As previously published in

January/February 2000
by Ted Brewer

C&C racer/cruiser - a true classic

The Redwing 30 was designed by George Cuthbertson and George Cassian in the good old days of the Cruising Club of America (CCA) handicap rule. Her long ends and modest draft were almost dictated by that rule, and her sweet sheer and handsome, traditional appearance were the accepted style for cruiser/racers of her day.

I worked for George Cuthbertson from 1957 to 1960, so when Good Old Boat asked me to review the yacht, I jumped at the opportunity to contact him and get some inside information on the design. Cuthbertson and Cassian (later to become C&C Yachts) designed the Redwing in 1966, about the same time as their famous race-winning 40footer, Red Jacket.

As George pointed out, the late '60s were years of great change in the design of yachts. The CCA handicap rule was giving way to the IOR rule, and designers had to rethink the entire hull shape, from bow to stern and from sheer to keel. A comparison of the Redwing 30 and the C&C 30, which replaced her a few years later, is very interesting and indicative of the types of yachts dictated by the rules.

The C&C 30, while of similar displacement, spreads that displacement along a 3-foot-longer waterline than the Redwing, and the difference in the displacement-to-length (D/L) ratios of the two vessels is very marked indeed. With her extra 14 inches of beam, the C&C 30 is bound to have considerably greater form stability. Her added 6 inches of draft, along with her shallower, beamier hull gives her a deeper and more effective fin as well. It all adds up to a boat well able to stand up to that extra 54 square feet of sail, and one with substantially improved performance.

However, the Redwing was still very much state-of-the-art when she was designed, and her performance greatly impressed my old friend Richard ("Jud") Henderson when he wrote her up for The Telltale Compass, as reported in Vol. 2, No. 10 of that newsletter. The yacht was able to compete with CCA cruiser/racers of her size and larger and still win more than her share of silver. Jud wrote very favorably about sailing aboard one of the Redwings and commented on how she simply gobbled up competitors that rated a foot or so higher under the CCA rule. That is due, in part, to the unusually high ballast/displacement ratio, which keeps her standing up to the breeze despite her modest beam and her generous (by CCA standards) sail area.

In light weather she would still shine, as her short waterline, modest beam, and relatively slack-bilge hull help to reduce wetted surface, the major cause of resistance when the winds soften. Redwing's spade rudder and shark-style fin were also state-ofthe-art for the late '60s. Her all-lead outside ballast gave her an edge over many competing yachts, which had lead pigs (or worse) set in concrete in a hollow fiberglass keel.

One note on the rudder: I had always wondered about that unusual scimitar shape until George told me it was a change that the builder made to reduce pressure on the rudder from the propeller slipstream when the yacht was under power. In any case, it worked; and Jud Henderson commented on the rudder's effectiveness, particularly when running under spinnaker. I don't consider the Redwing 30 to be a true bluewater yacht, due to her lack of a bridge deck and her deck-stepped mast, although I'm sure that many of them have made extensive offshore voyages. However, more than 30 years after she was designed, she is still a very viable coastal cruiser. If you can find a Redwing in good condition, at a fair price you will have a fine yacht that will give you good all-round performance in a handsome package. By any standards, she is a classic.

A quick comparison

LOA 30 ft 3 1/2 in. 30 ft 0 in
LWL 21 ft 9 in. 24 ft 9 in
Beam 8 ft 9 1/2 in. 10 ft 0 in
Draft 4 ft 6 in. 5 ft 0 in
Displacement 7,458 lbs. 7,900 lbs
Ballast 3,630 lbs. 3,650 lbs.
Sail Area 404 sq. ft. 458.8 sq. ft.
Ballst/Displ. Ratio 48.7% 46.2%
Displ/Lentgh Ratio 323.6 232.6
SA/Displ. Ratio 16.93 18.51
Capsize Safety 1.8 2.01