Sailmaker, inventor, racer, yacht designer and entrepreneur for over half a century, Ted Hood’s vision has lead the way in innovations from sailcloth to hull design. Today, in his 80s, he shows no signs of slowing down. With decades of experience under his keel, he has focused his enthusiasm for new design and problem solving on an issue that has eternally plagued designers of cruising sailboats and sailors alike — how to combine the functionality and performance of a good sailboat with the convenience of a trawler. The new Hood 55 Expedition, Robin, does all of that and more.
Robin is built to deliver speed and comfort under power or sail. It can easily serve as a liveaboard/live-anywhere home for two or as an elegant cruiser where three to four couples can be easily entertained. It was constructed as Hood’s personal boat in Tuzla, Turkey, by TeKad Marine, Ltd. and delivered to the U.S. earlier this year. Hood has plans to build subsequent Expedition series yachts in China. The designer explained that “the old motor sailors didn’t do good under power or sail, maybe 8 knots at most, but by designing a long underbody, like a power boat, aft, and a very high prismatic coefficient hull, we can get about 9.5 knots under power and about 10 knots under sail, even though it came out of the yard a little heavy.”
Robin is ruggedly built from stem to stern. The hull construction is hand laid-up fiberglass with a vinylester resin and CoreCell with solid fiberglass for thru-hulls and equipment installations. The design and build meet Bureau Veritas (a Paris-based classification society like American Bureau of shipping, ABS, or American Boat and Yacht Council, ABYC) standards, and the systems are in accordance with Lloyds and ABYC standards. From the hard dodger to high bow and wide, clean decks Robin is every bit an ocean voyager. There is very little wood trim on deck to fuss with and all of the stainless and aluminum hardware is robust. There is a collision bulkhead between the guest cabin and the forepeak. The boat’s 18,000-pound Scheel keel draws just 6.4 feet, providing a stable ride. A centerboard in the keel can be lowered to increase performance upwind by increasing the draft to about 12 feet.
Robin is sloop-rigged with triple spreaders. An 85-foot aluminum mast carries 1,832 sq. ft. of sail and features in-mast furling manufactured by Charleston Spar Electric Furl. The sails are, as you might expect, Hood 9.3 oz. Vectron. The sail plan is conventional without much overlap and has a staysail positioned sufficiently aft for it to be used as a storm jib. The clew on the main has been kept intentionally high so that when roller reefed it can still be trimmed. The traveler, blocks and winches are from Harken, while the standing rigging is Dyform.
For unobstructed visibility forward and for viewing the sails there are twin steering stations. The lack of coamings and the level decks make for easy entry and exit from the large cockpit. Forward and protected by the hard dodger there is a starboard helm station with full controls and a Raymarine radar overlay plotter. In addition, electronics include a Raystar 125 GPS, Raymarine ST60 Plus depthsounder, and Raymarine E80 and E120 cockpit repeaters. The communications package includes an Icom M-802 single sideband radio, Icom M-602 VHF and Raymarine Navionics software. The autopilot is a Raymarine ST7001 with a 24 V type II hydraulic pump and a GyroPlus rate transducer Z179.
Robin’s power plant is a 300-hp John Deere 6068, six-cylinder turbocharged diesel mated to a Twin Disc MG 5050 2:45:1 gearbox. An Aquamet 22 60-mm shaft turns a Bruton Varifold 4-blade (30-inch by 22-inch pitch) prop. Single lever electronic controls are installed in the pilothouse and at the starboard helm station. Steering at the starboard station is by autopilot remote. There is a Whisper 12, 11.6-kW genset for auxiliary power and a Mastervolt Dakar 24/5000 W inverter. The rest of the machinery space includes two Cruisair heating/air-conditioning units, HRO 300-gallon watermaker, and plenty of space for spare parts and tools. Additional pumps and other gear are located in the lazarette locker.
Belowdecks, Robin is laid out for live-aboard comfort and ease of entertaining. The fit and finish are world class and feature Epifanes satin-fininshed, raised panel American cherry throughout. The removable cabin soles are classic teak and holly. The engine room and machinery space are located on the centerline below the cockpit, ahead of the aft cabin, creating a port passageway aft and a u-shaped galley to starboard. A deep, top-loading freezer and a Bosch washer and dryer utilize the space on the outboard side of the port passageway heading aft, and there is a longitudinal countertop that can serve as a convenient bar.
An offshore-capable galley
Robin’s galley is well designed for entertaining as well as offshore use. Sturdy deep fiddles keep items in place on the granite counter top. Lockers and drawers are thoughtfully placed and the double stainless steel Scandvik sink is deep — as is the trash bin — a feature often seriously overlooked on voyaging boats. There is a large custom Grunert 3-plate reefer, a Sharp microwave, trash compactor and dishwasher. Both the freezer and the reefer have stainless steel shelving.
The roomy owner’s stateroom is aft, and it has been designed with excellent headroom. There is a king-sized double berth, a built-in desk and seat, and the stateroom abounds with storage space. All of the drawers are large, and the hanging lockers deep and cedar lined. The owner’s head is divided fore and aft and is equipped with a Tecma Silence Plus head, Sealand porcelain sink, vanity and separate shower stall.
The forward guest cabin has two wide vee-berths and is fitted and finished like the owner’s stateroom. There is an ensuite head that also serves the adjacent portside two-berth crew cabin. The doors in the head ensure privacy for either cabin and enable its use as a day head.
The Hood 55 Expedition Robin embodies the best of the best in a voyaging yacht — and without compromise. It is no surprise that such a vessel should come from Hood as it reflects the unique vision of one of the finest yacht designers, sailmakers and boat builders of our time.