When Ted Hood moved the building of the Little Harbor line of sailing yachts to Taiwan he set out to establish a full series of high-performance cruising yachts in the style that he had been developing through the years. These are heavy boats with deep, full chests, high deadrise midsections and distended bustles. They are also very fast. They have defied all the current fads of design and rewarded the owners with very predictable and satisfying performance. The boats are stiff, fast upwind and deadly in light air.

The Hood boats also possess an unmistakable style. Generally this style is similar to the look of a Hinckley in that it says "yacht" with no effort at all for anything less than 100 percent functional styling. There is absolutely no Audi influence presenting the yare lines of this design. The new Little Harbor 53 has a low raised wedge on the foredeck that adds to the subdued excitement of this design. Maybe the overall look of the deck owes something to the sheer number of Dorade ventilators. They litter that foredeck and look like little men marching up to the bow to change the jib. There are seven Dorades forward of the mast. Think function first.boats.com logo

The sail systems that Hood has developed have almost singlehandedly wiped out the ketch rig on boats under 70 feet. With Stoway main and roller furling jib and staysail, the big sloop is reduced to a pussycat. Note the hydraulic vang and the inboard standing backstay. The sail plan shows a Stoway spar with two babystays and the spinnaker pole stowed on the mast. The sheer looks too flat and could use a tweak in the stern. By using a teak handrail-coaming extension, the profile of the 53 appears quite low and very handsome for a center-cockpit yacht. I have seen this boat in person, and I can assure you that it's a great looking boat.

The interiors of the new 53 are all built to specific owner requirements. When you study the plan view of this boat take notice of the fine stern and overall symmetry of the plan view around station 5. I would guess that you would find this symmetry in the diagonals also. This produces a boat that retains a constant shape as it heels rather than increasing in asymmetrical as wide sterned boats tend to do. With 43,200 pounds of boat on a 42 foot 2 inch waterline, we have a D/L ratio of 256 and plenty of interior volume. The 53 has a big lazarette. The rudderstock intrudes upon the head of the berth. This is a common problem with big center cockpit boats.

Construction specifications for this design include an Airex cored hull and Divinycell foam cored deck. The lead ballast is internal and cast in place around the centerboard trunk. There is tankage for 175 gallons of water and 310 gallons of fuel. The auxiliary is a Westerbeke 100-horsepower diesel.

I just know that cruising on one of these Hood boats would be a treat.

Boat Specifications

Draft5'1" - 11'4"
Displacement43,200 lbs.
Ballast18,000 lbs.
Sail Area1278 sq. ft.(sloop cutter) 1371 sq. ft.


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