Thunderbird 26

Last updated
Thunderbird 26
Development
DesignerBen Seaborn
Year1958
Boat
Draft 1.46 m (4 ft 9 in)
Hull
Type Monohull
Hull weight1,656 kg (3,651 lb)
LOA 7.89 m (25.9 ft)
LWL 6.17 m (20.2 ft)
Beam 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)
Hull appendages
Keel/board typeFixed - 694 kg (1,530 lb)
Rig
Mast length11.54 m (37.9 ft)
Sails
Total sail area28.61 m2 (308.0 sq ft)

The Thunderbird class sailboat was designed in 1958 by Seattle Washington naval architect Ben Seaborn, [1] in response to a request from the Douglas Fir Plywood Association (now APA - The Engineered Wood Association) of Tacoma, Washington for design proposals for a sailboat that would "... be both a racing and cruising boat; provide sleeping accommodations for four crew; be capable of being built by reasonably skilled amateurs; provide auxiliary power by an outboard motor that could be easily removed and stowed; and out-perform other sailboats in its class."[ citation needed ]

Contents

Design and construction

T-Birds can be built of marine plywood, usually fiberglass-covered for minimum maintenance, or with a fiberglass hull and deck. The International Thunderbird Class Association (ITCA) maintains specifications of what dimensions and specifications fit the definition of the Thunderbird class. [2] Many plywood T-Birds have been built by amateur builders, while fiberglass T-Birds usually are built by professional boatbuilders, although plans also are available for "one-off" construction of fiberglass T-Birds by amateur builders. [3]

In North America, professional builders of fiberglass T-Birds are located in Canada (Victoria, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario). In Australia, where T-Birds also are popular, fiberglass T-Birds are built using hull and deck molds owned by the Australian Thunderbird Class Association. Fiberglass boat parts—such as a complete deck, cabin and cockpit; hatches for the main cabin and forward and aft decks, and a lightweight, foam-filled fiberglass spade rudder—are available from fiberglass boat builders, to modernize or restore older T-Birds.[ citation needed ]

The 38.32-foot (11.68 m) mast, 13.50-foot (4.11 m) boom and 8-foot (2.44 m) spinnaker pole can be built of wood, but most boatbuilders and owners now choose ready-made aluminum spars from a source that meets ITCA specifications, for low maintenance and high performance. Dacron sailcloth is used for the mainsail, genoa and working jib, and nylon for the spinnaker. An alternate dacron/mylar film sailcloth laminate also is approved for the genoa. Only one size of mainsail, genoa, working jib and spinnaker are authorized by ITCA for racing. In keeping with ITCA policy of maintaining the affordability of the T-Bird, only one set of new sails is permitted in a two-year period.

Used T-Birds of plywood or fiberglass construction are often available for sale in many regions where T-Bird fleets have been organized (see below). These boats offer an economical choice for the sailor interested in becoming a T-Bird owner. Prices can range from under $2,000 for older wood boats that may need restoration or repair in various degrees, up to about $20,000 for a completely equipped newer fiberglass boat in championship form. Average prices for boats in good cruising or racing condition in the U.S. and Canada are typically in the range of $5,000 to $13,000, depending on local market conditions. Compared to other sailboats in this size range, such boats can be considered bargains in terms of racing and cruising performance, and cost.[ citation needed ]

Plan and specifications

Schematic

Mainsail Dimensions:

P 31.0 ft
E 13.0 ft
I 26.75 ft
J 8.0 ft

Performance

The Thunderbird's exceptional performance can be attributed to a lightweight, 3,650 lb (1,656 kg) hull and rig with V-bottom hull and hard chines. Outstanding stability is provided by a 1,530 lb (694 kg) cast iron keel of advanced design with a 4.79-foot (1.46 m) draft. The sail area is 363 square feet (33.72 square meters) in the mainsail and genoa, and racing boats are equipped with a spinnaker. The Thunderbird (or T-Bird, as it is commonly known) has proven to be fast in both light winds and heavy, often out-performing contemporary displacement-type sailboats of similar or even larger size in local handicap races. By way of comparison, where the PHRF handicap for the Thunderbird is 201-204 (seconds per mile), the J/24 rates 185, the San Juan 24 228-237, the Ericson 26 234, the MacGregor 26 259, the Catalina 27 204.[ citation needed ]

Adaptability

Its 7.54 foot (2.30 m) beam makes it possible to haul the boat by trailer, without special permits, for launching, winter storage and for traveling to long-distance racing or cruising destinations.

Pacific Thunderbird variant

In the early 1960s there was a variant made called the "Pacific Thunderbird" designed by Naval Architect Ben Seaborn, the original designer of the Thunderbird class. The sail logo was the Thunderbird logo inside a large letter P. It was a scaled-up version to a LOA of 32 feet (9.8 m). It was made in Japan of fiberglass covered plywood. It had a fixed keel with a depth of about 6 feet (1.8 m), a beam of about 9.5 feet (2.9 m), a self-bailing cockpit, and an inboard engine. The mast height and sail area were also reduced somewhat, so the boat was more stable. Below it had headroom of about 6 feet (1.8 m), a spacious enclosed head, a fixed table with folding leaves, a full galley (sink, icebox, counter, and stove), and berths for 5 (with the fifth berth running under the port side cockpit seat). This design was still a fairly fast boat, yet more seaworthy and very comfortable for coastal cruising. There were, however, very few of them sold. [4]

For images of this design, see this site. (Note that this boat was modified to have a bowsprit; the class design does not have this.)

Related Research Articles

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Melges 24

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Hobie Cat

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Tasar Light two person sailing dinghy

The Tasar is a 14.83-foot (4.52 m) fiberglass 2 person sailing dinghy with a mainsail and jib. Designed by Frank Bethwaite of Sydney in 1975, the boat was technologically advanced for its time and continues to evolved. Aimed at a husband-and-wife or parent-and-child crew hence no spinnaker, it is designed for a combined crew weight of around 140 kg. The hull weighs 68 kg, and is of sandwich foam construction. The hull has a fine angle at the bow to reduce wave impact drag with unusually clean and sharp chines aft to ensure very free planing and outstanding stability. The foam cored hull is stiff and light and the advanced hull shape, together with an innovative rig which combines a rotating mast with a fully battened main sail, allows the Tasar to plane upwind with the crew normally hiked. The wide beam and a cockpit designed for comfortable hiking make the Tasar easy, fun and very exciting to sail in winds up to 25 knots (46 km/h).

Mutineer 15

The Mutineer 15 is a 15-foot (4.6 m) long fractional sloop sailboat currently manufactured by Nickels Boat Works. It has a dinghy centerboard hull, no ballast, and displaces 410 pounds. The Mutineer 15 has a 6-foot (1.8 m) beam, maximum draw of 4.08 feet (1.24 m), and has 150 square feet (14 m2) of sail area. The Mutineer 15 is commonly used for both day sailing and class racing. The Mutineer 15 can be comfortably sailed as a day sailer with a crew of four, but can also be raced with a crew of two, or even single-handed by semi-experienced to experienced sailors.

Day Sailer

The Day Sailer is a day sailer for pleasure sailing as well as racing; it is sailed throughout North America and Brazil. Designed by Uffa Fox and George O'Day in 1958, the Day Sailer possesses a 6-foot beam, an overall length of 17 feet, a fiberglass hull and a cuddy cabin. It is able to sleep two. The sloop rig includes mainsail, jib and a spinnaker on an aluminum mast and boom.

Sailing yacht Private sailing vessel with overnight accommodations

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Front Runner

The Front Runner is a small day sailing dinghy. It is a high-performance, responsive, and comfortable one-design class sailboat. It is stable and user-friendly, having an immense cockpit with all control lines leading aft. While designed for racing, it also functions as a small cruising day sailer because of the storage space under the deck in the bow.

Ultimate 20

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sailing:

Bluejacket 23

The Bluejacket 23 is a 23-foot (7.0 m) Canadian fibreglass monohull sailboat designed by Cuthbertson & Cassian as a day sailer and club racer and first built in 1967.

Laser 28

The Laser 28 is a Canadian-built sailboat designed by New Zealander Bruce Farr and first produced in 1984.

The Geary 18 is an American sailboat that was designed by Ted Geary as a one-design racer and first built in 1926.

The Hunter 41 is an American sailboat that was designed by Glenn Henderson as a cruiser and first built in 2004.

The Allmand 31 is an American sailboat that was designed by Walter Scott as a cruiser and first built in 1978.

The Baltic 40 is a Finnish sailboat that was designed by Judel/Vrolijk & Co. as an International Offshore Rule racer-cruiser and first built in 1988.

The Dickerson 41 is an American sailboat that was designed by Ernest Tucker as a cruiser and first built in 1973.

The Designers Choice is an American sailing dinghy that was designed by Sparkman & Stephens as a sail training and racing boat and first built in 1978. It was Sparkman & Stephens' design #2349.

Hampton One-Design Sailboat class

The Hampton One-Design is an American sailing dinghy that was designed by Vincent Serio as a one-design racer and first built in 1934.

The Raven is an American trailerable, planing sailboat that was designed by Roger McAleer and first built in 1949.

References

  1. http://www.sailboatdata.com/view_designer.asp?DESIGNER_ID=48
  2. http://www.thunderbirdsailing.org/black_book-toc.html
  3. "Plans". 19 June 2015.
  4. Personal recollection of Robert G. Benson, whose family bought an early production model and sailed it for a number of years off the Southern California coast.