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bullseye 07-12-2003 10:16 PM

can i run some figures past you
im thinking of buying a 25ft yacht(circa 1975-1985), which is called a Top Hat(in australia), designed by illingworth & primrose(UK),fibreglass,long keel, intended use is short-hop coastal cruising(1,2 or 4 day passages)single-handed or short crewed.
im guessing not many have heard of this particular design,so heres a few figures,any thoughts about this boat for my intended use would be very helpful,

LOA 7.6M(25ft)

LWL 6.2M(20ft 4in)

beam 2.4M(7ft 10in)

draft 1.3M(4ft 3in)

displacement 2.58T(5700lbs)

lead ballast 1234kg(2720lbs)

sail area 49sqM(530 sqFeet)

ballast ratio? 48 per cent

theres a layout plan in the pictures at


Jeff_H 07-13-2003 07:02 AM

can i run some figures past you
I have never sailed one of these, or even seen a picture of one before today so what I am about to say is only based on broad generalities that can be deduced from the numbers and the photographs.

I will start with some of the basics. While you call this a long keel, by any traditional definition, this is a fin keeled boat with an attached rudder. Semantics aside this keel set up offers the worst of all worlds. It neither provides the supposed tracking of a long keel, nor the improved ability to support the boat in a grounding. The rudder being close to the bottom of the keel has more exposure than is typical on a fin/keel spade rudder where the rudder is generally significantly shallower than the bottom of the keel. A fin keeled boat with an attached rudder does not offer the light helm and easy manuevering of a fin keel/spade rudder boat, the ease of backing, or yaw moment of inertia which can help tracking even on a boat that does not have a long keel.

The beam is quite narrow, that tends to produce a boat that is tender and rolly albeit with fewer harsh accellerations and de-accellerations. With the high cabin structure, generous ballast ratio and narrow beam you would expect this boat to have a very large angle of ultimate stability. With the deck layout that is a good thing as downflooding is likely to occur in a knockdown and roll over and with the narrow beam, short sailing length and high top hamper, both are likely occur in really bad conditions. (The rule of thumb is that it typically requires a wave height equal to the beam to roll a boat through 180 degrees so that the narrow beam suggests a greater propensity to being rolled but also a greater propensity to survive the roll if you don''t downflood first.)

The high coamings can hold a huge volume of water and so would be slow to drain if the boat is pooped. Given this huge volume below the coamings, and the compartively low sill on the companionway and the large sail locker lid, downflooding is very probable in a major knockdown or pooping. The boat has a very small bilge area making for a very wet interior. With the high coamings, I would avoid the outboard in a well model as it would spend a long time under water if the boat is pooped and would need to be treated as an outboard that was dropped over the side and recovered after a major flooding. That outboard configuration violates US boat building regs in place since the late 1960''s.

The full bow sections are likely to pound in a short chop and to be very wet when going to windward in a seaway.

The narrow beam suggests a boat that will somewhat cramped down below although this is partially offset by the high cabin structure. The interior plan shows a fair amount storage but most of it is high in the hull where it will hurt stability. The galley appears to be tiny, even for a 25 footer and the dinette looks to small to really be of much use in any real sense.

Then there is the age issue. This getting to be a very old boat (18 to 28 years old). In any boat this age you can expect to find some ''issues''. Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner, you might expect to need to address some combination of the following items:

Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
worn out upholstery,
Out of date safety gear
electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement.
Blister, fatigue, rudder, hull to deck joint or deck coring problems
Keel bolt replacement (bolt on keel) or delamination of the hull from the ballast for a glassed in keel.
And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.

With an strange little boat like the one in question, the value of the boat will be limited by the design qualities of the boat itself and so the costs of these kinds of repairs and upgrades can quickly exceed any fair market value for one of these boats by several times.

I would think that there are much better 25 footers out there for your purposes. I would think that if you are really seeking a long keeled boat with narrow beam, one of the folkboat derivatives might make a more seaworthy choice. Otherwise, I would suggest that a more modern design with a fin keel and spade rudder should offer greater ease of handling and better performance over a wide range of windspeeds.

Then again I have never sailed one of these.


JeffC_ 07-14-2003 08:22 PM

can i run some figures past you
I think we can all interpret that as a "thumbs down"

bullseye 07-18-2003 12:05 AM

can i run some figures past you
Thank-you Jeff for the very thorough reply, you certainly made me aware of some issues i hadnt considered at all.
here in australia this design is actually considered by clubs,sailors & shipwrights that ive spoken to(& know) to be a fairly good solidly constructed boat, considering the age of the boats,& what they sell for, between $10,000($6500US) & $20,000($13,000US).
back to the research stage for me,the market here isnt very big, so theres only a limited selection of designs.
the aim for my first fixed keel yacht,is to get a boat around the 25ft mark, as i dont know what i want or need ''for myself'' in a boat, then trading up every couple of years while im discovering what i need,if you know what i mean.
and its always good to start off in the right direction, & i apprieciate your advice,


Jeff_H 07-18-2003 03:59 AM

can i run some figures past you
Let me emphasize one point, I have never sailed one of these and so I was only speaking in broad generalities. I would try to talk to someone who owns one and try to get a sail on one if you find them interesting.


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