Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I know a little about these boats. I knew John Holmes when I lived on the west coast of Florida in the 1970's and my dad and I had John's yard work on an old wooden boat that we owned. The yard is now closed and I have no idea what John is up to, but the John I knew back then was a real rennaissance man. When I knew him he was restoring old cars, building an airplane and running a highly innovative boat yard. John designed a number of successful motorboat and sailboat designs. Probably the most prolific of his sailboat designs was the Annapolis 25(26).
I think that the Holmes 30 was based on a boat that John built for himself and then built a few more for clients. The one that I knew was called Akvavit and was based in Northern Florida but would show up in Savannah when I lived there.
I always understood that the basic design was based on the IOR-1 rule but that the boat sometimes raced under MORC. In their day, these were morderately competitive boats. They offered reasonably good upwind performance. They became somewhat obsolete as race boats when boats like the J-24, and J-30 came along.
Because of their hull and rigf design, boats like the Holmes 30 were somewhat limited in their ability to move beyond simple displacement mode, where as boats like the J-24 and J-30 with their more efficient keel, proportionately larger sail plan, more flexible sail plan, and higher stability, could were better sailors and faster sailor on most points of sail and across a broader windspeed range. As compared to the MORC boats that replaced early IOR boats like these, boats like the Holmes were especially limited when reaching.
But also, as compared to the MORC style race boats which replaced the Holmes 30, boats like the Holmes also required a larger number of sails in their inventory to sail optimally across a broad range of windspeeds.
When I think about the Holmes 30 today, I think of them in much the same way as boats like the Albin Ballad or the Shipman 28. All of these were very good boats for that era. They point well and sail without any really bad traits (except getting a little squirelly down wind and that is mostly under spinnaker or in heavuer air). They are quite tender, cramped down below and have limited carrying capacity and so are not particularly well suite as an offshore cruiser, but they sail well enough and are cheap enough to make nice daysailors or weekenders. I imagine that you might race them at a club level, but they would be hard boats to race competitively these days.
I like longer boom modification on the boat in the Carribbean. If this does not give the boat wicked weather helm, it would certainly improve the reaching ability of the boat a little, although the hull form would always limit reaching speed and control.
They certainly were pretty boats to look at.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay