No Compromise 54

by Greg Jones

Blue Water Sailing
February 2005


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Ted Hood’s No Compromise 54
Motorsailing with design

Most cruisers spend a lot of time motorsailing. This is the dark secret of cruisers; with the larger engines now being put in cruising boats, cruisers often fire up the cast iron gennie whenever their speed falls below, say, four knots. This allows them to plan their voyages with greater accuracy as regards arrival times and passage durations.

This evolution of use has resulted in more motor-sailers being designed that are good sailboats to begin with (as opposed to being motorboats with a small rig), and the latest design from Ted Hood’s Portsmouth Marine, the No Compromise 54, is exactly this sort of boat.

The No Compromise is a center-cockpit, masthead sloop–rigged motorsailer with a generous sailplan and an attractive sheer that starts to rise at about station five. The flush deck is arched with a nearly straight run from the forward edge of the cockpit to the bow.

To be built at the Tekad Marine yard in Istanbul, Turkey, jointly owned by Ted Hood with three Turkish partners, the boat is a logical step in the progression of modern cruising boats that will depend more often on the use of the engine for fast, dependable passages offshore. Measuring 53 feet, nine inches overall with a waterline of 48 feet, four inches, the design has a length/beam ratio (measured at the waterline) of 3.47, and a calculated prismatic coefficient of .60, reflecting its fine entry and relatively slender proportions. It is this that gives the boat an easily driven hull, a desirable factor for any boat but especially one that will use its engine much of the time. The hull speed for this boat calculates out to 10.4 knots; with a cruising speed of 10 knots under power alone, the boat’s 375-horsepower John Deere diesel (running at 1,100 rpm) will burn 2.5 gallons per hour, giving an under-power range of over 2,000 miles. If the genset (a Northern Lights 843NK) operates all of the time (burning one gallon per hour), the range is decreased to just over 1,500 miles.
Going up to 11 knots (and 1,500 rpm) the fuel use doubles, to five gallons per hour. If you are really in a hurry and want to cruise at 12 knots under power, look for a fuel burn rate of nearly 13 gallons per hour at 2,100 rpm. These numbers are from Ted Hood’s Portsmouth Marine, determined from tank testing under motoring conditions.

A clever option is the Volvo 310-horsepower engine with a duo-prop outdrive. The drive unit is inside a trunk (think of it as akin to a centerboard trunk), and when under sail the drive can be raised into the trunk. With the top of the trunk above the waterline and a waterproof hatch allowing access, the skipper will be able to clean or repair the prop from inside the boat. Owners with this engine will be able to give a command not heard since the earliest days of auxiliary sailboats: “Raise propeller, set sails.”

But this is a no compromise boat, and Hood has certainly made his new 54 a sailboat. It carries 1,735 square feet of sail, divided between a 745-square-foot main and a 990-square-foot foresail. That produces a sail area/displacement ratio of 20.32, a number that promises sparkling light-air performance. The displacement, 50,500 pounds, includes 15,500 pounds of internal lead ballast, poured into a fiberglass shell, for a 30.75 percent ballast ratio. We look for this to be a boat that will turn in 150-mile days with ease and regularity, with 200-mile-plus days available simply by judicious use of the engine.

The Scheel keel gives the advantage of reduced
draft, six feet, four inches, with the lateral resistance of a larger, deeper keel. The hull is nearly circular in cross section, with a moderate deadrise and very little rocker. Volume is nicely carried forward and aft, which promises a gentle motion in a seaway.

While the boat is intended to be built as a series of one-offs, with both deck and interior layouts available for owner customization, we looked at two possible arrangements. Both versions have an enclosed center cockpit with a steering station and a second wheel aft in the open portion of the cockpit. The version with a flat aft section has steps leading to a swim platform, and the version with a small aft cockpit has access to the aft master cabin and swim platform.

We really liked the aft cockpit. You can step out of the cabin onto what amounts to your back porch and sit there in solitary luxury while the crew, or whomever, takes care of the gritty details amidships. Underway the small dodger keeps off any spray with the temerity to persist to the stern of the boat, and at anchor you are a step way from that morning swim.

Within the limits of the structural bulkheads, the design of the interior is open. We looked at a proposal that showed a large galley to starboard. The stove was along the hull and the double sink was situated nearly on the centerline. The reefer, with a front-opening door, provides a generous surface area for meal preparation.

The engine room occupies the center of the hull, with a walk-through to the aft cabin on the port side. Flanking the passageway is the nav station and the freezer. The aft cabin consisted of either a large double on the centerline or a double to starboard with a single opposite. Heads with a separate shower are fore and aft.
Forward of the saloon, featuring two tables and L-shaped settees on either side, are two Pullman-style berths to port and a V-berth. The Pullman berths are in their own cabin and share the forward head with the V-berth.

Storage lockers and hanging lockers are everywhere, as befits a boat of this size and intended purpose. You will be able to put significant stores on board without unduly settling the boat on her marks. The pounds per inch immersion, a useful statistic for the cruiser, calculates to 2,550. The displacement is figured for the boat fully rigged with half-full tanks, so filling the tanks, 600 gallons for water and 300 gallons of diesel, will settle the boat slightly more than one inch.

The entire boat is on a 24-volt system, with the only 12-volt wiring going to systems unavailable in 24-volt. The reduced wiring size and greater efficiency allowed by the higher voltage lead us to hope that eventually all sailboats and all systems will be wired for 24-volt DC current.

The No Compromise 54 is a boat that any sailor would be pleased and proud to sail. Or motor. It will sail with some of the best of the cruisers and motorsail with a style and élan not ordinarily seen in that breed. It is big enough to take you and your family anywhere, whether there is wind or not, and when you head ashore to investigate that palm-lined atoll, you won’t be able to resist taking one last look back at her graceful lines.

For sailors who are beginning to think of goingover to the dark side and buying a trawler, the No Compromise 54 will save them. It will power at 10 knots with considerable economy and has the capability of cruising at 12 knots if you need the speed. It is graceful, solid, seaworthy in every sense of the word and vastly more of an offshore boat than only the very best, and biggest, of the trawlers currently on the market. And when the wind is right, it promises to be an uncompromisingly good sailer. Without compromises. Just like the name.

LOA 53’ 9”
LWL 48’ 4”
Beam (at sheer) 16’ 6”
Beam (at LWL) 13’ 8”
Draft 6’ 4”
Displacement 50,500 lbs.
Ballast 15,500 lbs.
Mainsail 745 sq. ft.
Foresail 990 sq. ft.
SA/Displ. 20.3
Displ./L 200
Lbs./inch immersion 2,550
Air draft 79’
Fuel 600 gals.
Water 300 gals.
Engine 375-hp John Deere
Engine option 310-hp Volvo Penta
Estimated base price $1,360,000
Designer Ted Hood

Ted Hood’s Portsmouth Marine
One Little Harbor Landing
Portsmouth, RI 02871
Tel: 401-683-7015
Fax: 401-683-7252

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