Woodwind, the prototype AS29  
Photos (c) Craig O'Donnell, Paul Newton 
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Woodwind was Dan Farmer's boat. After several years on the Chesapeake and a voyage to Florida, the AS29 was trucked back to Maryland for sale.  Paul Newton bought her and sailed her down to Vandemeer, North Carolina.  There is some refitting to be done.  Quoting Paul:

"The AS-29, like all boats, is a compromise.  but I think one would be hard-pressed to find a better boat if they were looking for a comfortable shallow-draft, true cruising boat, that sails quite well."


The rocker of the AS29 looks very pronounced, in fact rather pot-bellied.  This is why the boats look less attractive on plans than actually in the water!  The curve of the bottom matches the curve of the hull sides and reduces cross-turbulence - not only do the boats handle immaculately, they're also fast.



The deck of Woodwind is set up for cruising with lifelines, toerails, a Shoebox dinghy and various strongpoints. Others of us have headed for jackstays and harnesses rather than lifelines. Whichever, the purpose is not to fall off this boat. The high freeboard does not make for easy climbing back on other than at the bow and stern transoms, but not even them in any sort of sea. On the other hand, it's a nice feeling to gaze down into the cockpits of lesser boats, though we haven't yet indulged our fantasy of spitting cherry pips (or olive pips from our martinis) at them

The big gaff mainsail is daunting to begin with. The boom is not something to be hit by...

The mizzen is a docile sail, providing for low speed sailing and useful too when motorsailing. We've found that we can go reasonably to windward under mizzen alone in Lady Kate.

Woodwind at speed under all plain sail. The AS29 is fast, though the high cockpit reduces the impression of speed. Lady Kate has had one boat-for-boat fight already, with the arch-rival Norwalk Islands Sharpie 29-er who shares the same wharf.  In a 20-25 knot gusty broad reach, with both boats under a single reef in the main, the NIS 29 caught and passed the AS29 with a speed advantage of about half a knot BUT - Lady Kate hasn't had her bottom cleaned up for over a year and was trailing a beard of waterweed.  Properly cleaned, there'd be no difference - until, of course, you stagger tired into the cabin, and then there's a world of difference...

...as you sink gratefully into the queen-size bed...

The bow transom worries people.  We find it's extremely convenient, especially when ramming wharves.

(When Paul returns to his personal scanner, we'll try for colour shots for the rest)


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