The latest collaborative project from Morris Yachts in Bass Harbor, Maine is the 57-foot sailboat Circe. The designing and building of this boat was the result of a group effort by the yacht’s owners, designers and builders. The Fontaine Design Group of Portsmouth, R.I., drew the elegant the plans for the offshore pilothouse sloop, which is vaguely reminiscent of an earlier Fontaine design, Amelia3. State-of-the-art fabricator and boatbuilder Goetz Custom Boats of Bristol, R.I., built the hull, house, deck and structural bulkheads. Morris Yachts’ world-class craftsmen and engineers completed all joinery, systems installations, paint, finish work and rigging.

The yacht’s design is based upon the owner’s accommodation needs and offshore sailing requirements. Circe is geared toward single-handed and short-handed sailing, and as such the rig is manageable with a mast height of 79’ 10” above the waterline. All sheets and control lines lead back to the cockpit and include a Leisure Furl manual in-boom furling system with a Reckmann RF-50 furler on the headstay. The rig is carbon fiber and built by Offshore Spars and the standing rigging is by Navtec.

An experienced sailor, the owner’s plans include some long-distance voyaging without being relegated to spartan accommodations. To that end, the boat has been equipped with a fully appointed walk-through galley with sizable Corian counters. The comfortable main saloon has a concealable flat screen plasma television that rises on the centerline, a bar and a U-shaped settee that converts to a double berth. The galley is fitted with a Force 10 three-burner propane stove, custom stainless steel stove hood and a microwave oven. There is also a rail-mounted stainless steel Trail Blazer propane grill. A Spectra Ventura 150 gal/day watermaker supplements the fresh water tanks on extended passages. The custom stainless steel reefer/freezer is built by Ocean Options and uses a Sea Frost BDxpx refrigeration system. Air conditioning is by a Marine Air Vector Compact unit while cabin heat is covered by an Espar D8LC 27,300 BTU/hr diesel-fired hot air heater with vents in the cabin and saloon as well as under the hard dodger.

As with the fit and finish of all Morris Yachts, the interior joinery is flawless and graceful and features satin-varnished teak. Fiddles, handholds, window valances and other details are gloss. The hull sheathing is creamy white and offset by a teak and maple sole sealed with a durable polyurethane.

Circe’s accommodations include three cabins, two forward and a large owner’s cabin aft. The forward cabin has a double vee-berth followed by a port cabin with over and under crew bunks. Both cabins share a full head and shower. All heads are by Tecma. The owner’s cabin has a centerline king berth flanked by two settees, a desk/vanity with accommodations for a laptop and an en-suite head with shower. The boat’s locker doors are woven cane for aesthetics as well as ventilation. Interior cushions, bedding, etc. are all custom made by Chesapeake Interiors of Annapolis, Md.

Comfort and safety during offshore and foul weather passages is assured with the addition of a pilothouse. It has a retractable sunroof, but is also heated for chilly nights and provides excellent visibility.

The helm was also designed with comfort and practicality in mind — a hard dodger to keep the watch crew dry and smiling. The steering system is a Lewmar Mamba Royale BH10 torque tube system.

Performance is equally as important to the owners as comfort. They wanted to keep the yacht as small as possible while maintaining its functionality. The hull represents the latest evolution of designer Ted Fontaine’s shallow draft-centerboard Delta Form hull. Fontaine’s 6-foot draft design emphasizes form stability via its substantial beam and minimizes wetted surface by creating steep deadrise hull sections with soft U-shaped fore and aft sections. The high-lift hull form combines low wetted surface with a high interior volume. Boat speed is maximized while shoal draft broadens the owner’s cruising options. The boat’s centerboard system is a manual lift system consisting of a fluted stainless steel box and pipe mounted to the centerboard trunk. The lifting penant is led through the pipe to a deck block aft of the mast collar then through a sheet stopper to a dedicated electric winch located on the starboard side of the coach top.

The yacht’s engine room is designed as a watertight space. It is accessible via a watertight door at the aft end of the galley and watertight door in the aft shower which has a flush-mounted handle. The doors are A-30-rated aluminum and were built by Pacific Coast Marine Industries of Everett, Wash. There is also overhead engine room access via the cockpit sole in the form of a soft patch for potential removal of main engine. The engine room is insulated with a system designed by Novotechnik in the Netherlands. The system is a combination of materials that include Iso-Cor 3mm cork-rubber dampening sheets and 3M Thinsulate 6710. The entire surface of the engine room bulkheads is covered with Visco Damp PDP dampening paper. Additionally, the underside of the cabin sole is lined with cork-rubber sheeting to provide a resilient barrier between sole and cockpit. The sheeting also provides an acoustic boundary for sound from the engine room. The area above the prop is also fitted with damping tile.

Circe’s auxiliary power comes from a Yanmar Type 4LHA-HTP marine diesel (124 hp @ 3,100 rpm) with a Centek exhaust system. The shaft is connected to the gearbox via an Aquadrive B20 coupling driving a three-blade Flex-o-Fold folding propeller. The boat’s 24V DC power is supplied by two primary battery banks that are charged by a Mastervolt Alpha 24/150 engine alternator and a Mass 24/100 battery charger. For maneuverability there is a Lewmar Model 250TT 8 kW bow thruster.

On deck the gear includes Lewmar 68 CCEST primary winches and Lewmar 65 CCEST secondaries. There is also an Ideal 24 VDC vertical windlass with Lewmar foot controls. All of the custom stainless steel deck hardware castings are by New England Castings of Hiram, Maine.

Custom Navigation Systems of Westbrook, Conn., provided Circe’s integrated electronics system. The heart of the integration is the NavNet vx2 Ethernet-based network. It includes Ockham Matryx graphic displays that are easy to read, weather tight, and can provide up to 18 pages of information. The electronics package is complemented by Furuno 1834 CBB radar, Furuno NavNet GPS/WAAS chart plotter and weather fax. A NautiComp 12-inch LCD computer display is mounted on the starboard side of the nav area in the hard dodger. A Motion Computing LS800 tablet computer handles navigation at the helm. The autopilot is a Simrad AP25-CH-3D mounted at the Nav Station with a second station display AP26 mounted in the cockpit at the helm. For communications there is an Icom M802 SSB transceiver, Icom M504 DSC VHF and an Ericsson cellular phone terminal.

The new yacht is testimony to the owners’ vision in bringing together these marine talents. The skill and experience of Circe’s collaborators are evident throughout this magnificent new yacht and are also testimony to what is possible when the best in the business come together.

By Ocean Navigator