LOA 11.98 M, LWL 7.66 M, B 2.04 M, D 1.75 M, DISPL 2,115 Kgs., SA 43.31 M2
I was approached by entrepreneur Nis Peter Lorentzen in October, 2007, to quote on designing a line of new “Skerry Cruisers,” or modern versions of the Square Meter boats of the early 20th century. Nis was from a Danish boatbuilding family, but living and working in Beijing, China. This was to be a new business called Scandinavian Cruisers, and Nis wanted to start with a 40’ sailboat that would mimic the size and performance of the popular 30 Square Meter sailboat. That would be followed later with a 66’er which would include live-aboard accommodations. Nis’ invitation went out to a few other designers as well, but I guess my expertise in free-standing rigs, which these boats were supposed to have, won me the contract.
Skerry cruisers are very narrow boats, and almost all narrow boats perform well. The new 40’er had to look nice, sail more nicely, and be equipped with a lifting keel and lifting rudder, in addition to the free-standing rig. We got through the preliminary design process, which was supposed to include 3D artistic renderings from my side, which I was going to subcontract to another naval architect. Instead, Nis went to a Chinese artist who had never rendered a boat before, but who worked for very little money. It was a struggle, but finally we obtained some renderings—like the lead photo above—that looked sufficiently realistic. The detailed design of the boat to specify all structural details had yet to be completed.
Then the design worked stopped.
Nis began organizing the marketing and sales of the boats all around the world, as well as getting feedback from others in the boatbuilding industry on the suitability of the design. Some advice came back that it would be better to start with a smaller boat. So Nis came back to me to say that he had to start with a 20’er, not a 40’er, in order to get more boats to the market more easily and cheaply, and to get acceptance of the Scandinavian Cruisers concept. He said we could simply shrink the lines and shapes of the 40’er down to the 20’ size and we’d have a new boat. I said that you cannot do that because human beings, who use the boat, don’t shrink, so the scaling could not be done in total proportion in all dimensions. Proper design work would cost a little more money. Ultimately, however, we could not come to an agreement on the design work, and somehow, Scandinavian Cruisers did the design shrinking in house. They actually built a few boats, but I think their acceptance has been a struggle, although not for lack of performance.
From the videos and testimonials I have seen and heard, the boat is a very sweet sailor. I have not heard of any SC 20s sailing in great numbers anywhere, so there is probably something else going on that has prevented the rise of the company. The Great Recession of 2008 did not help which was a bad time to start any new boatbuilding venture. The Scandinavian Cruisers website is still on-line, however, so maybe they have some hope of succeeding.