Richard Edlin, boat builder and designerMatakohe, North Auckland, New Zealand
Thistle Dhu review continued - pg2
The electric, manual override Anderssen 52 winch to port handles the Leisure-furl mainsail and the manual winch to starboard, the sheeting, although the mainsail can be trimmed from either side. Hatches in the pilothouse provide a limited view of the mainsail for trimming. For cruising, the helm station's proximity to the saloon has heaps of advantages. The chart table is immediately inside the saloon to port, for quick access to the chart, VHF or a chat with the navigator. Considering the size of the boat, it's a pity the chart table isn't full-size. The radar and GPS are permanently mounted at an angle just above the chart table, easily visible from either helm station. The galley is also within easy reach, handy for late night watches. The McKenzies' aversion to getting wet has been accommodated for with a canopy fitted from the pilothouse overhang back to the radar arch and down the sides and back, creating a fully enclosed cockpit - luxury indeed! Zips and domes enable various opening and closing options in true convertible style and, once sussed out, the system works well. Instrumental displays are tucked up safely beneath the pilothouse overhang. Access for'ard to the bow is either through the openings in the canopy, or via the transom around the back of the radar arch. This route would be a trifle dodgy in the rough, particularly as the lifelines offer little benefit here. A couple of handholds on the outside of the radar arch and transom steps would be a good idea. The foredeck, furnished with six small hatches and one large, has space enough for the l0ft inflatable dinghy, with 8hp outboard stowed in the spacious cockpit lockers. Dual winch controls look after the upping and downing of the anchor; the spareman keeps the anchor well clear of the topsides.

The masthead rig is alloy with double, swept-back spreaders, keel stepped for offshore safety. In what seems to be a developing trend, there is no backstay, allowing fat more roach in the low aspect mainsail. The aft shroud of the two either side is well outboard to compensate. The area beneath the boom is well clear, with the mainsheet anchoring at two points, rather than to a traveller to save on controls, and a spring loaded boom yang. Also good to see and less common these days are substantial rubbing strakes well placed to give protection when berthing. From her pointy bow, Thistle Dhu's full vee sections sweep back to a beam of 4.2m, which carries all the way aft, a concession to the power of the 100hp Yanmah. "The sailing performance is compromised slightly in the hull shape," Edlin says, "
Rainy day sailing... Access for'ard is through the side "windows" or the transom - a little tricky. As for the name , a "dhu" is the small knife Scotsmen tuck in their sock. but if a displacement hull, which this is, is pulled beyond its hull speed it will tend to squat down aft so we needed to keep the run aft reasonably straight and flat." He estimates the boat's theoretical hull speed to be 8.1 knots yet she regularly performs at 10 knots or more. The keel, secured with seven one-inch bolts in 2205 stainless steel, has a big square bulb to take the maximum amount of lead for the draft of 2 m. The keel's flat base makes for easy gridding in the Pacific Islands. The rudder is conventional in shape, built in cedar - chosen for its strength characteristics in longitudinal forces - and epoxy glass, on a stainless steel rudder stock. We set off for a sail in 15 knots of breeze which at one stage wound its way to 34 kts. In lightships mode, Thistle Dhu heeled a little more than would have been expected but with no sudden sudden surprises in the gusts - generally, a well behaved boat, especially once down to the first reef. Full fuel and water tanks should make her a stiffer boat. The twin steering is set up on a hydraulic system and feels light for the size of the boat. it took a while to get "in the groove", a sense that was probably enhanced by the- unfamiliarity of the overall helm set up. Once over that. I found Thistle Dhu held a compass course well. Edlin says her top speed of 15 knots so far was achieved downhill going to Great Barrier Island, motor-sailing under headsail only. Thistle Dhu is a reaching boat and with sheets eased she powered along at well over eight knots, touching over 10 occasionally. As Edlin says. "No one wants to go to weather anyway and if you do, that's what the 100 horsepower motor is for.
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