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The Rob Roy 23 — A Shoal Draft, Trailerable Cruiser for Two By Mike Turner Fiddlestix, a Rob Roy 23

Rob Roy 23 Specifications LOA: 28’ 8” LOD: 22’ 8” DWL: 20” 10” Beam: 6’ 11” Draft: 1’ 6” board up/4’ 8” down Displacement: 2800 lbs. Ballast: 900 lbs. Sail Area: 264 sq. ft. Fractional rig: Yawl


September 2010



hen my wife Pamela and I first started planning our retirement, we looked forward to sailing at points all around the United States— from the Pacific Northwest, to the Gulf, the Keys and the Atlantic Seaboard. We wanted a boat in the 22-25’ range that would comfortably cruise two and be easy to trailer. I particularly favored a ketch or yawl, harkening back to childhood memories of watching the schooner on the old TV show, Adventures in Paradise—not an easy find in a boat in our size range. Our search led us to a boat that met our criteria, including the elusive split rig: the Rob Roy 23 yawl. We found our boat, Fiddlestix, in a cornfield in Indiana, trailered her to San Diego Bay, where we sailed for two years, and then to our current home on Mobile Bay. Noted designer Ted Brewer specifically intended the Rob Roy as a cruiser for two, based on the Humber yawls popular in England in the late 1800s. About 90 Rob Roys were built from the mid-1980s through mid-1990s by Marine Concepts in Tarpon Springs, FL. The fiberglass hull is a modified sharpie design with rounded bilges, stub keel, centerboard and kickup rudder. Early hulls and decks were cored with end-grain balsa. Later boats switched to a foam. The main mast is deck-stepped in a tabernacle and is fractionally rigged with a headstay running to the tip of the bowsprit, spreaderless uppers and a single lower shroud swept slightly aft. Many boats, including Fiddlestix, have an owner-added backstay. The jib is roller furling, sheeted through tracks on the side decks to winches and cam cleats on the coach roof. The mizzenmast is stepped in a tube at the aft end of the cockpit and is unstayed. Sail area is 264 square feet. Many owners supplement this with a mizzen staysail. Auxiliary power is via an outboard in a covered well. The Rob Roy has a pleasing shear running from the tip of its bowsprit to a well-proportioned coach roof, cockpit coamings and short bumpkin (for sheeting the mizzen) aft. Substantial use is made of teak in the sprits, full-length rub rail, handholds on the coach roof, companionway slides and washboards, tiller and trim. Cleats, chocks and ports are of solid bronze. The cockpit has a bridge deck, which serves as the base for the mainsail traveler. A removable teak boom crutch is to starboard of the companionway. A primary winch for the main halyard is to port on the coach roof. Under the cockpit seats forward are open lockers, each of which will hold a 6-gallon fuel tank. Aft, each seat opens to a large storage locker that extends all the way into the stern. Additional storage is below the cockpit sole—a deep bilge sump, and a shelf which can hold a small inflatable raft.