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We’re in some kind of love with this beautiful Ed Burnett-designed gaff cutter 23, PANACEA, now being listed by Sandeman Yacht Company.

The first of this design (Burnett Design No. 110) was FROLIC, built in 2005 in the southwest of Ireland by Liam Hegarty of Oldcourt, Skibbereen, for an English client who sailed out of west Cork. FROLIC was quickly noticed by the traditional classic yachting media, and gained a following on social media. In fact it was videos of FROLIC sailing that first caught PANACEA’s Australian owner’s attention, and a promotional video by her eventual builder, Ben Harris – then based at Restronguet, now at Gweek Quay, Cornwall – played a big part in winning him the build commission.

PANACEA’s design was close to Ed Burnett’s heart: a proposal for his father; partly the result of deep experience with his own 23 ft Harrison Butler gaff cutter aboard which he lived as a student of yacht design, and regularly sailed between Southampton and Falmouth. Add Ed’s earlier traditional boatbuilding experience with Gannon & Benjamin on Martha’s Vineyard, his reputation for attention to detail and the execution of incredibly precise drawings, and it’s easy to understand what a pleasure PANACEA was to commission, and to build, and then to enjoy afloat. Now all the provenance and pleasure and beauty of the lightly used, still young PANACEA is available to her next owner at significantly less than new build cost.

Sandeman

Launched in early summer 2018, PANACEA’s maiden sail was at Falmouth Classics after which she was shipped in a container to Western Australia where she has been enjoyed – and of course admired – as a family day-sailer on the Swan River.

The build featured in a detailed series of Classic Boat magazine articles by Nigel Sharp, and PANACEA was nominated in the Traditional Newbuild category of the Classic Boat Awards 2019, coming Runner-Up.

“Glamour is all well and good, but simple boats bring simple pleasures and a great deal of enjoyment can be had from boats with few pretensions and a relaxed feel.

“This little cutter started life as several different boats, all discussed over a considerable period with my father.

“Typically the conversation would begin with ‘Why don’t you design something like…’ or ‘What I want now is…’. Either statement would, of course, be followed by a description quite different from that which had been delivered the previous month, week, or perhaps just prior to lunch. One day, after several years of this goading, I decided the time had come to do something about it.

“With such a broad range of requirements, it was immediately apparent that no one boat was ever going to be able to do everything perfectly. There are many small boats out there that try to tick all the boxes – self draining cockpit, enclosed head, four berths, usable galley, standing headroom etc.

“The problem is, if you try to do all these things in a small package you can very easily end up with a boat that doesn’t really do any of them that well, and suffers quite a bit in the trying. The solution in this case was to keep things simple and versatile, and rely on the fact that a straight forward and honest little boat will always hand out a good measure of enjoyment for those who are prepared to recognise it.

“So here is a little boat that has a nice big cockpit, two bunks, a loo, and a bit of space for a galley. For the rest of it, it’s just trying to be a nice little boat. You can go for a sail around the bay, perhaps do a little fishing, or just chug up the river on a quiet evening to spend the night. After all, the things you are likely to remember more are the other boats you saw around you, the fish you caught (or didn’t), and the various noises coming from the mud, the birds and the river banks as the tide went out in your favourite anchorage. The boat sets the scene – the fun you make yourself.”

From the book: ‘Ed Burnett Yacht Designs’ compiled by his parents, Adrie and Jeremy Burnett, 2018

PANACEA is a beautiful design and an immaculate build. Listed for GBP 98,500 in the UK.

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