Category Archives: Seaward News

26RK Cruising Sailor Gets Competitive After Breezing Past Two J-22s

Larry Conrad, owner of a Seaward 26RK, is an easygoing, thoughtful gentleman. If you weren’t paying close attention, you might not sense his inherent competitive nature. More on that later.

In his early 60’s, he’s happily married with two grown kids and a 2010 Seaward 26RK he bought about two
years ago. He keeps the boat in a slip at the Eagle Creek Sailing Club, a very pretty marina on Eagle Creek
Reservoir, a 1,350-acre water supply impoundment northwest of Indianapolis. Larry lives southwest of Indianapolis, so he’s never far from his boat.

“My family always said my love of sailing is related to my being an engineer. They may be right. I love to tinker with things and adjust them. ”

He and his wife Kay day sail whenever they can on the reservoir, and with a buddy and his son-in law, he races weekends in around-the-buoys events organized by the club. “They’re not high powered affairs,” Larry explains. “It’s a social thing, and no one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

Once a year, Larry and Kay trailer the boat about 450 miles to Door County, WI, for an eight-day getaway. There they enjoy shopping, dining, relaxed sailing on the quiet, unspoiled waters and just being away. Larry moved up from a ComPac 23, which he says is “a solid, well built boat that I liked. I bought the Seaward primarily for the ease of trailering, a bit more windward performance, and just a little more elbow and headroom. The ComPac needed a tongue extension to get it floating, and I always had my truck wheels deep in the water when launching,” he says. “The Seaward floats off the trailer like it’s a powerboat and my truck tires don’t get wet.” He also loves the mast raising gear available with the Seaward. “The fact that I can lower and raise the mast while on the water has helped immensely when we miscalculate bridge heights along our route.”

“When I bought the 26RK, I didn’t know much about its performance potential. For some reason, I thought they were slow boats. I learned differently the first time I had her in the water. We sailed right by two J-22’s that were clearly pushing their boats. We were relaxed and sitting under our bimini. That got my competitive juices flowing. She proved quickly to be a great boat for us. She’s stiff and weatherly and comfortable in a three-foot chop. She tacks through 80 degrees with good speed, and if I fall off a bit, she really goes. My wife doesn’t like when the boat heels, and she loves the Seaward. With her in mind, I typically put a reef in the main when the wind hits about 20 knots.”

“We’ve done really well with her in the club races. Last year we would have taken first in our club’s big race, which we call the “Indy 200″. It’s an easygoing race for cruising boats only, but everyone secretly wants to win this one. Boats with PHRF ratings lower than 200 are not allowed.

We were well ahead of the fleet when someone hollered, ‘Hey, Larry, the buoy is over there!’ We missed the mark, and had to be happy with second place. This year we took first and were thrilled.” In the less prestigious weekly club races, Larry reports his boat is often first to cross the finish line.

“We’re real happy with our boat”, Larry says. We love winning races, and love to hear the compliments. Someone’s always shouting ‘Great looking boat!’ or ‘Jeeze, you point high!’ We just smile and wave.”

EagleCreekSailingClub.160102

The perfect balance of weight and strength, without the threat of water intrusion.

We’ve got some great news about the construction strategy of our 46RK, which is an exciting course change for us!  This is not just another pretty boat.

Recently we’ve begun to resin-infuse the underwater portion of our 46RK hull. It’s an exciting departure for us. The below-the-waterline fiberglass layup now has no foam coring and no Coremat. What we’re gaining by this process is a very strong and light layup that will never suffer from water permeation into a core material.

With resin infusion, resin-to-glass ratios can be more accurately controlled. The result is an ultra-strong, yet light hull, not burdened by the weight of excess resin, and not vulnerable to water intrusion into the laminate. While perhaps not as light as hulls built with resin infusion and coring, we feel our hull is the perfect balance of weight and strength, without the threat of water intrusion into the layup.

Below-the-waterline layup begins with isothalic gelcoat, followed by a vinylester skin coat that acts as a moisture barrier. Then two plies of carbon fiber cloth are added and are followed by 18 plies of biaxial E glass. Finally, two plies of carbon fiber cloth are added to finish the hull.

Topsides laminations are hand-laid and composed of isothalic gelcoat followed by a vinylester skin coat. After the skin coat, we add four plies of biaxial E- glass, then ½” of PVC (Divinycell) foam. The foam is covered with four plies of biaxial E-glass. Resin for the layup is blended polyester.

While resin infusion is a more costly process than hand layup, we believe it produces a stronger and lighter hull.

Come to the Annapolis Sailboat Show, October 9-13, and take a tour of our first resin-infused Seaward 46RK! We’ll be happy to talk about the process when we see you there. ~ Nick Hake

Prize-Winning 32RK Owner Sets Sails to Benefit Special Olympics

By Phil Peterson

“Last month, we raced Sweeta, our Seaward 32RK in the Bash to the Colonies Regatta – a benefit for the South Dakota Special Olympics, the biggest event of the year at the Lewis & Clark Marina in Yankton, SD. This year there were 40 boats in the race. We have been lucky to win our class in the regatta the first three years we competed, and a total of six times since we’ve begun sailing in the regatta. The years we didn’t place first, we were second in our class. In the second Bash we finished second overall on corrected time, and in the most recent race, we finished first overall on corrected time.

We bought our first 26RK in 2009, traded it for Beauteous, a 32RK in 2010, followed by another 32RK, Sweeta in 2013. The boats all sailed very well – everyone says my PHRF needs to be changed! In heavy air, the Seaward really excels! And, everyone says that they are the best looking boats in the marina.”

Phil caught the sailing bug when he was in his 30’s when he was invited by a neighbor to sail a 12’ board boat. Two weeks later, he owned his first boat, a Barnett Butterfly. He went from it to a Chrysler Buccaneer, then to a Flying Scott, then to an O’Day 192, and finally to a Precision 21 before falling for a Seaward 26RK. “I just fell for her like you fall for a pretty girl,” Phil says.

“The first real race we were in was with the 26RK in an early Bash to the Colonies Regatta.  http://bashtothecolonies.com/ There were nine boats in our division and we won it going away, passing much bigger boats on the way to the finish line. We really didn’t know anything. Our secret weapon was to keep our eyes closed at all times,” he revealed with a grin.

On the topic of secret weapons, Phil notes that he has one other edge, his son and crewmember Paul, who honed his sailing skills on the little boats the Petersons owned over the years. “We don’t know what we’re doing half the time,” Phil says, “but we have great time together.”

Eventually, Phil, at 6’4”, succumbed to the “bigger-is-better” urge and traded in the 26RK for a new 32RK, mostly to get more headroom. After about three years with the 32RK, Phil and Pat wanted to add some custom features to their boat, and again traded their old boat in, this time for a new 32RK with the custom features they wanted.

Of the latest Bash to the Colonies Regatta, Phil says, “We were passing the big boats, the ones that win most of the races we don’t compete in – Hunter 32 and 33’s and Catalinas.  They’re rockets and really can go. We, however, were particularly dominating upwind, and in big air. We owe a lot to the latest skeg and rudder design on the new 32RK.  We have a real advantage over other boats in our fleet.”

Phil and Pat don’t depend on any custom go-fast sails, relying on the 135 roller-furled genny and full battened mainsail that came with their boat. “We don’t even use a whisker pole,” Phil notes. They think of their boat as a weekend cottage more than as a racing boat, and spend most weekends aboard.

 

32RK Completes Passage From Florida to Guatemala

By: Jorge Hastedt

First and foremost, a boat must have character. Seaward’s 32RK is elegant and timeless, yet hides her most important feature of a retractable keel. The more I sail her, the more I appreciate her performance. My wife values her comfort, and the fact that she is so well equipped for our longer trips.

P1000178

Our new Seaward 32RK, Nena has the flexibility to sail well in deep water, yet we are able to explore shallow coves and inlets, which are so abundant in our area of Guatemala. It was reassuring to have over 6’ of draft during our passage, because the deep ballast provided stability in rough seas.

We left Manatee Pocket in Port Salerno the morning of May 2, 2011, and motored smoothly down the ICW. Early on May 3rd, we set out to the Atlantic through Palm Beach Inlet. With the sails up, we were mostly reaching, sailing due south, parallel to the Florida coastline, down to Key West
and arrived in Conch Harbor Marina, where Nena was admired by a crowd of curious boaters.

P1000181

We left the next day for Havana to pick up another crewmember, arriving at Hemingway Mar
ina at 1100. The pause there allowed us to get everything back in order and take on a few more provisions. On May 8th we cleared out of Hemingway at 1130 and sailed due West. At 2100 that night, we rounded Cabo San Antonio, the westernmost tip of Cuba into the Yucatán straits. We confronted the dreaded Southeast wind, well over 20 knots against the strong northbound current, secured ourselves with a second reef in the main, and very little genoa until sunrise. I set the storm jib and continued on a starboard tack due east to get away from the grip of the currents. Eventually the wind turned to NE and we ran with it, a huge following sea behind us. As we neared the Belizean waters, the wind gradually died down, and we motored the last leg into Livingston, Guatemala on Saturday, May 13th.

We exceeded 800 miles on this most unforgettable passage.

P1000142

One of our most memorable moments with Nena was around the Belizean atolls and keys. So very different than our deep water passage, this was what the 32RK is really all about.  A flotilla of five boats – all larger than Nena – set out from Livingston to Belize.  While underway, Nena was able to keep up with them on the long hauls, especially on the strong upwind legs, not to mention reaching in light winds. We visited Glovers Reef, Lighthouse Reef and the beautiful blue hole, Turneffe Reef, as well as several keys inside the Barrier Reef. We drew so little, but always felt secure sailing through those shallows. We were able to anchor closer to shore for protection, with easy access to the restaurants and bars. That was a great bonus!

I would do this again in a heartbeat, and dream of another passage from Florida aboard perhaps a 40 RK? Stay tuned!

Why Sailors Love Pushbutton Sail Handling

By: Nick Hake

Boaters like to say the sea never changes, but the way people sail today has changed dramatically. We want more convenience features on deck than ever – not just mainsail furling. As the sailing population ages, we want electric winches, electric anchor windlasses, self- tailing winches and bow thrusters, all at your fingertips. As an aging sailor myself, I’m all for it!

If you’ve been to a boat show lately, you’ve probably noticed that most new boats over 30’ have mainsail furling of one kind or another. We offer in-mast mainsail furling for our 32RK and 46RK models. We like them because they make sail handling easier. While some sailors worry about the mechanism jamming at inopportune times, we have found them to be very reliable, as have most sailors using modern furlers.

Another nice thing about an easy-to-furl mainsail is that you can sail longer before reefing. The downside of in-boom or in-mast furling is some loss of sail roach and power. Most sailors today would opt for convenience over a half-knot of boatspeed. And they probably will sail more because less work often equates to more fun. We don’t offer mainsail furling on our 26-foot boat because the size of the sail doesn’t require it, and we don’t want to add weight aloft on a light boat.

Bow thrusters can be a great help when docking in side winds and currents. We don’t typically recommend them for our 32 model and other boats this size. For most of us, they are pure convenience on a small boat. We like and recommend them for our 46RK. Like most of the convenience hardware on my list, a bow thruster puts a two-handed job into the palm of your hand.

Another convenience that makes cranking extra easy is self-tailing winches. They spare us from cleating jib sheets, and eliminate tailing the sheets while trimming sails. I have them on my boat. We’ve had great luck with Andersen winches and have been using them for years. Rather than the chrome-plated bronze that most winch builders use, Andersen’s are constructed of stainless steel and are a little lighter than the chrome plated models. When your boat gets some years on her, polished stainless ports and winches keep her looking new.

Electric sheet or halyard winches are a great convenience. But if you don’t mind exercise, you can live without them.

I recommend an electric anchor windlass for boats 30 feet and up. It’s almost silly not to have one. They’re like having extra crew that you don’t have to feed.

In summary, why not opt for the ease and simplicity of today’s innovation? Sailors have always sought ways to find that easy reach.

I look forward to hearing from you with your most challenging questions.

Annapolis Boat Show

Time to give winter the boot and celebrate the opening of the sailing season! We were at the third annual in-water Annapolis springtime show with a very well equipped 32’ RK – the perfect performance-cruiser combination. With all the features of the 46RK, including our cutting edge performance keel, the 32RK is the easiest sailboat to trailer for her size.

We were on Dock A, the main dock, which runs the length of Ego Alley. Nick Hake, the boat’s designer, welcomed aboard with a personal tour. This was a great opportunity to take a closer look at what is acclaimed by many sailors to be the perfect bay boat. We had such a great time meeting everyone who came out to visit us!

Let us know how you enjoyed the boat show by leaving a comment.

Retractable Keel Sailboats – How They Work

Last fall I sailed one of our 46RK models from the Southern Bahamas back to our plant in Stuart, Florida. We had the keel fully retracted, and the wind was generally off the quarter and blowing between 12 and 20 knots. I would have arrived about a half-day later if I had the keel and rudder down all the way, because if you lift the keel when you don’t need stability, you’ll gain speed. It was a good lesson in what eliminating unnecessary drag can do for a boat’s performance.

Because our keels lift, our boats are not just great in big wind and waves. They’re great everywhere – in serene shallows, in the too-shallow slip, and at the launch ramp on a trailer. Our moving keels adjust vertically to be at their best in every sailing circumstance.

keel_image

The keels are housed in a trunk, and move vertically with a 12-volt winch that’s mounted in a watertight box on deck. An ultra-high strength synthetic cable – 1.4 times stronger and 15 times lighter than comparable stainless cable – is routed from the winch drum through a series of stainless turning blocks mounted in recesses on the keel’s sides, to a termination point on the deck.

All components are designed to far exceed any load placed on them, and are durable and maintenance-free in a saltwater environment. Keel position is controlled with a toggle switch from the cockpit. All models have backup apparatus so the keel can be raised in the event of battery failure.

For best efficiency, immerse just enough keel and rudder to maintain a comfortable amount of stability and control on all points of sail.

Seaward’s Storied Past

If you like the idea of sailing without boundaries, you’re going to love the retractable keel advantage of Seaward Yachts. Not only are we celebrating our 40th year of building boats, we’re also in our 5th year under new ownership, and there’s plenty to be excited about!

Our company was born from humble beginnings back in 1973 when Nick Hake began building 17-19’ trailerable boats of solid construction with modern design and technology. Nick continued to make waves, building strong customer relationships and a dedicated team. He partnered with Heartland CEO – Ted Gelov, together they created a company building sailing yachts clearly in a class all their own.

With our new design team, we will continue to grow with new innovation. We have just added a new 46-foot retractable keelboat to our product line, resulting in tremendous growth. In the next few years, keep on the lookout for a new 19 and 40-foot RK! Rest assured, Seaward’s designs are timeless and preserve value for our owners. We remain committed to these design principles, preserving its dedication to sailing without boundaries. Welcome aboard!