Halcyon 27 - Yachting Monthly Review

Reprinted from "YACHTING MONTHLY"



The cruising requirements of owner Frank Denyer, who gave me a trial sail in his Halcyon 27 Sparkla, are typical of many people nowadays. He wanted a boat of acknowledged seagoing ability, standing headroom and berths for four, easy handling for lone or short-handed sailing, average to good handicap racing potential, modest draught with fin keel and enough auxiliary power to push the boat dead up wind and sea under engine alone as fast or possibly a shade faster than she could be tacked to windward. She also had to be priced to match a not inexhaustible pocket. The Halcyon 27 has fulfilled all these requirements for this particular owner.

She is a pretty boat to look at and a man gets a lot of pleasure from looking at his own ship. The china mug appearance of glass fibre is relieved by an afromosia trim which has been stained to darken it to a teak colour. Cockpit combings are of wood too and it is surprising how this improves the look of a boat; GRP moulded combings tend to look a bit too clinically curvy. The after end of the coach is raised to give standing headroom and forward it drops several inches to reduce the profile. Side decks arc wide enough to use without having to clamber on the coach roof.

Below the layout is simple but the decor is attractive if only average regarding finish. I did not see any badly fitted locker lids or cockeyed catches and hinges indicative of cheap finishing labour. The accommodation in general is less spacious than many smaller family cruisers but this is the price of a sweeter hull. The saloon has good standing space everywhere and lockers are plentiful, but the fore cabin is naturally a bit short on headroom, and the athwart ships space dividing this from the saloon and given over to hanging locker and heads also lacks headroom. It gains however in lateral space when both dividing doors are closed. The companionway too is quite singular in its way, having two foot rests instead of a ladder step and this is an arrangement that one needs to get used to. The saloon table, although clever; divides off the forward part of the bull when in place. There is a quarter berth starboard aft which is hidden abaft the chart table and only really usable as a spare and in port, making a total of five berths.

Everything about the yacht is strong and simple. Spars and standing rigging are of generous proportions and obviously not calculated down to the minimum. Cleats are large and well secured and the cockpit drains, which lead aft through the transom, are of 1½ in diameter. The pulpit had no annoying middle stanchion to get in the way of handling an anchor or mooring buoy. The fore hatch had been giving a little trouble due to the bedding being inadequate but this has been put right. One of the things which had most impressed this owner was the after-sale help and interest shown by the builder.

We sailed from a mooring well up the river Crouch and at first the breeze was a mere whisper but SparkIa answered her helm well and there was no feeling that she might go dead on you at a critical moment. Personally I found the helm a bit stiff; the rudder is transom hung on a rod and gudgeon arrangement. Frank Denyer was happy with this though. The breeze freshened to F 3-4 later and under the Genoa we had a spirited sail down-river. Weather helm in the puffs was only slight in this weight of wind and she sailed herself comfortably on the wind with the tiller lashed. Under Genoa alone she handled well although the foot fouls the guard rail which needed the upper wire let go when sheeting on the wind. With the main eased right off and Genoa sheet started a little she jilled along quietly, making it possible for a single hander to work forward in comfort. With almost 50 per cent ballast ratio she has a good reserve of sail power although she seems to heel fairly quickly before getting her shoulder to work.

Sparkla is fitted with a 6-8 hp Sabb diesel model G with variable pitch propeller. It was quiet enough and pushed her to windward in a good smart breeze, I was told, at 5 knots or better. I carried out an engine test, backing and filling to turn her but, as is so often the case, the fastest turn was with helm hard down and full power when she turned in a little over her own length. The variable pitch propeller makes it possible to go from ahead to astern without having to throttle right down each time, although at low revs it was possible to stall her.

In all it was a satisfactory demonstration. Halcyon 27 offers most of the features. wanted by the average owner and at £2,675 for the standard yacht (around £3.500 to £4,000 by the time one has bought spinnaker and other extras) she offers a lot of value for money.



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