1980 Aquarius Pilot Cutter 24, Chinese Junk Rig

Alameda, California, United States
$9,999 USD

Aquarius Pilot Cutter 24, Chinese Junk Rig, 1980 LOA 32 LOD 24 LWL 20 Beam 9 Draft 4 Disp. 8900 lbs. Ballast 2900 lbs. lead fully encapsulated Transom stern with outboard rudder and tiller steering Hand laminated fiberglass Headroom 6’3 U.S. Coast Guard documented vessel

Walrus is in Alameda, Ca. , San Francisco’s East Bay, with a transferable slip . Slip fees are approximately $280. per month.

Beautiful, heavily built, full keel pilot cutter, aft hung rudder, custom rigged as a Chinese Junk Sloop. IMHO Walrus may be one of the finest options for a solo sailor or couple out there. This boat is well equipped and more than capable of sailing anywhere her captain desires in safety, ease and comfort. Her design is based on Lynn and Larry Pardey’s Serrafyn as well as other Lyle Hess designs.

Aquarius Pilot Cutters rarely come on the market. This one is being offered far below market value in the hopes that she goes to someone who can really appreciate her.

The interior photos show her main salon berth, but the original dinette and table cabinetry are underneath.

She needs some minor cosmetic work: mostly some sanding and painting, but is stunning as is and is in “sail away” condition today. Very well equipped with fine cruising gear.

Yamaha high thrust 9.9 outboard with electronic ignition and hydraulic mount: practically brand new, approximately 15 hours. Walrus came from the factory set up for an outboard. No diesel was ever installed, and there are no motor mounts or prop shaft. One could be installed if so desired. Ratcliff self steering wind vane with Stainless Steel trim tab. Beautiful Tanbark, flat cut Chinese Junk sail w/ wood boom, yard and battens. Excellent condition Freestanding Aluminum mast, mast step and partners are extraordinarily well done Custom Stainless Steel “cage” with seateak roof and Solar panels atop. Roll down panels make this an excellent “extra room” as well as a very secure place to hang out while sailing offshore. 35 lb. CQR anchor w/ chain and nylon rode and Lone Star Marine G3-1400D power windlass. Windlass is in perfect condition and literally a brand new install. Nauta 25 gallon flexible fresh water tank, pressure fresh water system Jabsco marine head with holding tank, macerator pump and overboard discharge. 10 Bronze Perko opening ports Plenty more I am sure I’m forgetting. Diver cleaned the bottom 2 weeks ago and remarked that the paint is recent and the bottom is in excellent condition. Asking price: $9,999.

Feel free to ask any and all questions, and send me your email for an extensive photo link.

Thanks for looking

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About the Aquarius 24 Pilot Cutter

Frank Parish
Lyle C. Hess
Top Sail Yachts Inc. (USA)
Aquarius Pilot Cutters Owners Group
# Built
Hull Type
Long keel w/trans. hung rudder


Length Overall
29 11 / 9.1 m
Length On Deck
24 0 / 7.3 m
Waterline Length
20 0 / 6.1 m
8 11 / 2.7 m
4 0 / 1.2 m
8,900 lbs / 4,037 kg
3,200 lbs / 1,451 kg (Lead)

Rig and Sails

Reported Sail Area
410 ft2 / 38.1 m2
Total Sail Area
Sail Area
Mast Height
37 0 / 11.3 m
Sail Area
Forestay Length

Auxilary Power

Fuel Type
Fuel Capacity


Water Capacity
40 gal / 151 l
Holding Tank Capacity
6 3 / 1.9 m


Hull Speed
5.99 knots
Sail Area/Displacement
under powered
less stiff, less powerful
Comfort Ratio
moderate bluewater cruising boat
Capsize Screening
better suited for ocean passages


The Aquarius Pilot Cutter, launched in the late 1970s, was conceived as a limited production offshore cruiser with focus on easy handling, comfort and safety at sea. She takes inspiration from the working boats of the 19th century which were both fast and able to carry large loads, these boats have the hallmarks of an easily driven hull, good windward performance and an ability to carry large amounts of canvas to make up for heavy displacements and payload. In tune with tradition, the boat has heavy scantlings, lots of bronze hardware and even traditional tanbark coloured sails.

The boat was birthed when Frank Parish, an ex-airforce pilot, penned the Aquarius Pilot Cutter for his own needs and engaged the East Coast boatbuilders at Topsail Yachts in Portsmouth, Rhode Island to construct it. In designing his boat, Parish influenced by his own sailing experiences had the chance to meld his appreciation of traditional designs with modern construction. Being a large guy, he went for a roomy cabin with good headroom which necessitated a beamy hull that was capable of carrying a large amount of canvas to push it. At the time many compared the design to those of Lyle C. Hess, who was influential in remaking the traditional pilot boat design for the late 20th century, examples include the Bristol Channel Cutter, her smaller stablemate the Falmouth Cutter, and famously, Lin and Larry Pardy’s 24 foot Seraffyn and their subsequent 29 foot Teleisin. In particular, the internal layout of the Aquarius is identical to Seraffyn, though Parish says he never heard of Seraffyn until after the Aquarius had already started construction.

The Aquarius has modern sail controls with all lines, including reefing controls, leading back into the cockpit – ideal for single handing. Lazyjacks came standard. Belowdecks is a very practical and spacious setup, designed to maximise ventilation flow with no obstructing bulkheads. There’s berths that are 6’ 7” long and 6’ 3” of headroom, rare to see in boats of this size. She’s also well into heavy displacement territory for her size, but bear in mind her 410 square feet of canvas makes up for this (not to mention a healthy 460 square feet for gaffed rigged versions).

Construction is suitably overbuilt – hand-laid solid fiberglass with polyester resin, with a hull thickness varying from 3/8” at the minimum to 5/8” at the turn of the bilge and as much as 3/4” in the keel sections. The ballast is lead encapsulated. Deck and cabin house are fiberglass cored in 1/2” marine ply, and the hull to deck join is via an overlapping shoe box fit bedded with sealant and through bolted on 12” centers.

In total thirty three boats were constructed between 1979 and 1984, mostly marconi-rigged, but gaff-rigged versions were also produced, better suited to the light air sailing prevalent along the East Coast. At least three layouts were offered though the boat was built to order so a high degree of customisation can be seen between examples. The standard engine on offer was an inboard 18hp Volvo, but owners could optionally go with a transom mounted outboard freeing up internal space.

» The Sailor’s Book of Small Cruising Sailboats by Steve Henkel


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