With all the (deserved) attention being paid to Keith Callaghan’s new designs for HAZARDOUS MERLIN ROCKET and BLUEMOTION, I’d like to pay brief homage to one of his older designs, BLUE LIGHTNING:

Blue Lightning(Photos and renderings courtesy Keith Callaghan)

She’s 22′ LOA, and towing weight of 1,150 kgs.  Keith describes her as a sports trailer-sailer, with overnight accommodations for three people.

I like this rendering:

Blue Lightning2


Here’s her righting moment:

Blue Lightning3Here are some comments from Keith regarding her sailing performance:

“Uffa Fox was well known for saying, ‘The only place that weight ever did any good was in a steamroller’, and certainly at moderate angles of heel a ballast keel is just dead weight, adding little to the stability of the boat.

Because she is so light (her CHS empty weight is 705kg and her displacement/length ratio (DLR) is 104) she FLIES off the wind. She is a true planing cruiser, needing just a force 4 breeze on a reach to take off. At any speed she remains beautifully balanced and light on the helm.

I tend to emphasize the offwind performance in my description of Blue Lightning, because it is here that speed differentials with other boats are most marked. Even Blue Lightning cannot plane to windward, so she is limited to her maximum displacement speed upwind. This maximum is the same for any boat of her waterline length, ie 1.4 x the square root of the waterline (in feet) = approx. 6.4 knots. (Handicapping systems weight waterline length very heavily for this reason).”

A boat as light and ‘hydrodynamic’ as Blue Lightning will approach this max readily in smooth water in a force 3, or in conditions where you can keep her heeling to less than 15-20 degrees. In these conditions I can generally outpace 30-35 footers to windward.

Another big advantage she has to windward is that tacking is just a matter of putting the helm down – thanks to her self tacking jib. Tactically, too, this is a big advantage, especially in restricted waters racing (eg river, or ’round the cans’).”

blue lightning5

She looks ideal for her design brief.  Has anyone built one?  She reminds me of the wonderful MORC racers from the last century… and I mean that fondly.

Plans and more information here:

And Keith’s homepage:

This entry was posted in My Wooden Boat of April 2013 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to BLUE LIGHTNING

  1. Max says:

    Great choice Carl, it’s a shame Blue Lightening hasn’t gone into production – one of life’s dilemma’s it’s probably the ideal boat for the sailing we currently do, but I don’t have time to build one!

Comments are closed.