Working together with a group offans, Swallow Boats has developed a new large sailing dinghy for open boat cruising. The result is very interesting: the new boat has two masts and three sails as one might expect, but there the similarities end, not least because although the new boat is only a little longer than the Drascombe and is lighter on the beach, it has 183sqft of sail compared with the Drascombe’s 132sqft.
It also has what look like much harder bilges than the Drascombe, and water ballast that can be left out for better performance on windy days. Water ballast is not often used in boats of this size and smaller, and I suspect the key reason is that it takes up so much space – but with an open boat space is much less of an issue and so its use here is much easier to justify. It will be interesting to see whether Swallow Boats feel there is enough space in this case to allow a version with a small cuddy.
I’m struck that Swallow Boats have included a form for feedback at the bottom of the their Bay Raider pages asking whether their site’s visitors think their new boat is better than the Drascombe – given the level of loyalty people have towards the Drascombe Lugger I hope it hasn’t attracted too much abuse!In the end the boat that comes closest to to mind when considering Swallow Boats new design islighter and slightly smaller design , which has a jaunty, curvaceous look that some might prefer. Her design figures are LOA 17ft4in, beam 6ft5in, 162sqft.
I suspect that she might be slightly easier to row also – though rowing a boat of this size and displacement is always going to be hard work, and so this may not be much of an issue in practice.
One more thought on the Pathfinder: the above the waterline look of this boat and her deep interior might suggest otherwise, but knowing John I can tell you with confidence that her underwater lines will be efficient and fast.