The Cutlass 27 Sailboat

The Cutlass 27 is a classic small fast cruiser from the 1970s, designed by Eric White and Alan Hill, and built by Marine Construction Ltd. in the UK. It is a pretty boat with a long keel, a sloop rig, and a counter stern.

A Cutlass 27 sailboat awaiting the start of the 2015 Jester ChallengeThe windvane self-steering gear on the stern of this Cutlass 27, and the modified main hatch tells us that this skipper is planning for a long offshore passage.

Published Specification for the Cutlass 27

Underwater Configuration:  Long keel

Hull Material:  GRP (fibreglass)

Length Overall: 27' 0" / 8.23m

Waterline Length: 20' 0" / 6.10m

Beam: 7' 8" / 2.34m

Draft: 4' 6" / 1.37m

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 6,496lb / 2,947kg

Designer: Eric White & Alan Hill

Builder: Marine Construction (UK)

Published Design Ratios for the Cutlass 27

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 13.4

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 50

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 363

4. Comfort Ratio: 30.1

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of Published Design Ratios for the Cutlass 27

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 13.4 suggests that she'll need a stiff breeze to get her going. In any other conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing will be the way to go

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 50 means that she'll stand up well to her canvas in a blow, enabling her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 363, tells us she's firmly in the ultraheavy displacement category. Load her up as much as you like and her performance will be hardly affected, not that it was ever startling. Few if any sailboats are built to this displacement category these days - but they remain popular with some of the most diehard traditional old salts.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 30.1 suggests that crew comfort in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate offshore cruising boat - most seasoned sailors can handle that.

5. Her Capsize Screening Formula of 1.7 tells us that she would be a better choice of sailboat for ocean passage-making than one with a CS rating of more than 2.0. 

Cruisers' Questions about this Sailboat...

How many Cutlass 27 sailboats were built?

About 200 Cutlass 27 sailboats were built between 1967 and the mid-1980s. The first boats were called just "Cutlass", and later ones were renamed "Cutlass 27" after some design changes in 1974.

How does the Cutlass 27 sail?

The Cutlass 27 sails very well, with a light and sensitive helm, and a good performance in various wind conditions. It is a good sea boat, reasonably quick and easy to handle. It has a sail area of 338ft2 for the main and genoa, and a ballast ratio of over 50%.

What are some features and equipment of the Cutlass 27?

The Cutlass 27 has a low coachroof line, a spacious cockpit, and a simple deck layout. It has four berths in two cabins, a saloon and a forecabin, but the interior is very plainly finished and small compared to more modern boats. Some boats may have windvane self-steering gear, a modified main hatch, or other customizations for long offshore passages.

How much does a Cutlass 27 cost?

The price of a Cutlass 27 may vary depending on the condition, age, location, and equipment of the boat. According to some online listings, the average asking price for a Cutlass 27 in the UK is around £5,000 to £10,000 as of July 2023.

What are some similar boats to the Cutlass 27?

Some similar boats to the Cutlass 27 are the Folkboat, which was the inspiration for the Cutlass hull design, the Contessa 26, which is another classic long-keeled sloop from the same era, and the Albin Vega, which is another popular small cruiser with good sailing qualities.

What are some common problems with the Cutlass 27?

One of the common problems with the Cutlass 27 sailboat is that the interior is very plainly finished and small compared to more modern boats. Some owners may find the lack of space and amenities uncomfortable or inconvenient for longer cruises.

Another problem is that the boat is significantly under-rigged, meaning that it has less sail area than most similar sailboats. This can affect the boat's speed and performance in light winds and may require more frequent use of the engine.

A third problem is that the boat has a long keel, which makes it more difficult to handle in tight spaces or shallow waters. The boat may also have more drag and less manoeuvrability than a fin-keeled boat.

These problems are not necessarily deal breakers, as they are balanced by the boat's many positive qualities, such as its beauty, stability, comfort, and seakeeping abilities. However, they are worth considering before buying or sailing a Cutlass 27 sailboat.

The above answers were drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.

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