling and clutter the deck with fittings. Consider switching to an unstayed, or lightly stayed, less complex rig in a deck-stepped tabernacle. It will reduce costs and complexity of standing rigging, deck fixtures, winches, etc, considerably. Sprits’ls can be made to reef easily; lugs can be roller-furled at the boom; any and all can be mixed with forestays’ls if the mast is designed correctly. These low complexity rigs have continued in working-sail craft in preference to masthead designs for a reason. The concept Adventure-40 is not so large that it needs more complex sails.

    Failing that, consider synthetic rope rigging as opposed to metal for lower initial and replacement cost, easier adjustment with fewer tools, dead simple to cut free if needful. There are so many advantages to synthetic rigging, I can’t even really list them all. If the rig is designed from the start for synthetic rigging, you cna design around the few limitations of the material.

    • C. Dan Jan 11, 2013, 9:42 pm


      I share your desire for a simpler rig – it would be great to free up the cash from chainplates, shrouds, a complex sail-plan and spinnaker pole, to be used elsewhere on the boat.

      However, I believe John has said previously that the in order to have a marketable aesthetic, the A-40 must be a sloop or cutter.

      If Matt Marsh is in the audience, I would love for him to weigh in on this issue. To me, it seems like a no-brainer to aim for a simpler rig in order to hit our cost/performance metrics.

      • John Jan 12, 2013, 9:48 am

        Hi C. Dan,

        Just a quick point on “free up the cash from chainplates, shrouds, a complex sail-plan and spinnaker pole”. As far as I know, the only way to do a successful unstayed mast is to make it of carbon, which will eat up most, or even all, of the savings you mention. Also, an unstayed mast does not free you from the need to spread sail downwind—a spinnaker pole.

    • John Jan 12, 2013, 9:40 am

      Hi Charles,

      I agree that unstayed rigs are seductive and interesting, although how you would engineer one with a deck stepped tabernacle is beyond me.

      The key issue here is that the Adventure 40 is not meant to be a platform for innovation or experiment. And the fact is that even after some 40 years of experiments with unstayed rigs no boat with one has become a successful main stream offshore voyaging boat built in large numbers. I have some ideas for why that is, but they are not based on first hand experiences, so I will leave it at that.

      As to high modulus fiber rigging like PBO and Dynex Dux, I’m not sure where you got the idea that it was cheaper than wire, that is certainly not my understanding. Having said that, I certainly considered these options and in fact Richard’s first specification included Dynex Dux, but in the end, my desire to make sure that the Adventure 40 was a trouble free as possible precluded using these rigging systems that have only been around for a few years and on a few boats, and most of those full on race boats with unlimited budgets.

      • Greg Rubin Jun 13, 2014, 5:58 pm

        Re: Dynex Dux

        Having just switched the rigging on my Corsair Tri (2 years ago) I can tell you that the cost for wire vs Dux was within 5% of each other. The primary difference was in the shipping, wire was available on island (Jamaica) while the Dux had to be shipped international. Assuming the boat is built anywhere near normal supply lines the cost for Dux would have been less.

        • John Jun 14, 2014, 9:15 am

          Hi Greg,

          Interesting, we will have to price it out when the time comes. Remember we will buying in large volume so the economies may change.

    • Matt Marsh Jan 12, 2013, 11:07 am

      Re. masthead sloop configuration.

      There is no technical reason why the Adventure 40 must have a particular type of rig. She could be designed as a catboat, lugger, gaffer with topsail…. in one of my sketches she’s rigged as a Chinese junk. The focus on the masthead sloop configuration is because:
      – It’s widely accepted and every sailor in North America and Europe already knows how to handle it.
      – It has thoroughly validated performance prediction methods behind it, making it easier to ensure that the boat will be exactly what we think it will be.
      – Keeping the boat reasonably close to what buyers are used to seeing will expand the pool of potential buyers; this will reduce the builder’s risk and make the project more economically viable. The boat’s focus on robustness and efficiency over luxury and flashiness is already rather unconventional; teaching buyers about an exotic rig would be challenging.

      Sloop rigs are not inherently more expensive than other types; they are expensive because sloop buyers often have a strange fixation on using overpriced race-boat hardware on even the tubbiest of dock queens. Start from the work-boat end instead of the race-boat end of the spectrum, and you can create something very robust that performs well without spending a fortune.

      Re. free standing rigs:
      The Nonsuch had an aluminum free-standing mast, was quite economical to buy and run, and sold 950 hulls. Their hull shape is optimized for short hops on lakes and coastal areas, so you don’t see them offshore very often, but they certainly prove that free-standing rigs can be a commercial success.

  • gerard deroy Jan 12, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Hi John,
    On reefing system:
    Some prefer the mast set up. Some prefer the cockpit set up.
    I have a boom set up. One winch fixed under the boom with a fixed handle and the winch is used for both reefing point. I lower the sail to the proper height, adjust the autopilot for proper heading and go sit on the roof for the reefing. Horn hooks, pullies and cleats are on boat side of the boom. Easy, economical, safe, maintenance free since I bought the boat in 1989.
    One winch is a good saving.
    I agree that reefing from cockpit is not required.

  • gerard deroy Jan 12, 2013, 3:28 pm

    Hi John,
    On rudder,
    My aluminum fin keel boat has a skeg hung rudder.
    There is no need for seal bearing. The shaft is inserted in a welded 4 in.cylinder that goes up to the deck level and hidden in the lazarette.
    The are 2 X 0.5 in. thick teflon supporting bearings. One under the tiller support and one at the base of the skeg. The support at the base of the skeg is removable to allow the drop down of the tiller.
    The propeller shaft is off center to compensate for the turning moment produced by the propeller. This also allow for the removal of the propeller and shaft (required).
    View in plan, the skeg and rudder look like a continuous section.
    Just like what you see from a plane wing assembly when the plane is landing.
    I can assure you that this is a good design easy on the tiller pilot and the skeg is a valuable protection.
    Just another option.

    On the idea of two tillers. Tiller not alligned with a propeller stream of water are completely inefficient when motoring.
    Required with 2 propellers boat. Don’t with one engine.

  • Eric Klem Jan 12, 2013, 7:57 pm


    I continue to really like where this design is going and if it keeps going this way, I will probably be one of your first customers. Here are a couple of thoughts that I have.

    I was glad to see the discussion of dinghy storage for coastal sailing above. This is often completely overlooked by boat designers which means that a huge number of people tow dinghies when they shouldn’t. Personally, I like davits for coastal sailing on boats that don’t have vane steering but I don’t think that they would work well on the Adventure 40 due to the cost and interference with everything else at the stern. On our current boat, we stow the dinghy under the main boom and it really works quite well but we don’t have a big boom vang which may make this not possible. It is a real bear to get a dinghy there on many boats so if that is the chosen spot, some thought to using the boom as a lift would be great and it may be that the hardware is already there due to the preventers and everything.

    On anchoring gear, my personal preference is to avoid bowsprits as Richard Elder says. They tend to really limit anchor selection and generally get in the way not to mention increase slip fees. If you need one to get the boat to balance or something like that, that is fine, it would not be a deal breaker. In the anchor roller arrangement, if you could work something in for a snubber line, that would be great. Too many boats end up with the snubber in a place where it chafes badly or is too far aft allowing the boat to sail at anchor. On anchoring gear, I pretty much agree with your recommendations except I would use a 60+ lb anchor. If you look at Rocna’s recommendation for this boat at cruising displacement, they recommend a 55 lb anchor and I still like to go a size up from there. I realize that Spade recommends a much lighter anchor but in my opinion (everyone has one on this subject), their recommendations are pretty light for long distance cruising. If you stay with a 45 lb anchor, please make sure that a size or two larger will fit for those of us who will upsize. My personal preference would be for a Mantus, Rocna or Manson Supreme on the Adventure 40 as I feel they set better in weeds than the small spades (I would choose a spade if we were talking 100+ lbs as they don’t foul like the roll bar anchors) and they meet the price point better.

    While slightly off the subject of this post, I feel it is worth mentioning that anchoring performance should be kept in mind during the hull, rig and deck design. By this I mean making a boat that is well behaved on the hook and doesn’t sheer all over the place like many modern production boats do. I sailed for a few weeks on a Bavaria 46 which was appallingly bad at anchor to the point where it really ruined the cruising to me and I have seen other boats that are just as bad.

    On the rig, I have come to the conclusion that the rig which you lay out in your post is really the best option for this boat. When coastal cruising, it can be sailed as a sloop but it still has good heavy weather options. The other rig that it is likely to carry offshore would be 2 poled out headsails when on a downwind tradewinds passage. Do you think it would be worth considering a solent rig instead of having a removable inner forestay as it would eliminate the need for running backstays. If this rig were chosen, I would want to make sure that it was engineered to keep the mast from pumping when it got rough.

    Not including sails does make a lot of sense. To make it easier on the owners, if the owners manual included all of the key dimensions for a sail maker and recommended sails, I think that would be really helpful. Ideally, an owner could avoid having a sailmaker come measure the boat.

    On the tiller, do you have any thoughts on how you are going to keep it from taking up too much of the cockpit? Making a nicely balanced rudder and balanced sailplan would probably help with keeping the loads down so a shorter tiller could be used. Given that the boat won’t have a wheel, it seems like the 6.5′ cockpit seats should be achievable as they can be unbroken unlike a lot of boats with wheels that have T shaped cockpits.

    Thank you for all of your hard work on this.


    • John Jan 13, 2013, 10:17 am

      Hi Eric,

      Wow, lot’s of good stuff. My thoughts:

      Dinghy storage: Yes, we will need to work on this to make sure there is a place that will work to secure a dinghy, but equally I don’t want to lock owners into one brand and size of tender by getting too specific.

      Snubber line: Good point, we will make sure there is a fair lead for one.

      Anchor size: You are right, I goofed on reading the charts, I will fix it. However, 55 is one size over if you crank in the displacement.

      Anchor type: We will need to settle on one anchor type and size so that we can carefully design the bow roller assembly to fit it perfectly.

      Sailing at anchor: Hull forms like those I have specified are usually pretty quite at anchor.

      Tiller and cockpit space: In my experience wheels obstruct the cockpit more than tillers do. However, rest assured that we will, as I said in the post, be putting a lot of time and effort into cockpit ergonomics. Having said that, the cockpit will be optimized for ocean sailing with a crew of up to four, not day sailing with a cast of thousands or cocktail parties.

      • Eric Klem Jan 13, 2013, 12:00 pm


        Thank you for the reply. All of it makes a lot of sense.


      • Greg Rubin Jun 13, 2014, 6:05 pm

        Re: getting the dink on deck.

        The slickest system I have seen for this was a length of jib track mounted to the bottom of the boom with a slide. Push the boom over the side, pull the slide all the way to the end of the track and hoist the dink with a detachable set of 4:1 tackle. Then move the boom centerline, while pulling the dink forward on the track. All in all it took moments to get the dink settled just aft of the mast.

        The other advantage is the same system can be used quickly to retrieve someone overboard, or any other heavy gear that needs to make it on board. Of course this requires a riding vang strong enough to handle the weight of the dink.

        • John Jun 14, 2014, 9:13 am

          Hi Greg,

          Sounds like a good idea, thanks.

    • John Jan 13, 2013, 3:48 pm

      Hi Eric,

      Sorry I forgot the solent rig question.

      I briefly thought about a solent type rig, but this would not do away with the need for a staysail stay to set a storm staysail on, or running backstays to stabilize the rig in very heavy weather. And the solent jib would require a second large roller furler as standard—several thousand bucks.

      So I decided to go with the masthead sloop and removable staysail stay (convertible by owner to roller furler) and provide the strong bail forward of the jib stay on the anchor roller assembly, which can be used, with the spinnaker hallyard, to set any number of different types of headsails on a removable roller furler drum.

      So, the owner that wants a solent type rig could just about get one by simply setting a large overlapping light air genoa flying, forward of the jib.

      This compromise fits the fundamental ethos of keeping things simple in the base boat, but provides maximum flexibility to the owner to customize as desired.

      • Eric Klem Jan 13, 2013, 4:35 pm


        Sorry, I wasn’t clear with my comment about the solent rig. What I was throwing out there was a removable solent stay that went from the masthead to a point on the foredeck significantly back from the stem so that the solent stay is not parallel with the headstay. Basically, I was describing what you had posted except that it would go to the masthead. The advantage of this would be that there is not a big bending moment placed on the mast which must be counteracted by running backstays.

        I have never tried to do the math on a spar section but it might be that it is better to have a staysail stay and running backstays than a larger mast section to eliminate pumping. The other downside to me is trying to keep everything from fouling up at the masthead, it can get pretty crowded there with a solent stay. I know that some people don’t like the aesthetics of a solent stay which is not parallel to the headstay but if it is normally stowed, I don’t see this as being a big deal.

        Personally, I slightly prefer the rig that you have laid out but in keeping with the Adventure 40 being simple, reliable and cost effective, I thought that it would be worth thinking about this alternative.

        I hope this makes sense.


        • John Jan 13, 2013, 4:50 pm

          Hi Eric,

          Makes perfect sense and I did understand what you meant by the solent stay. The thing is that such a stay does not have much, if any, effect on pumping of the mast.

          Therefore I personally believe that most any boat that goes offshore, regardless of mast section, should have a staysail stay to carry a storm staysail, set well back from the bow and parallel to the head stay, and runners to balance that, as well as to stop pumping in extreme weather.

          Given my belief above, any sort of solent stay represents additional expense and very little more function than a sail set flying in-front of the jib stay.

          Other benefits of runners is that they can be used to stop pumping even when the staysail stay is not rigged (as long as the mast is tuned right) and they are also useful for tuning mast bend when racing.

          Inshore you can remove the staysail stay and dispense with the runners and have a quick tacking sloop—it’s all good.

          • Eric Klem Jan 13, 2013, 6:25 pm

            Thanks John. If you think that running backs will be required to deal with mast pumping, then I agree that a solent stay does not make sense as there will already be an inner forestay for a storm sail or staysail.


  • sav Jan 12, 2013, 9:31 pm

    I’m against ball bearing jib cars and prefer the old nylon slide type car.
    1. All brands of ball bearings go flat in time forcing you to pay big buck$ for new ones.
    2. Having ball bearings inside the pulley is expen$ive overkill on any cruiser. Solid bearings are almost as slippery and last years longer.
    3. The balls catch dirt and salt like you wouldn’t believe, and both are abrasive.
    4. With an old style pin stopper car you save having to buy and maintain four double blocks, two more expensive cars, two lengths of more expensive track, two ropes and two clutches.

    • John Jan 13, 2013, 9:39 am

      Hi Sav,

      Thanks for the comment, it did get me wondering if I was confusing needs and wants in specifying ball bearing traveler cars, but on reflection I think not. My reasoning:

      • I don’t agree that replacing the bearings is a significant problem or expense. On Morgan’s Cloud we have had Harken ball bearing cars on our main traveler and staysail tracks for 18 years and well in excess of 70,000 miles of sailing and have yet to replace the bearings. Sure they run a little rougher now than they did when new, but not much, or enough to be a problem.
      • I have never had experience of the balls catching salt and dirt to the point that it became a big problem, and we are often out for months at a time in places where there is no fresh water hose to flush them out.
      • I used pin stopper cars years ago before the Harken systems were readily available, and I have vivid memories of wrestling cars under load while trying to move the pins. Or, worse still, trying to do the same thing with a thrashing sheet trying to take my head off because we had eased it to unload the car so we could move it. And often all of this was done while precariously balancing on the lee side deck of a healing boat. Not only inconvenient, but down right dangerous too.
  • John Lundin Jan 13, 2013, 4:42 am

    Hi John,
    Excellent specs and thoughtful discussions here. Very useful to us as we develop our custom alu boat.

    Today, a surveyor noted to me that he spends 75% of his time chasing water intrusion here in the PNW fleet of GRP boats. So proper detailing for the toerails, chainplates and hardware is critical.

    A favorite toe rail design that I’ve sailed with is created by flanging the deck and hull outward, then mechanically fastening the two flanges with an angled aluminum extrusion on top. The extrusion should be perforated at intervals for clipping fenders or snatchblocks, as you describe. This gives a solid foundation for cleats and the arch, and stanchions can be fitted via bolts from below.

    Too many newer boats are designed with hidden deck-hull joints, which are largely sealant dependent. All sealants are headed for cohesive/adhesive failure in a matter of a few years, so it’s best to use a mechanical assembly backed up by sealant/rubber. The joint described will be proud of the hull by about 2″ but infinitely robust/versatile and affordable to assemble.

    The issue of chainplates on a GRP boat can be confounding. I wonder if an assembly can be engineered where the plates don’t actually directly penetrate the deck, but rather utilizes a flat s/s base above and below the deck, with only rods or oversized bolts linking the two bases? If this were over-designed, it could provide a large sealant bedding area with good serviceability. Raise the deck slightly as noted to avoid the standing water issue. (Just dreaming here…)

    We love the quality of the conversation – Thank you!

  • John Jan 13, 2013, 10:00 am

    Hi All,

    Just to clarify on the bow roller assembly. I never intended to imply that this would be any kind of bow sprit.

    My thinking was that you need about a foot or so (30 cm) of protrusion of the bow roller, even with a boat with substantial overhang, to make sure that the fluke point, particularly with SPADE or Rocna anchors, does not hit the bow on retrieval.

    So if you are going to have to build that assembly anyway, it makes sense to add a bail for a code 0 or asymmetric spinnaker at the end of it.

    I think it was my mention of “bob stay” that confused things. I will fix that.

    While on the subject of anchoring, I also forgot to specify that the anchor roller assembly must be designed so that the anchor can be secured in all weathers simply by tensioning the rode with the windlass and locking it off.

  • Alex F Jan 13, 2013, 2:31 pm

    Hi John, in the choice of anchor chain, i was wondering what drove G43 vs G70. I suspect the weight benefit of the G70 is more a Want then a Need on this boat size, and not justifiable for the target budget. But I just wanted to check if there are other aspects that influenced the decision. Rgds, Alex

    • John Jan 13, 2013, 3:51 pm

      Hi Alex,

      G43 was just my guess of the best price performance point. But it was just that, a guess. We will look at the whole thing in detail in the design and engineering phase and may easily end up with G70.

  • David Jan 13, 2013, 10:15 pm

    Hi John,

    Awesome awesome. Big thanks to you and all the contributors that made this possible. I have further hopes that just the existence of the A40 and the conversations it will drive could shift the industry towards more seaworthy designs and construction.

    Two suggestions/questions: Re the trysail, I’ve read that most of the sailboats doing charters at Cape Horn have moved away from using trysails and instead are using a deep 4th reef in the main, targeting about the same area as a trysail. Their logic is that reefing the main is much more well practiced by crew and thus the ultra deep reef is safer and gets procrastinated less than rigging the trysail. This may be a way to save money for the A40. Given all your heavy weather experience I’m sure you’ve already considered this. What are your thoughts?

    Second, an option for the removable staysail and stay would be to build the staysail around a dyneema luff line and furl the sail on a continuous line furler. The sail and the stay are one and the same. At sea the furled staysail can be left in place providing extra support for the mast, and the crew doesn’t have to go on the foredeck to rig the stay and hank on the sail when it gets lumpy,
    but it’s easy to take down and stow the whole package away when frequent tacking of the jib is called for.

    sv Tigress

    • John Jan 14, 2013, 10:00 am

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the kind comments.

      Yes, a fourth reef is an option, but it does involve a lot of clutter for something that almost never gets used. And we will position the third reef so that it results in an appropriate amount of sail for gale force conditions, as we have on “Morgan’s Cloud”.

      Also, I don’t like this trend away from storm trysails. Even though it is not a sail one uses often—I have only used one once, but it saved my bacon—it has big advantages over a reefed main:

      • No boom crashing around.
      • Can be used if the mainsail gets damaged
      • None of the chafe problems of a mainsail with many reefs in.
      • Can be made smaller than even a mainsail with 4 reefs.

      In summary, the Adventure 40 is an ocean going boat, and as such I believe that her owners should at least have the option of having a storm trysail, particularly since the cost of adding the track will be quite modest, probably no more than the cost of the hardware for a fourth reef.

      On the staysail, it’s an interesting idea, and I like the idea of getting rid of the stay when not in use, but it would require substantial up-sizing of the staysail halyard since the entire load would be on it, rather than on the stay. Also, what of the owner that just wants to rig as a sloop and have a storm staysail? Finally, what happens if the staysail is damaged and you need to change to a storm staysail? Messing with sails that are set flying in gale force conditions would not be a lot of fun.

      • Jon Jan 24, 2013, 1:20 am

        Hi John,

        First of all, let me be the umpteenth person to say that I think this project is awesome. I just have one nagging thought, and that’s about the storm trysail halyard. As you stated in an earlier post regarding setting a storm trysail: “a common reason for not being able to use the main [halyard] is a broken or lost main halyard.” You’ve already stated that you don’t think a broken halyard is a concern, so I won’t argue there.

        But let’s stop and think for a second about that relatively inexperienced crew clawing their way off a lee shore while setting the storm trysail in anger for the first time. What if there’s a problem with the motor so they can’t point while shifting sails? Now, let’s imagine a knock-down while that halyard is in hand. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

        For me, having that spare halyard already hooked up and ready to go will be “nice to have” 99 of 100 times I have to set the storm trysail. But for that 1 time in 100 when the main halyard gets lost up the mast, having the storm trysail ready to go on a dedicated halyard might save my boat, and my crew can live to ponder why they were still sailing with me after I’d found such bad weather the other 99 times.

        To me, the peace of mind is worth the added cost. But that’s just me.


        • John Jan 24, 2013, 1:45 pm

          Hi Jon,

          You certainly make a strong case for a separate storm trysail halyard and it was a decision that I oscillated on.

          Do keep in mind that anyone who really wants such a halyard could easily add one, albeit externally, as I did on my old aluminum mast.

          The thing is that I fear that only a very small minority of owners will buy a storm trysail.

          Hum, maybe the best solution would be a pad on the mast ready to take a cheek block, for those who wish to add it.

  • Alan Jan 14, 2013, 12:08 am

    Hi John,
    incredible amount of information and input to your project. I have only a few items to throw in the pot
    Deck fittings – have you considered Garhauer, excellent quality at a remarkable price and a certain “chunkiness” in keeping with the objective for the A40.
    Installation of fittings – I strongly support the previous suggestions to avoid use of tapped aluminium plates. No matter how careful you are to use the likes of Tef-Gel or Never seize, in 10-15yrs you will have a battle to remove those fittings. Assuming you have a cored deck (hopefully foam, not balsa) at 20mm+thickness, this will be more than sufficient to use tapped epoxy (cast in or G10),
    Winches – in a similar vein to avoid dissimilar metal corrosion suggest you use bronze body winches rather than aluminium (which with budget constraints would probably mean Lewmar)
    Non skid – surprisingly no one has raised this even tho there are many strong opinions. I would suggest when you get to the point of building the deck mould, do not have moulded in non skid. Just leave as a plain gel coat finish, which you could offer with a painted coating or alternatively left bare for the addition of the likes of treadmaster, tbs, deck tread or (preferably not) teak by owners
    Sail reef points – you nominated the standard 3 reef points. I have been going thru this conumdrum for my new main (rather bigger than the A40) and have come to the conclusion to only have 2. We are all guilty of delaying putting the first reef in so I suggest this should be a big one, halfway between the traditional first & second reef locations. Second reef would be same location as traditional third reef location. I note Evan’s & Beth have this set up on Hawk with their huge main. Two less reefing lines and a little less cost and weight for the main. With an easily drive hull which the A40 will inevitably have you would never miss the closer reef spacing

    • John Jan 14, 2013, 10:28 am

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for the ideas. Here are my thoughts:

      Garhauer deck fittings: Certainly an option. Even if the fittings met our needs, we would need to be very sure that such a small company could guarantee a consistent supply over time. A supplier going bust would be a disaster for the A-40 program because of all the redesign and re-tooling that such an event would entail.

      Tapped Aluminium Plates: On “Morgan’s Cloud” we have fittings that have been screwed into aluminium with Tefgel for 19 years that are easily removable, so I’m not really worried about difficulty of removal. Having said that, I do agree that G10 might be an easier to use plate material. My worry is that, although it is often used in situations where threading is required, I am informed that G10’s thread holding capability is not reliable, particularly if you remove and replace the fitting a few times. There may be ways around that, such as thread inserts, but now we are getting into a level of detail that is probably best left to the engineer that will carefully analyse all these issues for the Adventure 40.

      Deck Finish: I don’t like molded in non-skid either. But I can’t see shipping a boat that is supposed to be sail-away without any deck cover at all. Let alone condemning the buyer to a Treadmaster job—a huge amount of work, trust me! Anyway, rest assured that we will look at all the options for non-skid and that the boat will come from the factory with a good high grip, long life, deck finish.

      Number of Reefs: Based on my 140,000 miles of offshore sailing, I am pretty happy that three reefs represents the best compromise between clutter and utility. With two reefs it would be difficult to make the third reef deep enough to heave-to in gale force winds, something that I think is really important. (Evans and Beth don’t, as far as I know, heave-to.)

      Having said all that, there is nothing to stop an owner ordering a sail with only two reefs, if that is what they want. On the other hand, only providing two reefs would require the owner to add the third.

  • chris Jan 14, 2013, 3:27 pm

    +1 for Garhauer. They offer good robust gear at modest prices. They supply Catalina and others so I don’t see them going bust anytime soon.

    Also +1 for easy asymmetrical sail handling. In our experience a fractional rig helps with this. But there are plenty of other ways to make an A-sail easy to fly.

    Great work. Thank you.

  • Chris Freeman Jan 14, 2013, 10:44 pm

    While we are discussing the deck why not have a look at rain catching. A good molded system in the deck should remove the need /cost of a water maker at no extra material or labour cost.

    • John Jan 15, 2013, 11:00 am

      Hi Chris,

      That’s a great idea. We will certainly keep it in mind.

  • Justin Jan 15, 2013, 1:54 pm


    Not nearly the interesting comments as above, but you mentioned something that got me wondering. We are about to replace our lifelines (with Dyneema, but that is a different topic) and I’ve been waffling on the boarding gate vs. no boarding gate option. Why did you suggest “no boarding gate” for the A40?

    We’ve also gotten fantastic products from Garhauer spanning 15 years. I highly recommend their vang over the Hall Spars (just did this replacement) and their deck hardware could be a real money-saver without sacrificing quality.

    • John Jan 15, 2013, 7:51 pm

      Hi Justin,

      Another vote for Garhauer! We will need to look carefully at that option.

      No boarding gate for A40: Just simplifying in every way I can. Also boarding gates are a potential problem and the required pelican hooks can be an issue.

  • John Jan 15, 2013, 7:48 pm

    Hi All,

    Over the next few days, I may be a little slow to respond to comments. We are about to leave St. John’s, Newfoundland heading for Nova Scotia: Eleven hour drive, eight hour ferry, six hour drive, or at least that’s the theory.

    However, at this time of year the trip can be, shall we say, a little unpredictable.

  • Dick Stevenson Jan 16, 2013, 5:34 am

    Since you are collecting kudus for Garauer, I will report we have used many Garhauer products over 15+ years. All have been designed well and been robust. An example: buying snatch blocks for my then new to me boat felt like buying jewelry and the usual high end products seemed poorly designed. The sheave on Garhauer snatch blocks (as of 12 years ago) was much larger diameter and 1/3 the price of Harken/Lewmar. After purchase service, when necessary, has been excellent.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • Adam Jan 19, 2013, 2:07 pm

    I have followed this idea with great interest. Rather than starting with a blank sheet of paper, why not approach a current builder and request modifications to an existing design? Specifically, I have always been a fan of Caliber’s designs. They are quality designs, well constructed and already tailored to long distance cruising. How about a request for a more spartan fit and finish version without the furling rig etc? Engineering is done, tooling is complete and it is a tried a true design.

    Thought I would throw this idea out. Caliber may tell us to jump in a lake, who knows…


    • John Jan 20, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Hi Adam,

      That’s certainly an interesting idea, although I do have reservations about the likelihood of an existing boat builder “getting” the Adventure 40 concept. More on that worry here.

      Having said that, I could be wrong about Caliber, so if you would like to approach them to see if they are interested in the concept of the Adventure 40, that would be great. And, if they are interested, I would be happy to discuss it with them.

  • Steve Guy Jan 27, 2013, 9:33 pm


    Great discussion. A couple of points:

    1.) How about designing a wind vane that operates the outboard rudder? I know that can be accomplished with lines and blocks to the tiller but perhaps also via a trim tab which might also be used for steering by low power drain auto pilot or electric wind direction indicator…

    2.)About sails: on the advice of Travis Blaine and Colin Mack of Mack Sails they installed a removable stay on my 38′ sloop that is attached to the mast a couple of feet below the headstay and to the deck at a normal fore staysail position about 4 1/2 feet abaft the stem head fitting and c. 10 1/2 feet forward of the mast (as I already had the inner forestay fitting installed) not parallel with the head stay. On it I set a non-overlapping sail we call the “working jib” (also can set a storm jib), both hanked on. The working jib is a sweet sail, fine upwind and easy to deal with. I may change it to roller furling but then, what to do for a storm jib? I could tack the stay forward like a solent and add a regular inner fore stay and runners but that adds complexity, though it would be nice to prevent mast pumping… so many options.

    3.) My shrouds terminate at the cabin sides, leaving a very nice clear passage forward. I recommend the arrangement. Or,the cap shrouds could be terminated at the rail if non-overlapping jibs are used (I am not a fan of genoas).

    Much of this could be left optional, perhaps with chainplates built in.

    I would love to learn what Robt. Perry would have to say about this wonderful project. He is idealist enough to go for it, maybe.

    • John Jan 28, 2013, 9:46 am

      Hi Steve,

      All interesting suggestions. Moving the cap shroud chain plates to the rail would certainly solve a lot of problems and is something we will look at. I’m not a big fan of overlapping genoas either, however, the whole idea here is to give the owner maximum flexibility, so I’m not sure we want to design a boat that precludes them. See this post for a compelling case from Colin on the benefits.

      I agree with you about Bob Perry, and in fact I mentioned him as a possible designer in the first post on the Adventure 40. If you would like to sound him out on the project, please do.

      On self steering. Trim tab systems are certainly interesting, although my understanding is that they are not as easy to use as pendulum servo gears, although that is hearsay, and not first hand. On the other hand, I don’t want to end up designing, building and debugging our own self steering gear, we have enough on our plate with the boat.

  • Evan Gatehouse Jan 29, 2013, 2:10 am

    1. Roller bearing tracks for jib and staysail cars. Most cruisers that I know wouldn’t know which way to move the cars, much less bother to adjust them, even if easy to do. Look at the existing cruising boat market. Nobody bothers to do this because with a high cut roller furling genoa the sheet lead position shouldn’t move significantly. Save a lot of money by not doing this.

    Do use good Harken track for a mainsail traveller which does get adjusted a lot more.

    2. All ball bearing blocks. I love them but I’d avoid them for halyards or reefing blocks where the blocks see long term static loads. Much cheaper to consider Harken ESP blocks that are cheaper.

    3. Another vote for Garhauer. They are the OEM blocks for Catalina and sometimes Hunter. They are robust and well made.

    4. Composite chainplates – I like them, and built them for my boat. About 11K miles on them so far with no issues. But if I had to do them again I’d use unidirectional E-glass instead of carbon only because less worry about a lightning strike (carbon conducts so well you really should ground carbon chainplates to avoid the risk of the resin vaporizing in a strike). Even so, I think they would be more costly to build than s.s. flat bar purchased in bulk. You could build them in bulk on a bench and bond them in and glass over fairly easily. (I actually built 4 chainplates as one lamination and cut them into 4 strips: )

    5. Price. Your price of $200K is too optimistic, sorry. How did you come up with $200K?

    The reason Beneteau’s 42 is $225K is because (a) they buy 1000’s of engines, hatches, keels, stoves, windlasses, masts, blocks, winches, etc etc every YEAR – which gives them huge discounts from suppliers. (b) their building process is very automated (automated NC cutting of interior woodwork and automated spray varnishing conveyor systems and electrical looms all premade) This reduces costly manhours and expensive interior finishing.

    For example the manhours for a 40.7 was in the region of 650 hours. That is phenomenal and you’re probably looking at 3000 hrs as a very low estimate to built a bare bones 40′ boat. Say your real cost (US wages + benefits) for workers is $35 /hr. That’s $100K just for wages. Then add materials, capital cost amortization of production facility, admin, profit, builder’s insurance, etc. I just don’t see you doing it.

    Beneteau prices are not a useful benchmark for the price of a small volume production sailboat. Look at what new Caliber 38’s used to sell for (for example)

  • John Jan 29, 2013, 9:32 am

    Hi Evan,

    Thanks for the time and effort you have put into a well reasoned comment. Here are my thoughts:

    Roller bearing genoa tracks: Good point, but we are trying to offer maximum flexibility here, and some owners will want to use blade jibs, or working jibs, some will race, some will cruise offshore with a cutter rig. We need to accommodate all those needs. And this is going to be a above all a sailor’s sailboat, good sheet leads are part of that.

    Roller Bearing Blocks: You are absolutely right. We will not use roller bearing sheaves in high static load applications like halyards. When I said blocks, I was referring to just that, and because we will not be leading the halyards aft, there won’t be any blocks in high static load use.

    Chain Plates: Thanks for the real world example, very useful and exactly what I had in find for retrofits as discussed in the next

    Price: All true, except for one thing, the whole Adventure 40 concept and price is predicated on it being a mass production boat, it was never intended and will not work as “small volume production sailboat”.

    We intend to leverage modern mass production techniques, just like the ones you mention that Beneteau uses. We also have the advantage that in recent years the cost of many of those techniques, such as CNC milling, has come down dramatically.

  • Christian Labezin Jun 19, 2013, 9:57 am

    Have you found the time to write the article announced in this paragraph ….. ?

    “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).”

    Thank you in advance for the reply and thank you for all your unique contributions.

    • John Jun 19, 2013, 2:06 pm

      Hi Christian,

      Thanks for the reminder. No, I have not yet got to that article. Actually, I’m planning an eBook on the subject of docking based on some articles I did for Cruising World some years ago and incorporating that spring technique.

      Not sure exactly when, but I would guess sometime this year.

  • Bill Attwood Oct 13, 2013, 8:23 am

    Hi John,
    I have a comment on the boom vang or “rod kicker” as some people call them. No matter how good the design and quality of a kicking strap, they all suffer from the same problem (a little bit of elephant in the room). The attachment points to mast/deck and boom produce an angle of less than 45° at the boom. The two disadvantages a) the majority of the force is applied forward, along the line of the boom to the gooseneck, not a good thing no matter how strong the mast, and b) the downwards pull to flatten the sail is relatively small, have persuaded me to remove my kicker and use twin vangs (in the traditional use) on the boom one taken down each side to a violin block on the toerail and back to the cockpit. I have also dispensed with a preventer, on the basis that the vangs serve almost as well. I know that an attachment to the mid rather than the end of the boom brings its own problems but I am prepared to live with that risk. Dispensing with an expensive vang (in your use) would help to support the A40 price point. Although this is very late in the development of the A40 concept I hope that you or some of your excellent correspondents will have some views.
    Yours aye,

    • John Oct 13, 2013, 10:18 am

      Hi Bill,

      Lot’s of good points in your comment.

      However, I don’t think that the issues with rigid vangs are as dire is your say. I have been using rigid vangs for some 30 years, Hall Quickvang mechanical on my old boat and hydraulic on the present “Morgan’s Cloud”. In all of that time and some 150,000 offshore miles, they have never failed to do their job and I have never broken any part of them or their related attachment points.

      I think that your negative feelings for them may be because many, perhaps most, rigid vang installations on production boats are inadequate and poorly done. There are also several mechanical rigid vangs out there for sale that are simply not up to the job.

      The advantages of rigid vangs are many:

      1). You can, if you have adequate crew protection from the boom (gallows or hard dodger) dispense with a topping lift.
      2). The control lines don’t obstruct the sidedecks the way a system likes yours does.
      3). Simplere

      Of course, you are right that your system has several advantages too. In the end, I think it is a close run thing and probably comes down to personal preference.

      Having said that, I really do believe that whatever vang or downhaul system you have, offshore, particularly in big wind and waves, a preventer should be rigged from the bow to the end of the boom.

  • Dick Stevenson Oct 13, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Dear Bill and John,
    Bill, If I understand your system correctly, I have used something similar or exactly alike, for decades and love it.
    Three reasons:
    Firstly, I consider it a major safety asset, particularly as it is always in use thereby providing its safety elements without trouble or effort (the best way). This is especially important for everyday sailing where one might be more relaxed, less careful, as the boom is always prevented. I consider the boom the most dangerous element of a boat. And a danger easily addressed in this system. It is surprising how much the end of the boom jumps around in everyday gusts, waves etc. when only pulled down to the traveller. Just a few inches jump can generate sledge hammer forces quite quickly, even from jumping around let alone from a gybe. It is a secure feeling to always have the boom triangulated and prevented from un-anticipated movement. I have an end of boom system for offshore and wavey/swelly/rolly times. I will also observe that safety systems must be used to be effective and I have never observed, to my knowledge, any boat with the everyday use of an end of boom preventer system even though it might be good judgement. (I have yet to have the pleasure of sailing next to or sharing an anchorage with Morgan’s Cloud).That said, most boats do not use a system like ours, but it is more likely in my estimation. In summary, I think the boom should always be prevented, not just offshore or in boisterous conditions. A richer more expert argument for the prevention part of this theme (and a simple system) is made by the Fleet Surgeon of the Cruising Club of America.
    Secondly, this may be just me, but I am more likely to use the vang effectively and consistently in adjusting mainsail shape.
    Thirdly, a rigid vang takes up a lot of under boom territory in its sweep. My nesting hard dinghy would have to go elsewhere on my 40 ft/12m boat. On other vessels things like dorades, liferafts, rolled up inflatables etc, might have to find other locations, less safe or easy.
    John, I agree about having a gallows or hard dodger being essential to dispense with a topping lift, but few boats have that protection. Many boats I notice seem to have both rigid vang and topping lift. An alternative we use (in addition to the hard dodger) is to have our lazy jacks beefy enough to be a back up topping lift. Further, I would challenge that a rigid vang is simpler. In use, both seem quite simple but in quite different ways. Installation, as you correctly point out, has major challenges for the rigid vang which many (most) boats fail to adequately manage. Installation of the system of Bill’s and mine (and of the Fleet Surgeon’s mentioned above) is quite simple and inspection/maintenance is easy for any owner. It is unfortunate, but it is also the true that another line is added to the side decks. Over the decades this has been workable, but I sure look with envy at other boats naked side decks. Mine are not.
    As said, I agree that this is a personal rather than a “seamanship” question, but I wished to emphasise the safety elements in everyday sailing as well as contribute the additional distinctions and let Bill know he is not alone.
    My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Oct 13, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Hi Dick,

      All good points. I guess in summary it comes down to balancing less sidedeck clutter against the benefits you list, with no topping lift on the side of the rigid vang. There is another benefit of hydraulic vangs that I never thought of until I had one: the relief valve can be adjusted so that the vang automatically releases if the load exceeds a level that would threaten the boom. We have ours set at 2000 psi, which is a good deal lower than a race boat would have theirs set.

      In thinking about it, I’m guessing that your system would appeal more to someone who has the halyards lead back to the cockpit, as you do, and my system would be more appealing to someone who does everything at the mast, as I do.

  • Dick Stevenson Oct 13, 2013, 2:53 pm

    John, Agreed. The point about setting the relief valve is interesting and new to me and a very nice feature. I wonder how many know of this and benefit by setting theirs? I have not seen it written up. Dick

    • John Oct 14, 2013, 9:10 am

      Hi Dick,

      I have to say that when I bought MC I thought that hydraulics (vang and backstays) had no place on a cruising boat, but she came with them so… But over the last 22 years I have become a convert. They have never let me down, although part of the secret of reliability is regular, although not frequent, service. We have all three rams and the control/pump panel rebuilt every 10 years.

      I can’t tell you how great it is not to have a topping lift: no chafe, no adjustment when reefing, no slapping around at sea.

      And in thinking about it, I think maybe a good quality rigid vang makes the crew safer from the boom than a topping lift. I have over the years seen a crew member drop the boom inadvertently while adjusting the topping lift several times and I also think there is more risk of a topping lift breaking than a good quality rigid vang collapsing.

      Yes, not sure how many people know that the relief valve can be adjusted, although you need a good rigger who knows what he or she is doing to do that.

  • Erik de Jong Oct 14, 2013, 1:33 am

    I do agree that the systems are pretty much scoring the same on the pro – con list. But I think that the boat itself will determine in the end what the “best” system would be.

    I am a big fan of having the gooseneck as low as possible above the deck to make life significantly easier for taking the halyard off the sail, put reefs in the sail and to minimize forces and bending moments on the base of the mast. By doing this, one eliminates the use of any vang other than a preventer at the end of the boom, while on other vessels with a more common goosneck height, a preveter might not work well with the deck layout and becomes more of an obstruction than a help.

    • John Oct 14, 2013, 1:07 pm

      Hi Erik,

      Now there’s a concept that I know exactly nothing about. My first reaction was to worry about the danger of having the boom so low forward. But then I thought that since it is impossible on boats of the size we are talking about to have the boom high enough to clear someone standing on the side decks, maybe its better to get hit in the chest than the head, if you are going to get hit.

      I would still want to see the aft part of the boom high enough that it can’t hit anyone standing on the cockpit sole. But then given the angle, I’m guessing that would still be so with the low gooseneck position.

      • Erik de Jong Oct 14, 2013, 7:44 pm

        Hi John,

        We have sailed with such a configuration for 5 years now and iw works great. Our is 50′ with the mast relatively far aft and the cockpit relatively far forward and no coach roof. The boom is about 1′ above the deck, while a 6′ tall person can stand in the forward part of the cockpit with the boom freely above the head. The nice thing is that the halyard connection is approx 5′ above the deck, and I find that a blessing in rough weather and for de-rigging the boat after a sailing trip.

        Incase of an unplanned gype or so, the boom would hit under the hips while standing next to the mast, and on the chest when standing on the deck next to the cockpit. Since we can’t fit a rigid vang because of this configuration, we work with permanent installed preventers.Because we are working with those, the boom can never come to the otherside of the centerline if you don’t want it.

        Best regards,

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