Kahn’s Luxury Ride, Turnbuckle Upgrades

Leave it to Philippe Kahn, the man who rapidly went from neophyte racer to holder of the Transpac’s Barn Door trophy, to commission the ultimate performance cruiser.

“Philippe wanted a multi-purpose, singlehanded-capable, good performing boat that was easy to sail and safe for the family,” says David Lake, project manager. “The idea was to use race technology to build a cruiser that could win races.”

To achieve this goal, Kahn put together a dream team composed of a few of the top names in the marine industry and told them: “No compromises.” Eric Goetz of Bristol, R.I., and his builders, experts in lightweight boatbuilding, teamed with designer Alan Andrews. Andrews had never designed a boat from scratch for Kahn but had worked with him on other projects. “Philippe is a demanding client and that’s good. It forces us to do a better job,” says Andrews. “With this project, we had the opportunity to combine a top-level performance boat with a great interior and deck arrangement that are both usable and high quality. We really took it to the next level.”


All parties involved were pushed hard to come up with new solutions; Kahn made it clear that he didn’t want everyday answers. “A lot of effort went into making the boat easy to sail,” says Lake. “We worked with North and Harken to make the reefing system not only lead to the cockpit but to be a one-line system.” The decks have only the most essential features; the jib track is buried in the teak deck, and the mainsheet is led under the deck to the cockpit, where it’s controlled by remote-controlled snubbers. The team at Southern Spars were tasked with the construction of the carbon rig, which carries fully-battened main, self-tacking jib, code zero, and a reaching asymmetric chute with a snuffer.

“Our watchword for the whole project was quality,” says Andrews. “That allowed us to do things that might not have been done on other projects. The keel is America’s Cup-level technology, a steel forging machined to shape that includes an integral kelp-cutter.”

In the world of custom boatbuilding, there’s only one customer, and his opinion is the one that matters. “What I like about Pegasus 55,” says Kahn. “Is that we’ve achieved radical simplicity for fast, competitive sailing. I can singlehand Pegasus 55 and race her to the Farallons, or we can stop at the grocery store, get 10 days worth of food and head for Honolulu. She is fast and behaves like a racing boat, is designed to be singlehanded, and yet has a great interior and teak decks.”


Product News

Ever seen a carpenter’s Hilti gun?It uses a .22-caliber cartridge to propel a nail into concrete, steel, and other hard surfaces. The Toolova Shroud Cutter operates like a Hilti gun, but instead of shooting a nail, it shoots a cutter capable of severing up to -22 rod (.375 inches) or up to 12mm (1×19) wire rigging.

Loose or tight, shrouds can be severed with one shot, quickly and safely. It’s wise to field-test it before stowing it away in your boat’s doomsday bag, but after practicing, make sure you have enough .22 rounds for all the shrouds on your boat. The tool, which weighs 6 pounds and is 13 inches long, doesn’t require a gun license and has no recoil. $535,, 800-222-7712


Ronstan, better known for its small-boat hardware, now make Sealoc calibrated turnbuckles for rod rigging, typically found on bigger boats. Sealocs are available for rod sizes 4 to 12 and calibration increments are laser etched on the rounded throat.

The swage terminals are made from high-grade 316 stainless steel and their threads are rolled, not cut, for greater strength. Prices range from $82 to $98.

Expert Tip


If you have Navtec rod rigging and are concerned about the condition of your rod or turnbuckles, Ronstan’s new Sealoc turnbuckles can be used as replacements. Navtec Sales Manager, Beau LeBlanc, says most rod rigging failures happen at the heads of the rod. How long your rod heads last, says LeBlanc, depends on how often your rig is stressed. As a rule, 40,000 miles of sailing warrants the replacement of standing rigging. A boat that’s raced hard and stored with the rig down should be OK for 8 to 10 years, but older rigs, particularly those left up year-round should be inspected. The heads, which are formed by pressing cold rod into a die, can be re-headed by cutting off the old heads and pressing the new ends, which must be done when replacing turnbuckles. Your rigger must use a Navtec die because manufacturers have proprietary dies that fit only their hardware. To make Sealoc turnbuckles match the Navtec rod, Ronstan uses Navtec end caps and can provide longer threads to fit the shorter cut rod.

Depending on your rig size, the cost of replacing an entire rod system can run several thousand dollars while re-heading costs only $25 per end. On a typical 35-foot club racer with upper, lower, and intermediary shrouds, the overall cost for re-heading would be $300, plus $500 for Sealoc fittings.

Industry News

Luhrs Marine Group of St. Augustine, Fla., parent company of Hunter Marine, has acquired a controlling interest in PCS-JY Sailboats. JY, which builds Hunter’s smaller models, will continue production at its East Lyme, Conn., facility. All JY boats will be distributed and marketed by Hunter., http://www.luhrs

Ronstan International acquired Frederiksen Boat Fittings of Vejle, Denmark. Louis Sander, Ronstan’s marketing and development director will assume responsibility for Ronstan’s European operations.