The Nutshell 26 prototype (as yet unnamed) was launched yesterday at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa.
The prototype has twin 14hp diesels instead of the standard electric pods. We are still looking for a suitable electric drive partner. The diesel option will include twin 9HP Yanmars in future, but these had a 4-month lead time.
The twin-cylinder 14HPs are too powerful (and heavy) for the boat but make for some great drag-racing.
A better option would be a 9HP diesel to starboard and a 10KW pod motor to port. This obviates solar and big batteries. What’s missing is a fly-by-wire control so that we don’t mix mechanical and electrical engine controls – which feel completely different in use.
Twin electric is still first choice but has the overhead of solar panels (5 x 400W on the roof) and sufficient battery reserve, to counter ‘range-anxiety’. The philosophy is to oversize the motors and use full-power sparingly. I can see sailing this simple rig to be such a pleasure motors will only be needed for calm days and mooring at a dock.
Sail trials start Monday but she is extremely responsive under power and manoeuvres easily. Good visibility all round. The passarel system works a treat – extending the aft deck enormously when stowed. The sail went up easily. Once up, the halyard is removed and the heads’l remains furled. This involves popping up in a bosuns chair but this is a breeze on the spare halyard.
The walking-around space is crazy-big. The size of an average 40’ cat. Enclosed by clear, side-awnings that deploy easily and look great (thanks North Sails) the 3.5 x 3.5m space had 7 people wandering around and chatting and didn’t feel even slightly crowded.
I’ll upload a video of the launch if anyone is interested.
Tents! Well you either love em or you’ve actually been camping.
But marine awnings? A whole different thing. They are so good nowadays they’re pretty much a standard on any boat. Strung between a coachroof-lid and a bulwark, they stop wind and rain from ruining your evening, while still giving you that terrific view of the cute bay or harbour that you chose to stop the night in.
So given the option of enclosing a space for the times when the weather’s a bit dodgy or living within three walls when every cell in your body screams “I wanna be outside on this perfect evening”!What do you do?
Well I overstated it a wee bit, but you get the picture? Having a nice wide aft deck, on a boat designed for barmy weather, I’d rather have it open and close it up when needed.
While towing the Nutshell 26 is possible behind an SUV it is not an exercise to be taken lightly. Experienced drivers won’t have problems (it’s the same as towing a similar size centre console boat). Height is an issue but the weight is similar.
The complexity is with narrowing the boat. The trailer is designed to take care of this, but the boat has to be prepared before-hand. I suggest that this may not be an ‘every weekend’ exercise.
If you want to day-sail the boat, and leave off all the liveaboard kit, then the boat becomes a great water-sport base. You can load canoes, SUPs etc into the back of the boat and, once launched, you have a big aft deck, fridge and storage, plus a day-bed.
There will be two types of trailer. The standard one will tow the boat in the wider position. The split-back will additionally enable the narrowing of the hulls. This would be particularly useful for a yard managing multiple boats – that needs to access public roads to launch or recover. Or any business that stores the boats undercover – the space-saving for narrow boats is considerable.
The deck layout of the Nutshell 26 is also flexible. The simple Uni-rig means the deck is not cluttered and this leaves lots of side deck and trampoline areas to play
Main solar panels 4 x 350W – these are glass fronted and framed panels out of the way of everything
Additional optional solar panels on the pull-out roof panels. Two of these add a further 4 x 240W for a total of 2,36KW (theoretical)
A standard SUP board fits over the foredeck – together with space along the deck-edges you get to take a lot of toys with you
The optional Code0 sheets to the side-deck, right aft, and from there down to a deck-block and onto the winch at the mast. This sail is flown loose from the upper-most halyard
The standard Genoa sheets feed aft around the back of the roof and down to a deck-block. It is completely self-tacking and rolls away onto a furling forestay
Trampoline material fills the foredeck and keeps everybody safe. A great place to sun-bathe
Deck hatches allow storage of more toys. Below these are sealed buoyancy compartments that make the boat unsinkable
The deck shower can be used to rinse-off with hot fresh water
The roller furler rope runs along the starboard side. It can be lead to the winch but mostly will be pulled by hand
A passarel or gang-plank stores over the rope bins aft and is hoisted up to the spreaders. A tie-off system raises it above reach and it can be locked in that position. Great for stern-to moorings in the Med.
Fenders drop-down to come alongside low walls or floating docks. In the stored position they still protect the boat from damage and allow other boats to raft-up alongside