Review Date: Tue September 27, 2005
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: $4,000.00
| Rating: 10
fast, stiff, 8' roomy cockpit, good family boat; easily trailered; supportive class association
plain cabin, headroom suitable for shelter from storms and for sleeping but only for those who sleep in a horizontal position
1981 (#81) Lifting Keel 22' Grand Slam; one of S2's series of balsa-cored Racer/Cruisers. Owned since 2000.
160 6.7s were built from 1980 through the summer of 1982.
LOA 22', LWL 18.75", Beam 8'; Draft LK (Lifting Keel) up 10", LK down 4.25'; Displacment 2,200 lbs (actual measured weight w/o all but hull, mast, rigging, tiller & rudder). Total ballast is 775 lbs. so 35% of her 2200 lb. displacement consists of lead ballast -- helping give a "keel boat" feel. The LK (a NACA foil) wght 525 lbs., bilge ballast 250 lbs. Kick-up (NACA foil) rudder. Cabin headroom 4' 0"; Cockpit length 8'. SA: Main 135, Jib (110%) 100. PHRF commonly 206; Portsmouth about 88.2.
ALL S2 6.7s are "Grand Slams;" that label was purely a marketing name applied to several S2 racer/cruisers & carried nothing extra. Only one version of the 6.7 was built, all with the same LK; [6.9s & 22s use the same hull form & rudder; the 6.9's mast and LK are slightly aft of their position on the 6.7; that's because "J" is 4" greater on the 6.9 so a different position is required for balance.
Photos, diagrams, factory brochures, etc., of the 6.7, 6.9, & 22 can be seen at the class website: http://www.sail-s2.org This site also has a link to the class forum. Class mbrs ($15/yr) have access to the forum archives dating back to 1997 -- those many thousands of posts are a rich treasury of problems solved. Those who have been members for 180 days/6 mos. receive discounts on replacement parts (rudder blades, spars, etc.).
Don Wennersten, then a naval architect for S2 Yachts, designed the S2 6.7 with Dave Fry, an industrial engineer, also then on S2's staff. The topsides of their design was later modified by NAs Graham & Schlagater into the S2 6.9 & S2 22. [The 6.7 & 6.9 (hull & topsides balsa-cored), and 22 (solid FG hull) all use 22' hulls of identical shape. The 6.9 & 22 are identical in sailplan and appearance above the waterline. They have larger & slightly higher cabin roofs; the 22 is a 6.9 with a shoal draft wing keel and a much more open interior since there's no LK trunk or interior partitions.]
My Boatcheck review of the S2 6.9 has more information about the history, construction, #s built, specs, tuning, sailing qualities, maintenance of these boats. Very little of that info is repeated here.
I will expand this 6.7 review as I get more experience with my 6.7. I've sailed on a friend's 6.7 often over the last two years so its characteristics are very familiar to me.
The 6.7 and 6.9 are _very_ similar but the 6.7 has a longer (by 1.5') and deeper cockpit which gives more generous seats & seat height, and its cabin headroom isn't quite as high. As a result, the 6.7's cabin is smaller & shorter and so, down below, the LK trunk becomes relatively more prominent -- so much so that the companionway hatch is offset to port to allow easier passage to & from the cabin. However, there's still good space for sleeping two adults in the Vee berth, plus two more in side berths extending halfway under the cockpit. "Down below" is more comfortable for horizontal sleeping than for large group socializing. Since MY primary use is daysailing with some racing and occasional weekending, Wennersten's design suits MY needs better -- the 6.7's design priorities closely match my realistic use and its very definite keel boat feel makes it a joy to sail in winds, even singlehanded or with light crew.
I've sailed only once on an S2 22 but the specs suggest it would feel much like the 6.7 although it does not point as high and is slower than both the 6.7 & 6.9; the 22 has a shoal draft wing keel. The 6.7, 6.9 and 22 are all somewhat similar in sailing characteristics & in suiting a variety of needs but each one has distinctive qualities that can make one or another more suitable for different circumstances.
The design goals for the 6.7 were to make a safe family boat that would be fast, stable, suitable for racing, daysailing, and occasional overnighting but still easily trailerable with typical late 1970s cars. It definitely meets its design goals.
Ergonomically, every thing on the 6.7 fits its use well. As examples: There's a dedicated safe place under an aft cockpit seat to hold a gas can for the OB--vapors or spilled gas exit through nearby cockpit drains; this area is ideal for propane tanks, too; it has enough room to also keep cockpit coolers, etc., close at hand but yet out of the way of feet and butts. (This cockpit storage space was eliminated on the 6.9/22.) All S2 cockpit seats are designed to drain so they'll never puddle from rain or spray (a feature lacking on many other brands). All S2 non-skid surfaces are superb for deck shoes, but too brutal for old or bare knees/skin. The off-centered companion way hatch lets instruments be mounted in the center of the bulkhead and as easily seen on either tack. The placement of the portapotti below also uses the offcenter hatch & the prominent LK trunk to maintain privacy from people in the cockpit even when the companionway is wide open & even without a curtain.
The accessibility to storage space from the cabin, especially to areas under the cockpit, is great (in that, the 6.7 is far better than 6.9s & 22s) and, if you roll your sails, as I do, they easily store inside, under the cockpit seats of that aft area and don't hog cabin space. That openess also gives easier access to the interior side of hull/deck/transom fittings under the cockpit area.
The 6.7 has the sailing characteristics & stability of a keel boat, outstanding speed, room for occasional weekending, in a boat that's also easily trailered, launched & reloaded --- a very rare, superb combination ! !
The 8' cockpit is roomy for sailing, lounging around, or eating (what other boats give you THIS much cockpit room?). A boom tent would extend its use even more for occasional camping & overnighting, giving shelter from rain, bugs, or wind; the toe rails would make a handy base for tent walls. And when the cabin is used for sleeping two or more people, the cockpit area under a tent would be a good place to put & use the portapotti at night.
Advantages of the 6.7, in comparison to the 6.9, include that it's stiffer in higher winds, single handed or with fewer or lighter crew (it has 95 lbs. MORE lead in its keel and a real world, actual displacement about 500 lbs. LESS than the 6.9). That makes it a little easier to tow; it also lets me drysail, launch and retrieve using the front hitch on my Astro (my 6.9 was a smidge too heavy for the rear axle ratio on that Astro). The 6.7's LK wire winch takes less effort (but much more time) to change the height of the LK (than the 6.9 system with 4:1 blocks) -- but (I'm told), one can use a large cordless drill (19+V) to raise or lower it. Also, the LK winch is definitely more easily & safely operated by younger or weaker crew than the 6.9's system [As with the 6.9, the aluminum on the OEM block on the LK tang often deteriorated with ANY previous saltwater contact. Remove, carefully inspect, and replace if needed.]
So few people know anything about the 6.7 or its qualities that some are available at really rock-bottom prices ($4k-6k) with trailer, OB, and sails.
Wennersten said that in the earliest production, the bilge area near the keel was found to be a little thin so that area was strengthened in later production (& can be retro-reinforced). The winch for the LK on S2's first 6.7s had problems and many were replaced; those that were not may need help about now. I've heard of two 6.7s which had to replace rotted balsa core in their transoms; water entered the balsa core of the transom through the gudgeons. It's worthwhile to reset your gudgeons, making sure there's an epoxy barrier between the bolts and the core. (Contact the class or me for information re: balsa core or a repair shop or techniques. It's often possible to make excellent repairs with no cosmetic damage.)
Cockpit seat lockers need to be clipped shut (as on any boat) whenever sailing to prevent accidental opening if pooped by a wave; consistent use of a snap shackle on the seat hasp will solve that. (No case of a 6.7 sinking from this is known but it's said that J-24s with similar seats have sunk in those circumstances).
All 6.7 hulls were made with polyester resin and, as with all other FG boats of that era, most blister and get wet cores IF wetslipped for any time. (Blisters may not show through thick anti-fouling paint; on our boats, they're typically very small pimple/acne like bumps all over underwater surfaces.) If kept in the water, the bottom paint should be stripped to the gelcoat, the bottom repaired and, AFTER the hull & core are dry, a water-resistant barrier coat applied (e.g., VC Tar, Interlux 2000, or their equivalents). A moisture meter will show if any water's absorbed. If you're buying a 6.7, check this. (Our class rents a Moisture Meter to members. Our class also rents a vacuum pump which dries a saturated hull within weeks.) The winch operates very well but does better with lubrication every 2-3 years. Check how smooth it lifts. We've located a firm that can make these winches user serviceable [& add bushings to eliminate internal gear & casing wear and give eternal life (to the winch); ask me for a bulletin on this].
The 6.7's offset companionway hatch is a hallmark and usually it's a great convenience, but on very rare occasions it could be dangerrous if you're not watchful. It's a really great place to stand, to handle a spinnaker from, to adjust the halyards, vang, LK, etc. BUT, if the gull wing hatch cover and hatch boards have been removed AND you are severely knocked down to port, the boat could take on water. [One incident is known (see the "Articles" section on the class website) but none of a 6.7 ever sinking from this]. As you should with any boat, put the hatch cover & dropboards in place whenever the probability rises that a knockdown could occur.
The 6.7's cabin (with about the room of a medium size family tent) easily accommodates four adults for sleeping or even a few more for shelter from brief bad weather. But without a cockpit tent, the cabin's not roomy enough for extended socializing for more than two adults (maybe plus a couple kids). The 1 & only step up & down between the cockpit & cabin may be big for toddlers, tiny pets, or those with gimpy joints -- for them, a portable step may help.
An opening hatch (about 16"x16" on the foredeck above the V-berth is standard. P&S opening portlights were optional (but almost all 6.7s have them); they can be added (about $75@ DIY). The interior is functional & VERY low maintenance: walls, ceiling, and LK trunk are all covered with the nubby beige polypropylene carpet material S2 used in all their line. It wears very well & even most mildew comes out if not too old or extensive. We have a source for replacement of this material.
The OEM electrical "system" (2 or 3 fused switches) & interior lighting was primitive and could be upgraded with circuit breakers. Cushions are 3" thick open cell foam covered by a leatherette vinyl on sides and bottom (w/zipper) and an '80s era multi-stripe fabric, often browns & tans on top -- adequate. Interior FG is an ivory color & a few little touches of teak, cherry, or mahogany could be a nice contrast but -- that's more expense, weight, & upkeep. (Good basics, no development.)
Lots of openings for storage below the berths and there's really good storage and access to the rear. To port of the LK is a molded FG so-called "sink & galley" area but, aside from its obvious purpose of looking good on a diagram, it's non-functional as far as I can see and far better used for storage. [A self-contained "camper kitchen" box, about 24"L x24"W x14½"H(front) /13"H(aft), with dishpans & all other cooking/eating equipment would fit in the storage space below the cockpit sole, and would be far more functional, with much greater capacity, and could be used below, in the cockpit, dockside, or at roadside rest stops. And there'd still be 21" of storage aft of that.]
Unless you have very special situational needs re: current, tides, and speed, a 4 or 5 hp LONG SHAFT OB will be sufficient. A 2 hp would be adequate in most cases. I use a 55 lb. thrust 12v trolling motor. (A LONG shaft OB is important; a regular shaft will be continually unpleasant.)
But before you ever decide to buy, PLEASE see a 6.7 in the flesh, go down below; what's "modest" & "comfortable" for me may not be for you and your needs.
To the eyeball, 6.9s & 22s look as if they're roomier (their cabins are) maybe somewhat because they look so much like larger S2 boats. And they promise more facilities below while 6.7s, when viewed similarly, look as if they'd be cramped.
But, once inside the cabin, a 6.7 seems far roomier (to me) than it appears from the outside, largely because of the great accessibility to the entire inner volume. That's one of several reasons I named my 6.7 "My TARDIS" --(to understand the name, you'd need to be a fan of "Dr. Who," the sci-fi/farce TV show from BBC that ran many years on PBS).
The 6.7 lacks the popular eyeball appeal that the 6.9 & 22 have since for all the world those look like little 7.9s or 27s/28s & their higher, longer cabins with more portlights mimic the look of much larger sailing cruisers.
But what the 6.7s lacks in cabin translates into more cockpit room, less windage & weight and better sailing performance.
And the 6.7 IS a racy looking boat, more on the order of a CB or DB version of Pearson's Ensign or Commander, or perhaps a little like a smaller scale Tartan Ten, Capri 30, Olson 30, etc. The comparison is apt; the 6.7's Portsmouth & PHRF ratings indicate speed better than all C&C, Catalina, Ericson, O'Day, Pearson, & most other's models up to 27' and more often to 28' or 30'; Portsmouth indicates it's about 15"/nau. mile faster than the 6.9. (The 22 lacks a Portsmouth rating.)
"So," you say, "its overnighting facilities rival that of a medium size family tent??" -- This is, after all, only a 22' hull. But the 6.7's very honest design compliments its functions well; it does not pretend anything and it mimics nothing -- its beauty is as its beauty does, and its integrity goes all the way to the bone.
Former owners have missed their 6.7s so much they seek one out to buy again; other sailors keep them despite owning other boats. One, who's sailed his 6.7 since '82 (& currently also owns a Hobie cat, E-scow, & Pearson 424 ketch and HAS owned many others) -- calls his 6.7 "the best sailing boat I have ever owned." Another wrote, "... in 35 years as a sailor on all types of boats, this is the most impressive boat I have ever sailed. Other than the space for cruising, I like it better that our 7.9." Me? I've owned a few boats -- a Comet, 3 Snipes, 2 C-scows, 1 Pearson Ensign, 1 Ericson 26, 1 S2 6.9, all great boats -- and cannot disagree.
If you need more information about the 6.7, log on to our class BB (the "Forum" on our website: http://www.sail-s2.org and ask there.
That site also has a classified section in which all known 6.7s, 6.9s, & 22s for sale are listed. You can e-mail me & I'll be happy to put you in touch with other owners or answer any questions (e.g., source for renting a moisture meter; approved surveyors, etc.). My review of the S2 6.9 in Sailnet's owner's reviews has additional information about the 6.7. If you DO buy a 6.7, 6.9, or 22 please register it with our class association (www.sail-s2.org) so that we can provide you with any needed support and you can meet others.
If you find any 6.7, 6.9, or 22 of which we're unaware, PLEASE tell us.
The S2 6.7, 6.9 & 22 Class Assoc'n has developed a variety of suppliers of replacement parts not otherwise available. Annual mbr dues are quite low ($15/yr) to encourage owners and potential owners to join. Members with their current paid membership at least 6 mos/180 days in age get significant discounts on replacement parts.
Revised 26apr06 & updated irregularly. If any 6.7, 6.9 or 22 skippers see any disputable points or misstatements, please let me know so I can clarify or correct them.
My "Owner Reviews" of the 6.9 (and also of the Pearson Ensign & Ericson 26) are also in Sailnet's owners' reviews.