Skip to main content

A Design Challenge With Real-World Results

The Westlawn-PassageMaker competition was interesting from several perspectives, and it is clear that a similar design challenge could readily be applied to the other mission-statement goals we set for our cruising boats.

I've already thought about future competitions that might focus on innovation and efficient technology for a circumnavigating passagemaker, for example, or the ultimate canal cruiser-complete with ground transportation. And what would we find if we highlighted an always-at-the-dock, seldom-moved liveaboard trawler yacht that follows the throw-out-the-rules format of the cable program Platinum Weddings?

During the review process, it was quite stimulating, and decidedly entertaining, to be among five designers as we worked through the many submissions. Each judge had his own perspective on the right sheer or how a submitted hull form might handle a following sea. Most interiors were examined with an eye to tweak interior space-for instance, taking a few inches out of a doorway to allow a walk-around berth.

Oblivious to distraction, we passed a triangle square around the table, occasionally grabbing it politely out of another's hand to check a corner or bulkhead, noting aloud that a small change could benefit accommodation in an adjoining space. It was lively and interesting, but we had to remind each other that we were to judge the design as it was presented, not as how it would be after we made a couple of changes.

Norm Nudelman and Dave Gerr did a great job preparing the submissions for our review, and I think PMM readers will find the results of this competition more than just fun reading. The value of the Westlawn-PassageMaker design challenge especially hit home toward the end of the day, when one of the judges stated that he was so intrigued by one of the winning designs that he could see himself building it as a production boat. Now that is saying something.—Bill Parlatore


I was encouraged to see that the majority of the designs submitted to the Westlawn-PassageMaker challenge were so well thought out in terms of the total cruising experience. It was obvious that the contestants had envisioned the cruising lifestyle during the development phase of the design spiral.

Side decks were wide enough to traverse safely while under way or docking. Foredecks were flat, with enough room to handle the anchor. Visibility from the helm was considered, as was machinery access, galley layout and storage, dinghy storage, and comfortable places to relax, both inside and out.

I was most impressed with the winning design in terms of being quite practical for coastal cruising, not only from the standpoint of probable cost, but also from its incorporation of useful, well-planned features. Starting at the bow, the pulpit is set up for two anchors, far enough apart so as not to interfere with each other-very important but most unusual. The stateroom is a gem for such a small boat; there's access to both sides of the bed, his-and-her drawers underneath, his-and-her hanging lockers, and a separate shower. Again, very important, yet extremely unusual for a boat this size.

Another excellent feature: his-and-her forward-facing helm and navigator chairs in both the cabin and on the bridge. In addition, the galley and dinette are huge for a 32-foot boat. And the guest bed, extra storage, hanging locker, and washer/dryer in the aft cabin are attributes just not found in boats of this size. As you browse the boat shows this winter, look at the sleek, highly styled boats on display and try to envision actually living and cruising on them. I think it will make you appreciate the thought that went into these winning entries.—Bob MacNeill