Richard Edlin, boat builder and designerMatakohe, North Auckland, New Zealand
Rebb'/ with a cause


Rebb'l with a cause

ONE LOOK AT REBB'l PROVES HER   designer/builder Richard Edlin is not afraid to push the boundaries of tradition.

The pilothouse motorsailer Rebb'l - an acronym of Richard Edlin Boat Builders Ltd - could also mean to rebel against tradition. Traditionally, motorsailers have tended to be relatively modest performers thanks to smallish low aspect rigs, heavy displacement, and low resistance hulls incapable of being pushed past hull speed. With her tall rig, wide powerful hull, high pilothouse and 100hp engine, Rebb'l is far from the model of traditional motorsailer and, provided you get past her unusual styling, offers genuine advantages for cruising. Rebb'l began 10 years ago, when Edlin and his good friend Rob Neeley decided to build a 10.5m race yacht in partnership. Edlin and Neeley designed a 2600kg displacement yacht, with a shallow hull, U sections forward, a flat bottom and flared topsides. Edlin and Neeley built the boat to a bare hull stage before Neeley became involved in other projects. Edlin also had other projects on the go and parked up the hull for several years - meanwhile, his needs changed. He decided a pilothouse motorsailer had more appeal than a race boat, so he re-designed the boat using the existing hull. This included adding 150mm to the sheer, a new deck, cabin, interior and rig, and a hinging pod to the hull aft - more on the pod later. Edlin also wanted shallow draft and designed a lifting daggerboard and twin rudders.
However, Edlin was faced with a bigger challenge. Pushing the average yacht hull past its hull speed under power usually digs a big hole in the water. This is usually due to lack of buoyancy and/or lifting surface area in the aft sections of the hull. Had Edlin started with a clean sheet of paper, he would have drawn a wider hull, with flatter, straight aft sections. However, constrained by the existing hull shape, he had to find another method to improve motoring performance. His solution was a movable pod fitting into the aft section of the hull and hinging from the front. When the boat is sailing, the pod is fully up and remains fair to the original hull lines. When down for motoring, the pod alters the water flow aft, forcing the bow down, which prevents squatting. The pod was built in glass-sheathed plywood, hinged with twin stainless bolts in carbon fibre hinges. Fully deployed, the pod extends around 150mm, and is operated by twin electric motors driving worm drives. The hull was built in glass/foam epoxy sandwich, with Divinycell foam and West System epoxy. The decks are glasssheathed plywood, the cockpit floor is foam/glass and cabin tops are ply/foam/glass. The large windows - so important on any pilothouse design - are six-millimetre safety glass, set into internal flanges.
Story by JOHN MACFARLANE small_bullet Photos by MIKE HUNTERspacer Continued to page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4