In the previous post I mentioned extending my Figure 8 boat search range beyond the west coast of the US and Canada. Just so, this week finds me in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

There are three boats here that hold promise but that are different from one another: two are steel, one is aluminum; two are cutters, one is a ketch; two are full keel, one is fin; two would be slow and stable, one, zippy.

They are, in order of viewing, a Roberts Norfolk 43, an Antarctic 45, and a Joshua 40.

More as it happens…


Roberts Norfolk 43


Antarctic 45


Meta Joshua 40


9 Comments on “FINDING A FIGURE 8 VOYAGE BOAT: In Florida.

  1. When you have a chance, would you comment on a difference in sterns — some of which jut out to the rear when rising above the waterline, and some of which do the opposite. Norfolk and Joshua are “outies,” whereas Antarctic is an “innie.” What gives? And why does an “innie” look faster?

    • Good questions without super-tidy answers.

      Broadly one could say that stern design is driven by the play between seaworthiness and speed.

      In brief, the Joshua hull, known as a “double ender,” is built for seaworthiness in extreme conditions. This stern was pioneered by Norwegian Colin Archer, who was working in the last half of the 19th century. His goal was to design a better pilot boat; better being less prone to sink in the violent North Sea winter storms and the general idea being that the pointy stern breaks an approaching wave as the bow would and makes the boat less likely to broach (pushed over by the wave). It’s only one element in the Archer design, but it caught on. One could even call it a fad as many contemporary designers question its necessity. More on Colin Archer here:!naval-architect-ca/c12ti

      At the other end of the spectrum is the Antarctic stern. The protrusion you notice is generally referred to as a “sugar scoop,” and it’s all about speed. Here we get technical quickly, so let me recommend a simple, clear article on displacement hull speeds, here: The nub is this: a displacement or “keel” boat (as opposed to a little Laser or America’s Cup catamaran) can only sail as fast as the wave it creates (one wave at the bow and one at the stern) as it moves water out of the way. Wave speed is a function of wave size: big waves travel faster than small ones. So, displacement boats with longer waterlines create bigger, and therefore faster, waves. That’s one reason for the “sugar scoop,” it creates a longer waterline without adding a lot to a boat’s displacement (weight). The other reason is this: compare the Antarctic stern to that of the Sparkman & Stephens from a recent post. The S&S stern is angled away from the water whereas the Antarctica is right down ON the water, which means that the Antarctic is effectively pushing down on the stern wave it creates and is translating some of that rising wave energy into more speed.

      I don’t know what you’d call the Norfolk stern.

      The end, likely.

      • Wow, interesting. Especially about wave-making and speed. So the sugar scoop is a lengthening cheat. In my head I am now designing a combination stern, which both lengthens the waterline below but also presents following water with a prow. No wait, wait, it rotates, see, one orientation for speed and the other for seaworthiness. Impossible of course, but ignorance allows one to build such fanciful designs in one’s head. Thanks for the explanation.

    • Things are moving quickly now and I’m having a tough time catching up on the blog. Thanks for continuing to nudge. Am headed back to Florida in the morning for the survey. Won’t say at moment which of the these three I’ve chosen. Must maintain at least some suspense! 🙂 I’ve looked many times at the Kanter in San Diego, online only. Probably a fine fixer upper, but doubt I have time now to bring her up to snuff. And I intensely dislike the teak decks.

    • Hull area of galvanic corrosion is starboard of bow area with less than 25% of original thickness excised and a steel insert welded to repair this defect. In 2004, midship and halfway between the keel and water line, an area with less than 25% of original thickness was also excised and a steel insert was welded to repair this defect. In July 2012, two small localized areas, about the size of a pencil eraser, were reinforced with epoxy. Work was done by Marine Group in Chula Vista, CA. An ultrasound inspection was performed on the same date.

      I’d call Marine Group and see what they say about getting the steel back to original thickness to support full tanks load.

      IF NOT the KEEP ON LOOKING – don’t underestimate the need for near 100hp and 500 gallons of fuel for your intended route.


      Be safe!


  2. Bruce Roberts steel hull now appearing on yachtworld – take a look….

  3. Hi Randall,

    I’m an 18 year old with big aspirations of Solo Circumnavigating when I’m out of college. I’ve been working on commercial fishing boats since I was twelve, and my first boat was a 24×1 foot rowing shell that I got for free after it snapped in half at my crew team (which I painstakingly fiberglassed back together).

    I’ve been sailing as much as I can, first in an 50 year old sunfish and then learning to windsurf when that inevitably sank. To that end I’ve bought and repaired a ’79 j24 which I’m super excited to begin sailing this season on the waters off Cape Cod, MA.

    I just wanted to say that you’re a big inspiration to my voyaging dreams. Your search for a boat has been highly informative about the practical aspects of solid cruising vessels and the good lady Murre is exactly the kind of vessel I’d like to own one day. If only it had gone on the market a few years from now! I can’t afford buying and storing a boat like that as a freshman in college, sadly.

    The Figure 8 looks like a hell of a course! I’m eagerly following your blog and can’t wait for the next update. The Roberts-Norfolk looks like a good ship, and the Meta Joshua makes me nostalgic after reading Moitessier’s book.

    Good luck and Godspeed!

    -Zack H.

    • Hey Zach,

      Thanks so much for the encouraging comment. I’m pleased to hear you find my posts both inspirational and practical. Even though I’ve sailed a bit, the Figure 8 learning curve has been and is quite steep, and if I can share some of what is slowly pounding its way into my thick skull, more’s the better.

      I began sailing the rivers of California’s central valley when I was about your age. My family had an old-at-the-time Hunter 30 sloop, which I adored. Even then solo passagemaking was the dream, and when my father was away on business trips, I’d “borrow” the boat for solo weekends. Once I got as far downriver as San Francisco Bay (about 90 miles from our Stockton home), and that just blew my mind. On the rivers, winds were generally light, the water, brown, and one tacked every minute or so. On the bay, winds were strong every afternoon, waves frothy and green, and I could hold a tack for half an hour! I remember simultaneous excitement and fear, but above that was the intense sense of discovery–charging off into, for me, uncharted waters.

      Your progression from small boats to larger sounds about perfect as you’re learning the dynamics of sailing much more quickly on the little, more responsive craft. And the J-24, your first keel boat (?), should be quite a romp! I’ve sailed the old Santana 24s, boats so fast you can actually feel the acceleration, but have never sailed a J. And good on you for building up skill on both the commercial boats and by repairing yourself what you have.

      Thanks again for the outreach.

      Fair winds,


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