The Hughes 40 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Hughes 40, a staysail ketch, was designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built in Canada by Hughes Boatworks.

'Sweet Sensation', a Hughes 40 Staysail Ketch under full sailA Hughes 40 Staysail Ketch demonstrating an alternative approach to towing a dinghy...

Published Specification for the Hughes 40

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP

Length Overall: 41'6" (13.3m

Waterline Length: 31'6" (9.7m)

Beam: 13'4" (4.1m)

Draft: 5'0" (1.5m)

Rig Type: Staysail ketch

Displacement: 24,000lb (10,886kg)

Designer: Sparkman & Stephens

Builder: Hughes Boatworks (Canada)

Year First Built: 1975

Published Design Ratios for the Hughes 40

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 13.7

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 32.9

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 420

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 41

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Hughes 40

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 13.7 suggests that the Hughes 40 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 32.9 means that the Hughes 40 will have a tendency to heel excessively in a gust, and she'll need to be reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze. 

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 420, tells us the Hughes 40 is firmly in the ultra-heavy 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 long-distance sailors.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 41 suggests that crew comfort of a Hughes 40 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a heavy bluewater cruising boat. Pitching and rolling will be well damped - your cup of coffee on the salon table stands a reasonable chance of staying there in most conditions.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.8 tells us that a Hughes 40 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

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