Owner/builder: Norm Facey
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Designer: Bruce Roberts
LO.A. 15.04 m/49'-5"
LW.L. 13.25 m/ 43'-5"
BEAM 4.47 m/ 14'-8"
DRAFT 1.98 m/ 6'-6"*
We're building a 50 ft steel hulled kit boat, designed and supplied by Bruce Roberts - a Voyager 495. It is a cutter rigged, center cockpit, aft cabin pilothose - that's a lot of words, but it is also a lot of boat. The interior layout is shown below.
We're building the "B" version - short, deep keel, with a skegged rudder quite far aft.
Have secured a Perkins M90 marine diesel engine, will install two station hydraulic steering (cockpit & inside), a propane oven, and of course, Wili's bathtub. Though the layout above shows three bathrooms (heads), we'll likely condense the forward two together, and add a closet/drawers for the forward v-berth.
- This boat is being built with the intent to head offshore again. The hull has huge strength, and the components installed will be with an eye to being hit by green water. A steel hull at sea brings great confidence - when you see a storm coming, there is no question that the boat is going to come out of it - all you have to do is hang on.
- a pre-cut steel kit is faster/easier to assemble than a built from scratch fiberglass hull, and there are no questions on how to do the hull to deck joint.
- aluminum is more expensive, and while it has less salt water corrosion issues, there are far greater galvanic problems - there are lots of aluminum hulls around Vancouver, and many of them suffer abnormal attacks due to stray current/different metals that don't even originate on that boat. Also believe steel to be easier to repair in remote locations - stick welding is common, and I'll even have my own on board alternator/welder.
- despite all the critics, Roberts has been around for a long time, primarily supplying and supporting home building; I have enjoyed great response for over 10 years.
- Examples of his designs are everywhere, and do survive sailing the world. His boat designs are conservative, but have progressed with technology into some good looking cruising hulls.
- I love the way the V495 looks. To me, form follows function, and this hull is beautiful. I still walk away backwards after 10 years.
- using a cutter rig in combination with dual roller furlers means you're always ready with your most common sail configurations. The bulk of the time I expect to be sailing as a sloop, with an overlapping genoa. Occasionally we'll be looking for more sail area, so out comes both foresails; probably more often, we'll be reducing area, and after the first few rolls on the genoa, furling it fully and running off the staysail provides better balance.
- the cutter rig, in combination with a keel stepped mast, also reduces mast pumping at sea, without resorting to running stays.
Why Skeg/Narrower keel?
- We've had boats with deep fins/spade, moderate fin/skegged, and cut away full keel with attached rudder. By far the most stable, while still highly manuverable in tight quarters, was the fin keel/skegged rudder combo. I look forward to returning to that configuration.
- BC coastal cruising has a lot of rain - and while you can use a good boat 12 months of the year, for at least 8 of those months you want a heated cabin to keep the ladies happy (read - in order to have them with you!). Slowly putting away thru a calm gentle snow brings a magic all it's own that's three times better if you can do it inside & warm.
Why the tub?
- Wili has only one demand to go away for extensive time on the boat - she needs hot bath to relax heading to bed. She's a tiny lady, and is happy with a 3 ft tub - so it's not a big request - how could I turn her down?