Just Launched – Taswell 49

Published in SAIL Magazine, 1988

Just Launched – Taswell 49

by Tom Dove

Any list of the world’s top quality yacht builders would have to include Ta Shing, and their new Taswell 49 illustrates the reason. This center cockpit long range cruising cutter combines a moderate hull form with intelligent detailing and an interior that looks like sculpture in teak.

Bill Dixon of Angus Primrose, Ltd. gave the Taswell moderate displacement, a fairly long fin keel and a semi-balanced skeg rudder for good directional stability combined with maneuverability. Dixon says he wanted “a bit of performance both on and off the wind and to do this with exceptional interior accomodation.” He got it.

Hull construction is of the highest quality and certification to ABS standards is available. The boat’s specification sheet includes the complete lamination schedule and a minutely detailˆed description of its hardware. It is refreshing to have all the calculated values ( D/L ratio, prismatic coefficient, etc) provided by the builder.

We sailed the 49 in a dying 5-8 knot breeze off Annapolis, hardly the ideal conditions for a big, stiff vessel designed as an ocean crosser, but under main and 130% genoa, she moved easily and tacked in less than 90 degrees with no tendency to go into irons. The helm was responsive and nicely balanced, even as we ghosted back to the harbor in a near-calm. Judging from photos taken on San Francisco Bay, the boat should carry full sail in 15-20 knots without burying the rail and the staysail-mainsail combination will take over at higher wind velocities.

The 49 is responsive under power and the Yanmar 77 diesel is well-silenced. The engine compartment is not walk-in size, but access through hatches and panels is good.

The deck layout is convenient for single- or double-handed sailing, with big grabrails where they are needed and winches and mainsheet at the aft end of the cockpit near the wheel. Halyards are cleated on the mast, as many of us who cruise shorthanded prefer. It will be easy to fit a dodger that permits easy passage forward.

Detailing of the Taswell 49 is outstanding, and it is most noticeable in the cabins. The flowing curves of the teak joinery will abuse nobody under way and little things like night lighting and the stowage layout are well planned. Counters have high fiddles to restrain things in rough conditions. The interior is bright and opeûning ports and ventilators are everywhere.

The U-shaped galley will be easy to use underway and both dry and cold food storage areas are excellent. The designers of this interior had some extensive cruising experience.

Two layouts are available: one has two double cabins forward while the other puts the head in the forepeak with a single large guest stateroom abaft it. Both versions have a large aft cabin for the owner. On either, the galley may be U-shaped or straight-line.

The boat we tested, with generator, air conditioning, 5’10” keel (3 keels are available), teak decks and a substantial list of other options is priced at $359,000.