Svelte Kelt 7.6 - Under sail

By John Turnbull and Judith Wright Chopra

The Kelt 7.6 is a very French boat (reborn as a North American performance cruiser. Its Canadian builders surveyed the market, identified a need, and then developed the boat to fill it. Introducing the Svelte Kelt. 

On the French boating scene, the Kelt 7.6 has the reputation of an inexpensive but rugged boat-cheap and serviceable. In its North American incarnation as built by Kelt Marine in Aurora, however, it is still a very French boat, still rugged, but designed to please the North American taste for comfort. The Canadian-built Kelt is a boat upgraded, feature by feature, to compete in the market created and shaped by the likes of C&C, Hinter­hoeller and CS Yachts.

Canadian Yachting's sail test of the Kelt 7.6 was done one cold, damp day last October. The wind was just picking up as we completed a preliminary inspection of the boat and prepared to set sail. Our inspection confirmed what we had seen in the nearby Kelt Marine plant. The boat's shallow bilge, narrow fin keel, wide beam carried fur aft, its high freeboard, the absence of teak on deck and delicate use in the interior all shouted "European design!" But just as loudly, the changes from the French original proclaimed "North American market!" The interior, with its soft, short nap carpet headliner and light­ colored Aframosia trim, is very cozy. The secure interior had a lot of appeal that day, as the end of the sailing season proclaimed its arrival with bone-chilling cold.

From the V berth to the main saloon, the galley and enclosed head aft, the Kelt has the finish and polish demanded by boat builders on this side of the Atlantic. The foam cushions on the V berth and settees are four-inch, instead of three. The Aframosia is oiled, rather than varnished, for a warmer look, and fittings such as the stainless steel weldments on the saloon table bracket are impressively solid.

Under sail, the Kelt had an extremely sensitive helm. Because the keel is small with little lateral area, we found that with the right direction and sail trim was very fast. The Kelt’s speed, however, depends very much on the skipper’s know-how. It has the potential to be very fast, but it’s so sensitive to adjustments such as weight placement that it also has the potential to be slow. 

Kelt 7.6 - In gusty windsThe Kelt has a PHRF rating of 225, putting it in a class with the C&C 25, the Tanzer 26, and other 200-plus boats. Last summer, 7.6 owners made their marks in the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Quebec, where a Kelt won 1st overall for the season in 200-plus, and at Bronte Harbour Yacht Club in Ontario, Kelts took 1st and 2nd in a 19-boat fleet early in August. In experienced hands, these are the sort of results we would expect from the Kelt – but Kelt Marine President Ron Brooks explained that the company has not emphasized racing in its marketing approach. “Well over half our buyers are first-time buyers who want a boat that’d easy to handle. We emphasize that it’s a performance cruiser – but we don’t want experienced racers to be disillusioned. But properly sailed, the Kelt is very competitive – after all, it’s a Jean Berret design and has a good racing record in France.”

Kelt Marine in Aurora has been building the 7.6 for only two years now, and has survived an extremely tough time for boat builders. Brooks has won the confidence of his suppliers, however, by his determination to limit production to a maximum of two boats per week. "We don't want to sacrifice quality - or have more boats on hand than we can sell," Brooks explained.

A further indication of faith in the business came recently when S2 yachts of the US selected Kelt Marine to build their designs in Canada.

With eight Canadian dealers, Kelt can be seen from the Maritimes to Vancouver, and, as Brooks says, is attracting many first-time buyers. The Kelt is also attracting US buyers. Eleven dealers in the US along the eastern seaboard and the Great Lakes have found that the combination of a low Canadian dollar and the high quality of the Kelt are hard to beat in the American market.

The quality of the Kelt's construction is a key factor in that market, where the trend to smaller boats is strong. Features such as the 7.6's hull-deck joint are very convincing. The hull and deck are molded with interlocking flanges, or lips, which are bonded together with a lightweight polyester, making the hull and deck one piece - sealed against any leaks. The flange is then trimmed and bolted within. bolts every six inches, and mounted with its anodized aluminum toe rail. Brooks comments that the boat can even be suspended by the hull-deck joint.

Kelt 7.6 - Mast stepThe deck itself is a Divinycell sandwich with stress points reinforced by wire mesh.

Another construction feature worth noting is the Kelt's ballast attachment. The cast iron keel, coated twice with coal-tar epoxy, is bolted into a recess in the hull using 111/2 inch studs and 2 inch by 2 inch stainless steel washers to create a larger bearing surface.

High quality fittings are the mark of the Kelt - from Isomat spars with internal halyards to Easy-Lock halyard stoppers and a stainless steel handrail on deck. The French-built Kelt has a wooden rudder, which has been redesigned for the Canadian boat. A molded fiberglass air foil rudder that adds lift and eliminates vibration replaced the European rudder.

In the French designer tradition, the Kelt also bears its name and trademark blue stripes molded into the fiberglass. Brooks adds that at the owner's request, the "Kelt 7.6" logo can be left blank or replaced by the boat's registered name. The Kelt's price puts it on the high side for a boat of its size, but when other factors are considered there's a good case for making the investment. If you plan to keep a boat for several years, as most Kelt owners do, then it makes sense to choose one that will hold its value; the design and construction of the Kelt indicate that it will.

The Kelt 7.6 is also a boat that will get the family out sailing - cruising comfort and low maintenance combine to keep you on the water instead of at the dock. Best of all, if you are new to sailing, it's a boat that will continue to be challenging as you develop skills. And the Kelt's potential will still be there when you 're ready to race.

 

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s May 1983 issue.

 

Kelt 7.6 - cleatsSpecifications

LOA 27ft 3in.

Hull length 24 ft 11in.

LWL 21 ft

Beam 9 ft 5 in.

Displacement 4,500 lbs

Ballast (keel model) 1,765 lbs 

Ballast (centerboard) 1,950 lbs 

Draft (keel model) 4 ft 3 in. 

Draft (centerboard) 2 ft 5in./5 ft 3in. 

Headroom max. 6 ft 1h in.

No.of berths four to five

Water tank 15 imp. gal.

Kelt 7.6 - DetailCritical Sail Measurements

I. 30.45 ft

J. 10.16 ft

P. 25.73 ft

E. 9.18 ft

Main & 100% 282 ft2

Base price (1983) $26,500

 

Photo Captions

Photo 1 - A very French boat, eh?

Photo 2 - In gusty winds, the mainsheet must be played to keep the boat moving at top speed. 

Photo 3 - The mast step has integral sheaves for halyards and lifts. Three halyards, the pole lift and downhaul are run aft to stoppers.

Photo 4 & 5 – Cleats are recessed into the coaming for comfort.

 

 

Destinations

  • Prev
The Moorings has just announced the launch of its newest Caribbean destination, Antigua. 
Toronto sailor and former RCYC coach/sailing instructor Ryan May is now a US coast guard captain ...
Just before the weekly party at Shirley HeightsSunsail staffer Chris Donahue conducts our chart ...
Chartering in the Caribbean conjures up images of turquoise sea, palm fringed beaches and great ...
Since anyone who opens an independent bookstore is at least as brave as a small boat shop owner, I ...
You’re on your way east to the 1000 Islands or the Trent-Severn. By entering north of Prince ...
I have lived in Ontario my whole life but have only recently had the pleasure of visiting the City ...
My trip to the Northwest Passage started long before I boarded the flight to Kangerlussaq with ...
During the summer of 2016, my wife and I cruised through the North Channel in Lake Huron on our ...
It’s like we’ve waved a magic wand and disappeared into a picture perfect painting, our ...

Our Top 5 Caribbean Destinations

Shards Top 5 Caribbean DestinationsBy Paul and Sheryl Shard

Do you ever dream about traveling by boat on sparkling tropical seas as winter sets in at home and the weather turns colder and grayer?

We used to.

Then, almost 30 years ago, we decided to take a big step and do our first bareboat charter in the Caribbean to escape the snow and experience a mid-winter sailing adventure in Paradise. (We were novice sailors then.) My husband, Paul, and I shared a boat with friends on that trip, which made it pretty affordable, and we discovered that winter sailing in the Caribbean didn't have to be merely a dream after all. We got hooked.

Read more of the Shards Top 5 Caribbean Destinations...

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This Photo of the Week sequence from Chris Chahley and Kathy Coyle explains the whole boat thing. ...
The off season is suddenly upon us. Yikes! We need your photos more than ever to keep us thinking ...
One of our most enthusiastic contributors, Rob Dunbar sent us this photo from Halifax.   ...
Checking back into the US was quick and painless. We made the call to Customs but we needed to ...
Two-hundred-year-old homes are what ghost stories are made of, and Beaconsfield Yacht Club (BYC) ...
This time our photos come from Gimli where Katie Coleman Nicoll was on the scene. She’s an ...
Recently we celebrated our country’s 150th anniversary, and in true form thousands of ...
   We left off Part 1 at the year 1914, and will here pick it back up, running through ...
This week’s POTW comes from across the pond. Who knew we had a European audience   ...
Here is our boat anchored at Hockey Stick Bay. We live in a beautiful country.     ...

This brief history of the early days of the LaHave River Yacht Club (LRYC) gives an idea of the DIY enthusiasm of the club’s founders and the unpretentious love of boating motivated them.

The LaHave River Yacht Club is located on the West side of the LaHave River, 12 kilometers south of the town of Bridgewater. Founded with 50 members who held their early get-togethers at the old Drill Hall in Bridgewater, since many of them were also in the Reserves. The first slate of officers was: Commodore - Ed Goudey, Vice Commodore - Fred Surbeck, Rear Commodore - Captain Malcolm Wilkie, Treasurer - Macgregor Miller, Secretary - Victor Killam.

Read More about LaHave River Yacht Club...

 

 

 

Covey Island Boatworks

Covey Island Boatworks It could be said that Covey Island Boatworks put Canada on the map during the early days of wood/epoxy composite boatbuilding. Today the company has diversified into fiberglass commercial fishing vessels, selling inflatable boats and hybrid and electric propulsion systems from facilities in Lunenburg, Riverport and Liverpool. Things were pretty basic back in 1979 when the yard was established on Covey Island, one of the LaHave Islands in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, by John Steele and two partners.

Read More about Covey Island Boatworks....

 

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...
Since the initial article of this series we have looked at the iPad and its use as a marine ...
The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly ...
For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and ...
Question: Is it possible to mount, protect and charge your iPad during marine navigation. ...
  Is iNavX the superlative marine navigation app?    
Question: Can I buy generic automotive parts or products for my boat, or should they specify ...
  There is a good deal of hesitancy and lack of understanding as to whether an iPad can ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Out here on the West Coast with boats in the water year-round, there is one constant activity and ...
In the last edition of this column we took a close look at iRegatta and the advantages it can bring ...
With all the devastation in the eastern Caribbean a natural question to ask is ‘is our boat in that ...
During the heat of summer, many boat owners turn on their air conditioning units. Whether portable ...
A milestone has been reached. The new D13-1000 sees Volvo Penta move into the 1000hp marine leisure ...
  Still looking for the perfect slip for your boat? Look no further!    
Canadian Yachting traveled to Newport to review and sea trial the new MJM 35z.     ...
Erik Pawson Of Watertight Boatworks here in North Vancouver, BC, is really passionate about the ...
Hydro Clean Hull Wash is Canada's first automatic, mechanical hull wash system and the company has ...
For 2017 there were a total of 31 events planned and 2 were cancelled for a total of 29 events. All ...