HUCK FINN III was designed by Van de Stadt as a very innovative boat in early sixities. “Express Crusader” the yacht used by Naomi James to beat Chichester time on the singlehanded round the world was a cutter rigged Gallant 53′. The beautiful hull shape and bright interiors, the grace she shows moving or at the anchor is incomparable and makes her a superb family cruising yacht, a live aboard, or extensive offshore exploring sailing yacht.
The current owner, a well-known Italian solo sailor, had HUCK FINN III refitted and prepared for ocean sailing in all weather in January 2017. The yacht is continuously updated and optimized by his professional racing team. She offers superb good looks, powerful sailing and a great interior layout.
I was the owner of a super Southern Shipyard 72 – also a Van De Stadt design. Other than a racer, I am also a yacht designer and professional builder myself, and I had time to fully appreciate the yacht, that we also completely refitted, sailing some 200,000 miles on her.
I bought the little sister Gallant 53 for similar reasons and I found again all the “good” those designers and builders were able to infuse into these yachts. I have two brothers, one owns an S&S Swan 47, and the the other a Columbia 59 Bill Tripp design. We are more or less similar sailors having received the same education and experience.
The Gallant 53 is always faster, in light and strong winds. Up wind there are no problems, with extremely light wind I sail circles around them, while going up wind, to wait for them, my angle is far narrower than the Swan 47.
With stronger wind and flat water I hold the position, with waves I lead again. Top speed downwind was 19kn on surf. Day average on an Atlantic crossing 180/200 miles per day with no effort down or side wind and 170 close hauled in ocean crossings against 2/3 meter wave.
We used HUCK FINN III only for two summer holidays in Ionian Island, and two crossing from Greece to the Caribbean and back, because she was support and floating base to our records Marseille Carthage and Dakar Guadalupa on a tiny 20′ beach cat.
HUCK FINN III was completely refitted from bottom to mast head (2017). We found a lot was good in the original construction. It was left, being disassembled, serviced and refitted in place, and we changed and added a lot of things because we are in need of a professional yacht capable of sailing everywhere, anytime with any weather.
The engine was completely refitted by her previous owner (2016), by Perkins Italian agent in Pisa, and after never used. It has very few hours and runs perfectly. We optimized the water intake filtration and rechecked everything possible like heat exchange, hydraulic invertor, fresh water pump, and much more. All was in perfect shape. We added a new 24v 60ah alternator (2017).
We fitted a Max Prop last generation 3 bladed prop (2017), on our 38mm shaft. The block and blade are from the bigger model assuring strength and resistance.
We checked the two structural diesel GRP tanks.
Her electronics system was totally revised in 2017. We added infrastructure for new fittings and better shaped the system as a whole. We added a 1000W 12v-240v inverter.
Her plumbing system was totally renewed, in the pipes and various other fittings, some seacocks were moved into a better position. New water pump (2017), new grey water pump (2017), new salt water deck wash pump (2017), new water heater, working with 240v or engine when at sea, new kitchen salt and fresh water faucets, new kitchen salt water foot pump, new toilet (2017), new cockpit bilge hand pump (2017), new water intake pipes from deck to the tank, replaced all non-working valves and pipes in the 4 water tanks transfer system.
We installed a Power Survivor desalinator 12.5 lit32/hour (2017) but it is still new and was never used because we have near 4000 lt water tanks.
We added a Raytheon R80 chart plotter and radar and will fit a 40 miles Raytheon radar antenna that is already on board.
We moved all navigation instruments, Raytheon 9″ chart plotter included, from wheel panel to classic position above the main entrance, and removed the wheel panel box.
On deck we replaced the windlass with a new 24v, 1700w Lofrans Falkon horizontal windlass (2017). We replaced 100 meter of 10mm chain (2017), we added our production stainless steel grapnel anchor to the existing two CQR anchors. We changed the pipes and changed emptying system under the front deck anchor locker (2017).
We added (2017): 2 staysail sheet rails with Antal cars, we lowered the reefing winch from boom to deck, two Antal spinnaker blocks (2017), two Antal snatch blocks (2017). We removed the main winch and split the main sheet on both sides and fit a dodger. We completely overhauled the steering pedestal and fitted a bigger steering wheel. We disassembled all mooring tackles and change bolts (2017).
The teak deck was totally recaulked (2017) and the cockpit panels installed new in 2017.
Mast was over hauled. All shrouds were replaced (2017) – changing geometry and adding diagonals for lateral staysail support from the spreaders tips, and removing the ones from deck. We also removed front diagonals on deck and replaced with a babystay for a bigger surface staysail that is the horse of the yacht. All shroud where augmented in diameter and splitted on spreader tips. New inox chainplates on spreader tips. A new staysail chainplate was fitted on the mast. An Antal mainsail full batten system track was added. Antal halyard stoppers where added on halyards and reefing system. We added external block on boom for 3 reefing line (before was an external main furling system).
We fitted a tricolor mast head light with strobo (2017). We introduced running back stays in dyneema (2017) with Antal air blocks (2017). We replaced all the mast wiring and vhf antenna and cable (2017).
HUCK FINN III is a perfect yacht for cruising at any level, shorthanded and crew. We also used it for a sailing school with 6 students and 2 instructors, sailing for days and days. She has water for a month without using any apparatus. She goes against the wind like hell and surfs easy for a yacht this age, when downwind. She has a short mast and it is easy to manage her sails. She has an immensely strong hull and superstructure, and everything attached to it will stay in position. She is not so heavy for her dimensions and she is very fast in light air so the motoring is only when is real flat. We wanted this yacht to be a definitive one and we were looking for something classic to go down through the ages. We receive compliments and enquiries continuously. She is very gentle and nice when moored or docked.
As a yacht designer I am extremely pleased to own a piece of nautical history, the grandad of ultra-light displacement yachts.
We sell this yacht because we face a long period on land with no time for big navigations, we closed the school sailing business.
I will buy exactly the same yacht when ready to take off for a retirement round the world.