Pop 25 - A sailboat designed for the future

Imagine a family who built a twenty-five foot sailboat in their home backyard along two years of pleasant work. When concluding the construction the boat was taken to the club to be launched. After a short, good humoured, speech and toasting Neptune slashing a champagne bottle on the keel, when the crane actually put the boat on her element, it was observed that she floated better than expected, leaving the bow and stern tips far above the water. At this precise moment, the friends invited for the event clapped hands in recognition to the job accomplished.

Horus, the first Pop 25 to be concluded, being taken to the water in La Plata, Argentina. Courtesy: Daniel D’Angelo

Back to their home, the great planning for the so longed first cruise began to take shape. A few weeks after the first sea trial, the time has come for the great day of breaking loose and sail bound for a distant destination. The unique detail in this story was the fact that no fossil fuel was required to fill the tanks. The battery banks charged by solar panels were brimming over electrons. Not to say that it was zero the amount of hydrocarbon fuels on board, a small ethanol filled jerry-can was stored as spare fuel for the alcohol stove.

The good news was the fact that the boat floated better than expected, hardly touching the water. Courtesy: Daniel D’Angelo, from sailboat Horus, La Plata, Argentina

After a prolonged building process, the first sail-out is unforgettable. When the bows started to form a small moustache propelled by a light breeze, having the arms’ hairs standing on ends, the crew felt the most striking sensation of ecstasy. The little sailboat, as willing to show her virtues, progressed almost without heeling bound for her destination.

The first sailing of a home-built boat is unforgettable. With 8 knots winds the speed on the water was 4 knots. Courtesy: Daniel D’Angelo, Pop 25 Horus, La Plata, Argentina.

At dusk there was not even a breath of wind. Then it was just pressing a button and the boat silently resumed the former speed, now propelled by the electric auxiliary motor. Once arriving at the destination all that was required to do was to step on another button placed in the fore-deck and the windlass instantly freed the ground tackle assuring a perfect anchorage without the minimum hassle.

Then the boat was no more a means of transportation, becoming a floating home. In spite of being a hot summer night, the temperature inside the cabin remained quite tolerable, thanks to the special thermal insulation of the topsides and superstructure, a trademark of the project. While supper was being prepared, the crew kept chewing the fat snuggled together in the cosy little saloon, large enough to shelter four persons comfortably. Before the meal was served, a portable dining table was fixed in the corridor, allowing the four crewmembers to enjoy the evening in total comfort.

The Pop 25 interior layout is comparable to boats two or three feet longer. A curtain that retrieves vertically separates the heads from the saloon and another one separates the fore-cabin from the heads.

In the late evening everybody went to the cockpit to enjoy a typical summer starry night, the chat been prolonged until the eyelids began to shut down. Then each youngster chose a quarter berth, while the parents had the fore-cabin double berth for themselves. If instead of a family of four, there were three couples aboard, each couple would have a double berth to sleep, since the quarter berths are also double.

After enjoying a happy breakfast the family went for a dive in the calm waters of the anchorage. It was then that the scoop platform proved to be fantastic. Being more than two metres wide, it was large enough for two persons to get ready for diving, sitting there with room to spare. The telescopic boarding ladder was also considered a great success.

When the sea breeze started to blow in the early afternoon the time had come to start the back-home journey With the batteries’ bank partially charged by the solar panels and the boat being tidied for the return trip, to weigh anchor was a matter of pressing a button again, the anchor being stored in a roller installed in the bowsprit port side-wall. Once again profiting from the steady sea breeze, while progressing at good speed under sail, the batteries were being charged by the regenerative function of the electric motor.

The Pop 25 cockpit is jumbo-sized. Six adults find room there to sit without feeling cramped. Courtesy: Daniel D’Angelo, Pop 25 Horus, La Plata, Argentina.

After the typical intensive usage of something that was so anxiously awaited, soon the boat was requiring bottom upkeep. At any rate the ambient authorities only allow to formulate anti-fowling paints with harmless composition to the health of sea organisms. Then the most special characteristic of the project came into scene, the possibility of putting the boat on dry taking advantage of the tide range, letting the boat to be grounded supported by the bulbs of her twin keels.

To be able to clean the bottom during the ebb tide is a dream come true. Yard fees are becoming prohibitive, never mentioning cost of labour.

This part of the story deals with the happy-ending of a well-succeeded enterprise. There were lots of previous work to qualify for this award. However the defy wasn’t too difficult to be overcome. To build a Pop 25 is very different from building other sailboats for amateur construction, and as is being proved, easier and simpler than most other equivalent do-it-yourself crafts, to start with considering the assistance afforded by a complete building manual.

The construction begins with the fabrication of twelve bulkheads or semi-bulkheads that give shape to the hull, all of them quite simple to be made. This step represents about a fortnight of work, boosting the morale of the least optimistic of builders.

The construction begins with the pre-fabrication of twelve bulkheads at the workbench. Courtesy: Petr Novak, builder of a Pop 25 in the Czech Republic.

The next phase is still more addicting. To assemble the hull, all it is required to do is to sheath the hull with plywood panels, something that can be accomplished at an astonishing pace. At this time the fever to see the hull already completed is almost unbearable.

However the Pop 25 construction reserves a good surprise to their builders. There is a significant difference in the way it is built. The Pop 25 hull topsides and superstructure are double-walled. This building technique makes the boat as rigid as a rock, while providing efficient thermal insulation. People only take notice on how the boat is rigid the day the hull is turned over, when no matter how the hull is supported during the operation it doesn’t distort a single millimetre.

The Pop 25 hull is the dream of the do-it-yourself builder. The topsides are vertical and the bottom panel is flat transversally. Courtesy: Francisco Aydos, Pop 25 Rancho Alegre, being built in Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil

Pop 25 double-walled foam insulated topsides. Courtesy: Marcelo Schürhaus

When the hull is turned upside adrenaline is running in the veins at full throttle. After all the builder already owns a hull that floats. Then, if there were any doubts about the success of the challenge, by this time the doubt is dissipated. Building the interior is fascinating. You can plan how do you want the interior to look like; you can customize details to your preferences, and so on. And this phase of the construction is very quick to be accomplished. In a blink the interior is looking like it will be when the boat will be sailing.

Building the interior of the Pop 25 is a quick job. Courtesy: Marcelo Schürhaus, Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil.

The last phase of the construction, building the superstructure and installing fittings and equipments, is when the anxiety take place in the builder’s hearts. That is when some try to find shortcuts, willing to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But by then the success of the enterprise is already warranted.

The superstructure is also double-walled and thermal insulated. Courtesy: Müntaz Karahan, Pop 25 Hayal, being built in Turkey.

The Pop 25 is a recent plan. In a little more than two years since its introduction we already have fifty-one builders in twelve different countries, and Horus, the first boat of the class to sail, proved to be the versatile cruising sailboat we intended to design. We believe this will be a welcome contribution for the democratization of blue water sailing.

Click here to know more about the Pop 25.