Shannon Pilot 43 Mk ll
by Quentin Warren
Blue Water Sailing
Wheelhouse comfort and aft-cockpit sailing smarts
Walt Schulz’s Shannons have carried any number of far-reaching transoceanic sailors to successful landfalls over the years, and it is easy to see why. The boats are dependable, well-built, and uniquely adapted to long-distance voyaging. In the February 2002 issue of BWS we took a look at the most recent incarnation of the Shannon 43, an indoor-outdoor wheelhouse version of that hull, one that does everything possible to avoid being pegged a motorsailer and basically succeeds by virtue of a sensitive profile and well-developed hull sections retained from the original 1987 aft-cockpit 43.
Crucial to Schulz and central to the promulgation of his boats is the client base he’s brought along. We wrote in February, “Shannon has carved for itself a well-deserved niche in the offshore sailing realm by producing sensible boats and courting a particularly conversant, well-informed cadre of owners keen on putting a lot of blue-water miles behind them.” Certainly Schulz’s appreciation of those who have taken his boats far and wide provides a measure of inspiration for his desire to offer these sailors new configurations of past successful models if not new models altogether.
Take the case of Terry and Christie Rolon, contented owners of a Shannon 39 who, having enjoyed a satisfying experience with that boat, found themselves looking for something a little different, perhaps bigger, definitely refined. “Their decision to pursue serious voyaging created the need for a larger vessel, and a desire to make the liveaboard experience as comfortable and fulfilling as possible drove the requirement that she include a viable weatherproof wheelhouse and inside steering station.”
They went to Schulz with their objectives and he developed the Pilot 43 with the aim of combining the refined sailing attributes of the original 43 with the wheelhouse concept championed by the Shannon Pilot 38. The wheelhouse was to include a dedicated steering station and nav center, standing headroom, settees port and starboard, total engine access, and serious climate control—key, considering the tropical destinations they had in mind. And that’s exactly what they got.
Many observers played the motor-sailer card, but Schulz himself has been quick to point out that the Shannon Pilot 43 is moreover a true, full-rigged sailing auxiliary. On this point, BWS noted, “The claim is an important one because despite the presence of a substantial wheelhouse component, the sailing essence of the original aft-cockpit 43 is carefully preserved.” And it is. Back in the cockpit at the after helm driving hard on the wind from the leeward rail, the boat behaves just as you’d expect a conventional Shannon 43 to behave.
The sailing imperative is endorsed by the numbers. Displacement/Length at 261 and Sail Area/Displacement at 16.5 are moderate by oceangoing cruising-boat standards, comparable to the Hallberg-Rassy 46, the Fast Passage 39, and the Valiant 40—all proven voyagers in their own right. Furthermore, Schulz’s open-ended attitude with regard to the foretriangle points to a real appreciation for the mores of offshore sailing. The Pilot 43 is offered in a cutter configuration with a conventional staysail stay for those wedded to a traditional sailplan, or in Schulz’s proprietary “Scutter” configuration—two adjacent headstays aligned fore and aft, genoa inboard and yankee outboard—for those inclined to dial up and down through the wind ranges with versatile canvas fully forward at the bow.
At the end of our report, we summed up the boat by saying, “It is our feeling that the Pilot 43 is born of proven stock and represents a successful blend of comfortable offshore amenity in a sailing hull as seaworthy as they get.”
LOA 47’6” (14.5 m.)
LOD 43’10” (13.4 m.)
LWL 36’9” (11.3 m.)
Beam 13’5” (4.1 m.)
Draft (fixed keel) 6’0” (1.8 m.)
Draft (bd up) 4’10” (1.5 m.)
Draft (bd dn) 8’7” (2.6 m.)
Ballast 10,500 lbs. (4,763 kgs.)
Displ. 29,000 lbs. (13,154 kgs.)
SA (100%) 975 sq. ft. (90.6 sq. m.)
Fuel 140 gals. (530 ltr.)
Water 180 gals. (681 ltr.)
Auxiliary 74-hp Westerbeke W-71C
or 75-hp Yanmar 4JH-2E
Designer Walter Schulz & Assoc.
19 Broad Common Road
Bristol, RI 02809
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