This new design from Dieter Empacher gives us another look at the cruising yacht. Yet there are very marked differences in this approach as compared with the J/40 and Frers 33 designs. Dieter Empacher works almost exclusively with heavy displacement hull forms and this design is no exception with a D/L ratio of 342. However, I am quite confident that you will not hear anyone accuse Dieter of designing slow boats. On the contrary, his designs have always proven to be fast and efficient all around performers. There are lots of ways to skin the cat and Dieter chooses deep-V hull sections with plenty of volume and sweet sailing lines.

A Bristol 33.3 lies quietly at anchor.

A Bristol 33.3 lies quietly at a mooring.

Note the similarity in dimensions between this design and the Frers 33. It is probably accurate to say that these two designs will appeal to two very different types of owners. You can ask yourself which will be the faster boat and I think we will all agree that the Frers design will have the edge in boat speed. You can also ask yourself which design will make the most comfortable cruising yacht. Think of comfortable as meaning efficient, forgiving and accommodating. The Bristol 33.3 should be a docile yacht, yet capable of good performance while providing very comfortable accommodations.

In looking at the underwater profile of the 33.3, you will notice that there is a partial skeg aft that has a propeller aperture in it. The partial skeg allows for a second rudder bearing and at the same time allows for some balance area on the rudder to ease steering. True, the rudder is not protected by the skeg, but in all of my own experiences with yachts and yacht design I have never been convinced that rudders are all that vulnerable with or without the skeg. Skegs for me are more a way of increasing planform aft than protecting the rudder. In short, rudders seldom get hit by anything. If you live in lobster pot country you will appreciate the idea behind the prop in an aperture. This is intended to keep the prop clear of lines, but again I have my own thoughts on this, and the "river" that flows through that aperture can suck up many a stray line and wrap it neatly around the propeller. Fortunately, I do not live in lobster pot country so I will defer to Dieter in this area. This design has lots of draft for a 33.3-footer. With an almost 6-foot draft I would guess that this is a very stiff boat.

The layout of the Bristol 33.3 is pretty much standard with the exception of the wet locker located outboard of the port settee. The large bustle area makes for plenty of room for the engine to be mounted with a straight shaft. Note that there is access to the head from the main cabin or from the forward cabin.

Studying the sail plan I notice first the fore and aft lowers. This may be the best answer for the cruiser who doesn't want to look up the mast and check the bend every now and then. I have never sailed on a boat that had in-line lowers that could get by without some babystay or babystay and runner adjustment. I am sure that a properly tuned mast with pre-bend could eliminate the need for a babystay, but I still think there are times when the runners would be needed. Fore and aft lowers are expensive in that they require more chainplates but they do give the rig rigidity. You can make any of these combinations work, it just boils down to a matter of sailing style.

The sail area-to-displacement ratio of this design is a conservative 15.12, supporting my feeling that this will be a stiff boat.

Boat Specifications
Displacement14500 lbs.
Ballast5600 lbs.
Sail Area562 sq. ft.


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