First published in SAIL Magazine, 1988
Just Launched – Classic 59
by Tom Dove
If the name “L. Francis Herreshoff” alerts your senses and you are looking for a large yacht that has all the safety and comfort features needed for extended open-water or coastal cruising, look at the Classic 59.
The new boat is derived from the “Bounty” design, with her beautiful, flowing hull, clipper bow, classic Herreshoff stern and raked ketch rig. James and Richard Proctor used a computer to alter the forward underwater lines slightly to accomodate a new shoal-draft keel but the contours are unchanged above the waterline .
The deck layout is new. The original doghouse is gone and the cockpit is much longer, wider, and in the modern T-shape. The original worm-drive steering is replaced by an Edson pedestal with a beautiful wooden wheel and traditional compass. It is all nicely executed and looks proper.
The Proctors have been careful to equip her with fittings readily serviceable in the U.S. including Barient winches, Bomar hatches and Isomat spars.
The Classic 59 is built to the highest standards – American Bureau of Shipping class A1. Not only are the drawings ABS approved, but the entire construction process was ABS supervised. She has the ABS-required collision bulkheads, plumbing and wiring standards and hull layup schedule. There are seven bilge pumps and many redundant systems. This is a strong yacht, intended for worldwide cruising.
Belowdecks, L. Francis would be startled by the luxurious heads, efficient galley, big saloon, reverse-cycle heat and air conditioning, several water heaters and attractive staterooms. There are decklights and Dorades for light and air and even stained glass in the traditional skylight. This is not a cedar bucket and beef jerky cruiser.
A break in the Chesapeake midwinter weather gave us 55 degrees and a 12-15 knot southerly for our sailing test. Under main, mizzen and genoa she moved easily through the two-foot chop. The long, narrow hull left an exceptionally clean wake, indicating low drag and an efficient design. It would take more wind to drive her to her ten-knot hull speed.
This vessel likes to sail upright – a comfort for long distance cruisers. Even with the shallow keel she is stiff but has an easy motion and should make good time on long passages. She goes to windward quite adequately for a cruising boat.
Any yacht this size is at the limit for shorthanded sailing, but an experienced couple could handle her with the appropriate rigging modifications, such as a roller-furling main and mizzen and, perhaps, powered winches. The twin Yanmar diesels with MaxProps make her easy to maneuver around docks.
The Classic 59 is a five-year labor of love by two dedicated men and the Proctor brothers are willing to work closely with their clients to provide them with what they want.
If you want (and can afford) a strong, modern rendition of a truly classic yacht the Classic 59 is worth your consideration. Base price with lots of standard equipment is $750,000.
This low-resolution scan is the only digital version I have of the Classic 59. I found the original Kodachrome slides of this and a number of other boats recently and plan to have a scanning party this winter…