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Old 12-11-2008
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I write a newsletter for a sailing club I'm in and occasionally feature boat reviews or design notes for new boats to our fleet. Since I'm not a Navel Architect and I have no particular qualifications other than an interest in how designs interact with wind and water, I sometimes have trouble getting info on boats I want to review. I hope this forum will be a help. This winter I would like to develop articles on the Knickerbocker 23(?), Hobie 33 (Fixed Keel), E-33 (Its new), and maybe another. I can use the articles during the summer so I'm out on the boat and not at home writing. So, does anyone have something interesting to contribute about either of these boats? Keep in mind, other club members own these boats so I'm not trying to slam them. I focus on the hull shape, weight, rig performance. I also comment on the suitability of the design for its intended use. I quote more expert authors for technical info I'm not qualified to comment on.
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Old 12-12-2008
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I am quite familiar with the Knickerbocker One Design. I raced on these boats when I was a kid and my family were members of Knickerbocker Yacht Club in Port Washington. The Knickerbocker was a Sparkman and Stevens designed one design class that was developed specifically as one- design race boats for members of Knickerbocker Yacht Club. It was quite common in those days for a group of club members to have a one design class developed for them and then built on contract. Members of Knickerbocker Yacht Club also commissioned the designs for the Hinckley Pilot, Bermuda 40 and Brewer 12.8. There were approximately 22 of these 26 foot boats built by American Boat Building in Rhode Island (who I believe also built the Galaxy and Bounty and was a spin off company of Colman, the camping equip. company.

The boats were pretty advanced for their day. Although narrow and quite tender by modern standards, they sailed very well with excellent speed upwind and reasonable speed on all points of sail, especially considering their short water line length. Like most one-design classes of that era, they were fractional rigs, which were considered then as now to be the most efficient rig when there is not a rating rule to be considered.

Designed for the light winds of Long Island Sound these boats featured a generous sail area, (especially considering their light weight), most of which was carried in a large mainsail rather than their small non-overlapping jib or spinacker. They had mechanical- crank actuated, adjustable backstays that could be used to adjust headstay sag and mast bend in a building breeze. They also featured a large cockpit which made them easy to sail with their typical crew of 3 or 4 people.

They were also great daysailors being responsive and easy to handle, but were difficult boats, if not dangerous boats, to sail in heavy air.

As a kid I loved these boats. They were beautiful to look at and a lot of fun to sail. While paling in performance to a more modern design like a J-22 they still wouild be great boats to sail in a venue that features light to moderate winds.

I also have a fair amount of time sailing Hobie 33's but don't have time to make comments on that design.


Last edited by Jeff_H; 12-12-2008 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 07-16-2013
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Re: Reviews of misc boats for sailing club

Saw your review of the Knickerbocker One Design. I own the prototype, an am restoring her. Very curious about the "dangerous" tendencies of this design in heavy weather. Could you go into more detail? Thanks, Mark
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