In the late 1970s and early ‘80s, my family lived aboard a 41-foot William Garden ketch, an iconic cruising boat for her time: ratlines running up along her varnished wood spars; 30,000-pound displacement on a 32-foot waterline; six-foot sprit on a scrolled clipper bow, six-and-a-half-foot draft. Days’ runs of 100 miles were an honest estimate. I spent most of my 16th year aground in the Bahamas.
I sailed a boat recently—the Neel 45 trimaran—that stunned me with how far cruising sailboats have come in a generation. Better living through design? Let us count the ways.
The Neel 45 is a breakthrough boat from several different perspectives. Broadly, it’s an honest couple’s boat that will deliver days’ runs of better that 200 miles in comfortable cruising mode, with the potential for speeds almost twice that when she’s pushed. Her 63-foot rig is Intracoastal-friendly, and her 4-foot draft opens entire worlds along the water’s edges where all the best gunkholing lies.
Years ago, multihull designer Peter Wormwood, comparing a fast catamaran to a traditional cruising monohull, challenged my friends and me to take out a highlighter and fill in all the places that a shallow-draft boat could go, then draw miles-per-day radii on the charts. It was an a-ha moment for all of us, and it’s just the kind of exercise that demonstrates the places this Neel will take you.
Read more: Neel 45: Boat Review