A new Comet hit the water this summer for the first time in decades, ushering in a modern era for the doublehanded centerboarder, which is well-loved in the mid-Atlantic and Bermuda. “The class has been around for over 80 years, but we haven’t had a builder in 25,” says Wick Dudley, who owns new hull No. 4148.
Mathews Bros., a classic Chesapeake boatbuilding operation in Denton, Md., has worked with the class over the past two years to refine the design of the deck and cockpit and build No. 4148.
A rounded deck makes for a more comfortable hiking experience, and the construction process means less labor. “The deck, the sides, the tank, the floor, and the centerboard trunk are all one piece,” says Dudley. “It looks cleaner and more modern, and it’s more comfortable.”
The new boat is also easier to self-rescue: “It has a double bottom and side tanks so there’s no place for the water to accumulate,” says class president Talbott Ingram.
While the hull itself has not changed, and the weight of the boat remains the same, the floor and the centerboard trunk are about an inch lower for more headroom under the boom. The class also now allows Mylar sails.
Comet devotees hope the new design, which starts at $14,000, will attract a wide range of sailors—including younger 20-somethings—and rejuvenate the class. “It’s a quality boat that people of all skill levels can get into,” says Ingram. “My younger son started with me at age 6. You can start at a young age and be sailing them into your 70s or 80s. It’s all doable. It’s a lifelong boat.”