Why I prefer the Buccaneer

Published on July 30th, 2020

Harry Sindle was a designer, boat builder and champion dinghy sailor. In the Flying Dutchman Class he is 6-time US National Champion, Gold Medal winner at the 1959 Pan Am games, and US Olympic representative in 1960.

Sindle was also is a 3-time National Champion in the 18-foot Buccaneer class, which was designed in 1966 and includes similar stylings to the 20-foot Flying Dutchman. The Buc continues on today, and while the class is small in numbers, it’s not for a lack of love. Here’s how Sindle described the boat:


I first sailed the Buccaneer in 1984 when Gloucester Yachts, a company I was managing at the time, purchased the Buccaneer molds from Wellcraft (Starwinds). I had long admired the boat over the years, so when we the chance to make them I was very pleased.

A few years later, when I was no longer with Gloucester Yachts, I thought enough of the Buc to buy the molds so I could continue my association with the boat and the class.

I have sailed, raced, built, or owned most of the similar sized boats that are being sailed today. Therefore my opinion regarding the Buc may have merit.

Some of the more popular monohulls in the 14- to 20-foot range with which I have had personal sailing experience include the Albacore, Comet, Thistle, Lightening, Flying Dutchman, Mobjack, Hampton, Finn, Jet 14, Mutineer, Windmill, Highlander, International 14, Snipe, Laser, and 5O5.

Of all the boats I’ve sailed, the Buccaneer represents the best and most sensible design which is suitable for both day sailing and racing. While not a beginner’s boat, it is forgiving enough so that one quickly becomes comfortable with it. At the same time, it is a good enough performer so one doesn’t tire of it.

It is a fine daysailer, with its comfortable cockpit arrangement and roller furling jib. It is also easy to race by two people with its spinnaker launcher, sensible-size jib, and well-designed hull.

Finally, it is a very attractive design, with its contemporary styling, rakish boat, and well-balanced sailplan. And who wants a boat that is not pretty to look at.

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