The E-Boat Offshore One Design is a light displacement IOR mini-ton keel-boat with a lifting cast iron keel, designed in 1974 by Julian Everitt.
The lifting keel and light all-up weight render her suitable for trailing by cars of moderate size. Some two hundred and fifty E-Boats were built between 1976 and 1984 of which around one hundred and fifty were delivered to the UK. Most remain in active use and are fairly evenly spread about the country, but the main areas where significant numbers will be seen are on the Forth (Port Edgar Yacht Club) and the Solent.
For sailing the keel is locked down and, if the mechanism is properly maintained and used, is as firmly located as in any fixed keel boat. The benefit of her light displacement is seen in her speed and she will comfortably outpace many larger yachts, despite her uncomplicated masthead rig. As with the majority of trailer-sailers (and many other modern designs), she has a relatively low ballast ratio and therefore lacks the ultimate stability of heavier and larger yachts. Having said this, in the right hands and with some simple but important safety modifications she is capable of safe offshore passages.
Accommodation is quite good for a boat of this size and is aided by the large beam. In fine weather three adults can live aboard comfortably, although she has 4 good sized berths. The twin cabin layout offers relatively good privacy, whilst the galley and chart table facilities are reasonable. There is room (just) for a sea toilet though most boats carry a self contained “chemical” toilet instead. The main problem is lack of headroom but this can be considerably improved by fitting a canopy. However around a dozen raised coach roof versions were built towards the end of the production run.
All the boats were available either in kit form or fully fitted out, and if cruising is a priority then the latter is certainly the more suitable. The wide flush decks and guardrails make access around the boat easy and relatively safe.
The price range of E-Boats is currently about £1,500 to £5,000. If one were to offer any single piece of advice on buying it would be to buy the best equipped and kept boat you can find; it will cost much more than the difference to put a poorly maintained boat into good order. If cruising is your main interest look for a boat with a properly finished interior. The raised coach roof version offers slightly better headroom but the cockpit is slightly smaller.
The main advantage of the E-Boat over any of its competitors is its trailability – therefore look for a boat with a break-back trailer and trolley or be prepared to invest in one. I would go as far as to say the boat is not complete without such a rig – the difference in ease of launch and recovery is hard to imagine without trying it. She’s just within the limits of width for towing in the UK and as long as the towing vehicle is registered in the UK it’s also legal to tow on the Continent.
The Class Association provides new members with reprints from the Association Magazines relating to many areas including safety. We are currently collating the contents of all the back issues of the Magazine so that we can have copies of a wider range of subject matter to hand.
Please contact the Association Secretary if you wish any further information.