Hetairos Rear Beams

With its mix of traditional look and modern sailing technology, the 220 ft Ketch Hetairos is the most interesting yacht of our time. A overlooked detail is the open rear in the style of the racing cutter of the early 20th. century.

Hetairos in the wake of Thames Tonnage Measurement

For a while now the shape of the English pilot cutter has been back in. This type of boat starts with a vertical bow and ends at the stretched rear with a traditionally inclined transom. This shape is as old as the Thames Tonnage Measurement introduced in 1855, which in turn is based on a measurement method for the taxation of freight sailors introduced in the middle of the 18th. century.

The Thames Measurement considered the hull width and length, however as length only the distance between the bow and the rudder shaft was considered. This encouraged to stretch the effective water line beyond the stern post by means of a long aft overhang.

With gaff rigg and bow sprit

The mast, positioned well forward, provided thrust by means of a huge gaff-rig. Its surface was balanced with numerous headsails hoisted ahead of a removable bowsprit. With several handy sails such as Flyers, Staysails and Jibs, the sail area was adjusted to the conditions. The Thames measurement did not consider any extension like bowsprits. The gaff rigging with huge mainsails, topsails and numerous headsails was unwieldy, but it was the state of the art at the time.

Gaff rigged Cutter Lulworth – Foto Nico Krauss

This is what the yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron looked like at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The deck of the flat-hulled yachts was protected by a bulwark. Any water that came over flowed off through the scuppers on the side and through the openings between the rear beams above the transom. One of the last examples of this type is the 150 ft. cutter Lulworth, which was rigged in 1920 and put into operation again in 2006.

Hetairos, a quite interesting Spirit of Tradition Yacht – Photo Baltic Yachts/Carlo Borlenghi

After several years of development and construction, the Finnish composite specialist Baltic Yachts pushed an amazingly lightweight racer out of the shed a few years ago, weighing in at a whopping 230 tons. This milestone in yacht construction is called Hetairos and is driven by 18,300 sq. ft. (1,700 square meters) and an impressive sail area to displacement ratio. The two-masted rigging can still be described as a ketch, although the mizzen almost reaches the length of the main mast. It is almost a schooner with two masts positioned far aparat. 197 ft. (60 m) deck length make it possible.

Two centuries of yacht building

Which leads to the charming rear with beams – bulwark stanchions to be accurate – above the transom. Its clear lacquered veneer is framed with a gold border. The owner had done this with his previous boat of the same name. The stanchions are 15 cm wide, 32 cm high and thicker at the bottom than at the top. They appear as if they were made from oak or teak. To save weight, they were made from a special foam, laminated with carbon. Finally the surface was painted brown like teak for the sake of appearance. So this much-admired ketch brings two centuries of yacht building up to date.

Photo above: Baltic Yachts/Carlo Borlenghi. Hetairos racing St. Barth Bucket.

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