The Bayfield 29 is a cruising yacht with traditional styling and design features. Hull shape and sail plan are oriented toward safe and stable handling in all conditions, rather than high performance. Although it can sleep up to five, in our view the Bayfield 29 is most suited to comfortable living aboard for a smaller complement. It might particularly appeal to the long-distance cruiser who often single-hand or sails with a minimum of crew. The Bayfield facilities in Clinton, Ontario, experienced a near disastrous fire last January that damaged or destroyed numerous molds for its product line. (In addition to the 29, Bayfield produces the 25, 32, 32C, 36 and 40.) Lost to the fire were the deck, liner and hatch molds for the 29. The losses have meant a costly and formidable retooling period for Bayfield, but the company is expecting to have its entire product line back in full production by midsummer.
In the early 1970s, most boat builders were developing fin-keeled racer/cruiser lines of production sailboats. Bayfield Boat Yard, in southeastern Lake Huron, bucked this trend by producing a line of long-keeled cruising boats. The distinctive shape of the Bayfield range of models designed by Ted Gozzard (with the exception of the Bayfield 36) was the clipper bow, wood trail boards with scroll work and, on some designs, additional wood trim and wood taff rails to give a traditional appearance.
The Bayfield 36 favours old-time and modern conveniences which give this popular cruiser the well-earned title of a contemporaryclassic. Although Bayfield Boat Yard of Clinton, Ontario, builds sail boats that are traditional-looking, there is nothing outdated about the marketing finesse of this firm. Rather than compete with innumerable other sailboat builders, each offering a line of racer/cruisers, Bayfield has identified a unique market niche and stuck with it faithfully over the years -- long enough that in Canada the Bayfield name has become synonymous with clipper bows and trailboards. Paradoxically, the differences between the Bayfields and a majority of those other, more modern-looking cruisers are largely skin deep. Contemporary materials, construction methods and equipment are an integral part of the Bayfield formula.
It must be a yacht designer’s nightmare to be commissioned to create a replacement for perhaps the most successful 50 footer ever manufactured, the Bruce Farr designed Beneteau 50, of which over 400 hulls were produced between 1996-2004. The French team at Groupe Finot took the challenge to heart having had several other designs selling well on the French builders line including the 323, 423 and 473. On a recent trip to France, we were lucky enough to not only sail the new 523 but we also had a terrific tour of two of the Beneteau production facilities there.
Beneteau First 10R
I first saw a 10R in Annapolis and then again in Toronto at the recent ABYC one design regatta. It's a boat that catches the eye, especially with the likes of Jamie Kidd at the helm. Kidd has won more world championships than most and is probably one of the top talented sailors that never made our Olympic team. He is knowledgeable and competitive. Top sailors in Canada and around the world are flocking to this boat because it does not compromise in performance, look or style. The local Toronto results are a Canadian testament to the solid racing characteristics of this boat.
Beneteau First 45
The automotive industry coined the term crossover; I guess that should be the word we now refer to for those boats that have high performance and comfort cruising. In this vein, the Beneteau First 45 is just that boat.
At first glance, I could see why Anchor Yacht's affable Colin Andrews was so excited about this boat. The hull shape just breathes 'power to burn'; our test sail proved that point first hand. Its acceleration and tracking are amazing; it's definitely got a home in the performance cruiser market.