Launched in the late 1970s, the limited-production offshore cruiser Aquarius Pilot Cutter 24 was designed with ease of handling, comfort, and safety at sea in mind.
She draws inspiration from working boats of the 19th century, which were swift and capable of towing heavy loads. These Bluewater Sailboats share characteristics with her, including an easily driven hull, good windward performance, and the capacity to tow a lot of canvas to compensate for their heavy displacement and payload. This Bluewater Sailboat’s massive scantlings, abundant bronze fittings, and even its characteristic tanbark-colored sails are all in keeping with tradition.
The Bristol Channel Cutter, her smaller stablemate the Falmouth Cutter, and famously Lin and Larry Pardy’s 24-foot Seraffyn and their following 29-foot Teleisin are all examples of how Hess remade the classic pilot boat design for the late 20th century. Even though Parish claims he was unaware of Seraffyn until after the Aquarius’ construction had begun, several aspects of the interior design of the Aquarius are exactly the same as those of Seraffyn.
Hand-laid solid fibreglass with polyester resin, with a hull thickness ranging from 3/8″ at the minimum to 5/8″ at the turn of the bilge and as much as 3/4″ in the keel sections, is constructed in a way that is appropriately overbuilt. The ballast is enclosed with lead. The hull and deck are connected by an overlapping shoe box fit that is bed down with sealant and through bolted on 12″ centres. The deck and cabin house are made of 1/2″ marine ply with a fibreglass core.
Between 1979 and 1984, 33 boats in all were built; the majority were marconi-rigged, but gaff-rigged variants were also made; these were more suited to the light-air sailing that is common along the East Coast. Despite the fact that the boat was custom-built, a significant degree of customization can be noted between specimens. at least three configurations were available. An inboard 18hp Volvo was the base engine available, but owners had the choice to upgrade to an outboard positioned on the transom, which freed up interior space.
The Bluewater Sailboat Aquarius has up-to-date sail controls with all lines returning to the cockpit, including those for reefing, making it perfect for single-handed sailing. Lazy jacks arrived with everything. The layout below the decks is quite functional and roomy, and it was created without bulkheads to maximise ventilation flow. It’s unusual to find beds with 6′ 7″ long sides and 6′ 3″ of headroom in vessels this size. Considering her size, she’s also well into heavy displacement area, but keep in mind that her 410 square feet of the canvas more than makes up for this (not to mention a healthy 460 square feet for gaffed rigged versions).
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