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mgehou 06-23-2001 01:14 PM

Rhodes Chesapeake 32

I have found a Rhodes Chesapeake 32 built in 1961 at Danyard in Denmark that I am interested in buying. Any information regarding this model or tips/suggestions would be welcome. The deck/interior/rigging/engine are all new and imaculate. Any ideas on value??

JeffH 06-23-2001 03:57 PM

Rhodes Chesapeake 32
These are nice boats. They are slightly less beefy and slightly less commodious than their near sisters, the Pearson Vanguards which were also 32 foot Rhodes designs of the era. If I remember correctly the Chesapeakes were imported by Henry Walton of Annapolis, Maryland and were beautifully finished with mahogany trim and nice stainless steel and chrome plated cast brnze details. (Walton''s son still lives in Annapolis)

These boats sail well for a boat from that era and seem to be well behaved in a breeze. That said, by today''s standards these boats were painfully slow and quite wet. The have a short waterline by any objective standard and so (if they behave like the Vanguard which my family owned for quite a few years) they are not too great in a chop. They are also next to useless in light air.

I am not terribly fond of the sail plan on these CCA era rule beater boats. Boats of this era were designed with comparatively small and low aspect ratio mainsails and counted on the use of very large genoas in winds up to the high teens. As a result they are a lot of work to sail well. The wide single spreaders, the wide shroud base and longish keel keep them from pointing as well as more modern designs.

These boats were typically sailed with large heel angles at speed which made working below a little difficult and uncomfortable. It also made it pretty wet in the cockpit in a seaway. They do have a slower motion than the early fin keel spade rudder boats that followed them but they also roll through wider roll angles.

The longish keel (which is not really a full keel as classically defined) had a cut away forefoot and a raked rudder post that was pretty far forward in the boat. In their day, these were considered to be more like a long fin keel with an attached rudder than a full keel. The cutaways reduced wetted surface and increased speed a bit but it also meant that they do not really track like a full keel nor do they have the light helms of spade rudder boats. The general proportions of the rig, the large heel angles and the rudder attached to the keel resulted in a lot of weather helm in a breeze which really wears you down on a long leg and causes the autopilot to use a lot more amps than a boat with a lighter helm.

Of course then there is the usual old boat concerns. You need to have this boat throughly surveyed by a really competent certified Marine Surveyor. Boats of this era can have a mix of problems including standing and running rigging that is well past its useful lifespan, deck rot and structural bulkhead separation, fiberglass fatique at high stress areas, rudders and rudder posts that well in excess of thier useful lifespan, tired sails, deck hardware that is underpowered and undersized (by modern standards) and imposible to find parts for, dangerous hardware like reel winches and roller furling booms, engines in need of rebuild or replacement, upholstery that has lost its give, instruments, plumbing, electrical systems that are obsolete and past their safe lifespans, aesthetic issues and so on. While none of these problems may be present on the specific boat that you are considering, even a combination of a few of these items can quickly add up to far more than these boats are worth in perfect condition.

To me boats like the Chesapeake 32 are wonderful to look at. Sailing them evokes an aesthetic of a different era. They were simple boats that offer a type of experience that that is different than more modern designs. If that "come with me now to yesteryear" character appeals to you then the Chesapeake 32 was one of the better boats of that length and time frame.

Good luck

mgehou 06-24-2001 08:43 AM

Rhodes Chesapeake 32

Thank you for an enlightning email. Your thoughts on sailability are especially well timed as I intend to take the boat on a sea trial next w/e. I have already contacted a surveyor and intend to do a full survey. The rigging is all new, the deck renewed, and the cabin is completely redone in a traditional style. The quality of the refit is excellent (as far as I can tell), and the woodwork is very nice. As you rightly mention, this type of design appeals to a certain asthetic sensibility that transcends logic and common sense. A ''return to yesteryear'' is certainly in the offing.

I do not know much about the value of a boat of this era. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your time.

JeffH 06-25-2001 03:00 AM

Rhodes Chesapeake 32
My sense is that a Chesapeake 32 in really good shape, with everything repaired, replaced or upgraded, might be worth somewhere around $20K. In recent years, most of the Chesapeake 32''s that I have seen for sale have had an asking price in the $14K to $17K suggesting a sales price under $15K. If you have one in prime condition anywhere near (and below) $20K it is probably a pretty fair deal.


ByrSac 02-11-2011 04:08 PM

In theory, in practice....
With all due respect to JeffH, he should know better than to generalize about performance when it comes to specific sailboats. He says Rhodes' short LWL/ cutaway forefoot/attached rudder design produces a slow, wet boat with a lot of weather helm. ... Well, having owned one (the Meridian, a smaller version of the Chessie 32 from the looks of its underbody), I have to tell you this hull design balances beautifully, tracks like a train, and moves respectably in light air. In fact the Meridian's helm was perfectly balanced on all points of sail, including beating. In a hard breeze, I could drive the boat to weather with no hand on the tiller at all --- the tiller just horsed around a bit as the boat plowed on. Amazing, really.

Many of Rhodes' designs were noted for their excellent balance. I daresay Mr. Rhodes knew exactly what he was doing, when it came to designing to the CCA rule. (Small mains and large gennies on CCA boats, Jeff? Well, they were masthead rigs, but maybe you are confusing these conservatively rigged boats with the IOR "rule-beaters" that followed?)

slap 02-15-2011 08:02 PM

ByrSac -

You do know that this thread had been dead for almost 10 years? :)

I've spent quite a number of years sailing a Vanguard, and Jeff_H is correct. Terrible in light air, slow, and develops quite a bit of weather helm in a breeze unless you reef early. Downwind in a breeze can take quite a bit of effort to steer. Depending upon the point of sail, wind speed, and waves, I could get the boat to steer with the tiller free, but I've sailed other boats that were much better.

Your Meridian is probably closer to a Vanguard - the Chesapeake 32 was a centerboard boat. And like the Vanguard, the Meridian is no speedster, with a PHRF of around 285.

As far as mainsails on the old CCA designs - these boats were designed for large overlapping jibs - around 170%, due to the way the additional area was treated by the rating rules. A more modern design not constrained by the CCA rule would have put more area in the main and used smaller overlaps in the jib.

reed1v 03-09-2012 03:15 PM

Re: Rhodes Chesapeake 32
slap, with all due respect, your statement that chessies are centerboards needs to be corrected. just went over to see my neighor's chessie. no centerboard. just a big keel. no slots. he never had a centerboard on it. nor any evidence of one. so just where do you get your info from?

reed1v 03-09-2012 03:45 PM

Re: Rhodes Chesapeake 32
just went through my dad's old files. he was involved in ev pearson's and dick fisher's forays into the fiberglass world back in the 50s-early 60s. nope. chesapeakes definitely did not have centerboards. got the plans/photos/specs right here . think some folks are getting the chessie confused with similar designs. to further edify some of these armchair sailors, the chessie was not built to a cca standard. otherwise it would have had a centerboard, etc. it was built initially for the very choppy baltic and north sea area and represented a really conservative "sea" boat. think some of you younger folks have never really sailed such a boat. now back to my luders 33.

SloopJonB 03-09-2012 10:19 PM

Re: Rhodes Chesapeake 32
AFAIAC, any Rhodes boat is worth owning just because it will be so beautiful. No-one ever drew a more beautiful sheerline than Phil Rhodes.

Faster 03-09-2012 10:24 PM

Re: Rhodes Chesapeake 32

Originally Posted by SloopJonB (Post 843081)
AFAIAC, any Rhodes boat is worth owning just because it will be so beautiful. No-one ever drew a more beautiful sheerline than Phil Rhodes.

Chesapeake 32.... pretty.....

Indeed...:) But it would be hard to try sailing one of these around the PNW in summer, I suspect..

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