Well, the Sharpie schooner will take care of the kids, now what is Dad going to do for his cruise this summer? I'll take this Chuck Paine design. It's got full headroom and a lovely, sensuous hull form. This is another combined effort of Chuck and Tom Morris, the builder from Southwest Harbor, Maine. Paine and Morris have teamed up to produce an ultimate yacht aimed at the "last-time buyer."

The Morris 32.

The Morris 32.


This is a boat big enough for a couple and a friend or two. There is absolutely nothing novel or "tricked out" about the interior. The saloon table folds up against the bulkhead. The head spans the beam of the boat as was common years ago. The galley is U-shaped and there is a large single sink. The engine is mounted under the companionway ladder. This is a time-honored layout that avoids the curves and angles that so often give you nothing but awkward proportions and joiner-work headaches.

It is important to me that a boat feels like a boat below. I don't want gray, fuzzy material on the bulkheads, and at the same time I don't need an interior that looks like it was hollowed out of a solid teak log.

Chuck's basic ideas on hull form have not changed much since I met him. Chuck likes to sail fast and close to the wind. This 32-footer's hull has a roundish midsection, a deeply V-ed forefoot, a spoon bow and very balanced diagonals. The most interesting aspect of this hull is the treatment to the skeg and rudder aft.

Cruisers generally agree that a skeg is nice to have for rudder protection and directional stability. The problem with a skeg is that it precludes any "balance" area on the rudder blade and this can result in excessive helm pressure. You can alleviate this by using a partial skeg that has an unsupported portion of the rudder below a short skeg. Some people would say that this still leaves the rudder too vulnerable. I think that you can reinforce the portion of rudder behind the skeg and then treat the exposed portion as "sacrificial," and have sufficient area to manage the boat if only the upper portion is left.

Chuck Paine has tried something new, going after the advantages of a skeg-hung rudder and combining these aspects with a propeller aperture. The result is a delicate looking skeg that I would expect to be difficult to build. The rudder is balanced. The propeller is protected and the bottom of the rudder is supported. But I'm not totally convinced.

For me, a spade rudder should be engineered to be just as strong as a skeg-hung rudder. A good knock at the heel fitting of a skeg-hung rudder can easily jam the stock up into the hull, causing damage. The common geometry of most skegs make them very difficult to laminate and I am very confident that there are a lot of skegs out there being held on by the rudders. Protect the prop? This is where Chuck and I argue.

Chuck comes from the land of lobster pots; I come from the land of crab pots and floating logs. Propellers produce directional flow called prop torque. Put the prop in an aperture and this torque creates a strong flow running through the aperture. Drop a line overboard and it will get sucked towards the aperture. I know. Leave the prop in the open and this flow is dissipated. Obviously, the decision here lies with each individual designer.

Chuck has kept the D/L ratio of this design just below 300 at 295. This doesn't qualify the 32 as a heavyweight but puts it above medium. We should talk about displacement for a moment. "Sure it displaces 11,400 pounds, but what does it weigh?" I've been asked that a surprising number of times by sailors who do not possess a clear understanding of displacement. Displacement is the same as weight. But you must differentiate between the weight or displacement printed on the sales brochure and the weight of a commissioned boat.

The designer can design the boat to weigh 24,000 pounds and have the builder produce the boat at 22,000 pounds, leaving room for provisioning and gear. Or the builder can put the boat out the door at the designed weight and let commissioning carry it over the designed weight. It really doesn't matter which way you do it just as long as you are honest about it.

The important thing is that if you are compiling figures and comparing various designs, you will need to know what the commissioned boat weights and you should not accept the brochure figure without question. If you want to be unpopular, just wander into a room full of yacht designers and start talking about weight studies. You will find they agree on one thing: Put the boot-stripe high.

Paine's 32 has as pretty a set of lines as you will find in a small cruising yacht. The ends are short and the rudder is faired into the counter with a fixed fillet. The midsection goes tangent at centerline, but the boat develops considerable deadrise aft.

The sail plan shows a sloop with the option of a storm staysail. This rig gives the performance and simplicity advantages of the sloop while getting the storm jib off the pointy end.

The 32 is designed for tiller steering, but the sail plan shows a wheel. The sail plan also shows a cockpit traveler and this will interfere with the tiller, so I guess the traveler will have to go onto the housetop, if you choose a tiller. You should choose a tiller. Go ahead, feel like a sailor again.

I'm sure Tom Morris will do his usual wonderful job of building this design.

Boat Specifications

Displacement11400 lbs.
Ballast4670 lbs.
Sail Area514 sq. ft.
SA/D ratio16.24
D/L ratio295
AuxiliaryVolvo 2002
Fuel25 gals.
Water37 gals.


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