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Aluminum Voyager

Jan 1, 2003

Offshore sailors have long sought the perfect material for building blue water voyaging boats. One of the strong contenders for "best material" is aluminum. And one of the premier boatbuilders working in aluminum is Kanter Yachts of St. Thomas, Ontario.

The latest example of Kanter's prowess with aluminum is the Kanter 53 Cancan. This moderately light displacement sloop was designed by C.W. Paine Yacht Design in Camden, Maine. Cancan is the latest in Chuck Paine's Bermuda Series of designs and was launched in September 1996. It was trucked to Sausalito and has been sailing in San Francisco Bay. "I've been working out the little details of a new boat," said owner John Chowning. "It's a delight to sail." Cancan is set to appear at the Oakland Boat Show on April 24.

The yacht is entirely constructed of high-strength 5083-H321 alloy. "It's a pretty high-tech structure," said Paine. "There are lots of tiny members scrupulously welded together to support the plating. To prevent dishing and denting of the thin aluminum skin, we doubled the pieces of the internal framework."

Cancan was designed to be a fast, shorthanded boat. The design has many performance-oriented features like an asymmetrical spinnaker set off a retractable bowsprit, long waterline length with short overhangs, moderate beam, and a large rig.

Paine said his idea for the boat was a light-displacement, long waterline hull that could still go well to windward. "We concentrated on 10 small, subtle factors of keel design to make the boat go reasonably well to windward," said Paine. "Of course, the boat still sails brilliantly off the wind."

The keel is the latest version of the Paine elliptically bulbed shoal draft keel. The bulb places the ballast as low as possible to improve stability, but without the deep fin that would restrict Cancan to deepwater anchorages. The draft is 6 feet, 2 inches. The bulb transitions to an end plate at the trailing edge to reduce induced drag.

To further add stability, Cancan has an automated freshwater ballast system. It allows the owners to reduce heel by nearly four degrees. Fail-safe devices powered by optical sensors prevent running a pump dry, overfilling the windward tank and losing freshwater out the vent pipe. A freshwater system ensures that plenty of water would be available for long offshore passages.

Rod rigging supports the triple spreader mast from Hall Spars. Cancan's fully battened main is set up for in-boom reefing/furling using a system from LeisureFurl. For offshore work, Cancan has two watertight bulkheads. Highlights of its equipment list include a trash compactor, watermaker, central heating, a super insulated refrigerator, sound system, and an AC genset.


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