19 Apr 2012


18' Sport Boat

At 18 feet, this little boat is by far the smallest one-off designed by Heyman Yacht Design. Still, she makes a lot of sense and there is nothing like her on the market - please correct me if we have missed something out there!

She was designed for a sailor in Dubai, a father of five. The requirements was for a competitive sportboat / daysailer with room for the children, easy to sail single-handed and without need for hiking out.

Added to this, this boat had to be easy to pull onto a trailer and to raise the keel and be beached for a picnic ashore. And, when the wind dies in the evening, to be rowed home in the setting sun.

Sit back - Sail away
The nicest thing about this little boat is how she invites you to sit down and lean back. She takes care of you like a traditional sailing skiff, or, on the Swedish coast, much like a Bohusjulle.

This is my older brother Jon and me sailing our bohusjulle, Bums, in 1956. I am the toddler between the oarlocks, barely tall enough to look out when sitting on the floor-boards.

Same thing, almost...
Hoisting for the first time in Långedrag harbour

Watching these pictures in 2012, it is suddenly apparent to me that the Maha Dubai, designed some 50 years later, must have been inspired by Bums, at least on a subconscious level. Even her square head mainsail is reminiscent of the older boat.

But this is where their similarities end. 
The Maha Dubai will glide along at very good speed, without fuss. Her underwater shape is very slender. In proportion, she is more like an America's Cup IACC boat than anything else. 
So there she is, the first offspring to a bohusjulle and an IACC boat. This is what she looks like underneath:

At 18 ft, her keel is 2 m deep, made of a slender aluminium extrusion, with a bulb of 50 kgs. 

This makes her, not stiff, but less tippy and much more forgiving.

She was beautifully built by Torsten Sörvik in Göteborg, builder of the finest sailing canoes. 
For this boat, he used Divinycell planks and multidirectional E-glass. Project Management was handled by Pelle Fälth.

The rig is carbon, from Marström Composite.

Nicolas Bathfield, Naval Architect (left), Pontus Wennerlund (right)
Although the Maha Dubai was conceived as an open boat, she has a sunk deck forward. This is a lovely place for younger kids to sit, or for sunbathing. 

Underneath, and under the aft thwart, are dry storage / floatation compartments.  
The fixed bowsprit is for flying the asymmetric.
The floor is an integral part of the construction, and offers a little extra floatation. In the centre is a well for bailing. There are also Elvström Bailers each side. 

For rowing, the central floorboard is lifted out, inverted and used as a thwart. Underneath, in the well, are supports for feet when rowing.

The boat was called Maha Dubai - the symbol in the mainsail is the Arabian Oryx, a unicorn antelope, called Maha.
Mr Alhamli test sailing Maha
So, how did she turn out?
Her owner says she carries up to four people without any serious impact on speed, and that she has topped 13 or 14 knots.

Torsten Sörvik, builder, and Pelle Fälth, project manager
Torsten Sörvik and Pelle Fälth
Torsten Sörvik, builder

Maha Dubai, particulars
Length 18.7 feet.
Beam 5.24 feet.
Draft 6 ½ feet. 
Weight : 260 KG.