A 39' 4" Yawl
By William Atkin
A Seagoing Yawl
Meridian, as my old friend Capt. Abel Brown would say, is "one of them there rule cheaters," meaning that under certain racing rules she would have an advantage in handicap over a single masted yacht. However, this is not the reason she was decked out in the yawl rig. The yawl has always been well considered by cruising men the world over, and has certain advantages, not least of which is that the largest sail is pretty much over the center of the boat and nicely inboard. It is a handy rig, too, because the main and jib can be stowed and the boat be left to jog along under staysail and jigger.
Meridian is 39 feet, 4 inches in over all length; 31 feet on the water line; 10 feet in breadth, and draws 5 feet. The freeboard at the bow is 4 feet, 4 inches and at the stern 3 feet, 6 inches. The displacement is 22,600 pounds. Ballast on the keel, 8,000 pounds, with additional weight in the bilge to the amount of 2,000 pounds. So you see she is a boat of fairly large dimensions and comfortable room below decks without heavy displacement, and by the same token without excessive wetted surface. The lines show somewhat less draft than is usually associated with yachts of this type; there is, however, ample for this particular underwater form as proved by a score of predecessors. The hull is properly balanced and will sail without an excessive degree of heel.
The rig is straightforward and practical. If made exactly as shown in the sail plan without additions and omissions and without changes it will stand through anything that can blow. There is nothing experimental about any feature of the sail plan, nor nothing blindly copied from the work of other designers. It is all designed to conform to practice that has been found to be entirely satisfactory in hard service afloat.
The deck shows a shallow cockpit 6 feet, 2 inches long by 5 feet, 8 inches wide. There is a seat each side and under these the gasoline tanks. The cockpit floor is water tight the full width of the hull and the side walls under the coaming are water tight as well. The main cabin house is 4 feet 8 1/2 inches wide, with parallel sides ending forward in a hinged lid, the latter extending the full width of the deck house. Then there is a main deck and a small deck house over the forecastle. The advantage of this arrangement is its strength; that little piece of main deck spanning the beam at the mast ties the hull together properly and securely. I have drawn many designs showing the mast piercing the deck house; but this is a bad arrangement, weak, not shipshape, unhandy, and ugly looking. There is really more available room below decks with the two house deck arrangement.
The motor should be of approximately 140 cubic inches pulling about 25 h.p. at 1300 to 1400 r.p.m. The motor in Meridian sits level, a feature which has many unseen advantages. It is not necessary to use a reduction gear in this installation.