Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Caledonia Yawl from Grapeview Boatworks

This boat has been on a back burner for a while, and it's no fault of the design. If you want a beautiful traditional look and a responsive daysailer, you will find none better than the Caledonia Yawl.

Last fall I had the pleasure of seeing two of these fine vessels at work, while visiting the small craft folks in Port Townsend, WA for an end of season Messabout.

The two boats are named Sutil and Freya and both were crafted by Tom Regan at Grapeview Boatworks. I have nothing but praise for Tom's work and the compassion for his product is a reflection of his personality. If you would like to commission a quality boat and you live anywhere near Tom, I'd recommend him. He has some beautiful boats in his gallery and each one is a work of art. The Caledonia Yawl is no exception.

This open beach cruiser was designed by Iain Oughtred to be easily rigged and sailed single-handed, yet also be suitable for additional crew.

The double-ended hull is based on the traditional lines of Norwegian open boats. She is seaworthy and comfortable, with a spacious interior. She is capable of carrying large loads yet light enough to be easily handled in the water or on a trailer. Her shallow draft allows her to navigate shallow waters under sail or by paddle or oar.

The balanced lug rig is quick to set up and simple to handle for a single-handed sailor and easily reefed. The mizzen helps balance the rig and assists in maneuvering. It is also useful for holding the boat in irons when required.

With an articulating rudder and centerboard, this yawl can be sailed in slim water and onto the beach. An ideal combination for daysailing or even more extensive gunkholing.

On the day I saw Sutil and Freya in action, it took about three quarters hour for the boats to be set up and launched from a shallow ramp. Freya stayed inshore, demonstrating the maneuverability of the yawl while Sutil headed for deeper water and higher winds. In both cases the boats were beautiful to behold.

And aren't the waters at the convergence of the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet some of the best sailing in the world!!

The Caledonia Yawl is a very versatile and seaworthy boat. Count me yet among the erstwhile fans of Mr. Iain Oughtred!

Caledonia Yawl Specifications:
Length 19 ft. 6 in.
Beam 6 ft. 2 in.
Draft 25-1/2 in.
Approx. Weight 450 lbs.
Lug Sail Area 164 sq ft.

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