Nantucket Clipper - Yachts and Yachting Review

Reprinted from "YACHTS AND YACHTING", 23rd October, 1970


  1. Hull and construction
  2. Decks and cockpit
  3. Rigging
  4. Accommodation
  5. Engine
  6. Performance
  7. Conclusions

It was commonly observed of a famous wartime fighter aircraft that it was hard to say whether she was beautiful because of, or in spite of, her shape. Similar doubt may well arise today concerning many of our standard production yachts with their universal sloop rigs, straight sheerlines and short overhangs. The advent of Offshore Yachts' 29ft Nantucket Clipper with yawl rig as standard, traditional clipper bow with bowsprit and sawn off counter stem therefore provides something of a breath of fresh air and would make her worthy of note even if she had no other redeeming features. Her old-time profile however, is married to the otherwise most up to date trends in design. The design is from the board of Alan Buchanan and Partners and the hull mouldings are by Seamaster with final completion and fitting out by the builders at their Royston factory.

 Hull and construction

The basic construction is of three mouldings comprising hull, decks and coachroof and a deckhead lining. On the whole, these are excellently finished, but there were one or two flaws, particularly in the coachroof lining. One must, however, remember that this was the first boat out of the mould. The lines plan shows a fairly deep hull with the clipper bow merging into a deep forefoot with little cutaway before a relatively long and shallow keel. The keel contains 3,360 pounds of iron giving a ballast ratio of about 40%. The wide beam of 9ft in on a waterline length of 2lft has permitted a fairly slack turn to the bilge which should make for sea kindliness. The spade rudder is set forward of the bottom of the counter, and is balanced to a certain degree. The propeller shaft emerges from the hull through a shallow skeg. The lines are sweet with a low coachroof line which produces a most attractive profile.

Decks and cockpit

The main feature of the deck plan is the plank type bowsprit which extends some I 8in beyond the stemhead. It is a solid teak plank, wide enough to stand on in safety and it carries the pulpit. It is bolted through the deck and stayed by a bobstay and short dolphin striker. Although relatively short, this bowsprit makes a considerable contribution to the working space in this area and has enabled the coachroof to be carried well forward. Two large mooring cleats are mounted at its aft end and there is a single pair of handed fairleads. Double lifelines are carried by stainless steel stanchions. The side decks have a minimum width of 15in increasing forward and, being quite uncluttered, are sale and easy to use. Grabrails are mounted on the coachroof and forward of the deck stepped mast a very fine stainless steel and armoured glass hatch is fitted to the coachroof. It is hinged aft. The main companion hatch is of timber and slides forward under a drained moulded cover. Just forward of the break in the coachroof on either side, is a Dorade type ventilator with a flexible plastic cowl. These are of good size and supply air to both the saloon and toilet areas below. The cockpit is some 6ft long with teak gratings both in the well and on the side seats. The coamings are also of teak and are relatively low, contributing little to comfort. There is a large locker under the port side bench and a further cavernous one with a timber hatchcover under the stern deck. The double lifelines are extended to the back of the cockpit but are not carried round the stern. Large size mooring cleats are provided on the stern deck but the hawse holes through the bulwarks are being changed for a pair of fairleads. The rudder stock rises through the aft end of the cockpit well and the tiller may be lifted out of the way when not in use. The short length of IYE track on the bridge deck carries the mainsheet traveller. Navigation lights are standard with port and starboard lights mounted on the pulpit, a stern light on top of the counter and a masthead light. A steaming light is an extra. The combination of wide beam and the use of bowsprit has permitted a most spacious and uncluttered deck plan which would give credit to a larger yacht.


The boat has a masthead rig with single forestay and single backstay anchored rather off the centreline so as to permit a transom hung rudder, Standing rigging is of Norseman Seaproof sheathed galvanised plough wire 1 x 19 x 1.5 in. Downhauls are provided for main and jib and Barton roller reeling is standard. Mast and boom are of aluminium alloy which can be supplied anodised as an extra.

You may notice the differences between the MK2 Clipper to that of the later Mk3 with the longer keel and integral rudder. Some boats are also sloop rigged rather than yawl.

The sails are by Gowan of West Mersea, the spars on the boat inspected were of alloy made by Stainless Steel Spars, standing rigging of Seaprufe, In about a Force 3/4 breeze Nantucket clipper was very easily driven and seemed to be making around 5 1/2 to 6 knots close hauled. The shrouds are plastic-covered galvanised wire secured to stainless steel rigging screws and U- bolts shroud plates. The main mast is stepped on a hinged, adjustable step and is supported by the usual single forestay, three pairs of shrouds and a single divided backstay. The mizzen mast has two pairs of shrouds and provision for a mizzen staysail. Supplied as standard are a single halyard winch on the main mast, one pair of sheet winches on the cockpit coamings, the necessary tack downhauls for both main and jib together, and a kicking strap.


With the coachroof carried well forward of the mast, the fo'c's'le is relatively spacious with 5ft 6in headroom and two good, wide, full length berths, which are divided at their foot by the chain pipe. There is a screw-down mushroom ventilator above each berth and the forehatch, which is hinged aft, is also available for further ventilation. Electric lights are mounted on the bulkhead, and there is the usual stowage beneath the berths. A step between the bunk risers would be of assistance when using the forehatch. Moving aft, we find the toilet compartment and hanging cupboard with hinged doors separating the area from the saloon and fo'c's'le. A fine stainless steel folding wash basin was mounted above the SL400 toilet to port of the boat inspected, but standard boats have a somewhat simpler arrangement with pumped water supply draining into the W.C. itself. Opposite is a good, deep, hanging cupboard with a shelf above. The saloon, with 6ft headroom, follows the popular dinette arrangement to port with a single quarter berth to starboard. Opposite the dinette is a well fitted galley with a gimbaled Argyle gas stove with fiddle and clamps. There is a small stainless steel sink with very limited working space to one side of it. Behind this, under the sidedecks are fitted cupboards with sliding doors, with two further cupboards and a fitted cutlery drawer below. There is undoubtedly insufficient working space in this arrangement and as will be seen later, this fault will be rectified in future boats. The dinette is over 6ft long, and 46in wide and can, therefore, reasonably be regarded as a double berth, and again there are cupboards with sliding doors under the sidedecks. The dinette does not extend right back to the after bulkhead, and in this area is a deep bin and more clothes storage space. An alterative arrangement with two single settee berths is also available.

On the boat inspected, the quarter berth to starboard projected only marginally into the saloon and although of full length would be difficult to climb into. Between the head of this berth and the quarter bulkhead bounding the galley, there is a seat at lower level and a folding chart table. The arrangement was not very satisfactory and is being re-designed so that the quarter berth merges into the seat at the same level and the folding chart table will be so mounted as to provide an extension at the same level. The layout as a whole does, however, provide comfortable seating space for five people out of the way of the cook. Ventilation is taken care of by a louvred vent in the top weather board of the companion hatch and the deck-mounted cowls already mentioned.

There are large discharge type electric lights above both galley and dinette, curtain rails are included and the general decor of solid teak and teak-faced plywood is not only attractive but completed to a high standard. Once the modifications already mentioned have been carried out the saloon should prove comfortable and snug for an evening aboard with a full crew together with one or two friends.


The standard engine is a 6/8hp Sabb single cylinder diesel with electric starting by Dynastart. This engine gives the boat a speed of about 5 1/2 knots in calm water and provision is made for installation of larger motors if required. Access to it is excellent and achieved by removing the whole of the front of the engine casing. Once removed, all parts of the engine and gear box are within easy reach, although there is also a screw-down hatch in the cockpit sole. The engine was smooth in operation. It drives a variable pitch propeller with the control lever rising through the forward end of the cockpit well.


We tried out the Clipper on a glorious afternoon in the mouth of the Blackwater river in about a Force 3/4 breeze on a virtually calm sea. The yacht appeared to be very easily driven and closed hauled pulled steadily away from one of the small Halcyon 23s moving under the power of her MDl engine, indicating that the Clipper was making around 5 1/2 to 6 knots. She was well balanced and carried little weather helm, but when close hauled it paid to slacken off the mizzen sheet to prevent a degree of weather helm appearing.

Whilst no measurement was possible, an eye on the wash after going about indicated that she was close winded with her heading certainly varying well under ninety degrees between tacks. We were given to understand from the owner that her first performance in a local club race came as something of a shock to the local champions. On a broad reach, the speed appeared to build up to something in excess of 6 knots, which judging from the relatively small wash, did not appear to be her maximum downwind.

The Clipper has very much a big boat feel about her with a most pleasant, easy motion. The small mizzen did not appear to be of much benefit under these conditions, but it is claimed that the yacht is perfectly balanced with foresail and mizzen only in strong winds and there is of course the advantage of being able to set a mizzen staysail.


Leaving apart the unusual clipper bow which is such a distinguishing feature of this yacht there is no doubt that it is a most comfortable well finished cruiser with a good turn of speed and unusually spacious deck plan. In relation to the basic price of £3,950 which includes the diesel engine, stove, anchor chain, navigation lights etc the finish was good and the standard of fitting out high. If about 10% were added to this price for further sails and equipment, the result would be a very well equipped seagoing cruiser of 7 1/2 tons TM.

She is a fine yacht in her own right, but with a special appeal to anyone seeking something a little different from the average.


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