This new Owen Clarke 15m expedition yacht is designed as a go-anywhere cruiser which can take on all parts of the planet from the tropics to the Northwest Passage
The Owen Clarke 15m is an aluminium lifting keel expedition yacht, which builds on the success of the Owen Clarke-designed 20m (66ft) Qilak, one of the most notable vessels of its type to be launched in recent years.
The Owen Clark 15m, Lynx, was commissioned for its very experienced Swiss owners to explore all parts of the planet, from the tropics to the Northwest Passage, so the hull is reinforced to deal with ice encounters.
Quick passage times are one of Lynx’s strengths, despite its smaller size and the weight associated with systems, tankage and equipment needed for long periods of self sufficiency.
Climate analysis for a number of voyages indicate average speeds under sail of more that 8 knots are achievable. Yet this is a yacht that carries enough diesel to motor for 3,000 miles, with a generous reserve.
This was a prerequisite for transiting the Northwest Passage, which invariably involves covering the colossal mileage in a tight time frame. The large tankage will also enable the boat to remain on schedule when faced with light winds during other long passages.
The hull shape carries the broad beam well aft, with soft chines and twin rudders, plus relatively full forward sections. This is topped by a 7/8ths fractional rig, with a furling/reefing jib, furling staysail and optional carbon spars.
This approach, and much of the deck layout, has a lot in common with today’s short-handed raceboats, although a displacement close to 17 tonnes gives this boat a very different character. This is echoed in the deck gear, which includes granny bars for safety when working at the mast, plus five hefty mooring bollards each side for securing in small, sheltered coves.
The boat is also designed to carry two tenders – a smaller one can be stowed in the lazarette, while a substantial military spec boat, with inflatable keel and floor, will fit on the foredeck. This can also be stowed in the forepeak when not in use.
Excellent shelter at the forward end of the cockpit is provided by the aft overhang of the pilothouse roof, below which there’s full standing headroom. The main accommodation is laid out with two double aft cabins each side of the machinery space, plus a generous galley to port and saloon forward of the box for the lifting keel.
Pullman berths opposite allow a further four people to sleep in this part of the boat if necessary. The area forward of the main bulkhead is given over to workshop and extensive storage areas. This is also the second design Owen Clarke has produced with a two-person sauna, with the space able to double as additional stowage when necessary.
It’s easy for project creep to filter into custom yacht designs, with a seemingly small number of improvements resulting in a larger yacht than originally planned. However, Allen Clarke says this tendency was strongly resisted for two reasons. The first was one of containing the overall budget, but the second was equally important – keeping the boat small enough to be easily handled by the owner and his partner.
Clarke told me it was therefore “a challenge to create enough space in the pilothouse for a decent size wet locker, good navstation and a full-length sea berth.” At the same time, the owner would have liked a coffee grinder in the cockpit to facilitate handling the rig, but that would have required an extra three feet of overall length, so there are two electric winches instead.
The result is “a boat that reflects a very specific set of client requirements,” Clarke says. “That’s why the saloon is further forward than usual and there’s an expansive workshop and stowage area in the forepeak.” The latter was one of many necessities to make the boat genuinely self-sufficient for very extended periods.
Although intended as a private yacht, Lynx is one of the few boats of her size to fully comply with the MGN 280 code for commercial/charter voyages in all oceans and polar regions. Building started in February this year at the Koopmans Kasko’s yard in northern Holland.
Owen Clark 15m specifications
LOA: 15.15m / 49ft 8in
Hull length: 14.3m / 47ft 0in
Beam: 4.58m / 15ft 0in
Draught: 1.41m-3.15m / 4ft 7in-10ft 8in
Displacement: 16,800kg / 37,000lb
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