We are accustomed to seeing Maxi-cruising yachts from Niels Helleberg, leader of the Alden design office, but this new design combines cruising comfort with the owner's desire to race around the buoys on occasion. This design at 68.5 feet LOA also makes a very interesting comparison with the Farr 70-footer. I cannot help but wonder what a race between these two primarily cruise-oriented boats would produce in results.
The Farr boat has an additional 6 feet of waterline, but they both weigh about the same. The shorter DWL gives the Alden 68 a D/L of 216, although the displacement is listed at "approximately" 70,000 pounds. The long ends of this design are as much a part of the Alden tradition as are the short ends of the Farr design part of Farr's design tradition. The general hull look is most definitely Alden. Below the waterline, we see a deep fin keel giving a draft of 11 feet 6 inches and a spade rudder hung behind a tiny skeglet. Note that the Farr boat has no skeg appendage at all. The designer's notes tell that the shape of the midsection is rounded with moderate deadrise.
As we saw with the S&S design, the run of the big Alden sloop goes hollow about station 10 to gracefully hook above the waterline. Does this really do anything? It might. It might help keep the stern from squatting when you are motoring at top rpm when it will act like wedges on a powerboat. It is handsome and this concave counter profile can be found on boats designed more than 30 years ago so it always looks traditional.
The beam of this design is 17 feet compared to the 18 feet 10 inches of the Farr design. This may make the Alden a nicer boat to steer through a wider range of conditions. By nicer, I mean a boat that is more forgiving to sail trim variations and heel angles. It is interesting that with almost all design offices having access to velocity prediction programs, the end products keep reflecting very different approaches to hull shape, volume distribution and appendage design.
We find a similarity in the accommodation plan between the Alden and the Farr in that they are both center cockpit boats with the galley forward. The Alden clearly marks the beginning of the crew area with the galley. There are staterooms aft for the owner and a guest couple and a small sitting room to starboard with convertible upper and lower berths. The owner's stateroom features adjoining head with circular shower stall.
The main cabin has a dinning area to port with a centerline island for additional seating. This greatly improves access and egress when dinning although it's not the most convenient layout to get food on the table from the galley. The center island settee will also break up the sole space in the main cabin and give convenient handholds when the boat is heeled.
On the other hand, the Farr boat layout will feel bigger precisely due to the lack of center island settee. I like to think that when you get to 60 feet or better you are buying some space or at least the feeling and impression of space. With that in mind, I would go with Farr's dinette layout. Note the huge area designated for the lazarette.
On deck the Alden design makes the passengers comfortable in a semi-enclosed center cockpit while the action goes on aft in a standard T-shaped cockpit. This arrangement is hard to beat. You can sit comfy and dry under the hard dodger with your autopilot remote and pilot the boat as if from a true pilothouse. A large table in the center cockpit makes on deck dinning very attractive. The extremely wide side decks of this design couple with the low cabin profile will produce a very sleek looking yacht. The hard dodger is well tucked in from the edge of the cabintrunk and should be very unobtrusive. Engine controls are duplicated in both the aft cockpit and the center cockpit.
Construction uses epoxy resin, E-glass with Kevlar reinforcing over Airex core. There are about 300 gallons of fuel and 400 gallons of water. The tall cutter rig has a SA/D ratio of 18.91.
Sitting snugly behind the dodger on your Alden cutter, you can safely turn your baseball cap forward.
|Displacement approx.||70000 lbs.|
|Ballast approx.||28000 lbs.|
|Sail Area||2008 sq. ft.|
|Fuel approx.||300 gals.|
This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.