The SoT Regatta Issue: Split-Keel Classics To Get Their Racing Day in the Maine Sun.

Yes, Virginia, many classic designers really did split the keels on their boats, like C. W. Lapworth did on his fabulous Cal 40.

It is the dark ugly secret of classic and modern-classic racing. That yes, designers of some of the most classic of classic vessels had the audacity to separate the keel from the rudder on their designs.

We know! Hide the kids, but it is true!

Since about the middle of 20th century, it was increasingly common for even the most traditional looking yachts to quietly move away from full keel underbodies and separate the main fin keel from the rudder in the underwater sections of their boats. The original Swan 36 was probably the most famous example of such a split-keeler in an otherwise solidly classic design. But many great split-keelers race in classic regattas. We are partial to the blisteringly fast Cal 40. We love that West-Coast split-keeler so much that we re-imagined her as a Cal 4040, with a turbocharged rig and modern foils. Many others shared similar split-keel dreams: The story we did about that design was probably our most popular, ever.

It is with real joy, then, that we can formally announce that at this year’s Camden Classics Cup, which we heavily sponsor, will organize classic boats by their underwater hull configurations.

This year’s race will feature a one of a kind Modern Classic division: That is, a class dedicated utterly to classic sailboats designed before 1975 that that feature split keels and rudders.

So far, we have a Cal 40 Towhee registered. Expectations are that Anjacaa, a classic Sparkman and Stephens keel-centerboarder sloop with a skeg-hung rudder and Zubenelgenubi, a Norlin-designed Two-Tonner, will compete. We’d also love to see Hound, a gorgeous Aage Nielsen design that lives locally on the Fox Island Thorofare, in Maine.

Swan 36’s from the 1960’s are excellent classic boats designed before 1975 that feature a split keel and some serious speed.

But our hope is, other classic split fin-keel boats will come to test their racing mettle. We’d welcome production fiberglass classics like the C&C 30 Redwing, or maybe Bill Tripp’s last boat, the Columbia 52, or  Bruce King’s Ericson 35-II. Never mind overlooked, but still fun classes like the Grampian 30 or the Hunter 30.

If your boat was designed prior to 1975, and has a split keel and rudder, this is your moment to race fair and square in the glorious Maine sun.

We figure there are easily 1,700 such vessels out there. If you have any questions about if your split-keeler qualifies, please give us a call.