Jump to content

Peter Johnstone

Member Since 30 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Sep 19 2014 06:51 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Bieker-53

22 August 2014 - 08:18 PM



We have watched many designs claim to be faster than a Gunboat. No one will have any real idea of the performance of a new concept until it shows up on the water. There are too many variables between the design and the final sailing boat. We are flattered to evidently be the benchmark for this custom project, even if it is nothing like a Gunboat 55.


The Gunboat Class has ten years of results on the same courses as a wide variety of multis and monos. Everyone will have an opinion based on those results. The trend over that time is a progressive increase in speed of the Gunboat fleet.


The simpler design parameters of LAT21's custom project could be compared to varying older efforts with similar design parameters:


  • Spronk (various)
  • Conser 47/50
  • TS50/52 
  • Outremer 55 Light 
  • Etincelle 57/60


These examples sacrificed systems, finish, comfort and space for less weight, and lower budget, while aiming for more performance. 


Wishing LAT21 easy fair winds on the quarter through the whole build process, and into ownership. 

In Topic: Bieker-53

22 August 2014 - 07:20 PM

EarthBM, the systems on a typical Gunboat 55 at her 12.5 mt lightship displacement will include:




Full aircon throughout

Entertainment systems

Large Inverters

Full AC power through the boat 



Built in Grill

Built in salon bar with sink and drinks fridge

Full oven and stove top typical of a house

Corian counters

Large capacity tankage

World cruising fridge/freezer capacities

electric fresh water toilets

Water filter systems

Fuel scrubber, transfer and filter systems

Hydraulic system for boards, main, winches, windlass



Tempered safety glass in salon

Electric davit winch

Fully featured tender

V boom



Stern poles

Solar package

Large house battery bank

Two large diesels

Retractable rudders and their bearings.

Full electronics

Luxury finish throughout


Add of all of those systems, and your structures need to handle the displacement and loads. You cannot simply add this stuff to a lightly engineered structure for a barely equipped boat and expect it to hold together. The entire yacht works as one giant system. 


We achieve 34% resin content in the carbon skins. We mold in one piece female tooling so there is no fairing, no tabbing, no excess weight. Every 55 is simply painted, which weighs a fraction of the weight of gelcoat. No one will beat us on structural weight for a given displacement unless they go with full female carbon tooling and pre-preg/nomex route. That will cost a fortune. 


Anyone can leave stuff off of a cat. Very few have a spouse that will permit such a bare boat. For those, we do the G4. It costs less, and suits the bare performance spec type sailor. At the 55' length, the boats cannot be sold without most of the above list of systems. 


As for 'claimed' displacements, many designers will claim a weight. The 'as-built' weight is typically quite different. Some of the recent claims in the market by various 'vapor' projects are in fantasyland. Some of the best yards and projects are guilty of this. Our published weights are 'as-built'. We weigh at the completion of each project on certified scales. 


There is no question that a lighter and faster cat can be built. It is simply a matter of what you choose to leave off of the boat. How much can one sacrifice? Gunboat has the benefit of watching the buying patterns of 15 years of customers. The trend is not towards less aboard, it is towards more. This is why we have worked so hard to reduce structural weights to preserve performance. 


North Sails President Ken Read got involved in the Gunboat 55 sail plan development. He has commented that the Gunboat 55 speeds compare to the Puma Volvo 70 in most conditions and on most angles. How fast is fast enough? What is appropriate for the market? The results of the Gunboat 55 will become apparent over the next year or so on the water. It is an excellent balance of luxury, performance and ease of operation. In short, it is a family super yacht placed into a proven high performance Gunboat formula. This formula works for Gunboat. It is a very different design parameter than the custom project being discussed here.

Attached File  10535577_10152549244279521_7398580982158527175_o.jpg   88.63K   16 downloads

In Topic: Bieker-53

21 August 2014 - 01:07 PM

Trevor, the amenities and comforts are very similar. Both are simple bare-bones boats. More apples to apples than any other comparison shared.

In Topic: How do you select and contract a yacht designer ?

15 August 2014 - 05:00 PM



Thanks for the kind words. 


The G4 should be sailing in December just in time for the Caribbean season. Should be good fun. We are going with a single steerable outboard for now. Eventually we will offer the electric solution. You may be surprised by the electric propulsion weights from the vendors we use. 


When will your B53 launch? Enjoy every minute of the process.

In Topic: Bieker-53

13 August 2014 - 02:36 PM



You reference the Gunboat 55 as a comparison. Your project would compare much more closely with a Gunboat G4 in terms of comfort, layout and space. A Gunboat G4 weighs 5280 lbs to your designed weight calc of 14,000 lbs. 


A Gunboat 55 has all of the luxuries, space and amenities for a world cruise in complete comfort. She will be competitive in Gunboat Class events in the Caribbean. Gunboat owners over the past 14 years have enjoyed an average gain when comes to resell their yacht. The Gunboat 55 has her own niche and benefits, just as your unique custom project fits your needs. 


As I mention in the design thread, I salute folks like yourself and DDW who keep the custom work going at this size range. It is a dying art form. The economics are very challenging. You have a talented designer, great guys at the builder, and I am sure you will enjoy the whole process. Good luck and look forward to seeing the result and you on the water.