Elizabethan 29 Return to Classes

The Elizabethan 29 is best envisaged as a long folkboat with overhangs. For those familiar with the Stella, Kim Holman evolved that design to become the Elizabethan 29. She has a long keel with the rudder hung on the after end and angled forwards. The propeller sits in a cut-out about halfway down the rudder. The forefoot is cut away, with quite a fine entry on her spoon bow giving long overhangs fore and aft. With her pronounced sheer, this makes for a particularly distinctive and graceful boat. The deck moulding incorporates an angular cabin, designed to resemble plywood from the outside, and is usually unfinished on the inside except for a coat (or seven) of paint. There is a modest foredeck and after deck, usually sporting a single central cleat each, with adequate side decks. The deck is bonded to the hull and is covered by a teak capping on the short toerail all round. The forehatch is forward of the mast, and designs vary but the earlier models were wood framed with an obscured Perspex insert. The main hatch from the cockpit has a sliding top and (usually) three washboards.

The cockpit is deep enough, not too narrow to brace your legs when heeled if you are over 5’ 8”, and self-draining unless there are more than three adults in the cockpit. The cockpit coaming is plywood with moulded and shaped corners. The winches, originally tufnol bottom-action Lewmars, sit on steel-bracketed plinths part way along. There are up to three carved mahogany cleats for the sheets on each side. The wooden seats, usually four of them, lift to reveal deep lockers. There are usually tanks beneath these, often water but occasionally fuel. There is a large lazarette under the after deck which may contain a small fuel tank, usually 2-3 gallons in capacity.

The basic rig is a masthead sloop with a low aspect ratio main by modern standards. Some 29s were yawl rigged, with a short mizzen mast mounted on the after deck. At least one is cutter rigged. The original rig was a single forestay and backstay, main shrouds via a single crosstree and a pair of lower shrouds. One variation is roller reefing, although the majority of the earlier boats have not succumbed to this. Some boats have twin forestay and backstay, enabling two headsails to be hanked on at a time, although it is not possible to achieve a high luff tension with this arrangement. The mast itself is stepped on a short girder that spans the two internal bulkheads, which are themselves reinforced with steel plates. The shrouds terminate in U-bolts through the beam shelf, or less commonly to external chain plates, the forestay to the bow fitting and the backstay to a chain plate inside the transom.

There was no internal moulding, so bulkheads and furniture were made of wood. The early boats contained a lot of wood, with a glassed in stringers and beam shelf. There is also often a timber deadwood at the after end of the keel, to which the prop-shaft bearing is attached. A length of curved timber is also glassed into the stem. By 1967 Webster’s were using a new mould, and much of this wood may have been dispensed with. Below there are usually four berths in two cabins. The main cabin has a galley to port comprising a sink and a 2-burner cooker, with grill, along with stowage for utensils. The navigation area is under the main hatch to starboard and the engine lives beneath or behind the companionway steps. Original engines were Petters or petrol Fare Gotas, although Vires were fitted. This was because in 1963 the available diesel engines were considered too heavy for racing. Nowadays you are more likely to find a small diesel, such as the Yanmar, of 8-12 hp. Two berths are on either side of the main cabin with stowage beneath and behind. Two small compartments forward of this house the heads to starboard and a hanging locker to port. Two vee berths are in the forward cabin, with more stowage below and an open cave locker in the bows. The Webster built boats have two side widows in the main cabin, one each over the heads and hanging locker and a forward-looking one in the forecabin.

The Elizabethan 29 is designed to go faster by heeling over and dipping her overhangs in the water. This adds an extra four feet to her waterline length, and it is quite possible to exceed nine knots in flat water, if you hang on to the full rig on a reach in a force five. Most people will reef before then, but she goes fastest when the lee rail is solidly under or, according to Andrew Marshall on Freyja, when you see mullet through the windows. Even when she feels like she has been knocked flat the cockpit will stay dry, and as she rounds into the wind she will come back upright.

In a Force 1 or less you will struggle to get her to move at all. The main and full genoa are ok up to the top of a Force 3. In a Force 4 you change the genoa for the working jib or start to roll in the roller furling genoa and in a Force 5 you tuck one reef in the main as well, especially when going upwind. In a Force 6 you will need a second reef, and in a Force 7 a third although this will give her lee helm. Changing the working jib for the No. 2 will balance her but she will not go to windward very well. You would probably reef a force earlier than indicated, especially when beating, i.e. change the genoa as it gets above F3, etc. She will then stay more upright, and be a little drier with some reduction in boat speed. The original spinnaker is quite small, and is comfortably handled in anything up to a force 4. If you aren’t setting the spinnaker then poling the genoa or jib out on a dead run is essential, the narrow beam makes it difficult to get the clew far enough outboard otherwise. Whatever you do she will still roll somewhat.

In “normal” cruising conditions, i.e. force 2-5, she will tack through 95-100 degrees fairly comfortably. Good sails and well-tuned controls will improve this. Like all heavier boats she benefits from keeping her going through the waves, rather than pinching up as hard as you can. Speaking of the waves, the fine bows and low freeboard mean that in more boisterous conditions she will cut through the waves going to windward, throwing them high in the air so that they land in the cockpit. A sprayhood will make life comfortable but many feel that it spoils her lines.

Under power she is predictable, if not entirely tractable. She carries her way going forwards well, and is affected strongly by the tide, less so by the wind. Reverse will slow her down but actually going backwards in a long-keeled yacht is a hit and miss affair. Prop wash will kick your stern to starboard (RH propeller) so build up a little speed then kick her into neutral. Better still avoid trying to reverse over any sort of distance and especially in a straight line. She will turn quite sharply at slow speeds, going forwards, and the turning point is a little forward of the main hatchway. Coming alongside under power with panache is a matter of knowing what the tide is doing, then going as slowly as she will let you.

David White

EOA Member 2006

Other Elizabethan Classes 23 30 31 33 35   Return to Classes

Copyright 2012 Elizabethan Owners Association    Last updated 29/07/2012     webmaster@eoa.org.uk