The following article first appeared in Yachting World in 1977 IPC Transport Press Ltd 1977, and is reproduced with the permission of IPC. 

Apologies for the picture quality, the orginal document did not scan very well.

THE last few years have seen the start of a refreshing change in marketing attitudes among those in the boatbuilding industry. At one time large numbers of docile family cruising yachts were being sold with the, sometimes tacit, promise that they could be raced successfully. The fact that such a yacht might actually win races was often more of a tribute to the owner's skill and, in some cases, local


The stern pulpit is made in two sections for easy access to the transom outboard bracket.
With an outboard costing one fifth of an inboard installation, its easy to see why a large proportion of owners have opted for the former

 by John Driscoll

handicapper's expertise than it was to the boat's design.
  Reaction against racing under IOR, which is at present more noticeable in Scandinavia and, particularly, the United States than in this country, has engendered an interesting side effect. Of course there are exceptions, but boatbuilders are tending to play down the racing potential of their boats in favour of fast cruising.

  One such example is the Trapper 300, the latest addition to the range of boats built by Trapper Yachts of Poole. Nowhere in the brochure or advertising material will you find the fact that the boat is developed from Fred Jr, the Bruce Kirby-designed quarter tonner which showed such promise at Deauville in 1975. Nowhere will you find a mention of "quarter ton" or even "rating".

(Above): Although not intended primarily as a racing yacht, the Trapper 300 has already had some success on the South Coast, the Clyde, and abroad, rating at or near quarter ton level

 

 

  The Trapper 300 will win races, but perhaps that should be regarded as a bonus to her role as a fast little cruising yacht. Of course, her deep fin keel configuration will not endear the 300 to shoal water yachtsmen, but for those with access to deep water moorings she is already proving popular as a five-berth cruiser.
  The hull shape is conventional by modern standards, with a fine bow blending into full-bellied deep mid-


Shy reaching a spinnaker at the limit for the tri-radial spinnaker; under these conditions effective rudder control is vital.

 
 


ships sections and maximum beam at about 60 per cent length aft. The lines run aft to the counter with a minimum of distortion. A lead/antimony keel of 865kg (19001b) is bolted to the hull and the large, deep rudder is partially balanced to reduce weight on the helm.
  Each hull is constructed of chopped strand mat and woven rovings with additional thickness in way of keel loads and ply longitudinals bonded in for extra stiffness forward. An inner g.r.p. moulding forms the basis of the accommodation and this is bonded to the hull to form a matrix for added strength and stiffness.
  The deck, consisting of inner and outer mouldings sandwiching a balsa core, is fitted out with hatches, windows and deckgear before it is dropped into place on the completed hull and interior, and the hull/deck joint is strengthened by the alloy toerail.
  The accommodation layout is slightly unusual for a boat of this size, but it has been planned to be workable at sea. The forecabin has twin vee-berths with an insert for conversion to a double, with a hanging locker to port and Lavac marine loo to starboard. The saloon is centred around a dininq area, which seats six with comfort although neither of the settees are long enough to be used as berths, except for children. Instead, there are pilot berths above and outboard of the settees, and the seat backs hinge up to provide the width necessary. In order to get the full 1.9m (6ft 2in) berth length, the feet of these pilot berths disappear into wells in the main bulkhead. A quarter berth
to port provides the fifth berth, while opposite this is the simple galley. The idea of this layout is to keep the sleeping accommodation separate from the saloon seating, but with the seat backs raised to give the full width for the pilot berths, it is difficult to sit comfortably on the settees.
  The teak dining table revolves on its pedestal so that it can be used as a chart table without obstructina the passage through to the forward cabin. All the settee cushions are fabric-covered on a pre-formed foam base, with battens underneath fitting into the berth locker openings, obviating the need for separate locker lids.
  With lockers under each of the berths, the hanging locker, space under the cockpit (if an inboard engine is not fitted) and a larqe cockpit locker, the Trapper 300 is not short of stowage space, while a deep self-draining anchor well on the foredeck will take care of the CQR anchor, chain, warps and fenders which are all supplied as standard.
  By opting for a headroom below decks of 1.8m (5ft llin) and a low coachroof, the boat achieves an attractive profile, but the coachroof is wisely kept comparatively narrow,

 

The settee backs fold up to form wide pilot berths on each side of the saloon, but the settees themselves are not intended as berths

 


 


giving good wide sidedecks which allow easy movement forward. Cap and single lower shrouds lead to chain plates on each side of the coachroof 
in line with the mast; in addition to giving a narrow sheeting base for the 
headsails, this leaves the sidedecks uncluttered apart from genoa tracks. 
  As may be seen from the photographs, the boat which we sailed was equipped with extra deckgear for racing, but on all boats the headsail halyard tails are led back to winches at the after end of the coachroof. The advantages of this 
arrangement should be apparent, both when cruising and racing, and it is hard to see why some boatbuilders persist in fitting other systems to small yachts. Stoppers or clam cleats fitted forward of the winches would be 
preferable to the conventional cleats supplied as standard, however, as their use would leave the winches free for other applications. In this way, the two halyard winches and two sheet winches supplied would be enough for most owners.

  Designers are sometimes tempted to widen the cockpit sole at the expense of seat or sidedeck width but in these cases it often becomes impossible to brace one's feet against the opposite side when the boat is heeled. This temptation has been resisted in the design of the Trapper and the result is a success, although the varnished cockpit locker lid would benefit from a


Slab reefing mainsail and reefing genoas make the 300 easy to handle when the wind increases

Working space in this galley is limited, but stowage spacxe is adequate. This particular cooker arrangement is non standard - a two-burner Gaz stove with integral cylinder is normally fitted.

The cabin table revolves and folds out to form a large chart table, but there is no special provision for chart or book stowage.

couple of strips of non-skid material. The background to the Trapper
300 has already been mentioned and its performance under sail is everything one might expect from a designer of Bruce Kirby's experience. One of the dubious advantages of the English weather is that it is possible to experience a wide range of conditions within a short period and thus we were able to sail the 300 in conditions from near calm to snow showers and 25 knot winds, all in the course of a single day.
In common with most yachts of modern hull form, best performance upwind is obtained by changing headsails early, before the boat becomes over-powered. The Trapper's large rudder, while giving good control at all times, tends to make the helm feel rather heavy unless the sail plan is properly balanced.
  Offwind the Trapper behaves predictably, with the rudder providing

A self-draining anchor well and recessed mooring cleat keep the foredeck clear, but the stemhead fitting leaves a lot to be desired

enough control to cope with the occasional mistake when shy reaching under spinnaker. When pressed, the boat buries her lee rail but seems reluctant to go any further. The point at which the spinnaker is handed obviously depends on the crew's capabilities, but on two-sail reaches the toerail provides a large number of possible genoa sheeting positions.
As standard the 300 is supplied with a mainsail and working jib, but a more useful wardrobe would include medium No 1 and reefing No 2 genoas, together with a tn-radial spinnaker.
Although an inboard engine is not included in the standard specification, the popular Yanmar YSE 8 diesel can be fitted if required, with access via a teak-fronted panel under the companionway. Alternatively, an outboard of up to about 8hp would be suitable, and this could be kept either under the cockpit in the space where the inboard would be fitted or in the large cockpit locker.
The boat which we sailed was fitted with a Yamaha 6hp outboard and it was a comparatively simple matter to ship the engine under way. To facilitate this, the stern pulpit is made in two sections with a quick-release catch on the connecting guard rail.
More than 40 boats have been built since the 300 was first introduced at the Southampton Boat Show last year and already it appears that this yacht will follow the success of its larger sister the 500, which is still being produced at the rate of seven per month. 

Last Updated 21 Jul 2009