Samoa 28 - A boat to sail without boundaries

Sailing offshore onboard a cruising sailboat, be it in the company of the family, or with friends, or even in solitary, is one of the best ways to break free from it all, and it may become one of the most exhilarating sensations one can experience. If the boat was built by her owner, the pleasure is enhanced, since the will to get rid of the chains that hold us all in the rat race is alive for the duration of the construction. When the boat is launched, the feeling of accomplishment is immeasurable, some of our builders reckoning it was the happiest day in their lives. Stories like that are reported in blogs published by our clients, telling others, sometimes in videos, the deep emotions generated on those occasions.

The Samoa 28 is a thorough cruising sailboat designed to accomplish offshore passages in comfort and safety. Courtesy: Moacir Ribeiro.

We already commented in previous articles the special meaning it represents to us the 28 foot length over all, since we believe this is the best compromise in sailboat dimension. This size may fulfil the requirements of comfort and confidence anyone expects when being at sea, while it is within the reach of the largest number of sailors with enough means to put up with this endeavour. Reaching to the conclusion that this size of boat is a good choice is sometimes consequence of our own yearnings. When my wife Eileen and I travelled from Rio de Janeiro to French Polynesia in a twenty-five foot sailboat measuring 1.90m in width, when arriving in Tahiti we concluded that our boat, even though being undoubtedly seaworthy, it was stressing to live in such a confined space. So we decided to sell her there and return home with the intention of building a new boat, this time a thirty foot yacht.

This boat, which we called Maitairoa, meaning "it is fine" in Tahitian, being the equivalent of "aloha" in Hawaiian, was a milestone in our lives, having accomplished memorable passages with her in the South Atlantic and the Southern Ocean. Then I made a common mistake, one shared with heaps of other cruising sailors, the wish of wanting something better over something which was already good enough. Under my supervision, our studio developed the project of a thirty-five foot cruising sailboat, which we called Cabo Horn 35, such an enticing sailboat that who built one of them most probably would never consider owning another boat. The project was a great success among our stock plans. Dozens of them were built, with many accomplishing overseas passages, including one of them completing a round the world voyage. However it was then that I realized that my monthly income wasn`t sufficient to deal with necessary cash-flow to build one of them without losing precious time in life to reach that goal.

As I already reported in an earlier article, it was onboard Maitairoa, when cruising in the Southern Ocean, that during endless night-watch cockpit chats, the sketch of a new project was conceived - our presently blockbuster MC28 cruising sailboat design. This boat fitted like a glove in my budget, and about her, our faithful Fiu, we published many articles reporting the adventures lived on board her (see Multichine 28 home page, CLUB). Notwithstanding, a yacht design studio never relents. We felt the need for a second option of a boat of that same size, the new design having round bilge hull, so that we had a stock plan to please our clients no matter their preference for multi-chine or round bilge. And it was then, when the office shifted address from Rio de Janeiro to Perth, Western Australia, that the Samoa 28 project was born!

Strip-planking sandwich hull construction is very easy to be made. Transverse moulds, which are provided in full scale, or in a file for CNC cutting, are part of the plan`s package. Joining these moulds together with strips and gluing the strips one to each other is a simple and straightforward operation. Next it is applied a fibreglass encapsulation of the external surface of the hull. Then the hull is turned over and another fibreglass lamination is applied internally. Extra fibreglass sheathing is applied in the fin-keel region, internally and externaly, as shown in the drawing above.

And so, having these conceptual decisions in mind, we got ready to develop the new project. However, new design, new ideas!

Samoa 28, a boat designed to allow middle class families to enjoy the incomparable feeling of freedom that offshore cruising yachts can proportionate.

Since we learned along our yacht designing career that the most important step in amateur construction is building the hull, having in mind that seeing the hull shape already there for anyone to see, in most cases, come hell or high water, no hurdle will relent the enthusiasm of our builders to complete the work until the boat is sailing. For that matter we specified the strip-planking sandwich building method, a user`s friendly way to build a hull, taking into account that bending strips over a mould and gluing one to each other, temporarily nailing them to the moulds, is duck soup.

Applying strips over the moulds is a simple and exciting operation, since the hull starts to show its true shape just from the beginning, until the builder can appreciate how the boat he made with his own hands will look like. Courtesy: Bernardo Sampaio.

Time is confirming that we were absolutely right in believing in the adequacy of the chosen building method. Each client with whom we keep contact, after finishing the hull construction, keeps following the green light until the launching day. Some of them edit blogs on which they publish the complete story of their constructions, and by means of these blogs we are able to follow their enterprises. And then comes the moment of truth, the very launching, remembered by some of them as the happiest moment in their lives.

The Samoa 28 saloon is very spacious for a 28 foot sailboat. Six persons can sit at the table comfortably, and there is enough room to store the crew`s personal belongings in a profusion of bins and shelves behind the dinette seats back-walls. Courtesy: Vinicius Suppioni.

The reason for our confidence in having designed the Samoa 28 so to become a hallmark in the lives of those who decided to build one of them resides in the fact that I and my wife had lived aboard the MC28 Fiu for more than two years and have sailed thousands of miles with her in offshore passages.

This Samoa 28 has the access door to the owner`s cabin made with two hinged leaves. This is a good solution, since it leaves room in the entrance hall portside wall to install the charger/inverter. Courtesy: Vinicius Suppioni.

In spite of the design not being the same, when developing the new project we had the chance to do again the very same solutions which worked so well in the former design, while profiting from our own experience to redefine some details which we reckoned were possible to be improved. The result has been quite rewarding. Both projects are doing brilliant careers among our stock plans, the MC28 being our most renowned project for amateur construction, and the Samoa 28 following the same steps of success. Our builders in general are quite pleased with their accomplishments. However, for them to really recognise the true face of their creations it is necessary that they go out sailing in another sailboat of approximately the same size, especially if sailing in bad weather. Then they probably will discover that compared to their boats, most others are less stable, less seaworthy, and less comfortable to live aboard for prolonged stretches.

Click here to know more about the Samoa 28.