Friday, 8 June 2012

Halcyon 27

I became quite excited the other day when Michael commented that a Halcyon 27 might just be the boat for me. Excited, partly because I knew she was an Alan Buchanan design. Now this guy in his later years settled on the Island of Jersey and set about designing craft ideally suited to these waters. We have some of the highest (and therefore strongest) tides in Europe. A spring tide for example can raise the water level 40ft above datum.  The sea here is littered with rocks and the seabed is very uneven so you can get rough patches of water even on a good day. In places the sea seems to boil most of the time. So a vessel specially designed for these waters seems to be a good starting point for finding the ideal cruiser. It also fits conveniently with John’s advice the other day, which could be interpreted as ‘try to find a boat with a local pedigree’.
My previous motor boat was a Channel Islands 22 ,  a twin engined vessel created by the same designer and despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy motor cruising anything like as much as sail cruising, she served me very well for several years – so I have confidence in the man and his work.
So the Halcyon 27 might just be ideal. 

Well, the Halcyon has full standing headroom in the saloon (6ft), and a reputation for a very sea kindly motion. She is described as a ‘classic small offshore cruiser - a tough, seaworthy little boat’ which I find slightly strange given that I pretty much discarded a Westerly Centaur on the grounds that at 26ft, she was a little too big for my needs. She also has a good long traditional keel which means she goes in a nice straight line (directional stability) and can be set to steer herself quite easily. Some have been taken on long offshore cruises and some have been circumnavigated.

Ok so what’s the downside? Well, that beautiful long keel draws 4ft, and to get the best out of my cruiser I need a vessel which draws no more than three. Ahg! Dealbreaker!

Not to be put off though, I began to dig a little deeper. There is another Halcyon!  The Halcyon 23 was also designed by Alan Buchanan in the 1960s. At first,she was known as the "Crystal" but after several changes in the accommodation plan, the vessel was taken into production by Offshore Yachts Ltd. in 1965. She was a popular model which remained in production until 1975 when the company was forced to close down after a fire in the shipyard.

Would you believe it? The Halcyon 23 also draws more than I can accept. Another blind alley but an interesting piece of research none the less.

So, I have to be philosophical about this. Somewhere, out there, there is a boat for me, the more I look, the better chance I have of finding her.

Talking of chances, there is a very popular cartoon series on French television all about a group of creatures called Shaddocks. A Shaddock, poor thing, only has four compartments in his brain, which means he can only cope with four actions or pieces of knowledge. If, for example, he can walk, talk, count to ten and light a fire, he has to shed one of these skills if he wants to learn to kick a ball. The bane of the Shaddocks lives are the Moonies – cynical, sarcastic, wasters who take great pleasure in making the Shaddocks lives miserable. To escape the Moonies, the Shaddocks have decided to build a rocket and emigrate to the moon but every time they build a rocket it fails to fly and usually explodes. Does that stop the Shaddocks? No way -! they have a party after every failed attempt. Why? Because the Moonies have told them that the chances of them building a craft to get to the moon are 1000 to 1 against. Now to the Shaddocks, this brings hope. They only have to fail 999 more times – each failure brings them closer to success!
Maybe I should adopt a similar approach.