I could have lingered below for the duration, but the topside action beckoned. I emerged from my explorations below to find frenetic activity on deck. Under the command of Bequia’s skipper, Bill Trusdale, the crew systematically hoisted and lowered the entire sail inventory — the yankee, staysail, storm staysail, main, mizzen and mizzen staysail — and each time the guys added or subtracted a sail from the plan, the helmsman had to head up, bear off or hold steady while the experts from North Sails eyeballed the shape. The crew also wanted to evaluate which combination of sails produced the most speed on a given point of sail and wind speed. Below a beam reach, for instance, Bequia gained a knot of speed when the tack of the mizzen staysail was set on the windward pad eye.
Hoisting, lowering, furling, unfurling and trimming the sails — though it seemed hopelessly frantic — require only the push of buttons to summon hydraulic assistance. A row of these buttons on the forward side of the custom steering pedestal furls and unfurls the sails and adjusts the vang, traveler and backstay. Southern Spars made the mainmast and boom from carbon fiber, the mizzenmast from carbon and the mizzen boom from aluminum. Main and mizzen sails roll up on in-boom furlers.
The owners requested a yawl rig, having spent many pleasant hours sailing their Hinckley Bermuda 40. A split rig of this sort allows the crew to balance the yacht by trimming the sails. A case in point: During the passage to Bermuda this past autumn, a section of the steering linkage came loose (the screws hadn’t been secured with Loctite). Bequia steered herself in about 18 knots of wind for the best part of an hour before anyone noticed that the autopilot wasn’t moving the rudder. The owners also reported that Bequia has a very comfortable motion in a seaway, which is what you’d expect of a yacht of her shape below the waterline.
Bequia, apparently, has pleased her owners and ought to bring joy to the heart of anyone who appreciates classical design, intelligently forwarded to the 21st century.
Displ.: 135,000 lb.
Ballast: 42,500 lb.
Sail Area: 3,424 sq. ft.
Sail Area/Displ.: 20.8
Power: 1 x 330-hp Cummins QSB5.9 diesel
Fuel: 800 gal.
Water: 300 gal., plus 2 watermakers
Brooklin Boat Yard, 207-359-2236; www.brooklinboatyard.com
Stephens, Waring & White Yacht Design, 207-359-2594; www.swwyachtdesign.com
Sublime Symphony: Bequia
Bequia’s designer, builder and owners combine talent, passion and desire into one of the most distinguished sailboats christened in North America in decades.