The first in the Vancouver Yacht series, the Vancouver 27 is a ‘go anywhere’ pocket cruiser designed by Canadian Robert Harris in 1972. This sturdy 27-foot cutter was squarely aimed for couples looking to sail the world’s oceans. Purpose built for exactly this purpose, the first boat sailed successfully from British Columbia to New Zealand and back. The solid good-looking design attracted enough attention that molds were made from the second boat built. Various versions went on to be produced in Canada and in England and more than 250 have been built in total including the extended 28 foot version, the Vancouver 28, which is still being made in England today. Canadian production ended when the molds were destroyed by a storm in 1988.
Though small and relatively heavy, she’s uncompromising with few concessions to speed and performance. Under the waterline there’s a full keel with a cutaway forefoot which gives her a stable helm and good balance on all points of sail. In the UK the design was tweaked by adding three inches to the beam at the waterline to stiffen her up, the result being a pronounced tumblehome in the hull which the Canadian boats don’t have.
In breaking seas her high freeboard, neat cockpit and built in bridge deck help prevent water below. Her propeller and rudder are protected from grounding and fouling damage by the set-up of her keel, skeg and stern-post. Lots of headroom, plenty of stowage space and ease of handling are characteristic. As would be expected by the design she’s not fast nor particularly close winded but she’s easy to handle in all conditions and ideal for a short-handed crew. English sailor Rona House can testify to this having completed a solo circumnavigation in her Vancouver 27. The cutter rig gives maximum sail plan versatility and the outboard rudder allows for use of self-steering mechanisms that are a cruiser’s best friend on long passages. Experience has shown that her traditional hull design copes easily with the rigors of offshore passages, even when chock full of cruising gear.
Inside the Vancouver 27 is a sensible small-boat layout just made for a couple at sea with three berths being the norm, although a four berth layout was also available. The three berth version has no berth forward but instead has the third berth aft in the saloon leaving plenty room for stowage up front as well as space for a generously sized quarter berth, galley and chart table. 6′ 6″ of headroom heads up the comfort factor inside.
The majority of boats are to be found in the UK although some can still be found in North America. New boat prices can be obtained from Northshore yachts and a current search of the used boat market reveals prices for these boats between 12,200 – 26,600 Pounds Sterling or 19,500- 41,500 Canadian dollars depending on age and condition. Although no major problems have been discovered, the heel of the rudder is one weak point that needs careful inspection.
» Vancouver 27 Review on boats.com
» Vancouver 27 Brochure on patsturgeonyachts.com
» Vancouver Yachts Association, info, images, history.
» History of Vancouver Yachts in the UK by Andrew Dandridge
» History of Pheon Yachts/Vancouver on Owner’s Site
» Vancouver 28 on the Southerly website (Northshore Shipyard).