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Releasing the Trapeze - Ultimate 20, SR-21, Viper 640

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After 40 years of hiking and trapping out from Hobie 16, Nacra, Hobie 20, Hobie Wildcat and my current Viper F16, I need a boat I can sit down in with my wife. I guess I'll be trading hiking out for leaning back.

 

Don't get me wrong the cat boats are awesome and some of the best experiences of my life are being out on the wire with a friend, or one of my sons and crashing through rollers. But it's too much for my wife (and I might add on my bones).

 

So I'll be selling the Viper 16 and I am currently looking for a U20, Ultimate 20, or similar boat. I've heard that since the Abbott factory burned down that there have been too many disappointments with the subsequent boat builders and the molds have been donated to the class association....No production of U20's at the moment since there isn't anyone building the boats anymore.

 

Can anyone confirm if they are still in production? Is the class still building?

 

I'd like to know if there are fleets of similar boats near central Florida?

 

Before I am boatless (someone buys my Viper) I'd like to have an 18 to 22 foot lifting keel, weighted centerboard type dinghy racer.

 

Any ideas or opionions?

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Look in sportboat anarchy? The U20 (and Viper 640, K6, etc) all have lead in the bottom and generally need a crane to haul them in and out (or a really nice ramp and the appropriate trailer and tow vehicle).

 

If you want something without the lead-filled foils that can be beach launched, then you'll have to give a little more to work with, like will it just be you 2, or sometimes 3 or 1? How willing are you to get wet? Etc. Basically within the "dinghy" category there are plenty of boats (though based on your location some might be harder/more expensive to acquire).

 

And just a heads up that there could be some of the nastier troll-types who will reply to this thread...

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The SR Max would fit the bill. I sailed them quite a bit, years ago. They sail like a big 470 with a keel. Fairly easy to ramp launch. A lifting tackle is shackled to the keel and pole lift, and hauled up. The tail end of the tackle is shackled to the main halyard, and the halyard put on a winch to raise/lower the keel. Mast must be stepped to do this. Mast-stepping is a one-main job and pretty easy.

Boat is very responsive, and easily Turbo'd with an oversized or assymetrical spinnaker if you wish. Cockpit is very comfortable and user-friendly. Boat sails like a dinghy. Berths are sealed air tanks.

The only real downside is to people also expecting a large commodious cabin. It is pretty cramped. 2 people can squeeze in for an overnight, that's about it. Glenn and his wife did a 2 week cruise of the Fla Keys, which was pretty hardcore. Also note: it's a squeeze getting in/out of the companionway when the keel is lifted. Many owners will tilt the raised keel and tie it off to the side for a few inches more clearance. Hatch won't fit when keel is up, owners usually have a tent-type affair to keep rain out.

The early masts were too bendy and marginal strength. I think by now most have been replaced, but def check it out before purchase.

The market now is down around $5000, which is a bargain.

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After 40 years of hiking and trapping out from Hobie 16, Nacra, Hobie 20, Hobie Wildcat and my current Viper F16, I need a boat I can sit down in with my wife. I guess I'll be trading hiking out for leaning back.

 

Don't get me wrong the cat boats are awesome and some of the best experiences of my life are being out on the wire with a friend, or one of my sons and crashing through rollers. But it's too much for my wife (and I might add on my bones).

 

So I'll be selling the Viper 16 and I am currently looking for a U20, Ultimate 20, or similar boat. I've heard that since the Abbott factory burned down that there have been too many disappointments with the subsequent boat builders and the molds have been donated to the class association....No production of U20's at the moment since there isn't anyone building the boats anymore.

 

Can anyone confirm if they are still in production? Is the class still building?

 

I'd like to know if there are fleets of similar boats near central Florida?

 

Before I am boatless (someone buys my Viper) I'd like to have an 18 to 22 foot lifting keel, weighted

http://jsyachtsusa.com/home.asp

 

A little longer, but might do the trick. And they've been trapped upon...

 

We had a U20, and I think you'd have to do some mods to feel secure trapping.

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I think the OPs intent is to not trap, and go for a little more comfort and still have good performance.

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VX One, with everything else a pretty big step down in my eyes. I doubt it can be easily beach launched, but ramp launching is pretty easy, fast and easy to sail, plus if you get the need for a trap the are built for it, though don't use them for OD racing.

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The SR Max would fit the bill. I sailed them quite a bit, years ago. They sail like a big 470 with a keel. Fairly easy to ramp launch. A lifting tackle is shackled to the keel and pole lift, and hauled up. The tail end of the tackle is shackled to the main halyard, and the halyard put on a winch to raise/lower the keel. Mast must be stepped to do this. Mast-stepping is a one-main job and pretty easy.

Boat is very responsive, and easily Turbo'd with an oversized or assymetrical spinnaker if you wish. Cockpit is very comfortable and user-friendly. Boat sails like a dinghy. Berths are sealed air tanks.

The only real downside is to people also expecting a large commodious cabin. It is pretty cramped. 2 people can squeeze in for an overnight, that's about it. Glenn and his wife did a 2 week cruise of the Fla Keys, which was pretty hardcore. Also note: it's a squeeze getting in/out of the companionway when the keel is lifted. Many owners will tilt the raised keel and tie it off to the side for a few inches more clearance. Hatch won't fit when keel is up, owners usually have a tent-type affair to keep rain out.

The early masts were too bendy and marginal strength. I think by now most have been replaced, but def check it out before purchase.

The market now is down around $5000, which is a bargain.

When I was a kid I always thought about ways to make the sr even more awesome. A squarehead Maine, two traps, and a huge masthead kite. (Would probably need more mast support for that...). Someday , maybe, I'll do it. Shame the Sarasota fleet died out.

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Same story for me leaving cats behind. The VX one is a 2 handed boat my wife and I sail and race. My wife is off the trapeze too but can handle the kite. Sarasota has a big race venue for them every winter.

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The SR Max would fit the bill. I sailed them quite a bit, years ago. They sail like a big 470 with a keel. Fairly easy to ramp launch. A lifting tackle is shackled to the keel and pole lift, and hauled up. The tail end of the tackle is shackled to the main halyard, and the halyard put on a winch to raise/lower the keel. Mast must be stepped to do this. Mast-stepping is a one-main job and pretty easy.

Boat is very responsive, and easily Turbo'd with an oversized or assymetrical spinnaker if you wish. Cockpit is very comfortable and user-friendly. Boat sails like a dinghy. Berths are sealed air tanks.

The only real downside is to people also expecting a large commodious cabin. It is pretty cramped. 2 people can squeeze in for an overnight, that's about it. Glenn and his wife did a 2 week cruise of the Fla Keys, which was pretty hardcore. Also note: it's a squeeze getting in/out of the companionway when the keel is lifted. Many owners will tilt the raised keel and tie it off to the side for a few inches more clearance. Hatch won't fit when keel is up, owners usually have a tent-type affair to keep rain out.

The early masts were too bendy and marginal strength. I think by now most have been replaced, but def check it out before purchase.

The market now is down around $5000, which is a bargain.

When I was a kid I always thought about ways to make the sr even more awesome. A squarehead Maine, two traps, and a huge masthead kite. (Would probably need more mast support for that...). Someday , maybe, I'll do it. Shame the Sarasota fleet died out.
Before the SR Max, Glenn built a 17' centerboarder called the Super Ray. It had some super flared out topsides, much more than a 505. Pretty sporty Daysailer, but he didn't sell many. There were a couple unfinisheds hulls sitting in a storage room when I worked for Glenn. Fooling around one day, I took a tape measure to them and determined an SR-21 rig would drop right in. With a couple traps, it would be an interesting entry in the Mug Race, or for beer can races.

https://books.google.com/books?id=zOMDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=Super+Ray+17+sailboat&source=bl&ots=cBJZxdxbuY&sig=G5xf71RZOd_TuxRHiQrbf2KOBXc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlqrfnrPvOAhVDGB4KHdJBDYIQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Super%20Ray%2017%20sailboat&f=false

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1. Do you want a small cabin + heavier displacement?

Choices:

(i) Ultimate 20. Fine Boat. Owners are friendly enthusiastic bunch. Somewhat dated but its good lines and nice handling enured its survival. Cons: AGAIK, new boats not being built and OD racing seems to have stalled out.

(ii) J70. Newest kid on the block. Very successful class with 100s of boats. Slightly traditional design rather than forefront of sport boat design has appealed to many. Cons: Larger than you wanted.

(iii) Melges 20. The sportiest of the three. The racing is very grand prix with wealthy owners and professional crews. There is a winter circuit in Miami. If you are looking for a boat to race....this is a very expensive annual program. If you want a boat to jet about in locally.....then a cheap used M20 might be interesting.....you could get a local PHRF rating...and go to Miami as a "corinthian" entry for shits, giggles and humiliation.

 

2. Do you want emphasis on fast, modern, light displacement, no cabin, + bulb keel?

(i) Open 570 . Had some success on the West Coast and then stalled and disappeared on these forums. There must be a bunch of used boats around. Fun concept. French design. Twin rudders. Looks like a tiny Open 60. Right in your size requirement. Heaviest of these 3 but still a lot lighter than the cabin boats above. No one design racing around you.

(ii) VX One. Light fast. Smaller than Viper. Designed for 2 heavy crew or 3 light crew. Less traction as a class than the Viper 640 but they come to Sarasota for winter racing. 19 feet. Pushes a lot of the right buttons for sport boat sailors.

(iii) Viper 640. The dominant class in the category with strong growth (>250 boats) and vibrant class association. Light. Fastest of the three but also the longest at 21 feet. Designed to be raced by 3 average weight crew but easily sailed by 2 people. There is a fleet based at sarasota + other boats scattered around Florida. It is the official class of GYA Capdevielle racing, so strong presence in the Gulf. There is a winter series at Sarasota 25+ boats on the line with emphasis on informality and fun. Then a week long regatta at Miami includiing Winter cup with serious competition from around the world. Huge bias on my part...I have one and LOVE the boat, the sailing and the people. IMO, ideal for joyriding locally with 2 people (I even race PHRF with just the 2 of us) then bring your favorite friend /tactician as a third to share driving to an occasional big one design regatta to meet fellow friends and owners.

 

3. Fast, modern, light and centerboard not bulb keel

There is a very interesting boat on the way. The VX Evo has recently been launched. Smaller version of VX One but centerboard versus bulb keel. Suitable for heavy single hander or 2 light double hander. Watch this space.

 

 

Try 'em all. Enjoy your choice.

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One correction. They do make new U20s.

U20 performance never dissapointed, and my wife could read while we sailed most of the time. Our U20 also got us through 55knots of wind with aplomb. Really liked the light air performance too. Jeff Canepa's original idea was a boat for ex cat sailors. I think Jeff was world/national Hobie champ?

 

 

You might check out Kieth Callaghan's site (blue something...) and Swallow Boats while you're at it.

 

Seascape is selling in the states?

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One correction. They do make new U20s.

Schock is making them?

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Why is it that no one has built a catboat (preferably one that looks like a Marshall :) ) that is as light as a U20 with a square head that would plane? Catboats are shapewise already in the ball park, so it wouldn't be a stretch. Abbott was toying with the idea, but......

 

I know Zurn and Wylie have done it, kind of, but no cabin. Gorkum did an open 30 version- too big. Alerion did a ~20', but I don't think it planed.

And one Aussie sportboat designer (Shaw?) did one, but no cabin. K1, but too small....

 

Just sayin- I think a 550 might need some major re engineering to do it.

 

But a catboat with an unstayed rotating Finn type bendy wing mast, a small cabin and a square top?

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