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
|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
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
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
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
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
headsails, this leaves the sidedecks uncluttered apart from genoa
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
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
The cabin table revolves and folds out to form a
large chart table, but there is no special provision for chart or book
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
A self-draining anchor well and recessed mooring
cleat keep the foredeck clear, but the stemhead fitting leaves a lot to
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
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.
21 Jul 2009