Originally Posted by Jeff_H
These have always struck me as being very charismatic for a shoal draft boat. I had seen a number of these when I lived in Florida and had even visited the factory at one point and seen them under construction. There was one in Sarasota that I occasionally saw out sailing and one here on the Bay that I would see from time to time. I have always been very impressed with these boats when I have seen them underway.
I have generally been a fan of Bruce Kirby's non-racing rule designs. I am surprised that there were only 14 built. My recollection my be mistaken but I seem to recall that they were built by two different yards and would have guessed that the 14 boats listed were only the ones built by Fort Meyer Yacht and Ship building.
To me, the strength of the Nightwind design is that these boats are a good example of the virtues of a design which was built without worrying about a racing rule. When I want to discuss the impact of racing rules on hull forms and rigs, I typically use two designers as examples, Bruce Kirby and Bruce Farr. Both designed boats that were designed to the IOR rule as well as designed totally independently of the IOR but at roughly same periods of time. In Kirby's case I look at his designs for the original Laser, Sonar, Kirby 25, Kirby 30 and the Nightwind and I see weel rounded boats which sail well on all points or sail and which are comparative easy boats to sail. The impact of the rule is pretty graphic when comparing the IOR Kirby 1/4 tonner to Kirby 25, or the IOR San Juan 30 to the Kirby 30.
Anyway, if I was looking for a shoal draft coastal cruiser, or even a boat to do the Bahamas and Carribean basin, the Nightwind would be high on my list.
I agree that racing rules do tend to warp performance for non racing uses. I think that sailboat data may wrong on the number made, as I saw a lot of references, more so than many boats that they made well over a 100 of.