People go sailing because it is fun, pure and simple. The problem for today’s sailors is that a combination of high interest rates and increasingly scarce mooring and marina space have in many instances made boat ownership a lot less simple, and its fun a lot less pure!
Precision Boat Works believes that sailing should still be pure fun, and that the real key to the fun is in keeping it simple! Nowhere is it written that in order to enjoy a day on the water a sailor needs a boat that costs as much to buy as a house, even more to maintain, and that requires half a football team to sail properly; on the contrary, as the explosive growth in board sailing has shown, the purest sailing fun can often best be delivered in very small, simple packages! It is just this ‘small and simple’ concept that lies at the heart of the Precision 18 design requirements; a boat small enough to be easily trailered behind today’s small cars, simple enough to be inexpensive, but big enough to sleep aboard (out of the weather) and stable enough to take along the family. And finally, a boat with the lively performance and good sea manners required to make sailing her fun!
In attempting to fulfill similar requirements, too many builders have simply taken a successful racing design and installed a ‘cruising’ interior. Unfortunately, while the long fine bow and broad flat transom of this type hull form can be devastatingly fast when in the hands of a hot racing crew, it can also be dangerously unstable for a family boat, and is therefore completely unsuited to cruising applications.
The Precision 18 is developed from a basic hullform which is proven to provide a reassuring margin of reserve buoyancy forward, improved ultimate stability and especially forgiving handling characteristics – all essential elements of any good cruising design.
The long shallow keel, kick-up rudder, and non-corroding fiberglass centerboard of the Precision 18 are all high-lift NACA ‘wing sections.’ The keel allows the board to be housed completely below the cabin sole and gets the ballast down low for stability. The board itself weighs only 65 pounds so that it does not form a major portion of the total ballast, stability is not dangerously reduced when it is retracted, and it can be raised easily by a child with no need for a winch.
The simple fractional rig can be raised right on the trailer in minutes. The jib is of very high aspect ratio for maximum efficiency, but small enough to be readily trimmed by a young crew. The mainsail can be quickly ‘depowered’ in puffy conditions, and it is large enough to provide good performance without the jib when desired — a big advantage when in a crowded anchorage or when shorthanded. The cockpit is full 6′ 4″ long with coamings high enough to keep the crew securely inside. Both seats and coamings are precisely angled for maximum comfort, reflecting years of careful ergonomic design development. There is a generous anchor locker forward, a fuel tank storage bin to port, and a full cockpit locker to starboard.
The Precision 18 is designed to be a lively, well-mannered sailboat rather than a floating vacation home, but the features described are noteworthy nonetheless. There is ample sitting headroom for 4 and a filler cushion that drops to form a 6’6″ v=berth that is NOT broken up by the usual awkward mast support post. There are 6′ quarter berths port and starboard, not to mention a 48 quart cooler, provision for a portable head, and 12-volt battery. A forward hatch provides ventilation and an emergency exit, and the large companionway and 4 opening cabin windows contribute to the feeling of light and open space.
Carefully controlling construction weight is critical to both performance and to price, but it cannot be done at the expense of safety or structural integrity. Thus the hull liner of the Precision 18 is engineered as a structural grid, and tooled to mate precisely with the hand-laminated hull skin. The mast support beam and chain plate loads are carried by structural bulkheads and there are rugged hull stringers to distribute the stresses imposed by trailering. The external hull/deck joint is bonded both chemically and mechanically, and the flange is protected with a vinyl rub rail.
The Precision 18 has been kept small in size and price, but remains big in both feathers and performance. She promises to deliver the fun, pure and simple!