In the quest for the ‘ideal’ cruising vessel there are many different opinions from sailors world-wide as to what makes for the ‘perfect’ cruising design. It makes sense to incorporate trends into this concept from our ever-changing social habits. People are now busier than ever with time being in short supply. Travelling is no exception with tight schedules being applied to our holidays. Therefore would logic not dictate that these trends be reflected in the ‘perfect’ getaway vehicle, the Spirited ‘CrossOver’. With a recently re-styled cabin design this design is looking better than ever!
One of the major downsides to cruising or even short tips away on a sailing boat is that the wind doesn’t always cooperate and blow in the right direction or in some cases there is no wind at all. This can be very frustrating if you have time constraints such as having to go back to work etc! But even in the case of long term cruising, this can be limiting because it is not uncommon to be held up somewhere for days and even weeks waiting for wind to change or weather conditions to improve. The Spirited ‘CrossOver’ bridges the gap between sail and power. Now ‘motor-sailors’ are nothing new but optimizing the performance in both areas is where the challenge lies. Because this design is based on the highly successful Spirited 380 which has now become known for its outstanding sailing performance, the sailing performance of the ‘CrossOver’ is assured even though there has been design modification made to the aft part of the hulls, and the rig size has been reduced. Importance has been placed on ease of handling, this led to the rig and sail area reduction. There is also no sense in having a large performance rig which creates a lot of windage when motoring. A compromise must be struck when marrying two worlds together with a design concept such as this.
Handling and Equipment
With a focus on ease of handling and cruising, this flows onto equipment choices. It would be recommended to use a boom furling system for the mainsail and perhaps electric sheet winches if required. The idea is to achieve relatively good boat speed on passages whether under sail or motor but with ‘cruising’ ease. So the equipment choices need to reflect this. For further simplicity mini-keels are standard over daggerboards. With the two stage cabin design the area over the cockpit is fully protected and the mainsheet system is fitted to this. This keeps the cockpit free of unnecessary equipment. Therefore all lines run to the helm station which is set centrally and has excellent visibility and protection. The space between the two cabin structures can be screened to create a dry area for the helms person. The helm seat can be large enough for two people comfortably with this being a popular cruising feature. The galley and large entrance door remain and do not limit the original ‘airy’ design. The entire cockpit can be screened off to keep it dry and usable at all times. There is no traditional equipment hindering the fitting of the weather screens.
Power and Performance
The recommended 75hp inboard engines are designed as a shaft-driven installation but a saildrive version could also be used. The saildrive installation would be positioned further aft and save space internally. The engines are fitted in the aft cabins with the starboard engine below the aft double bunk and the Port engine in its own dedicated engine bay. The aft cabins are designed with a ‘soft patch’ engine removal hatch for if or when the engines may need to be removed.
The expected performance with the above engines under power will be a cruise speed of approximately 12 to 15 knots and a top speed of around 18. Motion at sea is always excellent under power for a ‘semi-displacement’ power design, the slim hulls slice through the water and the efficient hull shape rides level. Under sail, the performance should be very respectable if compared with other ‘cruising’ cats if not quicker.
The deck space on this design is clutter-free and easy to move around on. The walk-through transoms lead into the cockpit or onto the side. The first thing that is noticeable is the longer bottom step. This is due to the hull modification which provides an excellent area for swimming, diving or unloading the tender. Below the steps on each side is a large deck locker ideal for things like dive gear or as is always difficult on a cruising boat, somewhere to store the rubbish. Moving forward all deck surfaces are flat and open even when stepping onto the trampolines, everything is on the same level.
To gain access to the mast and also the top of the lower cabin, there is a safe flat area surrounding mast. From here you can access the cabin top for any sail handling if required. The second stage of the cabin top covering the cockpit is designed to be strong enough to walk on and will facilitate the mounting of high load equipment. There is also plenty of cabin top space for mounting solar panels.
Internally the volume is the same as the Spirited 380, as is the basic layout design except for a couple of areas. The saloon still has the generous seating design set forward and slightly to Port. On the aft bulkhead in an L shape on the Starboard side is the galley. There are quite a few layout variations for this area if this does not suit. Visibility forward features not only large windows on the cabin front slope but a line of vertical windows below these. These vertical windows also provide visibility from the forward cabins when in the bunk.
Moving down into the Starboard hull there is a self-contained double cabin aft and a forward cabin with a queen sized berth. Off this cabin is an ensuite which can also have the option of a shower inclusive. When accessing the Port hull the main head is directly aft with the steps angled forward. The midship area in this hull is designed as the navigation/switch panel area but could also be used as an office. The forward cabin is a mirror image of the Starboard hull except off this cabin is walk-in-robe.
While we need to accept that moderation is inevitable in this type of compromise I believe that the trade-off hasn’t been too severe on either side. Another critical factor in the mix is weight of the structure which in turn has a major effect on the overall performance of any boat. The light weight kit materials and all-epoxy frame guarantee a strong yet light boat on the water with more allowance for cruising payload and better performance.
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