Jim Taylor has given us a series of well-designed small boats in the Precision line. The new Precision 165 puts Jim to the test. I think that a 60.5-footer is easier to design than a 16.5-footer. There is absolutely no fat to play with in a small boat.

The Precision 165.

The Precision 165.

Let's look at the design requirements for a boat like this. Light weight for trailering is essential. Beam is needed for stability and accommodations. You need room in the cockpit because this is essentially a daysailer, but you also need enough interior volume to allow a couple to cruise. Boat speed should always be at the top of any design parameter list, but at this size it may have to take a back seat to stability. Another important factor is that the design must be easy to launch from a ramp. This impacts draft and, once again, stability.

Now that we have identified a few targets of this design, let's take a look at how Jim approached the solution. It is interesting to note that at the same time he developed this design, he also was working on the design team for A3's Mighty Mary.

The hull form has an L/B of 2.29. This is a relatively fat boat by most standards, but this beam max is combined with a narrow angle of entry for speed to windward. Don't make the mistake of grabbing onto one number and judging the entire design by it. There are virtually no overhangs to this design, which means the waterline length approaches the LOA.

Draft is a scant 21 inches. The keel has an endplate-type bulb to keep the center of gravity low while improving the apparent aspect ratio of the squatty fin. Note the generous leading and trailing edge fillets at the keel-hull intersections. Note also that the lead is all carried on the lower third of the fin's span. Full flotation is also provided to keep the boat afloat should it be knocked down and fill with water.

This rig is as simple as could be. There are no spreaders and just a single shroud is brought aft a bit from the spar. There is no backstay and tension on the headstay will be accomplished through the leech load on the mainsail, dinghy style. SA/D is 29.42. That sounds high, so let's add some crew weight. With a crew of two, weighing 320 pounds, added to the dry weight of 700 pounds, the SA/D is 22.9. That is still enough horsepower to make this boat fun to sail.

img11065I look at some of the entry-level trailerable boats and I shudder. Some are so poorly designed that I'm convinced they're responsible for sending more people over to the dark side (powerboating) than any other factor. Put a neophyte in a boat with minimal stability and a short overall length, and you can have a recipe for disaster. Short boats aren't forgiving; they are quick to steer, and as the beginner madly gybes from side to side with mate screaming and children laughing because they don't know better, you get the feeling they won't be sailors for long.

Entry-level boats, like entry-level guitars, must perform well enough to teach beginners the potential joys of playing. The Precision 16.5 would be a great way to get started.

A great way to get started in the sport of sailing.

Boat Specifications
Displacement700 lbs.
Ballast250 lbs.
Sail Area145 sq. ft.
Sail area / Displacement ratio22.9
Displacement / Length ratio88.11
Length / Beam ratio2.29.

Contact Precision Boat Works: (941) 722-6601
Fax: (941) 722-4517
E-Mail: precisionboatworks@hotmail.com


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.