Halcyon 27 Clipper - Yachting Monthly Review

Reprinted from "YACHTING MONTHLY, October 1971"



The Halcyon Clipper - a boat for the passage-making family

When Alan Buchanan and Partners designed the Nantucket Clipper for Offshore Yachts Ltd a new departure in small cruiser thinking was opened up. This was the boat with personality; as cruiser with a normal modern hull and performance but character to make her stand out from the many. The Halcyon Clipper 27 is a follow up in smaller version; quite different in many ways but also intended for serious seagoing while remaining a good day-sailor.

The design brief was a tough one. Full headroom and a big cockpit, sail power and good motor-sailing performance, a well balanced helm without fussiness that can accompany the fin keel profile, a simple working rig and so on. The result is a rather stubby looking hull, drawn out prettily by the fiddle bow but ending a bit abruptly with the transom stern. The coachroof which gives the required headroom below is cleverly disguised by introducing narrow side decks and keeping the coachroof top as the working deck. Perhaps the cockpit coamings contribute somewhat to the short ended look as they continue at full height right aft but had they been tapered down at the stern a good deal of safety would have been sacrificed I what is essentially a family cruiser.

Once on board though one is struck by the general roominess of the Halcyon Clipper. We seated five adults in the cockpit without any congestion and her full after sections ensured that this dead weight didn't make her drag her tail. This cockpit incidentally is deep and yet well drained by two 1.5 inch diameter gutters right aft in sump. With the tiller entering via a slot in the transom the kids or day-sail passengers can be tucked abaft the helmsman out of the way. There is an engine access panel in the cockpit sole or a mizzen can be stepped therein if the ketch rig is chosen.

The layout below is very simple and no attempts at tricky dinettes have been made. The extra berths are formed in the good old manner of slinging the settee backs (which hinge out) from the deckhead - simple, proven and quick to rig. The decor is in white pine and this break with conventional mahogany and teak veneer is quite striking. In time, the pine will probably deepen in colour but it will remain light and cheerful. The newel post supporting the deck under the long step for the mast (which permits shifting its position according to what rig is chosen) is also in turned Whitewood and this together with the use of jalousie doors, adds a good deal of character to the living space.

The designer has kept the heads and toilet space right out of the forepeak putting it aft by the companion way and this I liked. It doesn't interfere with the forward sleeping accommodation and it is handy to the cockpit. To be absolutely down-to-earth, the man on night watch is apt to take absurd risks of falling overboard by relieving nature in the traditional fashion; often he does so rather than grope his way forward in the dark, disturbing the sleepers - one of those small but serious considerations. An extra vent for this compartment leads downward in the cockpit and the loo itself has been tucked into a recess under the cockpit, so that is used hermit crab-fashion by backing into the recess. There is plenty of room. Lockers are plentiful and the food locker with its jalousie door is therefore well ventilated. Bedding goes behind the settee backs and there are two levels in some lockers permitting stowage in one half and rough gear in the other. The uncomplicated layout which allows for a good big forward cabin lends itself to family use. Children can be berthed forward and a teenage girl, say, with my-very-best-friend' could tuck herself away there for private whispering sessions whenever she wanted - very important to kids of that age and therefore to the general happiness of the ship's company.

The Halcyon Clipper is very easy to work. The mainsheet on its short track does cross the forward end of the cockpit and at first I found it a nuisance but one quickly discovers the best winch operating positions. There is a well foredeck, very useful for headsail changing and the short plank bowsprit further increases the working area; the well is drained via twin pipes at its after corners. The anchor stowage alongside the bowsprit is sensible, the more so since a woman would not have to struggle it inboard in a hurry. The riding fairlead being well outboard will keep the cable well clear in a wind against tide situation.

Halcyon Clipper 27 is another good attempt at giving the market a cruiser with good accommodation and good if not racing performance at sea (!) She is beamy and yet easy of section and should go well in lighter airs but suitably reefed she should also be tough enough to take care of her crew in a blow.



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