I stood in the mold of the Schock Harbor 30 at the Schock factory in Corona, California in 2009, and I got first dibs on a test sail as soon as the boat was completed. A lot happened in the next three years including the purchase of the company by Alexander Vucelic, and I so had a long wait until 2012 to board hull number one of this new design.
“The Harbor 30 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Vucelic as we prepared to head out for our test in Newport Harbor. “She’s more than a daysailer. She’s tough with a lot of carbon fiber reinforcement and a profile built to sail – fast.” The Harbor 30 has been dubbed a Daysailer Plus by company founder and former owner, Tom Schock, who along with his brother, Steven, helped bring this design from paper to reality. I would soon learn that she’s has exceptional sailing characteristics as well as a completely functional interior for cruising and extended weekending.
Harbor 30s are built to order and although I was on the coveted first hull, there are three more already in the works. The 30 is now the flagship of the Harbor series that includes the Harbor 20, which is renowned as a one-design racer, and the Harbor 25.
The Harbor 30 has a deck-stepped mast with double aft swept spreaders and a 7/8 fractional rig with a self-tacking jib on a Hoyt boom. The hull is solid hand laid fiberglass and the deck is cored with end grain balsa. The standard deep keel with bulb draws 6’3” but a shoal draft is available at 4’5” to help introduce the design to East Coast skinny water sailing. The underbody includes the encapsulated keel with 3,300 pounds of lead ballast, a spade rudder, and a folding prop on a Saildrive.
The cockpit is 7’9” long and clear of clutter all the way back to the wheel, where a pedestal holds electronics and an optional swing-up table. Two winch islands keep the jib sheets within close reach of the helmsman for effortless single-handing, and two winches on the cabintop manage the halyards.
The helmsman can adjust the backstay without leaving the wheel or can reach for a cool drink available in the built-in icebox by his/her feet and then put it in one of the cup holders built in along the cockpit coaming. The small aft deck behind the wheel is ingenious for two reasons. First, it provides access to a giant lazarette with impressive stowage for garage items and unobstructed access to the autopilot. Second, the transom has a drop-down swim step that is simply one-of-a-kind in a daysiler design. Not only can you board the boat easily when tied stern-to, you have water access typical of those found on much larger yachts.
Unlike other designs in her class, the Harbor 30 has virtually no overhangs but still maintains classic lines that are uninterrupted by stanchions, unless you want them in which case 24” lifelines can be added. The boat comes with wheel steering but a traditional tiller is optional and in a nod to less maintenance, there is no external wood to vanish.
The Harbor 30 is real step up from the 25 in terms of its interior. The modern layout no longer feels like a head was shoehorned down below just for emergencies. Instead, the 30 is inviting and comfortable with six feet of headroom at the companionway and a lovely white beaded board and varnished mahogany trimmed interior.
At the foot of the companionway to starboard is a compact galley with a circular sink, an ice box, a choice of a two-burner stove or a microwave, and a faux-granite counter that adds a modern surface to the traditional finish. To port is an enclosed compartment with a manual Jabsco head, a bowl sink, and a wet locker. It’s plenty big enough for adult use.
The Harbor 30 will sleep four adults between the v-berth and quarter berth behind the galley. Two opposing settees with an optional table create a nice dinette in the compact saloon and air and light are provided by five opening ports. Hull number one even had a five-bottle wine rack.
To properly test the sailing characteristics of a boat you should take it out either on a blustery mess of a day, or one with barely any wind at all. Most boats perform well in conditions somewhere in between but it’s the two extremes that separate the true sailboats from simple boats with sticks. Without planning it that way, our test day accommodated us on one end of the spectrum in that we had a perfect April afternoon that felt more like the middle of July with winds gusting to five knots. For most boats that would have been a bust of a sea trial, but the Harbor 30 took it in stride. As we sailed the length of Newport Harbor looking for a visible ripple on the water, we ghosted along as other boats turned on their engines - which was very satisfying.
Our top speed was only 3.5 knots at 60 degrees apparent wind angle, but given what we had to work with, it was amazingly pleasant. The boat sailed up to 30 degrees off the wind and it couldn’t have been any easier to manage. Her fine entry and long narrow keel gave her great pointing ability, and the turn of the bilge aft is firm for good form stability. An overall small wetted surface at least partially explains our ability to sail when others motored.
“We take singlehanding to an extreme,” noted Vucelic as I took the wheel. And he’s right, because it takes little more than enthusiasm to be able to sail the Harbor 30. It does take a bit more skill to have her win races, like she did on her maiden voyage when she won her division in the Border Run, a 70-mile course between Newport Beach and San Diego.
Under power, the 20 hp three-cylinder Yanmar pushed our Harbor 30 easily at seven knots in flat water. An engine this size is almost overkill for a boat with a displacement under 8,000 pounds, but it ensures that you’ll get you home even if you have to go uphill.
So what do you pick on when you have a cute-as-a-button boat that can practically sail itself, and is packed with clever ideas? Well, all this innovation and thoughtful design doesn’t come cheap. A sail-away price for the Harbor 30 is $187,000 and fully packed with extras like an asymmetric spinnaker, bottom paint, autopilot and maybe a custom hull color, will push you up over $200,000. That’s steep, but then these boats aren’t meant for first-time boaters. My first sail on one proved well worth the wait, and the Harbor 30 could prove to be the boat you've been been waiting for.
Another Choice: The Sparkman and Stephens-designed Morris 29 is an elegant daysailer that can also be raced. The differences from the Harbor 30 include tiller steering and a Spartan interior that doesn’t really qualify for weekending.
For more information, visit Schock Boat Builders.
Displacement: 7,500 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 20 gal.