Precision: Small, Fast, and Fun

Small, Fast, and Fun

Cruisers | Daysailors | Crossover | Frequently Asked Questions

We have designed our share of large yachts, but our enthusiasm for small boats remains undiminished. Small-boat sailors derive every bit as much satisfaction from their modest craft as jet-setters do from their big ones, and we approach our smaller designs as no less significant, only less big. We take great pride in applying the same standards to all our work.

We are also proud of our long term association with Precision Boatworks, which began in 1984 with the Precision 18 and continued until they ceased new boat production 35 years later. Precision shared our commitment to, and pride in, doing small boats well. Their tooling was exquisite, and it produced attractive, stylish, high quality molded parts throughout their model line, from the Precision 15 to the Precision 23. They built to an equally high standard, with materials that are chosen and used carefully, and with quality rigging and hardware that is appropriate for the intended use. Their boats were carefully built to their designed weights, and they are rugged, reliable, and long lasting. Stylish looks, lively performance, and fun sailing are all top priorities for both designer and builder on all Precision sailboats.

The essential ‘Precision DNA’ that is central to the performance, style, modest draft and easy trailering of each Precision model is common to them all, but there are differences that give them their individual appeal.


The Precision cruisers all feature a keel/centerboard underbody that combines modest draft when with the board is up, with excellent windward performance when the board is down. The ballast is secured deep in the fixed keel cavity to maximize stability. The board itself is only heavy enough to drop on its own, so that it can be raised and lowered with one hand, and so that stability is not reduced significantly when it is up.

Precision 18

The Precision 18 was designed to be the smallest boat that could be practically cruised, and still be easily trailered by a relatively small car. She has a remarkably loyal following, and is still in active production after nearly 30 years.

Precision 21

Not too big, not too small, and for some, just right. Designed to fit right between the Precision 18 and Precision 23, the Precision 21 was intended to appeal to sailors requiring neither the minimum cost of a mini-, nor the extra space of a maxi-trailerable. I recently encountered a Marblehead family of four going out for an evening sail, and they could hardly have been happier or more complementary about their boat. They said that their Precision 21 suits them perfectly.

Precision 23

Targeted to be the biggest cruiser that could be practically trailored behind a family car, the Precision 23 is an enduring benchmark for her size and type. She has successfully completed some surprisingly long passages, and has earned an impressive number of rewarding wins in club level racing.

Precision 27-28

The P-27 became the P-28 with the addition of a swim step in an extended transom.  These were only boats in the Precision line that featured an inboard diesel auxiliary and optional wheel steering.  This step up in specification proved to be a challenge for their dealer network at the time, so not a lot were produced, but the boats are comfortable and sailed well, and are quite popular with their owners.


The Precisions daysailors have especially large cockpits, and no cuddy cabins. They are both built in two versions, one as a crew ballasted pure centerboarder for ready trailering, and another that is a bit heavier with a fixed lead keel for added stability.

Precision 15 and Precision 15K

The Precision 15 was intended as an entry level family boat, with pricing and practicality to suit. Precision 15’s are easy to rig, easy to handle, and rewarding to sail. They achieve a nice balance between rewarding performance and reliable seakeeping, which they combine with ample stability. In addition to facilitating family fun, Precision 15’s are in wide use as trainers in community sailing programs.

Precision 185 and Precision 185K

The Precision 185 expands on the broad appeal of her smaller sister by adding an extra dose of acceleration and speed to her performance profile. She was recognized by Sailing World magazine as a Boat of the Year for her “combination of good sailing characteristics, substantial construction, and reasonable cost.” Her swim platform at the transom contributes to the fun by getting swimmers back aboard more easily and allowing youngsters to trail their toes in water. This ‘back porch’ can also contribute to safety by facilitating boarding from a dinghy, and recovering from an accidental ‘man overboard’ incident more easily and quickly. For some sailors, the Precision 185K keel version may be better suited for deeper, less sheltered waters.

Transit 380

The T_380 design ( is intended to suit young sailors who are making the transition from the single-handed Optimist pram to high performance double-handed dinghies. Most kids ‘size out’ of the Opti at about 115 pounds, and between the ages of 11 to 14. After years of sailing alone in prams, many are also looking forward to sailing together with friends. Many do not yet have the sailing skills and experience required to handle a Club 420, however, and expecting them to do so is a bit like handing a new driver the keys to a Porsche. For decades, the Blue Jay and Widgeon (among others) have filled this gap, but time and technology have long since passed these boats by. The Transit_380 brings modern materials and carefully ‘kid centered’ design detailing to a contemporary version of this transitional mid boat.


Precision 165

Precision 165 combines the low trailer weight and reasonable cost of a daysailor with the ‘get out of the weather’ cuddy cabin and on-board toilet facilities of a small cruiser. She is offered with a fixed lead keel only, and performs very nicely with just a 21 inch deep draft. The term ‘crossover’ may be overused these days, but it does describe the appeal of the Precision 165 especially well.

Colgate 26

The C-26 ( was built under contract by Precision Boatworks , and marketed by Steve Colgate. The boat was originally designed as a trainer for Steve’s well known Offshore Sailing School, and is very much a collaboration between Steve and Doris (basic concept and specifications), Jim Taylor (design detailing), and Precision (tooling and construction). The C-26 was so well received that she was soon marketed directly to the public, and she was recognized by Sailing World magazine as a Boat of the Year. SW judge Bill Lee wrote, “Not only did I find the Colgate 26 to be a good trainer but also I found myself applauding her for being an excellent sailboat in her own right. (She) appears (ruggedly built) relative to most modern sport boats and I found … excellent glasswork and construction quality with good attention to detail…She represents tremendous value on today’s market.” The C-26 was chosen by the US Coast Guard, US Navy, and Maine Maritime Academies for both instruction and intercollegiate competition, and she is in active production (now by Waterline Systems) with nearly 400 boats built to date.


Before our association with Precision Boatworks, we designed several other small cruisers that were produced by various builders, none of which currently provide support or parts to current owners. We are often asked about them, and offer the following background:

Spectrum 22

Chronologically the first of these small trailerable designs, she was commissioned by Spectrum Yacht Corp, which had a modestly successful production run. (See Spindrift 22, below)

Starwind 19

Wellcraft commissioned the Starwind 19 in the early ’80’s, and did a nice job building a lot of them (400?) before they realized that they could make much more money per square foot of factory space building powerboats. They built good quality boats to our Starwind 19 and Starwind 27 designs, before they went back to all power. The Starwind 223 was not our design.


Rebel Industries bought the molds for the Starwind 19 and Spectrum 22, and built a handful of boats, not always wisely or well. They marketed the Starwind 19 variously as the Starwind 19, Starwind 190, and Spindrift 19, but left the boat essentially unchanged from the orginal Wellcraft version. They retooled the Spectrum 22 without our permission or input, as the Spindrift 22.