Boat people often become a lot more interesting when you learn more about their boats. But equally, when you find out about some of the other creations produced by the designer of a boat you’re considering, that in turn gives the boat in question an added fascination writes W M Nixon.
In its way, the RS Feva is almost a cult boat among certain sections of the junior sailing population in Ireland. Yet how many of them know that Paul Handley, the creator of this pocket rocket in 2002, was designing keelboat racers back in 1988?
So far as I know, the Mustang 30 is the only racer-with-a-lid designed by Handley. He produced the drawings in 1988, and during the next ten years Harley Marine of Cowes built 29 of them. So for those of us who rather fancy them, they have a certain rarity value.
What’s to like? Well, while the beam of 8.14’ (2.48m) is not nearly as narrow as some of the more extreme Corbys of comparable size, it’s certainly decidedly skinny compared to the commodious fat girls of the big production builders of that era, boats which will turn round at look at you if they’re hit by sudden gust. So the Mustang 30 is sweet to steer, and while it’s only the helmsman who’ll directly benefit, his or her resultant good humour will spread to the rest of the crew.
She’s of interest this week as Leinster Boats have one for sale on Afloat.ie in Dun Laoghaire at the decidedly attractive price of €17,500, and for some young (and maybe no-so-young) sailors of talent, she offers a real temptation.
As it is, the boat comes with form – she won her class in a Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, won the AZAB 1999, has twice won the Kish Two-Hander, she has regularly recorded regatta successes. If she were optimized, she might become an even more potent performer, but if you got too deeply into that, the initial payment of €17,500, or whatever bargain you strike, will become only a distant memory.
With a relatively slim hull, the layout is functional, but it works very well indeed for a boat with a strong racing orientation.
So maybe the challenge is to take her as she is, and make a go of it, even if you know she might be more able for the modern boats (she’s a 1997 build) with extra sail area generally, and a bowsprit with a selection of Code Zeros.
With that slim hull, the accommodation is austere by today’s standards, but it works well. And it seems she has been up-graded over the years – the original specification was for a 10hp Volvo Penta diesel, but this boat has 18hp, which makes much more sense for a 30-footer. In all, an attractive package - just the thing to get the juices flowing with the new season coming round the next corner.