Adventure 40 Reveal—Hull, Cockpit, and Rig

Ten years after I conceived the idea for a fast, simple, economical, robust, and sea-kindly offshore cruising boat, we have a design. Exciting times.

Let’s take a look:

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Igor Asselbergs

I love the lines. I love the winch island. I expect to be able to live happily without the coamings. All in all she looks quite promising. One thing that does worry me though is the distance between the chartplotter and the tiller. In treacherous waters I’d like to keep one hand on the tiller and one eye on the chart. I’m not sure if that’s going to be possible with this setup.

Igor Asselbergs

One other thought for you: unless you are single handed, Phyllis and I have found over the years that it’s way safer in confined waters to have one person navigating and one steering while keeping their vision and head out of the boat, than to try and do both.

Good point. Thanks.

Karl Lewis

At some point will you elaborate on: “set up for a Jordan Series Drogue”? I know what the drogue is, (I’ve read both your writing on that as well as Heavy Weather Sailing.) I’m just curious what, precisely, you’re doing about it.

Matt Marsh

It seems like it would be possible to have one leg of it always attached on the side where the drogue is stowed, and have the other leg permanently attached at the boat but not at the “Y” point of the bridle. Then, the one connection that must be made prior to deployment can be performed from the safety of the cockpit, rather than leaning out over the transom.
Keeping both legs permanently attached might be tricky to do if you want to avoid any risk of damaging the windvane when the drogue’s not in use. With an aux-rudder type like a Hydrovane it’d be pretty straightforward to just route one leg through a retaining clip on the back of the vane gear body, but with a servo-pendulum type I’d be much more worried about a loose drogue bridle jamming the vane gear as it swings from side to side.

Kenneth Konoi

Great news that we’ve been waiting for so long. Great modern adventure lines and looks and much to like about inventive solutions as by the renderings so far. I’m happy this project has taken this major step forward. If I wouldn’t already have a proven blue water cruiser, Bowman 40, this would very probably be my next boat.

Mark Wilson

Loving the cockpit design and layout. And the hard dodger and deckhouse. A great place to enjoy the high latitudes. And even the low latitudes when the weather gods are in a bad mood.
Looks to be a bright interior and the view from within will enhance the pleasure of visiting beautiful places. The dodger and cabin top could carry a respectable amount of solar panels. I’m with John on the need for a traveller system of some kind on the roof.
Like Kenneth I am the lucky owner of a Bowman 40. Improving on perfection is hard but even Chuck Paine admits that it would have been nice to have found a way of including a stern boarding solution.
Enjoyed the teasing peek into the interior on the video.
Perhaps a well placed cove line would break up the perception of a slight stubbiness in the video but I realise I’m being an old geezer now.The Adventure 40 is for the next generation.

John Nelson

It looks like instead of a traveler it is set up for a split double main sheet similar to what a lot of the GGR boats are using?

Pedro Fernando

you are right about the looks: upon looking at the boat all i could think of was: MacGregor 26.
there isnt much space for solar panels, why not extend the hard dodger into a hard bimini, gain some space there and impacting the general outlook of the cockpit?.
the guardrail isnt solid stainless?! with a mid ship gate (both sides) for easy boarding when the chop makes the bow and stern rock and roll?
you gotta do something about the payload marketing……you gotta help all the fellas who need the admiral stamp approval on a boat that can carry whatever the admiral feels its the “basic” hehehehe, it will make for better sales….

Pedro Fernando

im not here because this would be a boat for me. it is not.
i think ive made that clear from my first ever comment. im here because im always learning.

i meant solid as in SS tubing, not a rod. just to make that clear, i think you understood what ive meant though.
aniways i think that a person who can afford this boat would be able to afford a repair like that.
sure, accidents can happen and things get bent or broken, thats sailiing/cruising i guess.

im still reffiting my 30 footer and im having ss rails as guard rail installed, dont care a hoot about the weight, but i do care being held by it at night when things go sideways (i ll be attached to a second point at all times, its a rope acess habit i have).

when the sun in the tropics is unbearable and rain and wind and any other stuff in colder climates will be present, and you have to helm because, again, things go sideways, then appreciation for an extended shelter will be present.
wouldnt need to be a continuation from the dogdger, you can have a gap in between and then something hard again. less repairs in the future in costly canvas work. less moving part in SS work, bit more surface for panels or to mount something underneath. but this is my practical sense at work. or maybe im just not practical at all (it could be that also)

i didnt say the payload should be increased, i mentioned the marketing of it. i mean, in this article alone you say this boat, a 40 footer, is in reality 2/3 of a Valiant 40, then go on about how you should keep it light, which i totally understand, and as a male, and someone which will be cruising alone, isnt dificult to implement. but for people who are making the decision of buying this boat from new, as a couple, that will play a part, specially if the admiral starts going to boat shows and seeing other designs…. and “boat buying” is an emotional thing not a rational one.

if you arent worried about sales, i wont be worried about sales either.

Andy Schell

Love the concept, hate the look. The modern “wraparound sunglasses” coachroof/saloon might be in vogue but it just looks plain ugly (and like every other production boat right now, not unique). Hull lines are sweet on their own, but for me, sailing is romantic first, practical second. I hate to be negative about this, but man I was so excited to see this email come thru this morning, and what a bummer to see that sunglasses look! I get it, but no thanks.

Robert Newman

I like the numbers and the hull lines but would prefer the bow to be a bit finer. Like the flattish run and the moderate width transom.
The seat to sole distance under the dodger looks too much and cushions on the seats, as would be likely, would make it worse. Agree that, as drawn, major down flooding would be a risk.
Like the rig. Not keen on runners but at least they don’t have to be handled upwind. Sail area seems practical.
Don’t like the lack of back rests in the cockpit – unless using a Comfortseat or similar there’s nothing to lean against with feet up. From the profile sections it looks as if the cockpit seats (and sole) slope. Don’t like that.
How is light to be brought into the forward part of the boat? The cabin trunk looks too low for ports and I’d prefer to not have hull ports.
Hope the mast is keel stepped – couldn’t tell whether the pole in the accommodation is a compression post or a hand hold.
Don’t like the tracks being in the middle of the side decks.
I would want a traveller.
I too am not keen on the profile but I too am an old fart.

Robert Newman

Also, I don’t like the anchor being under the sprit – I would want to be able to lift the anchor aboard and put it in an anchor locker.

Robert Newman

I agree that for coastal passage making having the anchor ready to go is the best choice but for long offshore sailing I want to know that it’s not going to be subject to being banged around by big water. Re not putting the back out I suggest having it live on a pivoting channel that pivots it into place from a locker. Akin to the arrangement on the Birger Kullmann K43 or Alerion 41. 

Scott Arenz

Hi Robert,

I thought I’d chime in regarding the stowable anchor roller concept, to provide a reference photo for those unfamiliar with the concept, as I was. I found this image of the arrangement on the Alerion 41, from

To me it seems that the Alerion achieves its stunningly clean appearance by occasionally prioritizing aesthetics above functional simplicity, and the anchor roller and locker appears to be an example of that prioritization.

To my mind, the retractable anchor adds complication (and perhaps potential unreliability) to a piece of gear that is essential to the survival of the boat. Also, it would seem to be difficult to integrate with the desirable feature of stowing the anchor chain amidships, near the center of gravity.

Lastly, I’m sure the current design for the bow and sprit can be engineered to be strong enough to handle the worst conditions, even with a big Spade anchor out front.


Robert Newman

Seems we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. My last contribution on the matter: given the size and purpose of the boat I assume the anchor is going to be a forty something pounder and I’d want to get the majority of that weight at least a few feet aft of the stem as part of the decisions made to minimise pitching.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Robert,

you’re very right that effect on pitching would be an important criterion to look at on this decision. However, when calculating the moment of pitching inertia, the additional weight of a strong mechanism with hinges etc. would very likely offset the gain of moving the anchor a few feet aft – even before taking costs, maintenance, and time to deploy in a hurry, into account.

Robert Newman

Hmm, not sure I agree about fine bows being, by default subject to burying. I think big race boats have shown that bows with fine half angles of entrance can be kept up well. That said, I’m not a fan of fine bows and wide transoms. But this boat doesn’t have a wide transom. Totally for a different discussion, I’m far more Wild Oats II than Comanche.
You’ve got me with the deck stepped mast question – it’s just a gut thing.

Robert Newman

Also, I suggest that the fine bow question isn’t a matter of scale. Well designed boats like the Salona 38 and similar aren’t known for bow burying.

Robert Newman

Hi John.

You’re looking at the wrong boat. The boat with the knuckle above the waterline is the 380, not the 38. Some material on the web names the boat incorrectly. The 38 is the model before the 380. It was launched in 2012 and went out of production in about 2014.

Robert Newman

Hi John.

Can’t, and don’t want, to argue with any of that.

Steve Fisher

Hi Robert,
I remember Ted Brewer writing that a keel stepped mast is about 30 percent stronger for a given section. Probably because it is stayed higher up from the base. I’m with you in not liking deck stepped masts

Stein Varjord

Hi Steve,
The claim of 30% stronger is just not correct. Deck stepped or keel stepped with the same section wil be exactly the same strength, if both are designed right. A keel stepped mast has more support at the deck level, which a deck stepped mast must get from the standing rigging. A competent rig designer has no problem doing that. It might be solved by another set of spreaders, which would normally make the rig more stable than a keel stepped version.


Hi Stein,
I don’t know if the 30% stronger is accurate, but – for a monohull, assuming same mast, mast height (I), spreaders and wires – seems the additional support point the keel-stepped mast has at the deck will make it stronger and more stable than a deck-stepped mast. In a way, the deck would act as an additional set of spreaders for the keel-stepped mast. Of course, as you say, the deck-stepped mast rig could be beefed up, but the penalty would be relatively more weight and windage aloft. Plus, I suspect that in the event of a dismasting, the remains of a keel-stepped mast might be easier to use in a jury rig. What am I missing here?

Matt Marsh

A deck-stepped and a keel-stepped mast for the same boat will be the same strength. Rig strength is dictated by the boat’s righting moment.
The additional constraint of the mast partners means that the keel-stepped version can generally be a bit lighter and/or get by with less complicated standing rigging.
My own strong preference for keel-stepped comes from:
– It is generally possible to perform many standing-rigging service tasks on a keel-stepped mast, on your own, that would require a shoreside crane with a deck-stepped one.
– If a deck-stepped rig is dismasted, it is toast, period. A keel-stepped one is more likely to leave enough of a stub to secure a jury-rig.
– Keel-stepped masts are safer for untrained crane guys to service (I have seen a few such people come very close to severe injury by messing up the sequence of disconnecting a deck-stepped mast and then it suddenly got away from them when a critical link was undone)
I would of course prefer deck-stepped if the boat is rigged to raise and lower her own mast for bridge clearance.

Eric Klem

Hi John,

I think keel versus deck stepped could be a very interesting discussion. The biggest differentiator to me actually hasn’t been mentioned yet here.

Most of the explanations I have read in main stream publications of the engineering differences are hopelessly simplistic and assume things like an equally distributed load and that the mast partners on a keel step rig actually fully fix the mast section which isn’t true in any setup I have seen. The engineering of it is a relatively standard buckling and bending problem but the boundary conditions are just complicated enough to make it tricky to solve with basic hand calcs although it is certainly doable and with FEA it is very doable.


John Nelson

Thought on molding in tubes (with drains) at 24″ intervals along the top of what backrest there is? That would allow for a seat back (or other things…table, rod holder, etc) to be slid into place in multiple positions. Does that make sense? Obviously this is an added expense, but one that could provide modular functionality and comfort.

John Nelson

True, and simple is better overall. I’m seeing some bean bags in my head now instead… 😉

Maxime Gérardin

Hi John N.,

I do agree with both your initial idea and your present reaction!

Stein Varjord

Hi John,
As you know, I’m a catamaran fanatic, so this won’t be our next boat. However, I love seeing good thinking being applied, and contemplating the choices myself. After many decades of this, I’m happy that it keeps giving me new ideas and improving my understanding of boats in general. I like what I see and read here, of course.

About the exposed aft part of the cockpit: It looks exactly as it should be. We move from the inside to the outside of the boat precisely because we want to be more exposed. We want to see better and feel more of our surroundings. Same goes for moving from the doghouse to the aft part of the cockpit. We do it because we want to be less contained and more exposed. Next step is going on deck. Some boats, especially with biminis and enclosures in place, make the cockpit unfit for its purpose; a place to experience and observe our environment, and handle the boat. It’s important to be able to pick from several levels of this. The shown layout does that perfectly. If there was no doghouse, I’d think more protection is good. The mockup will probably show ways to improve comfort and ergonomics, but I really don’t think it’s good to make it more “protected”.

I also love the concept of the winch islands between the doghouse and the open cockpit. Especially that the winches are good to work with and comfortably available from both inside the doghouse and from the tiller. Brilliant. I think this can be enhanced even more by shaping the island more around the bases of the winches, or at least bringing them to the very edge of the island. This separation of the open cockpit and the doghouse area is great. Perhaps the winch island could be shaped more to accommodate an enclosure for the doghouse? I don’t quite know how that would be. I’d like to have access to the winches from inside when the enclosure is in use.

I’m not convinced that 3 winches on either side is really needed on a boat that has its halyards and reefs at the mast and runners that can be left while tacking. The outboard winch looks like it must be used from the side deck. Not ideal… Perhaps it could be moved to the aft end of the cockpit benches, for genny sheets etc? Or perhaps turn the two into a single bigger central one, on the table just aft of the rudder post? That could double as the place to pull in the JSD or a stern anchor. In party mode, one could put a rotatable table for drinks supplies, or perhaps fine cheese, in the winch socket. 😀

The downflood risk into the companionway is real, but perhaps it could be mitigated by having a sliding board for the lower third or so, into a “garage”? It could slide down below the companionway, like Amel has, or perhaps to one of the sides? This will give issues with inside spaces of course… The upper part of the companionway could have a similar solution, with a small “garage” on top of the deck salon, To open it, one would pull the lower edge of it outwards and up until the board is horizontal, and then slide it forwards. The top would be attached by hinges on sliders into the garage. One or both boards could be Polycarbonate or so, to give more light inside. For properly cold times, insulation should be not the boards themselves, but a separate curtain or sheet inside or outside of it. A sheet closing the aft wall of the doghouse will also help much. If the companionway hatch parts are always very easy to close and open, and no hassle with stowing parts, they’ll actually be used.

I also like the hull lines. They show a competent designer with updated knowledge about how hulls work in water. The sleek lines are, in my opinion, an essential safety feature in heavy weather, as it makes the boat able to surf properly without loosing control. The catastrophic failure of older designs types in this respect were demonstrated thoroughly in the previous Golden Globe Race.

Some modern cruisers use modern extreme racing boats as an excuse for stupidly wide sterns. It’s done to get space for a condo inside, of course. That’s all fine, as long as those boats are cruised like the racers are raced:
– Super light.
– Huge sail area.
– Pedal to the metal, always.
If some of that is missing, they are slugs or misfits, usually both. End of story. The shown design isn’t even close to these problems. It just uses a conservative amount of good modern hydrodynamic tools to get important properties.

The main sheet out of the cockpit is a great choice, but I’m concerned that the edge of the doghouse might be too weak to carry the loads when pushing hard upwind. One block on either side will give an angle to the boom that makes proper tension unlikely. Having an arc further aft is probably annoying too. I have no good suggestion for this at the moment…

One more topic, and I’ll finally stop: I’ve mentioned it other places, but I think it’s relevant here too. It’s normal to try to fit the desired functionality into as small a boat as reasonably possible, to reduce price etc. That works fine, but it tends to give a boat that is a bit cramped inside and looks a bit bloated. It’s usually a bit heavy, tall and wide for its length.

The A40 is now about 41 foot. That’s enough, but it would be possible to make the exact same boat stretch to say 45 foot. Same rig, keel, freeboard, width, engine, equipment, weight, layout and cost. The cost in money and weight of just stretching the hull 4 feet is close to zero, as long as we make sure we don’t scale any other factors. No wider. No higher. No extra toilet. No extra functions. Just more air space for what is already there. Like the cockpit benches that now will probably fit a 6 foot guy, which could then comfortably fit a 7 foot guy. The only thing added will be that little extra length; a bit more hull and deck area. The loads will be the same.

The extra length adds speed, sea kindliness and sleekness of lines, in the water and in the looks. It also makes it far easier to get the layout uncramped. As an added bonus, the perceived value (also second hand) and marketability of the boat increases much more than the 0,2% or so extra build cost. Harbour costs will be higher, but not a lot, and this boat is not made to stay in harbours! 🙂

One could call this a 45 foot 40 footer. I remain surprised that no boat builders do this properly, just add length, absolutely nothing else. The normal strategy, stuff in as much as possible on a certain lenght, is just flawed thinking.

Stein Varjord

One more about the companionway. I think it must stay big, for comfortable movement between the inside and outside. It’s essential on a modern boat, to reduce the basement feeling inside. The above suggestion about sliding the lower board down or to the side into a “garage” brings complications. I think I’d not do either. I’d put hinges along the lower edge of the lower board and attach them along the lower edge of the companionway so it folds outwards. Inwards is also possible, but that makes it harder to avoid leaks.

If that board is folded outwards, and the companionway has a low threshold, as it should, the board is flat on the floor of the foot well. To walk in or out we need to step on it. That normally gives us a “No! Don’t step on the varnish!” feeling. However, that lower third or so of the companionway closure could be any robust material that looks like a floor and takes a beating. If it fits well to cover the footwell floor completely, it will look nice. Closing it will be done with zero hassle, and we can still step over it when it’s closed.

Stein Varjord

Yet another thought. I just can’t seem to stop this. One of my personality disorders is besserwisser… 🙂

About the wraparound sunglasses look. I’m also an “old fart” 🙂 of course, but I’m trying to stay updated and neutral. I think the present version looks fine, albeit not how I’d design it. I see several modern brands use a similar styling and have success with it, so I get that it’s right in some markets, but is it for this segment? I’m thinking it might be a bit off.

My point is that the A40 is designed for the hard core off the beaten track people. The boat concept is just as tough and to the point as a Land Rover or Jeep. (I love an ad from the old days. Journalist: “Is there no heater?” Land Rover rep: “No. Land Rovers only do important things!” 😀 A Land Rover customer will not buy a minivan or an SUV. Perhaps the latter two would fill the function just as well or better, in many cases, but it’s often about identity, a statement.

The customers of the A40 might have some of the same notions. I often like the minimalist, industrial, one off, pure function style. Something that makes it clear that this isn’t the average run of the mill. Aluminium boats often get some of that from their material alone. Perhaps the design language could reflect this more. Perhaps the wraparound sunglasses style is too typical of today and not enough timeless? Perhaps the style could have a more unusual personality?

I think the windows layout, in the deck house and the doghouse, is just right. Also the placement of volumes seems right. What I’m thinking of is design elements. Perhaps some shape changes could improve somewhere, but I don’t quite know what that would be. Breaking up the black surface by having the surrounding areas white might make it better. I think a bit edgier shapes some places might also contribute. I don’t know. I’ll probably get some more thoughts later… Sorry for the word flood.

Matthew Clark

I like all boats, trad and modern, as long as they are good looking, ha! As Andy, Stein and your self have alluded to, the initial reaction to seeing it for many is not very positive. The wraparound does indeed look more 90s than contemporary and I think that can be cleaned up with angle, detail and color changes. Look at JPK, Garcia and many other modern boats for clues, but even better, look at Class 40s and custom expedition boats. I heartily agree that a more purposeful and contemporary look would seem to fit this boat better. A particular point, the proportion of the cabin to dodger to rest of boat is a bit off, not sure if you could stretch the cabin a bit past the mast as well as make it more angular but it would help a lot. As to the windows, maybe flat ends up working with the design, maybe not, but if the curves are not extreme it is quite possible to flex the windows a bit as you bolt them down, as on our custom hard dodger, see attached pic. In the end of course from follows function, nice work so far! Exciting process to watch, thanks for all the time and energy that has lead up to creating a design, I sincerely hope to see one on the water someday.

Matt Marsh

Re. winches. We hoist & reef at the mast, and we don’t have running backstays.
So that’s a pair of reefing winches on the boom plus main halyard, jib halyard, & auxiliary halyard winches. Then, around the cockpit, we have six: the two headsail sheet winches, two auxiliary winches for spinnaker sheets or preventers, and two cabintop winches for vang & cunningham.
Even with that, I find myself often thinking that one more auxiliary winch on each side, or at least a well-placed bollard, would be nice. So putting a cluster of three good ones on each pedestal strikes me as a rather wise decision.

Stein Varjord

Hi Matt,
You’re right. Winches always come in handy. We have no overlapping headsails, only a self tacking jib, so I get used to rarely needing them. We have only 2 winches in the cockpit. They are for our (big) gennaker and and for the jib control lines. Perfect task sharing, as they’re never at the same time. We also have 2 at the wheel. One for the main sheet and one for various trim lines. Both of the latter can also be used for halyards and reef lines. All pulleys and jammers are there for that, but we normally run it at the mast.

I think I’ll modify my comment on this topic above here to say that the third winch seems hard to work with. Perhaps it could be put a bit higher or in a different location to remedy that? Also, my suggestion of an extra central winch at the aft end of the table, just behind the rudder post, might address your wish for some more than 3 on each side? I’ve considered putting in such a winch on our cat, for the tasks where the normal winches are not quite at the right spot, for changing loads between ropes, or when we as mentioned want to haul in a stern anchor, or a future JSD. For that job it must be a fairly stout winch, though.

Maxime Gérardin

Thank you Matt for this confirmation!

Stein, on the third winch ergonomics, see John’s answer to Eric, below. Also, I would not want winches far aft as this is too far-away and exposed a place for this function, at least if we plan to use them offshore.

Philip Wilkie


My old 40ft steel clunker has an almost identical rig. It was built and sailed for over a decade by a very smart couple. They too had settled on three winches per side. Two on the cockpit coaming each side and a third one on the dodger roof for the staysail. Plus a central winch up there for the mainsheet.

I merely inherited it – but it works very, very well thank you. One thing I would never change about the boat.

Scott Arenz

Hi Philip,

I’m intrigued by the idea of winches mounted atop a hard dodger. Would you happen to have a photo that shows the arrangement? Also, if you don’t mind giving some more detail about your interesting boat, do you operate them while standing on the side deck, cockpit seat or sole?


Maxime Gérardin

Hi Philip,

thank you for this feedback! I too would be curious of seeing the exact setup.

Maxime Gérardin

“she is already very long on the water for her weight, so to add 4 more feet without adding displacement she would either need to get narrower, or shallower in the hull. The first would make her tender, I think, and the second will be detrimental to motion comfort. Also the added wetted surface etc.”

John, this is spot-on. Nothing more to say – this is exactly what came up when working with Vincent and team on the hull shape.

Stein Varjord

Hi John,
I agree on the winches. Too many winches isn’t realistically possible. Too few is. I was just throwing out thoughts that were not quite processed.

About the lenght, I still think a bit differently. You are correct, of course, that more length with virtually no more displacement means she has to be either narrower or shallower in the hull. Of those, I’d certainly choose shallower, with the same width.

Would a longer slightly fairer hull be detrimental to motion comfort and need more rig power, though? In my experience the exact opposite tends to be the case. If absolutely nothing else than length changes, I’m certain that it will make the boat faster in anything but a dead calm, and when motion is an issue, in waves, it will be significantly faster and pitch significantly less, which is arguably the most significant issue for comfort.

From all I can tell, more length at the same weight, same width and same rig, will result in a boat that is significantly faster and more comfortable, at very close to the same price. Its performance will also certainly get noticeably less influenced by extra payload. Longer waterline length and more fair hull lines are not infallible universal wonder medicines, but pretty close. 🙂

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Stein,

thank you for the words on the cockpit! It exactly reflects our thinking: offering a full range of places from “fully protected inside” to “out there in the wind”, with the different functions (nav station, winching, helming) placed on this scale where we feel they belong.

Oscar Kramer

I think the hull lines and hull/rig numbers are good. She should sail well in light air. I know what you mean about the cabintop aesthetics. It takes a while to get used to. It is a trend with French boats that I hated at first but it does grow on you, and the lighting below is fantastic. We give up the cozy cave but can better enjoy the sights.

A problem, as you pointed out, is the forward cockpit well and companionway hatch. It is just too great a flood risk. Can the cockpit floor stay at the same level all the way to the bulkhead? Maybe move the bulkhead aft to keep the same angle for the stairs, which will need to be higher? The level floor will also make seating at the forward end more comfy since your legs won’t be dangling in the well. The inclined bulkhead is great for entering and can afford to be shorter without having to duck.

The cockpit table accommodating the liferaft is clever, but I fear it is taking up too much vital real estate. I would prefer a narrower table and the raft located under the floor aft somehow.

One more item is the open transom. It does look sharp but it would worry me at sea — especially with the cockpit well. A great solution would be a fold-down transom hinged near the water line. The windvane is the problem there of course. Maybe provide a split transom, or only one side opening? What about providing drawings for owners to do those kinds of additions? That could be a good strategy for other DIY optional items like arches, travelers, etc.

Looking forward to the next installment. Thanks.

Kevin Dreese

Wow! Excited to see it coming together! Love the hard dodger, deck saloon, winch setup, tiller, etc. Can’t wait to see more – especially dinghy storage… something I think is missing from so many designs.

All these features within the original cost/price goals? Sounds awesome and a great value.

John Cobb

What does the designer include in the “Light displ.” of 16300 lbs?

Maxime Gérardin

Yes exactly!

Dave Pyle

Have to agree that’s it’s ugly, but I love almost everything else about it, and the few things I don’t you’re already discussing. Also love the anchor windlass, chain etc moved aft. Great to get all that weight off the bow. Will be interesting to see how it is handled below decks.

I vote for an arch, but a fairly minimal one for radar and the various antennas needed. But please no huge solar panels as pictured in a few of the views.

Great start and looking forward to more reveals.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi David, thank you for the feedback!

Whitall Stokes

Brilliant work Maxime! You’ve broken some conventions with the cockpit, to the better. The “sitting well” under the hard dodger is fantastic. I saw one on a Van de Stadt and fell in love. Nav boxes safe, crew snug under the dodger, comfortable deep well for one’s feet. The VDS had the same risk of downflooding, although the transom was closed. She had huge scuppers there, but not sufficient, IMO. Easy to have a mental rule that says the bottom hatchboard goes in at 20 knots of breeze. If the JSD goes out, companionway should be closed. Still a problem as the boards are unlikely to be watertight. Dutch oven door?

I like the lack of coamings aft. My Open 50 has a similar aft area, and it’s great. Easy to move around, take a seat cushion with you if you want. Great place to watch the water go by and ponder the universe and watch the nature show.

Impressed so far. One negative I see is a a singlehandeer, the ability to sleep in the cockpit. I reasonable weather you could stretch out on the sole, but at the risk of getting wet. For me personally, I’m 6′-3″, so room the stretch out and sleep in the cockpit could be a problem even in good weather. We will see about headroom and bunk length below. With my height, I’ve had to move to slightly larger boats, unfortunately.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Whitall,

thank you for the kind words and detailed comment. It’s great to have this kind of confirmation by you, both on what we got right and on where improvements could be useful.

To me too a “watertight” (meaning close-to-watertight, of course) closing of the companionway seems very desirable, whatever the final shape of the hatch. Even though, on these extreme-event things, it’s always hard to disentangle the part from our superstitions and the part from rational thinking.

The lack of obvious possibility for sleeping outside, and lying on the sole as an unsatisfactory replacement, is a drawback we’ve identified. A remedy could be to draw inspiration from the Pogo 30’s cloth coamings. Such a thing may be not long-lived enough as a permanent coaming, but perhaps making provisions so that people can add some fair-weather exterior lee cloth would make sense?

And I think that the interior will be just good for your height!

Whitall Stokes

Hi Maxime,

Ha! Thank you for the height below!

And yes, cloth coamings can be OK. I saw those on the Pogo and wondered about utility & longevity. I’m sure some know from over your way. Always about the details.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Whitall,

on these cloth coamings, my experience (one instance only) is that they work great but tend to not last extremely long when put to hard use – the difficulty is the horizontal tension you must keep in the upper edge, and what happens if you step on them etc. Nothing catastrophic, but not extremely in line with the general longevity we want to achieve. That’s why a sort of adjustable lee cloth you put in place only when needed makes more sense to me.

Whitall Stokes

Yes, concur. UV and boarding waves makes life short for canvas generally. Not sure if this would be standard kit, or just provisions for attachment.

Frederick Gleason

I like the special consideration given to the transition zone between cabin and cockpit, this is a big asset. Bridge decks are a practical solution, but generally result in limited visual connection to and from the cabin and more difficult physical transition. Perhaps the well could be reduced or eliminated and sliding protective panels stored in the winch islands would solve the problem? I am sure this will be improved with more design iteration.

I understand the hard dodger is not full height, but I wonder why it is cut back in the center, is this done to provide greater protection at the sides? I just wonder if it would be simpler and perhaps structurally easier to split the difference and run the aft edge straight (or in a slight curve) across.

I see the two cockpit sole hatches for access to fender storage. I think very simple direct liferaft deployment from the stern is best. I wonder how involved removal of the liferaft from the cockpit table is, because it looks like the aft part of the table is a panel. I am sure the designer has considered reversing the storage location of liferaft and fenders and found that storage below the cockpit is not of adequate height, however that might be a better location, if a quick easy deployment from the cockpit table cannot be achieved.

Thank you for publishing this development.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Frederick,

I think we shouldn’t assume liferaft deployment will be possible from the side where we happen to have stored the liferaft. Sure a liferaft just at the stern looks easy to use, but what if water is filling in the aft of the boat first? Or, if the boat is turned such that the waves are crashing on the transom? We should probably assume the conditions will dictate on what side of the boat to launch the liferaft. Hence the decision to make the liferaft directly available to someone getting out of the shelter of the dodger.

Since this kind of situation is frightening enough, not having to lift a cover or hatch to access the liferaft (at a moment when the deck may be super-cluttered…), and, as John writes, not having to lift the liferaft itself out of a complicated place, seem to be important points. Arguably we do much better here than is most often seen.

Dick Stevenson

Hi John, Maxime and all,
Another consideration arguing that a protected location is wise (such as below the table) is the reality (to my experience) that many on deck locations are way too vulnerable to a deck-sweeping knockdown or roll-over. Not much on deck survives those occurrences. Add to that the observation that many rafts are not installed in a way to tolerate the above conditions: either the cradle is not robust enough and/or it is installed by screwing to the deck (not using bolts and backing plates). For similar reasons, I am not a fan of rafts stored on the pushpit or on the aft swim platform.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy  

Maxime Gérardin

Thank you Dick and John for completing my previous comment!

Frederick Gleason

I hadn’t thought about it this way and I agree the table location is best. It just has to be easy to get out. I suppose pulling it out the back is not so good an idea, but pulling it forward will necessitate lifting it up and around the dodger. To either side might be easier, but it all depends on design specifics, such as if there is a drop down, etc.

David Smith

I am a noob in this field. Most of my experience dates back to dinghy sailing in the ’70s. With that caveat, does the tiller design allow you to fix the tiller extension and hold it between your legs, leaving two hands for sheets?

Frederick Gleason

This was a common position we used in Blue Jays going downwind, particularly for quick sets of the spinnaker, with the crew setting the pole, hoisting the spinnaker and handling the centerboard.
I can see how it might be a useful technique, but I think the cockpit table would likely interfere.

How often would it be used?

Maxime Gérardin

Hi David,

I’m not sure of which extension you refer to, the one in black or the one represented as out of wood and in its deployed position.

However, regarding the latter, the main reason for it is motoring in reverse, where it’s really necessary to turn to the transom and hold the tiller between one’s legs. This extension may happen to be useful in other situations too, but that would not be its very first purpose.

David Smith

Hi Frederick, John, and Maxime,

Thank you for your kind (and tolerant) replies. The question above relates to a solo-sailing edge case. But I think the crux of my confusion is this. Hand-steering is one of the great pleasures of sailing. Right now, I cannot imagine how the tillerman will be securely braced (fore and aft, and laterally) when standing or sitting. I have confidence these details are part of the overall design spec and will become clear in due course.

At this point, I don’t know if the Adventure 40 is the right boat for me, but watching and learning from the design/build process is a privilege. I would happily volunteer to crew for the sea trials 🙂

Steven Sather

I have been captivated by the Adventure 40 project since it’s early days. Great job Maxime and Vincent ( and John) moving this closer to reality. Keeping with the crowd sourcing concept I have added a few of my initial opinions below:


  • Hard dodger offering good weather protection
  • protected helming area close to center of mass
  • multiple winches at accessible location
  • good cockpit drainage and easy dinghy access off stern
  • cutter rig
  • reasonable side deck width


  • definitely don’t want green water heading down into the cabin
  • is there room for dinghy (preferably rib) on fore-deck or in a locker?
  • is there any option for sea kindliness, and speed improvement for nominal cost with another 2-3 feet overall length?
  • all those windows and no air-conditioning in the tropics?
  • The draft of 2.0 m will give great sailing performance but will preclude some shallower anchorages/ harbours. Would there be any option for variable draft or does this coastal cruiser have to adjust to bluewater constraints?
  • Being an engineer I definitely lean to function over form. My initial impression is that the cabin sole is pretty orthogonal looking. Perhaps this aesthetic is more modern than I am used to seeing and it will take a bit of time to adapt.
  • could lateral strength and look of the dodger be improved by splaying the base of it
Maxime Gérardin

Hi Steven,

thank you for the feedback!

I didn’t understand the remark on the cabin sole?

On splaying the base of the dodger, it’s very possible that we’ll do something like this, as long as the few lines that must go to the cockpit still have some space. On a similar note, I noticed after the fact that the lateral faces of the dodger are, in the current iteration, not totally aligned with the sightlines of the helmsman, which we will correct.

Eric Klem

Hi John,

This looks like very good progress. I know that showing a design before it is done is always challenging as there will still be a ton of little tweaks. Here are my initial reactions from seeing it.

The forward end of the cockpit is indeed innovative, here are a few thoughts:

  • I definitely like being able to stand up and winch.
  • I wonder about using the ergonomics of the outboard winch and what leads and clutches would look like coming into all of this. Without all those details it is probably too hard to judge.
  • I appreciate that there is thought given to sheet storage.
  • What is the thinking behind the cutout in the center aft portion of the hard dodger? Is it for someone hand steering ahead of the tiller? I would prefer to see a relatively straight back so that you could put up a curtain at the aft end for when sailing in colder weather. For people who like the tropics, this would also help them tie in a bimini (that hopefully is only for use at anchor).
  • When sitting under the hard dodger while heeled, is the seat to seat distance such that it is easy to brace?
  • The combination of windows and the surrounding curves are ugly to my eye as well. I think that some time spent playing with this could probably deal with it though without losing the benefits. I never cease to be amazed by how ugly some initial designs I get from industrial designers can be and how good they can look after some pretty modest tweaks. I also hope that the glass can be kept flat and reasonable in size.

Looking at the aft half of the cockpit, there are a few areas that worry me and if I were designing I would be putting human models in and trying to work out:

  • The table is a big, tall obstruction. My biggest worry with it is if you are trying to move around to leeward of it when heeling a lot. The angle of heel where you will be forced to walk up on the seats seems pretty low and the seats have no backs so it is easy to slide out. Getting by someone would be equally hard. Granted, this cockpit is not really intended to be used that way a lot but it will be done with some regularity.
  • The no seat backs would be a reasonable annoyance to me that I suspect would result in a modification, I basically only sit somewhere if there is a back and I am not a big fan of leaning on the lifelines for hours. Our 36’er actually has quite good seats that are proper height with deep backs and doesn’t look ridiculous so I know it is possible. I think the issue with our boat would be that the cockpit sole would be quite low if the transom were open but it isn’t so it works. Would built-in folding seat backs work?
  • I know that myself and a lot of my friends actually prefer to sail while standing both steering and general watchkeeping, has this been considered? I find I spend a lot of time leaning against the aft end of the dodger.
  • Some form of foot hold at the bottom of the transom would really help with dinghy boarding. I have been on way too many boats where you had to use the swim ladder with the dinghy slamming into it.
  • Is the transom a reverse transom for aesthetics or another reason? Pushing it more towards vertical may give you a few inches to do things like rearrange the winch island or get the backstay aft to lessen overlap of the roach.

Other thoughts/questions:

  • A brief look at the hull lines looks quite promising, it looks like a boat that will have good performance on many points of sail.
  • What is the thinking behind the keel bulb shape?
  • What is the headroom under the boom? I hope it is at least 6’8″ or so.
  • The upper spreader looks fairly wide and like it could impinge on sheeting in the yankee for close hauled.
  • I hope that there will be a proper way to attach the boat to a mooring without having to remove the anchor for chafe. This likely means making the bowsprit strong enough to put a fairlead at the end but there could be other ways.


Eric Klem

Hi John,

Thanks for the response.

I am very glad to hear that they are extensively using CAD human factors models. I am a huge believer in spending the time simulating as best you can in the digital world before going to mockups which are quite time consuming to build and test and also don’t let you really try many different ideas. Both have their places and both are needed in the trickier parts of a design but I have seen repeatedly that the people who put the time in on CAD and simulation get a more optimal product in less total time.

I had a few minutes so threw the drawings into CAD right before Maxime’s reply and then ran out of time to write a reply. Due to not having a DXF or other file like that which is really accurate, I measured about an inch less than him for the aft edge of the dodger and then about 2″ more by the time you get to the aft end of the winch island which seems a tad low to me. If we even take only a 95th percentile male for the US (I would try for 99th/6’4″ here but that is a judgement call), that is 6’2″ and then you need to add 2″ for shoes and hat so you are at 6’4″ before they ever start moving (your head goes up slightly when you do). There are also going to be tolerances here so you need to account for those.

Regarding the boom angle, at some point with enough angle the sail will become self-vanging. I don’t know exactly where this transition occurs but it could impact light air twisting of the sail. Of course, you can play the outhaul to deal with this somewhat but I honestly haven’t sailed on a boat that is set up for you to actively be adjusting that.

On the seatbacks, I find the type of seats you mention and the crazy creeks that we like only really work when you are rolling around if you push them up against another seat back. It wouldn’t bother me too much as I can think of a very simple way to quickly make fold down backs that could be easily bolted on and rugged enough for hard use.

One more question on the table/rudder post setup. Has thought been given as to where the upper rudder bearing and autopilot would go? I could see a setup where the upper bearing is braced to the cockpit sole and the autopilot is inside the table.


Maxime Gérardin

Hi Eric,

regarding the rudder post, yes, the idea is to have the upper bearing at the cockpit sole, which provides a quite long lever between both bearings. As John points out, the windvane lines will be organized under the “table”, and led to cleats just under its forward edge. As you pointed out in an earlier comment, ideally we would have presented a preliminary design with these elements. Although we’ll know this for sure only after the windvane part is fully done, I hope there will be enough space in the “table” to fit a possible autopilot – if not it will have to go underdeck.

Eric Klem

Hi Maxime,

Apologies if I was in any way critical of sharing a not fully completed design, I think it is great that you are sharing stuff now. It is far enough along to have a good discussion but it is not so far along that changes are very tricky to make. I hope that there will be another round of photos and discussion once detailed design is almost complete and you are just in reviews.


Maxime Gérardin

Hi Eric,

no, in fact I’m the one who should apologize, as I now see I made a confusion with a remark by Wilson Fitt – this happened because the detailed comments by both of you are similarly constructive and helpful! 🙂 Sorry if my writing seemed to imply some complaint, it’s not at all what I meant.

And yes, sure, when closing the end of the detailed design will be a good time for another round of this!

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Eric,

many thanks for these points and for the kind words. A few things in addition to John’s reactions:

The seat-to-seat distance under the dodger is approx. 60cm, maybe slightly less if possible. It derives from the companionway being just wide enough to extract the engine someday, plus probably a few centimeters on each side, depending on the details of the closing system. So yes, this makes bracing easy.

The aft shape of the dodger was primarily intended to making walking down and up easier, so obviously that’s something we have to question with the whole companionway and well thing. And anyway, what can be done here depends on the dodger engineering – we had to represent something, but truth is that how the edge of the dodger works in detail (also handholds etc.) is for a future phase.

On sailing while standing, yes, totally with you! That’s why the area between the winch islands. (in addition to standing, I find the ability to move transersally to be very enjoyable)

It’s very possible that we’ll end up pushing the transom, or its lower half, to vertical. However the length between transom and winch island is set by the rudder and its tiller, so we wouldn’t gain there – but we would get slightly longer sitting.

On moving along the table when heeled, I second what John wrote – and some sort of handhold on the table would be useful (here too, we don’t know yet how the “table” will be built: stainless steel tubes? All composite?). Just for clarity, let’s note that our “table” is not as high as a true table, or for that matter as those found on many production boats.

Headroom under the boom is currently 6’6.5″, and you’re probably right it should be slightly increased.

The main thing behind the keel shape is, as John writes, shock absorption: the bulb has too large a section to provide enough absorption. Hence the bit of “foil” ahead of it.

You’re totally right on the width of the upper spreaders – as John says, all this will be adjusted by sail and rig specialists.

And that’s duly noted regarding the fairlead at the end of the bowsprit. By the way, I wonder if the bowsprit should be aluminium, and this functionnality could add to the argument – any thought welcome. Just one thing to note, that might have to do with the fairlead solution not being very natural to us in France: in places with current, as far as I can see it doesn’t solve the issue of chafe against the anchor. But of course this is not a reason for not integrating it to the boat.

Thank you again for these useful points!

Frederick Gleason

I don’t know where to put this comment, but is it easier to winch standing up with some toe space under the winch pedastal? I don’t know, because we have to reach over seats etc., but I like the idea of standup winching, will save on back muscles etc.

Stein Varjord

Hi Frederick and John,
I also think that’s a good idea. It could be just down by the toes, or all the way up, meaning winches at the edge of the pedestals, which removes difficult mould angles.

It’s also possible to make quite complex shapes by using split moulds. Difficult sections are a separate part of the mould that gets unbolted from the main mould and removed before the rest of it. Most anything can be done, but probably with added labour and cost.

Scott Arenz

Hi Stein,

Good point on optimizing the footprint of the winch islands. If the island is compact enough, the length of the winch handle in effect provides the toe space (or knee space).

It would have the trade off, of course, of slightly decreasing the line storage space below, and the overhead space of any quarterberth below deck.

Another possibility (neither better nor worse), would be to retain the larger islands, but raise the toe/knee space all the way up to the bottom of the storage box, in effect cantilevering it. This would give additional leg room by increasing the exposed cockpit sole (reducing crowding), and also provide a spot for an additional line storage bag beneath the island. (The shifting/throttle assembly would probably have to move slightly aft, however.)

Regarding molding, I believe the name for a removable pieces such as you described is “sidepull”, and from what I know about injection molding, you’re right about the increased cost.

From one besserwisser to another 😉,

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Frederick et al.,

I agree in theory on toe space etc., but let’s not take this too far: we already do much better than most boats this size on winch ergonomics, and will check and optimize it. To me, the further complexity and associated costs of your idea would make sense mainly on much larger boats.

Francis Livingston

I’ve always lliked the quote, attributed to Paul Newman; “Perfection is the enemy of excellence”. I’ll take excellent over perfect everytime. Sounds like you are all over that, John.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Francis,
I have always known a variation of this as “Perfection is the enemy of good enough”: unattributed.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

P D Squire

I’m sure you’ll think about it but just mention that winching is invariably done when the boat is heeled. In fact, all ergonomic analysis throughout the boat needs to be done with the model heeled. But I suspect that might be routine and you’re already onto it.

P D Squire

The lack of toe-space in yachts, even multi-million $ luxury ones is a bit of a pet peeve with me. No-one would dream of building a kitchen without toe-space below the cabinets yet it is omitted in just about every yacht galley. (Level-bottomed right-angle seating is another peeve. Have a look at your dining and lounge chairs, and even an office chair. You won’t find a level bottom or right angle anywhere.) Returning to toe-space below the winch pedestals, I agree that it’s doable albeit a bit of a faff for the builder. However, we’d need to know what was going on in the interior at those places to be sure we weren’t eating into some essential interior function or introducing a hazard.

Eric Klem

Hi Maxime,

Thanks for the thoughts.

The keel shape is interesting. I am assuming that it is designed to keep the flow attached? Have you looked at what the flow looks like at high angular accelerations such as when pitching hard in a seaway?

On the fairlead, the reason why I bring this up is that here on the east coast of the US, the number of boats lost due to chafed mooring pendants is truly shocking and the majority of our boats are on moorings. This fairlead would also likely be used with the anchor snubber, another area where I have seen way too many failures. I have watched one of the local harbors here for over 10 years and it is >1%/year loss rate and these losses often occur in winds <40 knots. The vast majority of the losses that I see are due to chafe. There is lots of discussion by the harbormaster and others of chafe gear but almost no discussion of fixing the root cause of the chafe which is poor layout and poor hardware. Unfortunately, for most people this would involve a level of surgery to their boat that they are unwilling to do so everyone blames chafe gear and ignores the problem. I have come to believe that the forward-most item on the boat should be a nice large radiused fairlead. Then the cleat needs to be close or a piece of dyneema needs to be used between the cleat and the fairlead to keep the line from going in and out of the fairlead as tension changes. It is true that the boat can get tide horsed and have the pendants run aft but that usually implies more benign conditions where chafe will be more manageable. It would be bad to have something that could trap the pendant aft and then chafe it once the conditions picked up.

Regarding material, I am a big fan of as few materials as possible which would imply fiberglass. I don’t see any reason that this wouldn’t work from a strength perspective and I would guess that the cost is similar or cheaper when compared to aluminum. Of course, you would still need bits of stainless here and there for the roller, fairlead, etc. Stainless anchor pulpits and fixed sprits are somewhat popular here and when I look at the construction of them, you realize that they are very strong in certain directions but hard to make strong for other directions without adding triangulation which would make them quite complicated to fabricate and ugly.


Maxime Gérardin

Hi Eric,

no, at this stage, before the absorption function of the keel, which is so important, is fully finalized, we’ve not taken a deep look at the optimization of the flow around the keel.

Thank you for the hint on the fairlead to cleat distance, it makes much sense. I definitely get that this function is vital on the US east coast. We probably won’t put together a very good model of the fairlead before the builder is chosen, but it’s only because this sort of thing must be discussed with those who’ll build it – there may be better-integrated solutions than just putting the fairlead on top of the bowsprit.

And thank you for the opinion on materials!

P D Squire

If the final Companionway thinking sees the dodger roof cutaway retained, perhaps the optional aft curtain could have a flap the reaches forward and covers the cutaway.

Richard Dykiel

I find the design awesome, in particular the cockpit. Keep up the good work. Why is it that the European boat building scene is more interesting than the US one? Especially the French one.

Richard Dykiel

I recently took a subscription to the French sailing mag called ‘voiles et voiliers’ so much more interesting than the ones I read here… But U gotta learn French 🙂

Mark Wilson

Agreed on the French designers and sailors. Tabarley and Moitessier turned them potty for sailing. But they don’t do pretty. Not so surprising from a nation that coined the phrase jolie laide, I suppose. For good looks you need to go to the US, Argentina or Italy.
I was tied up next to a Pogo 36 the other night. I swear my mouth was salivating. Ah well, in another life…

P D Squire

My teenage son wants to be a boatbuilder. I’ve told him to learn French.

Courtney Edwards

Wait…what? Both running backstays on? Can I do this on my boat?….”running backstays are terminated far enough forward that both can be on when going upwind, without any need to tend them on each tack”.

What would I need to consider to set up my boat like this? I am so willing to put in some stout hard points to be able to do this.

Running backstays for coastal sailing are so annoying. I have a Kelly Peterson 44 (center cockpit cutter) on the BC coast.

PS: I guess I have a similar young-old-fart boat soul, because I agree with Andy Schell, the lines on this boat are not for me. But I learn so much following the A40 process and I’m sure she’s true love for lots of people. I like the cozy hard dodger, lots of winches, and good visibility. As a temperate latitude sailor, staying out of the weather, but still being able to see logs, is so important for morale and managing fatigue. And I’m always doing something weird and wishing I had another winch!

Wilson Fitt

Hi John and the design team,

This is very impressive. Thanks for sharing both the process and the current state of the design. The open book approach is like watching custom design come together, very instructive to potential customers, helpful for the design team (I hope) and fascinating to mere gawkers like me.

You are right in noting that the animation does not do the slim and slippery hull proper justice. The lines drawing shows a nice form and the basic numbers look very good with a long waterline and lots of sail area. My experience with long distance sailing on a boat of about the same length (but otherwise very different) is that 4,500 lbs payload is a generous allowance. That’s about where we are estimated from inches of immersion between light ship condition and fully loaded with everything needed for weeks at sea and cruising in strange places.

I had to look very carefully at around the 48 sec point of the animation to determine the configuration of the cabin trunk forward. The two dorades and two square deck hatches seem to be the only sources of light and ventilation. The usual inflatable dinghy storage position is upside down in front of the mast, making the hatches inoperable. Perhaps provisions for light and air in the forward parts of the vessel will become clearer in later iterations of the design.

I’d suggest that toe rail be alum with continuous openings to shed water and fasten blocks and other gear, like the old C&C rails. They always seemed to be very practical to me.
The split bow pulpit meets World Sailing safety requirements if the opening is properly sized, but I don’t like it very much. Crew will need to lean out forward from time to time and I’d rather see a continuous railing to hold them in. I like the fixed railings aft and agree about extending them a bit further forward so that crew exiting and re-entering the cockpit (always a vulnerable moment) have something very firm to hold onto. The pulpits and lifelines should be 30” above the deck.

I am not fond of the wrap around windows in the deckhouse and fixed dodger, but I am on the trailing edge of taste and tradition. This configuration is common and apparently sells boats. The advantage is lots of light in but it’s at the expense of a lot of heat gain in lower latitudes, so excellent cabin ventilation and some sort of window shades or blinds will probably be needed.

I think you could do without the notch in the dodger roof and suggest a continuous grab rail across its aft edge. We have one on our canvas dodger and are always reaching for it.

I like the two little seats under the fixed dodger and the stand-up winching positions a lot, but the rest of the cockpit design is not very appealing. At sea, I like the security of being “in” the boat, not “on” it. The seats under the dodger perform admirably in that regard but being forced to sit up and out on the side decks does not appeal to me at all. I recognize the arguments that you make in favour of the cockpit seat configuration, but I am not convinced.

Like the A40, our boat is steered with a tiller. In close quarters, the helmsman will stand with the end of the tiller jammed into the small of the back or against a hip while hanging onto the rail on the aft edge of the dodger, giving them protection from the worst of rain and spray and good visibility forward and to each side. It would be nice if this could be achieved on the A40.

It’s a minor thing at this stage of design but the engine control lever is vulnerable to being bumped as crew squeeze past it, and I agree with one of the other comments that the table seems to take up too much real estate in a very busy part of the boat.

A few inches make a big difference in cockpit layout and a mockup will go a long way toward sorting all the configuration issues out.

More fundamentally, I really, really don’t like the open back end of the cockpit. There is simply too much risk of losing people and equipment out the back while allowing big water in.

I think that the autopilot and vane gear mounting, height of the vane gear pillar and the tiller control line leads should be worked out and shown even at this preliminary design stage. They may have a substantial impact on the cockpit layout. Will the solar panel/radar arch interfere with windvane operation? I know they are common but sometimes suspect that the reason people complain that a vane gear doesn’t work properly is that there is too much stuff messing up the airflow.

I hope that these comments will be seen as constructive, as I intend them. The A40 will be an outstanding boat. I would be tempted if I were younger and did not already have an excellent (although very different) boat.


Dick Stevenson

Hi Wilson,
As usual, wise comments and I also am enjoying being along for the ride.
As to a split in the bow pulpit, there were numerous times I would have greatly appreciated that opening for all the times in Europe and the Med where bow-to was the order of the day. I suspect some system can meet both security when working the anchor area, and allow the opening to make for more graceful bow exits to the wharf than I ever managed off Alchemy.
I am also not so against an open transom: I suspect netting might beef up the security. My few cockpit floods have been over the side and not from the stern and I would have appreciated how fast the water would drain out with the open transom.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Wilson Fitt

Thanks Dick.

Like you, the only times I ever had serious water in the cockpit were when a sea broke abeam and dumped a ton of frothy stuff over the rail. Noisy and uncomfortable, but not particularly dangerous.

My antipathy toward open transoms is coloured by memories of being a singlehander, running downwind toward the west coast of Ireland with tiny sails in big winds and big seas. The seas became shorter and even higher at the edge of the continental shelf, each wave looking ready to overwhelm the boat as it came up astern with its frothy top lapping at the taffrail. But, by some miracle, the boat would rise up at the last moment and the wave would pass underneath, leaving us to slide down into the valley left behind, ready for a repeat performance.

Maybe the sense of being overwhelmed from astern is more optical illusion than real risk. Never having sailed an open transom boat in those conditions, I cannot say how it would play out, but I was sufficiently comforted by solid barriers between ocean and cockpit and between cockpit and cabin to be able to close the hatch and crawl into my berth without fear of waking up wet.

As John says, keeping the water out and keeping the people in should always be the primary focus. That big, wide open back door seems to present a challenge on both counts.


Dick Stevenson

Hi Wilson,
Agree completely about the appearance of big following waves looking like they are inevitably going to board the boat from astern: completely mesmerizing in a panic-stricken-but-what-can-you-do kind of way(an especially potent vision at night with the stern light reflecting off the foam). Yet, somehow against expectations, the stern has always risen to the occasion. I have experienced this off the coast of Maine and know that the west coast of Ireland has waves and swell that start across the whole ocean on the coast of North America.
So, I think I would be ok, perhaps even pleased with an open transom. I am rarely at the steering end of the boat anyway (autopilot) and think that netting (or some such) and the use of a harness that would not let me slide out too far, would suffice. And, I do like the idea of a cockpit emptying water faster than most boat’s scuppers actually accomplish this feat.
My best, Dick

Scott Arenz

John & Wilson,

Regarding bumping into the gear shift / throttle, there exists at least one engine control interface (from Spinlock) that accepts a removable winch handle as the control lever:

Some time ago an AAC member pointed out this implementation by Sirius Yachts:

It would seem to solve both the problem of the control being in a high traffic area, as well as providing an easy to reach, long lever. Of course, whether the Spinlock unit and the side-mount engine controls with which it is compatible are up to A40 specs would need further research.

John Boyle

I love the hull shape and there is much to like about the deck layout – in particular the flush foredeck. The promise of a hard dodger has always been a selling point of the A40 project and the visibility provided by the deck saloon is an unexpected treat. I imagine with appropriate venting and window coverings, climate control should not be too much of an issue. The overall look of the boat is growing on my as I watch the video on repeat, but I agree that all white around the windows would be an improvement. Like others here, despite the benefits of the raised sole and absent coamings that John details, I have my concerns about the lack of a true cockpit. As another member aptly stated, I want to sit in, not on my boat. A mockup of the cockpit would be illustrative. I remain very interested and look forward to more details. Incredible to see this finally taking shape!

Aaron Browning


So happy to see the A40 coming to fruition in this way. It’s a dream boat for me.

This looks like a great start and seems like you’re already aware of the major concerns and working on them. The hatch gives me the most pause.

It surprising to me that many comments start of with, some version of,” I will never own this boat but I don’t like how it looks.” Call me a youngster (if I can still say that at 46) but I think it looks sexy.

If one can design a boat where sailing comes first that’s still sexy, you’re doing a great job!

Robert Hellier

Hi John,

Hey it’s great to see this level of progress on the A40.

I’m definitely a big fan of hard dodgers. We purchased a steel Caroff 36 two years ago which had a hard dodger added by the previous owner. It’s a great place to get out of the worst of the weather, but still be connected to the act of sailing.

The height of the A40’s dodger looks to be pretty much the same as ours. We also like to be able to see over the top – not always through the glazed panels. It’s practical, safer and reduces windage.

Our dodger has handholds all along the back edge and down the sides. Everyone that comes aboard and sails her comment on how practical and comforting they are.

I do not like the cutaway in the dodger top. I think this was done to make coming in and out of the companionway possible without bending over. Our dodger runs straight across, and we quickly got used to bending over a bit to go below. We’d rather have the extra protection than be able to stand straight on exiting the cabin.

Don’t see the point of the well in front of the companionway. Would rather keep the sole flat, right to the companionway. What about a raised coaming connecting the aft ends of the winch islands? Low enough to step over (12-14″) but enough to redirect the worst of a wave sweeping along the cockpit sole? It would also make that protected area dryer. From a human factors perspective, it makes sense for said coaming to be in line vertically with the dodger trailing edge. The body will quickly learn to “simultaneously step over and duck” as one transitions between the protected and unprotected areas of the cockpit.

If you/Maxime think a permanent coaming would be too intrusive of movement in/out of the protected area, maybe it could be made into a gate that, when “opened” in nice weather, would be moulded flat into the inboard sides of the winch islands.

I have to agree with some earlier contributors about the overall look that is generated by the glazing – particular the glazed areas of the cabin. While I don’t necessarily dislike the “wraparound sunglasses” look (which fit a number of boat designs quite well), I don’t think that’s what your market is interested in. I would consider myself in the A40 market. One of the reasons we purchased the Caroff 36 is it’s purposeful, angular look, reflecting its no-nonsense, go anywhere intent. I would want the A40 to be similarly restrained and purposeful.

Just because the boat is “plastic” doesn’t mean it has to have complex surfaces and sweepy lines. As a designer of consumer and industrial products for over 25 years, I know how tempting it can be to explore the nearly endless possibilities of moulded forms using plastic materials.

For the most part the boat’s design actually does maintain a pretty restrained aesthetic. I think this is what makes the sweepy/swoopy glazing and cabin top profile so incongruous. Actually, I don’t think you’ll have to do that much to correct this, and I look forward to seeing a more restrained treatment. Maxime should especially eliminate altogether the deeply curved glazing panels, which is going to be a problem – maybe not for the first owner – but for future owners most definitely.

I’m perfectly willing to trade extra engine room space and lazarette volume for cockpit seats that have quite low coamings. I wonder, however, why the coamings that start at the back of the winch islands get chopped to nothing after a short distance? Why not keep those modest coamings all the way to the stern? It at least keeps a person who’s lying on the seats from rolling off onto the deck when the vessel rolls a bit or is heeled over. I suspect this was an aesthetic decision in order to allow the downward swoop of the cabin profile. I think practicality should trump aesthetics here.

I’m wondering a bit about the positions and use of the 6 winches on the “islands”. How easy will it be to reach over the put power into the outermost winches? What would the innermost winches be used for and where do the lines travel from in order to get to these positions, inside the dodger? I realize that the design is incomplete, but Maxime and you must have a pretty good idea how this will be resolved, even if Maxime hasn’t done the CAD work yet.

Great work and I look forward to seeing the next iteration!

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Robert,

thank you for these points.

Just on the tiny bit of coaming that may look awkward: the idea here is that you may want to use the primary winch while looking forward, which implies having one foot on the sole and the other knee on the sitting. The bit of coaming is here for this knee to brace against. Not saying we did it exactly the right way, but there probably should be someting here to fulfill this function.

James Peto

                                                                                                     The Adventure 40 design is excellent and it is always easy to comment on others designs so:-
Knowing the weight of a LifeRaft I or my very slight wife would find it very difficult to manhandle it forward out of the tablethen sideways and backwards before launching, also in the event of a catastrophic problem it could not self release.
The engine control should either be relocated or recessed as the handle is just waiting to get caught up in the sheets.
I really do not like P Brackets, could the hull be modified to accommodate the whole shaft.
I would direct you to Nordkyn Design who have overcome the problem of damage to the rudder stock in the event of it being damaged.
Not to sure about the accessibility of the clutches – doyou ahve to reach around the dodger?

The draft and mast height are just right as cruising in Norway is always restricted by Power / Bridge heights as well as depth.

P D Squire

“Let’s discuss rudder issues on the rudder post” LOL

P D Squire

Slight modification so the raft can be dragged out the aft end of the cockpit island?

Rob Gill

Hi James and John,

I like the life raft stowage. Having a secure dry locker allows the buyer to select a valise raft option, that’s much easier to manage than a conventional hard case life raft.

Our valise based 4 person ISO raft from Ocean Safety, with <24 hr supplies, weighs in at 28 kgs. Having valise style carry handles, it is readily lifted and moved around by me.

Our slight first mate can lift it out of our cockpit locker stowage and on to the side deck or over the stern on her own, albeit with a struggle (we tested). But as designed on the A40, a valise type raft could be easily dragged, and so she could manage that much more readily.

I agree on the P-Bracket though – a short skeg that is part of the fibreglass moulded hull and securely houses the shaft tunnel and shaft, could prove a simple solution for the A40 and a place to save $$ (see photo of ours).

I can think of some key benefits: simple to build being part of the hull mould, lower cost, simple reliable cutlass bearing fitting and replacement, skeg is much stronger, less possibility of induced prop shaft vibration, less exposed metal to protect from corrosion or interact with the prop / shaft, and less chance of hook up with ropes / weed. All this with negligible change to buoyancy and wetted surface area (see photo).

Having the shaft tunnel and shaft exit the hull at 90 degrees to the aft face of a short skeg allows for a very simple and reliable cutlass bearing fitting. We recently replaced our nitrile rubber cutlass bearing after 20 years and 1600 engine hours, without removing the shaft or the rudder. Not including removing/replacing the prop, it took about 30 minutes of which about 20 minutes was carefully drilling out the two nylon grub-screws retaining the cutlass bearing (bearing cost us ~30 USD).

Screen Shot 2022-10-27 at 10.51.17 PM.jpeg
Ignat Fialkovskiy

may I suggest to put online a 3D model preview so that we could walk around the boat (or just deck atm) ourselves?
Thank you

James Evans

Ten years for an ugly boat? Chasing perfection was never better than getting out there with what you’ve got…

Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
Thank you for monitoring the tone of the comments. It makes a difference. Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

P D Squire

Size: I’ll add my voice to those wishing for a bit more length. We’ll not necessarily length, but displacement. Here in NZ every offshore passage starts with 3 days in the roaring forties. Closer to 9 tons than 7 would be less violent. But I know the weight reduction comes from the decision to build in sandwich, which is stiffer for longer. And that a 25% larger (by displacement) version would blow the budget.

Solid life rails aft: If you can grab the doghouse roof solid trails before letting go of the aft rails they are fast enough forward. If not, and if it doesn’t cause other problems yeah, extend them fwd a bit.

Looks: Sell enough so it’s everywhere, people will get used to it, and it will come to look right. Selling plenty doesn’t look like a problem. Based on the last of donors in the video the first 3 years’ production will be sold as soon as you start taking deposits.

Windage: Nice to be able to see out of the main cabin so fully, and the dodger is brilliantly comfy. But it seems to offer quite a bit of windage.

Michael Cushing

Will the hull be cored?

P D Squire
Scott Arenz

Hi John & the A40 team,

Congrats on pulling together a brilliant design! The whole package is great, and the cockpit especially is a most innovative combination of design choices. To harmoniously integrate all these features into a 40ft boat is no small feat. I look forward to seeing how the design evolves as you flesh out and fine tune all the various functional, ergonomic, and aesthetic factors.

It’s been illuminating to read everyone’s comments and feedback on the preliminary design so far. I’ll add some thoughts to the mix regarding the companionway hatch and footwell.

Since John has indicated that the sill of the hatch needs to be raised to 20cm above the main cockpit sole, why not do that while still retaining the footwell? A flooded cockpit would indeed still fill the footwell (and the effect on buoyancy needs to be studied), but no more water would make it down the companionway than if the footwell were not there.

In fact, for a moderate level of flooding, the footwell would act as a trap, preventing water from sloshing over the companionway sill. (Perhaps a significant benefit since the cockpit is roughly funnel shaped, with the wide end starting from the transom, and the level of water will rise as it moves through the progressively narrowing pathway towards the hatch.)

Ergonomically, the higher sill height of the hatch would mean that there is a significant curb to step over from the bottom of the footwell, but that might not be too bothersome if there is an adequate platform just inside the hatch. (There could also be a step at cockpit sole level, across the forward edge of the footwell / aft of the hatch, to make traversing the sill easier.)

The footwell has multiple other benefits, yet to be discussed, that make it worth retaining.

Most importantly, it provides a place to stand while sheltered. So a watch stander has much more room to stretch, adjust foul weather gear, tether, etc, conveniently and in comfort no matter the weather. Without the footwell, activities under the dodger must all be done in a crouch, sitting down, or squatting; only outside can one stand.

The drain in the footwell can be generously sized to work swiftly. It can also be used to receive and drain a telltale water stream from the engine’s coolant system, easily checked from the helm.

Finally, another potential use: with the drain purposefully stopped, the footwell can be filled for washing clothes, towels and bedsheets, or even bathing. (With strict budgets of space, weight, and money, it’s really nice when anything aboard can serve so many duties!)

Note also that a grating could be placed over the footwell, to make a clear, level path to the hatch, if that’s the owner’s preferred customization.

While it’s hard to tell the exact size from the renderings, my wild guess is that the current footwell would hold approximately 200lbs (90kg) of water (roughly 25 gallons, or 94 liters). It could also be resized to hold less.

My suggestion is to consider these many possibilities and benefits before nixing the footwell altogether. If the flooding and buoyancy tests are passed, the next step would be to study the area in longitudinal cross section to see if the combination of sill and footwell can be made ergonomically viable. (And if unergonomic when open, it might still be worth doing a version with a grating on top for the protective drainage aspect alone.) Ultimately, the footwell might not only be a highly convenient feature, but also one that has a net benefit on safety.

I look forward to further discussion on this!


Whitall Stokes

Put me down as a huge fan of having a footwell having experienced a similar setup on the VDS. Having a comfortable place to be in crappy weather for watchkeeping is really important for me, and the concept under the hard dodger as presented has huge appeal. If this space is not comfortable the whole boat loses appeal.

I’m sure the brilliant minds involved can figure out a way to mitigate downflooding risks.

Then again, I’m too damned tall anyway.

Philip Wilkie

Agreed. My boat has a similar raised hard dodger. Great place to sit out of the weather, but every time in and out of the companionway means remembering to take two steps before standing up.

Scott Arenz

Hi John,

Thanks for considering my arguments. I look forward to the future post!


Whitall Stokes

Hi John,

No need to stand under the dodger for me. As you point out, much better to stand aft of to see over the dodger. I’m not married to the footwell idea. I guess what I’m really saying is I’d like to have support under my thighs when seated for a 4 hour watch (or nap). If that means a footwell, I’m happy to take responsibility for putting in a lower hatchboard when risks of downflooding increase if it means a great place to set.

As you also say, shorter folks could have their legs dangling which is no good either. Maybe us taller people can just use a cushion, as long as we still fit under the dodger seated.

I understand the AAC big five list, but close to this list is: Keep the crew comfortable. So they have energy when conditions demand it. I unfortunately know first hand how fast human energy dissipates when things go badly out there, even when in great physical condition

Of course, severe broaches, knockdowns, cross seas “pooping” the cockpit, are all not that uncommon events that absolutely must be guarded against.

Many difficult tradeoffs with safety/risk and comfort. Yes, safety first, but my sense of this discussion is that Maxime in consultation with you and others will come up with a way to have both.

And in case it doesn’t come across, thank you for your great work and conceiving and shepherding this project.

Francis Livingston

Hello again
Question: what is the price that the A40 is currently aiming for. Originally it was $200,000 USD but that was 10 years ago. I am figuring that inflation will have to be added in but I hope that I’m wrong.

Christopher -

Refreshing to see something new, but to say it mildly I am not the biggest fan of the cockpit design.

The decision to go for a huge cockpit table and to put the winches very far forward makes it quite cramped.

Would have preferred a design more like the Django 12.70.

Maxime Gérardin

Hi Christopher,

since you characterize the cockpit as “cramped”, I would like to underline that the space where to stand between winches and tiller and dodger is in fact quite large (within reason) and provides direct access to all sub-areas of the cockpit. To me cramped would be those “extruded” cockpits where you can brace but then don’t have the space for two persons to go past each other.

@John: yes the Django 12.70 is for a different mission, however I wouldn’t characterize it as as extreme as the current Pogos – which indeed make extremely clear-cut choices.