Low Tide

Yacht Designer Tad Roberts' Web Log

Sail Assisted Powerboats

This is a type we see very seldom any more. The sail-assisted powerboat or as this design from Al Mason is termed, an “Auxiliary Motor Cruiser”. I guess the auxiliary part is the short sail plan. Having just heard from the owner of the new Timbercoast Troller concerning performance under sail, a short rig coupled with a full keel like this can surprise and actually the boat will sail to weather. The real payoff is motorsailing at 30+ degrees off the wind, nicely stabilized with 5 degrees heel and the engine running at 1000 RPM…….

Text to Mason 36

These drawings and text appeared in the September 1954 issue of Rudder magazine, about a year before I was born.

Arrangement of Mason 36

Designers can never leave well enough alone and I’m no different. I would improve this boat by making sure the cockpit was 6’6″ long so I could sleep up there on anchor watch. I would add a heavy steel “roll bar” aft of the cockpit and run the main sheet to that. Then there would be space aft to store a decent hard dinghy on deck, a 9′ pram upside down. Three sinks and two heads in a 36′ boat seems silly, I would remove the head and sink from the aft cabin. Then I’d re-arrange the forward cabin by pushing the seat/berths forward and up a step, opening up space aft for a separate head on port and a larger galley to starboard. The aft cabin does require a heating duct from the galley range with fan which is the down side of the split cabin arrangement.

There’s no mention of sail area, displacement, or ballast, but she’s a fatty so I would guess some inside ballast. One can picture this boat at sea with her low profile riding over big seas just like a duck in great comfort with little fanfare. Why does no one bother producing such a versatile and comfortable boat today?

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