Tuesday, August 09, 2005

About Arabella

Arabella off Bembridge, June 2007 (image copyright Sailing Scenes, used with permission)

Arabella is a 21'10" (6.7m) Pandora International pocket cruiser/racer, designed by E.G. Van de Stadt and built in the United Kingdom by Rydgeway Marine Ltd of Lowestoft in 1974, with sail number K535.

Her dimensions are as follows:

LOA 21' 10" (6.7m)
Beam 6' 11" (2.1m)
LWL 18’9” (5.7m)
Draft 3' 0" (0.9m) (twin keel version)
Displacement 2,450 lbs (1,110kg)
Ballast 980lbs

Under my ownerhip, Arabella has undergone a substantial refit, the story of which is recounted in this blog. She is used almost entirely for cruising, but has taken part in the Round The Island Race with excellent results (30th overall in 2007 and 50th overall in 2009), considering that bilge-keeled Pandoras are generally dismissed as having inferior performance to their fin-keeled sisters.

Arabella is built of GRP, with moulded beams stiffening the solid GRP deck. Further structural support is derived from various partitions bonded to her shell and an extensive inner moulding. Her mast is roof-stepped, but the compression load is dissipated into the hull by means of a further GRP beam which forms an integral part of the roof moulding. Her twin bilge keels are made from cast iron and attached to the hull by keel bolts, which have been encapsulated in GRP on the inside of the hull.

She has a classic Bermudan masthead rig, with a main sail and a roller-reefing headsail permanently bent on during the season. The headsail sheets are led back to winches in the cockpit, while the halyards and topping lift are handled at the mast. The cockpit is quite generously proportioned for up to four people, but everything falls easily to hand for a single-handed helmsman.

Down below, Arabella sleeps four, as long as you are either closely-related or very good friends. The sleeping arrangements comprise a quarterberth running aft under the cockpit lockers, a settee berth and, forward of a half bulkead, a twin v/berth which converts to a double with the use of an infill. Despite her lack of size, she boasts a galley with a gimballed twin-burner stove and a sink with a fresh water hand-pump, as well as a sea toilet, the latter being located under the V-berth forward. She's ideal for a couple, with or without children, or with the occasional grown-up guest crew willing to use the V-berth.

I previously owned and refitted (well, to be honest, paid for the refit of) a larger and more costly Varne 850, Vega. I sold up soon after I met my girlfriend, now my wife, in Italy and found that the necessity to commute between London and Turin at weekends meant that she was getting very little use. The boat, that is, not my wife.

Arabella represented a return to yacht ownership after a gap of five years during which I got married, bought my first home with my wife, and started a family. Limited time and funds dictated a smaller and cheaper boat than before, and in particular one that could be used at a moment's notice and by me alone, if required. But I'm one of those annoying people who wants his boat to be just so. Before the sailing could start, therefore, the refit loomed...