Eight years ago, I wrote an article about the Redwing 30 in which I expressed my admiration for
her looks and decried the general trend toward ugliness in many of the new racing cruisers. I still
haven't changed my opinion very much. Perhaps some transoms have grown smaller since the
advent of the International Offshore Rule, but all too often freeboard is too high, sheerlines are
ungraceful, cabin trunks are weirdly shaped and/or defaced with huge picture windows, while
bows on some racers are so low and fine that the boats look as if they could submarine in a
seaway. But what I most dislike aesthetically is the prevalent trend toward truncated reverse
transoms. We used to own a boat with such a stern, and I never could quite get used to it. I liked
the boat, and she was handsome in most other respects, but her stern looked as though it had lost
an argument with a guillotine.
Not so the Redwing 30; this pretty little sloop has her stern drawn out nicely to match the bow's
overhang. Of course, I am familiar with the argument that small boats should not have long
overhangs because this could result in a tendency to hobbyhorse. Perhaps the Redwing 30 could
stand a slightly shorter stern, but I really don't think the overhang aft is extreme, and the boat
doesn't seem to pitch to any great degree unless she happens to meet seas that exactly correspond
to her waterline length or she carries too much weight in her ends. Of course, the overhangs add
waterline length when the boat heels, and they provide some reserve buoyancy.
The Redwing 30's rig looks short, but the boat moves exceedingly well in light
airs, and she is apt to be somewhat overburdened under full sail in fresh winds with a
Other features that enhance the boat's appearance are moderate freeboard, a graceful sheer with
the bow considerably higher than the stern, and a well-shaped cabin trunk with small, tasteful
windows. It is amazing that, although the boat is only about 22 feet on the waterline, she has full
headroom in the main cabin without the need of a high cabin trunk or a lot of freeboard. This
was accomplished with a high crown to the top of the cabin trunk, and also the hull is fairly deep
amidships, which allows a low cabin sole.
With her long ends, low silhouette, and lack of chubbiness, the Redwing 30 looks like a
scaled-down model of a larger boat. Indeed, it has been said that she is a smaller version of the
well-known 40-footer Red jacket, which was designed by Cuthbertson & Cassian of Ontario,
Canada, in 1966 to challenge the racing supremacy of the Cal 40s. Red jacket was eminently
successful, and so was a very similar C & C production design called the Redline 41. More often
than not, the scaling of a boat up or down in size does not work, but an exception is the Redwing
30, although she is certainly not an exact scaled-down model. She simply bears a strong family
resemblance to her larger sisters. At any rate, this 30-foot version by C & C has proven
tremendously successful not only as a club racer but also as a small family cruiser.
Lines of the Redwing 30 show her slack bilges and rather narrow waterline beam.
The hull is fairly wedge-shaped, even though the stern has been drawn out to match to bow
Her lines, drawn in 1967, show surprisingly slack bilges and narrow waterline beam, which
would indicate some lack of stability; however, she has a high ballast-displacement ratio of 49
percent. Her low-aspect-ratio rig is also helpful to stability. A friend of mine added a taller rig to
his Redwing 30, and the boat goes like a scalded cat in light airs, but she is a trifle tender in a
breeze, even though only one foot was added to the mast. The slack bilges help prevent
pounding in a seaway, and they also minimize wetted surface.
The keel is a thin metal fin bolted to the hull, and the salient part is not very deep, but the turn at
the garboards has a small radius that increases the effective area of the fin. Abaft the midship
section, the keel is considerably thicker at the bottom than at the top. This slope to the side of
the fin may help prevent the decrease in side force as the boat heels.
The hull appears deeper in profile than it does in the body plan. This is because there is an
unusual thin, shallow skeg attached to and integral with the upper trailing edge of the keel. This
feature probably helps alleviate cross-flow from the leeward to windward sides. Also, it may be
somewhat helpful to directional stability, although a skeg just forward of the rudder would
undoubtedly be more effective. Directional stability is not really a problem with this boat,
however, because her ends are so well balanced and the keel is fairly long by modern standards.
For a boat that's less than 22 feet of waterline, the Redwing 30's main cabin is
surprisingly roomy and quite comfortable for harbor living.
The original rudder was a narrow scimitar-type spade, but the lines plan shows a much greater
blade width with both edges parallel. Actually, there was an intermediate rudder too, which was
a wider version of the original (see the accompanying photograph). I sailed on a Redwing 30
with the original rudder and then on the same boat after the intermediate type was installed. In
my opinion, the original stalled out quite easily, but there was a noticeable improvement after
the change to the intermediate. Presumably the third version is still more effective in preventing
what the modern sailor calls a "wipe out," or an inadvertent rounding up on a spinnaker reach as
a result of a stalled rudder.
The layout below is best for cruising in protected waters where the boat is anchored or moored
every night. I say this because the dinette has seats that face fore and aft only, and the galley is
not well arranged for cooking or washing dishes while heeled under sail. Nevertheless, the
accommodations are splendid for harbor living, and occasional overnight sailing with a small
crew certainly imposes no real hardship.
There are several modifications I would make before taking the Redwing 30 offshore. First and
foremost would be a substantial weather board or lower slide in the bottom of the
companionway, since there is no bridge deck and the sill is less than six inches above the cockpit
sole. Without a weather board, the cabin could be flooded by a boarding sea or possibly by an
extreme knockdown in rough waters. Also, I would change the location of the bilge pump, which
is normally installed inside a cockpit seat locker. Opening the locker to operate the pump in
heavy weather could admit more water to the bilge than the pump could remove. Another
improvement would be to round off the sharp corners on the cabin table and elsewhere below to
minimize the risk of injury to the crew in rough weather. In addition, whether or not the boat
will sail offshore, I would raise the head above the level of the waterline so there would be no
danger that the boat would sink from a faulty check valve. It would not be a bad idea to install a
vented loop on the discharge line to prevent the head from overflowing when the boat is heeled.
The Redwing 30 "Au Lieu", owned by Parker Matthai, makes a pretty sight as she
runs up the Chester River on Maryland's eastern shore. This boat has a mast one foot
longer than standard.
A lot of details of the Redwing 30 are highly commendable. Among these are recessed engine
controls, proper sea-cocks, adequate hand rails above and below deck, toggles on all shrouds and
stays, an S-curved tiller to minimize interference with the legs of crew members sitting in the
cockpit, fiddles larger than those on many boats, more than two dozen stowage compartments,
gasoline fill pipe on the side deck rather than on the cockpit sole, and a wet locker abaft the
dinette. In regard to the latter feature, I would certainly recommend a waterproof material on the
dinette seats to protect them from the wet foul-weather gear. Also, the quarter berth might be
covered with the same material, since it is subject to some rain and spray coming down the
The successful C&C-designed Red Jacket, which inspired the design of the
smaller Redwing 30.
Construction is light but strong, and the workmanship by Hinterhoeller Ltd. of Ontario, Canada,
seems to be superior to that of many cheap stock boats made in the U.S. The fiberglass hull is
molded in one piece, which eliminates the centerline seam. When the keel is an integral hollow
fin, I prefer that the hull be molded in two halves, because it is difficult to properly lay up the
laminate inside a deep, narrow cavity; but the Redwing 30 presents no such problem, because
her keel is a metal fin bolted on. One trade-off for this arrangement is no bilge-water sump; thus,
special attention should be paid to keeping the bilge dry. Decks have a core of end grain balsa
for stiffness, lightness, and-insulation.
The Redwing 30 is a sparkling performer. Although she is better, perhaps, in light than heavy
airs, she is an all-around boat with a balanced performance on all points of sailing. Furthermore,
she is easy to handle because of her well-balanced helm, fine maneuverability, and small rig. On
the race course in the days of the CCA rule, she was almost always a threat, and she is still
competitive under certain local rules and Performance Handicap racing. The Redwing 30 may
even become a contender against some of the IOR boats under the new Measurement Handicap
System (MHS) if that form of handicapping becomes widely accepted.
This is the second version of the Redwing 30's scimitar rudder.
Some years ago when our handsome Ohlson 35 was beaten by a newer fast but ugly boat, my
cousin, who was crewing for me, declared in utter disgust that his next boat was going to be the
ugliest one he could find. Isn't it a shame that some of us now tend to identify speed with
ugliness rather than beauty? There is nothing that would please me more than to see a pretty boat
like the Redwing 30, under the MHS or any true handicap rule, take the measure of the ugly
pumpkin seeds with their graceless sheers, bloated hulls, and butchered sterns.