The initial 550 design featured in an article in Australian Amateur boat builder back in 2003. The concept was for a smaller high performance yacht which had a broader appeal than just hard core racing. It was initially based around the ready availability of the 16 foot skiff rigs but we quickly found the boat to be considerably more powerful and the mainsail size increased accordingly.
Our most popular design, the initial 3 boats were built in Australia and were all round bilged being built in strip planked Kiri (Paulonia) or Cedar. The Proto type “X” built by Don Deem had 50mm less freeboard and has since been bought by Rodger Smith in Queensland where it has been up dated and refurbished.
The second vessel was my own “No Brakes” which we increased the freeboard giving a more habitable interior.
We now have two 550 designs being built to our MK11 version which has a single chine with strip planked bottom and sheet plywood topsides. One is being built in Texas U.S.A by Skip Johnsonand the other in Auckland New Zealand by Andrew McEwan. These have benefitted from our developments and have more interior volume and slightly different hull volume distribution.
These boats are great fun. They have a ballasted, pivoting centreboard and twin kick up rudders allowing them to dry out on the beach. A large double berth is fitted in the bow and there is space for two children’s berths under the cockpit.
As with our other designs the owners often modify areas slightly ( after consultation with us) to suit their own priorities. This can be seen in the prod set ups and Skip Johnson’s boat in the USA has side decks which the others don’t have.
Length over all 5.50 metres
Beam over all 2.30 metres
Displacement 650kgs (loaded)