The BayCruiser 20
The BayCruiser 20 is a cabin boat design, for those who enjoy the performance of our Raider boats but want the comfort and convenience of a permanent shelter.
The boat has been loosely based on the BayRaider 20, with the key design requirements of performance and safety. She has more beam and higher freeboard than the open boat but retains the same classical styling.
The design evolution
The initial idea was to simply fit a cabin to our 6m BayRaider hull but we quickly found it would be difficult to disguise the high cabin needed for sitting headroom inside. We were also worried about the additional top weight creating stability issues unless we also brought out the beam to support it. The outcome has been a new hull design that creates much more interior volume for her length, with increased beam and freeboard.
Water ballasted for safety, convenience and performance
Like the BayRaider, her most unique feature is her water ballast system. She stores 400kg of water in two tanks, one under the Vee berth, and the other under the cockpit floor. They are both under the waterline so fill under the weight of the boat alone. There is a large capacity bilge pump to pump them dry which can be diverted to pump the cabin bilge dry. Alternatively the boat can be left to drain as you winch her onto her trailer, or just left full on her mooring.
The water ballast means the boat can be extraordinarily easy to tow, launch and recover, and very quick in light winds too. In tougher conditions, or when you just want the security of knowing you have a self righting boat, simply fill the tanks, her weight almost doubles, and the whole character of the boat changes.
Lightweight, but tough
The water ballast works well because the basic boat is so light. Her construction is best described as an epoxy composite. There is extensive use of marine plywood and glass fibre woven fabrics as well as Airex®, a closed cell cross linked polymer foam used as a core material between glass laminates where superior stiffness is needed for minimum weight.
Unlike many builders who take the designers weight estimate for their boats, we actually hang ours from a load cell giving us precise readings during construction and when finished. The first BayCruiser 20 came in at 451kg – 1 kg over weight. Together with a 200kg trailer there is an additional 100kg margin before a braked trailer is needed, assuming an estate car or similar. This is very handy because although she can be launched without getting the hubs wet (see the video) brakes always become a maintenance problem that you can do without. They also cost significantly more – our trailer for the BayCruiser 20 costs just £1200 plus VAT – something to consider when comparing against the competition.
Why the ketch rig?
The ketch rig was chosen for the same reason as that on the BayRaider: in heavy weather the main can be dropped quickly to form a well balanced and snug rig that is still large enough to drive the boat to windward. Unlike the BayRaider though, the BayCruiser 20 comes with a one piece carbon mast as standard and conventional boom. A gunter rig can be difficult to manage on a boat like this as when lowered you have a difficult problem in storing a 14ft top mast. In the open BayRaider it just lies on the floor. The conventional boom has been chosen for easy reefing when access to the base of the mast as not as easy as on an open boat. All ropes, including reefing, can be attended to without leaving the cockpit. As with all element of this boat, there is room for a large degree of customisation and if you have rig preferences, then please come and discuss them with us.
The cockpit has comfortably angled coamings giving great back support and a feeling of safety while the seats on either side have been spaced for good bracing when heeled.
An optional spray hood covers half the cockpit enabling the helmsman and crew to shelter from foul weather while at the tiller. It also keeps rain out of the cabin when the companionway is open. Although owner number 1 only uses a Suzuki 2.5hp outboard, there is room for up to 6hp, possibly more in the centerline well, which importantly allows the engine to kick up fully for better sailing performance. While an inboard could technically be fitted, we feel that it is not really in keeping with the character of this boat and would be more suited to her 23ft sister (more details soon). Even the smallest diesel inboard will add 100kg of weight and at least £8,000 in cost. By contrast a 6hp outboard weighs 25kg, costs about £1000 and can be removed each winter for any essential maintenance. The prop doesnt drag in the water and it doesnt need deep water to launch (as inboard engined boats do).
Up in the bows there is a large anchor locker accessible from the deck, with an additional headsail locker next to it. A large Sampson post between the two gives a strong point for mooring. The raised hull sides (bulwarks) give a feeling of security on the foredeck and it is a comfortable place to sit and watch the world go by.
In the cabin
Down below the standard layout is a large vee berth forward and a quarter berth on the port side. A galley unit sits between the two on the port side while on starboard there is more seating room and a large cockpit locker. The centreboard is disguised with a folding saloon table and there is room for a small chemical toilet under the bridge deck. Storage is underneath the seats and berths, as well as behind back rests. A 40litre drinking water system with hand pump is available as an option, as is cabin lighting and other marine electronics. We can offer a large degree of customisation to the interior layout but modest additional costs may be involved.