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Looking for Rhodes Swiftsure 33 Owners

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2023 9:54 pm
by Charlie99
Having been back in the archives here I've noticed that several members have or do own one of these beauties. I'm neck deep in a full rebuild of hull #20 and would would love to hear what other owners or those that have spent considerable time aboard might have to say.

I plan on making several changes to the boat as I build her back up, including building an outboard well, losing 2 berths in the saloon in favor of a larger galley and dedicated nav/electronics station, and possibly moving the head from a starboard facing to forward facing orientation. I will have touched virtually every square inch of the boat when its all said and done so there is nothing that is off the table, provided I can achieve it with my budget and skillset.

Some questions I have for other owners:

What, if anything, would you change about the layout of the deck and/or interior?

Have you ever noticed anything that you wished had been built stronger or could use reinforcement?

Are the large deadlights prone to leaking? (I have the originals, but considering swapping to acrylic with a larger sealing area)

How does her sailing performance compare with similar boats?

There is also the big question of sailplan, which is in no way urgent for me at the moment, but I have an interesting situation that has been in the back of my mind since I took on the project. My boat came with a retrofitted stainless bowsprit, which extends the tack of the foresail about 3 feet forward of the stemhead. Based on the documentation that the previous owner had, it appears that the original owner had this installed to allow for a 100% self tacking genoa. If I'm not mistaken, Rhodes' office was involved in this design change. This makes sense as she was a great lakes boat originally, but leaves me with an interesting conundrum in rigging her for cruising. I figure I have 3 options:

1) Abandon the sprit altogether and return her to her original rigging configuration, which would involve fabricating a new stemhead fitting and pulpit.

2) Fly a 100+% genoa on the forestay for light - moderate wind, and have a removable solent stay for a smaller working jib, either with reefs or a separate storm jib.

3) Rig her as a cutter, with a high cut jib on the forestay, and a staysail on the inner stay attached ~2/3 up the mast with checkstays.

I lean more toward options 2 and 3, as I'm quite keen on the idea of having multiple sail configurations ready to deploy, but I'm open to suggestions from anyone. I know most boats of this vintage suffer from a bit of weather helm as well, so a larger foretriangle may prove handy for balancing. I will, of course, be consulting some professionals when it comes time to rig and have sails cut, but I suspect this will be the best place to find those with first hand experience on this hull.

Feel free to leave anything else you find noteworthy about the Swiftsure.


Re: Looking for Rhodes Swiftsure 33 Owners

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2023 9:39 am
by atomvoyager
Looks like the other Swiftsure 33 owners here have disappeared. I don't know the boat other than what I've seen online but I'll comment on the outboard well and some of your questions that are universal to boats of this size and type.

An outboard well may work on this boat but is still unconfirmed. Looking at a hull plan my concern is that the transom overhand may either be too high or too long. If too high the prop will not be low enough to be effective. If too long then the transom slot for tilt-up would have to be too wide if the prop area fell within the transom rather than outside of it. I would tape together a carboard mockup of that area of hull and transom and then either place the motor in it or get accurate measurements of the motor and check the fit. If you don't have access to a motor then I can give you some dimensions.

If your boat has pilot berths: Some people like them but I'm not a fan. They seem designed as an uncomfortable way to provide extra bunks for racing crew. They are awkward to use, cramped, have increased motion since they are higher up, and have no air circulation once you put up a lee cloth because there is little overhead clearance. You'll gain more storage if you build lockers where the pilot berths are. Or instead of trying to sleep in them you might keep lee cloths up all the time and just use them for storage areas.

I would want two useable bunks in the saloon so for increased galley space you might extend the counter forward of the stove to overhang or fold up over the end of the bunk with foot space under.

If you are not installing roller furling, the existing bowsprit and forestay could be kept and used for a standard genoa as well as a hank-on light air headsail such as a gennaker. Then I'd add a staysail stay that is removable for a storm jib or staysail. That way you have the cutter rig and redundancy and more sail options and you can either use the more traditional yankee forward or a lower cut genoa. You'd need checkstays, or intermediated aft lowers, to support the inner stay but I like these as added rig redundancy or rig strengthening method anyway. A solent stay saves on rigging for aft support but since it runs so close to the forestay at the upper end you would probably only set it up when not needing to tack your genoa and then lose any rig redundancy when not using it and no extra aft mast support to back up the backstay and upper shrouds.

Re: Looking for Rhodes Swiftsure 33 Owners

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2023 4:18 pm
by Charlie99

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I did notice that a lot of those posts were from some time ago, but I figure if any other owners are online this would still be the best forum to find them.

I did some rough measurements a few years back when I bought the boat and determined a tilting well with a 9.8 sailpro seemed viable. Of course, I was extrapolating from the available motor measurements online, and it would be great to get a proper mockup made with more accurate dimensions. I wasn't planning on purchasing a motor until she was ready for the water, so I appreciate your offer, I will contact you separately for those details. I have been pondering alternatives if this does turn out to be impractical. I could possibly opt for the 6hp motor in a non-tilting configuration, and just accept that I will have to lift it onto the afterdeck for storage. At ~60lb this wouldn't be terribly cumbersome for me, but not ideal. I'm also looking at an inboard electric propulsion system. While I would prefer the self-contained and replaceable gas outboard, it seems like electric installations are becoming more accessible all the time, especially if you build your own batteries from raw cells.

All of the proposed saloon layouts I have in mind keep at least 2 usable sea berths. To starboard I intend to convert the pilot berth to dedicated storage and widen the transom berth a few inches toward the hull for added comfort. I hope to be able to turn the original icebox area into the electronics and navigation area, with a small chart table and the ability to sit at the aft end of the transom berth. I want to extend the counter space on the port side so that the galley can be used effectively without having to turn between the high and low sides. More than likely I will do away with the pilot berth to port as well, but I will need to build some more detailed mockups to determine if I can keep the transom berth usable along with the larger galley.

I am partial to the added strength of a true cutter rig. I think it may ultimately come down to whether or not I want roller furling on my primary headsail. With a solent stay, it could be attached on the bowsprit just aft of the furled headsail for hanking a gennaker type sail, or further aft on the deck for raising a smaller working/storm jib. That said, I've never sailed a boat in this configuration, and I suspect the extra effort of moving around the solent stay might not be worth the benefit of a furler. As for short tacking, I figure that with either rig I would have the option of just using the inner sail unobstructed if sailing shorthanded.

One more question that I forgot to add to my original post. Is there any reason to be concerned about the keel bolts? They are bronze, heavily oversized, and glassed into the bilge. Presumably they should outlast the hull. The reason I ask, however, is that the rest of the submerged hardware was made from a lower quality naval brass that has suffered some galvanic corrosion (dezincification). The rudder shoe and a few thru hulls got the worst of it, and were rendered totally unusable. The centerboard and rudder stock are luckily still sound, but given that the keel bolts are inaccessible I can't shake the fear that they may be weakened. My hull was built in Amsterdam at Devries Lentsch, but I can't locate any definitive answer as to the alloy used for the bolts. As I understand, true silicon bronze is virtually impervious to galvanic, so I'm hoping someone can confirm that they did not use a zinc-bearing alloy.

Re: Looking for Rhodes Swiftsure 33 Owners

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 7:40 am
by atomvoyager
If you can't find any reports of ballast or keel separation then I would assume it is not an issue on your boat. If it were, or you just wanted to make sure as well as seal the joint you could add a layer or two of fiberglass to the hull coming up at least a foot above the joint but that's a big job.

Re: Looking for Rhodes Swiftsure 33 Owners

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2023 3:35 pm
by Charlie99
I should correct myself and say that "impervious" is not the right word for silicon bronze, but it is much higher on the galvanic scale than any zinc-bearing alloy. I hadn't considered glassing over the ballast, but having recently finished glassing the entire deck and hull-deck joint this would be a walk in the park by comparison. I will look into the data on this to see how much glass it would take to serve as backup to the bolts.