Pachena – Teaching a Whippersnapper




By Steve Killing
What does someone who has sailed yachts by the world’s best racing designers do when he decides to slow the pace down a little? He gets a boat from one of the world’s best cruising designers. John Newton of Victoria has represented Canada twice at the Admiral’s Cup and has been successful in most major events on the west coast. He had many of his own thoughts on what the perfect cruiser should be, which made the project both exciting and frustrating for Robert Perry. In early meetings, Newton showed Perry the kind of yachts he liked, traditional Sparkman & Stephens designs with long overhangs, a large cockpit and, as Perry puts it, “classic contours to the cabin trunk.”

The comments that Perry supplies with his designs are always a delight to read. No stiff descriptions of design parameters, but a friendly rambling tone describing the course of the project. I quote an excerpt describing the next stage: “After struggling through preliminary studies A, B, C and D, my client asked if I would mind him showing the drawings to Jerry Driscoll of San Diego, builder of Pemaquid [an old S&S boat that Newton likes] and numerous other boats of that genre.

Of course, this hurt my feelings but, at the same time, I was in favor of any move that would get the project away from the preliminary stage. After an exchange of drawings with Jerry Driscoll and some ‘Listen here, sonny … ‘ type of advice, I managed to produce a preliminary that seemed to satisfy everyone. Mr. Driscoll’s advice included the suggestion to make the boat five feet longer, ‘then it will look better.’ This was despite the fact that the client had given me an overall limit of 46 feet, initially. The fact of the matter is, even a young whippersnapper like me knows that there is hardly a yacht afloat that couldn’t have its appearance enhanced with the addition of five feet.

It was a great experience. I can now say that I collaborated on a design with Jerry Driscoll, and that is certainly worth the minute injury I felt to my pride.” An honest account of a not-unusual set of circumstances arising during the design phase of a new yacht. The interior of the boat is unique. I think it stems from a realistic assessment of the weather conditions in which Newton finds himself sailing-rainy and, since one can sail all year round, often cold. Under the raised portion of the house is a large dinette, which rubs shoulders with a huge galley. Eating in comfort has a high priority. Forward of the navigator’s table is a box labeled “F.P.” A telephone call to the designer confirmed my suspicions: a fireplace! I could get used to this.

I kept looking for an inside steering station, but I guess they drew the line at that. Forward there are two private cabins with equally large double berths; the middle stateroom has the advantage of more headroom and a dancehall of floor space. Opposite is a pilot berth for the single guests. The only thing that I can find lacking is an aft hanging locker for wet gear. The boat, which began its first full season in the spring of 1984, was built by Bent Jespersen, a builder of wooden boats in Sidney, B.C., who delivers superb quality.

For further information, contact Robert H. Perry Yacht Desginers Inc., 6400 Seaveiw Ave.NW,. Seattle Washington 98107.

Steve Killing is an independent Yacht Designer based in Midland, Ontario. He is an the head of the design program for the True North America’s Cup Challenge.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s January 1985 issue.


Length…………….51 ft
Beam…………….. 13ft 10in
Sail……………………1,094 ft2


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