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Varne 27

Sandgrounder

Active member
Joined
2 Nov 2009
Messages
3,488
Location
Me: Merseyside; Boat: Anchor swallowed
Anyone have any views about these boats? I'm not a fan of the transverse dinette - a bit caravanny and not good for loungeing but are they any good as sailing boats? 41-ish% ballast ratio seems quite low for a the rest of the design?
 

interloper

Member
Joined
28 Feb 2012
Messages
514
Location
Smithfield, Virginia
http://www.varne.co.uk/

Latest Varne 27 Review: Sailing Today May 2008
"Duncan Kent ... sails a curvaceous classic, the Varne 27 which ... handles like a dream"
"The Varne 27 is an old school classic in the mould of the Nicholsons, Contessas and Rustlers of her day. She is fast and formidable in a good blow while remaining impeccably mannered. Her motion at sea is supremely smooth, as you'd expect from a deep-veed hull with long overhangs, and she is built to withstand a storm at sea with little consequence" "A Perfect Sense of Proportion", "The little known Varne 27 is a treat for those who want a compact, well behaved and seakindly offshore cruiser", "Downright Gorgeous" "steady as a rock off the wind"
 

Bajansailor

Well-known member
Joined
27 Dec 2004
Messages
5,299
Location
Marine Surveyor in Barbados
Here is a review from Yachting Monthly in November 1974 :






And she took part in a Yachting World Rally the following year - this is what YW had to say about her :



A pal of mine in England used to have one, and he seemed very happy with her.
 

dovekie

Member
Joined
8 Jun 2003
Messages
333
Had one for 5 years, first boat, liked it. It was strong and secure, good in a blow. The flare under the gunwale at the bows keeps a lot of spray off the deck so she is dry to sail into the wind. It struggled to get to windward in open sea in F6, because the waves stopped it, but would head into F7-8 in flat water. That's possibly true of many boats that size. Ours had a yanmar 1GM which was plenty of power. Inside it slept four adults and two kids on one holiday! Limited water tank size and the dining table doubled as the chart table, but again, it is only 27 foot. So overall I would strongly recommend it, but perhaps you should temper that with the the knowledge that I would tend to think nostalgically of our first boat.
 

cindersailor

Member
Joined
30 Jan 2003
Messages
552
Location
Edinburgh
I sail a Varne 27. Mine does not have the Dinette arrangement, which I too think is less attractive/comfortable than the more conventional C-shaped settee around the table. The dinette was only an option so you will find plenty of examples without it.
DSC01942.jpg
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As for sailing ability, I am of course biased, but I think they provide a great combination of sea-kindliness and performance. I suggest you join the Owner Association as there is lots of info on their website. I have out-sailed plenty of larger boats, particularly to windward. Here is an account of a recent trip around the Mull of Kintyre I wrote for the VOA forum:

I have long planned a delivery trip from my mooring at the top of the Clyde to Oban for this past weekend (well Fri-Sun actually) as a precursor to my cruise of the western isles starting next weekend. Many would go via the Crinan Canal, but its a sailing boat, and I enjoy sailing! So round the Mull of Kintyre we went. The low pressure system this weekend was well forcast and we were not surprised to have 20-30 kts for most of the trip, peaking in a 40 kt squall at one point! The CG forcast for all 3 days of the trip was for 5-7, moderating 4-5 later on Sunday, and that's exactly what we got. Much of it was in shelter as it was easterly initially so we went like a bat out of hell down to Campbeltown for Friday night, peaking at 10.1 kts through the water when a 30+kt gust coincided with a prolonged surf. This was the first time I had occassion to pull down the 2nd reef and I was amazed at how balanced and secure she felt with the small main and the genoa rolled to half size. Down the west side of Arran where the seas were pretty flat we were sailing at well over 7 kts for extended periods.

So she is fast in strong winds, I think we knew that about Varnes, but the new experience came the next day on the leg to Craighouse. Wind strength was unchanged, but gradually backed from E to NE during the day. Although there is no bar at the entrance to Campbeltown lock, the seas were certainly heaping up there and we had half an hour of do-we/don't-we thoughts. However, I was confident that the seas would flatten as we rounded the Mull with a favourable W-going tide and that we would get shelter on the west side once around, so we carried on; almost 11 knots over the ground as we reached the strongest stream just before the lighthouse. Once the gusty area west of the high ground of the Mull was past the seas started to build to 3 meters or so as we headed NNW towards Jura on a reach. However, with enough wind to power over the waves progress was really rapid; she would almost literally leap over the waves without the normal cycle of acceleration/deceleration as each wave is traversed. The most exhilarating sailing I have ever experienced. I think the fine bow of the Varne helps enormously in the way she deals with waves; there is absolutely no slamming, but without the wind to push through there is always the inevitable slowing of progress. The revelation was how well she just drove on and over the waves when there was sufficient power from the sails - fantastic!
 

JimC

Active member
Joined
30 Aug 2001
Messages
1,429
Location
Lancashire
I thought that in the photos she was heeling at a steep angle for the conditions (judging by the sea state).
 

rob2

Active member
Joined
23 Aug 2005
Messages
4,091
Location
Hampshire UK
I think the comment in the article about the knackered sails explains the unusual heel angle. Varnes don't suffer excessive heel, although they don't have the form stability that most modern designs use to support the ludicrous indoor tennis court under the cockpit! The dinette layout is very useful at sea, when in port I admit I do most of my lounging in the pub. Another admission is that my bias comes from owning a Weston 8500 - the last variant of the Varne 27!

Rob.
 

Fossil

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2012
Messages
150
Location
Paekakariki, New Zealand
Looking at the plan, this boat looks very similar to the Jaguar 27 I owned. That too was a fine sailing boat and the dinette arrangement worked well, both at sea and at rest. Wouldn't hesitate, if I were you.
 

Bajansailor

Well-known member
Joined
27 Dec 2004
Messages
5,299
Location
Marine Surveyor in Barbados
Cindersailor's saloon arrangement does look more comfy than the standard one shown in the drawings - could you perhaps also post a photo or two looking aft at the galley (and chart table?) ?

There is a catalogue on the Owner's Association site, but they say it is for Members Only.... so here is one for everybody else.










 

Way

Member
Joined
8 Feb 2010
Messages
309
Location
East Molesey, Surrey (boat in Portsmouth Hbr)
Would echo the best kept secret sentiment suggested here. Had a look into them a couple of years ago when I saw one for sail in Portland and was really impressed with everything I read. Really fell in love with it, it's a lovely looking boat. A big looking 27 footer too.
 

cindersailor

Member
Joined
30 Jan 2003
Messages
552
Location
Edinburgh
Quote <Cindersailor's saloon arrangement does look more comfy than the standard one shown in the drawings - could you perhaps also post a photo or two looking aft at the galley (and chart table?) ?>

Always happy to show off my boat! Here are a couple of views looking aft in the cabin and on deck.
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Hydrozoan

Well-known member
Joined
11 Apr 2013
Messages
8,159
"Best kept secret" - said of the Varne by David Harding in a PBO review, IIRC.
 

doug748

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2002
Messages
9,885
Location
Plymouth
Coo, the engine is worth 3 grand.

I spotted a boat on our local moorings and could not identify it at first, blow me it is a Varne 27. It looks an absolute picture. Far better on the water than those marina shots allow.
 

brian.campbell

New member
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
4
IMGP5136.jpgDSCF2331.jpgDSCF2332.jpg

Here's ours. Dinette arrangement works fine for us. She's a good boat for the north sea, very capable, and goes upwind very well. She goes better than you'd think for a draught of 1.3m, the lead keel makes a big difference. I'm 6' 3 and I reckon that's about the limit for the quarter berths. They're cosy once you're in. Dinette converts to a very adequate double. We've sailed four-up, but for anything over a weekend 2-3 is better.
 
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brian.campbell

New member
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
4
Here's ours off the Tees entrance on our way up to Seaham.
Breezy day, but the boat handled it very smoothly. Yes there's a line visible in the water about 01:24, but it only dangled a couple of ft, it still secured the pole very well and I wasn't about to go forward to sort it just then! We've since got new sails. The in-mast reefing is a compromise which we find works well, but more so now that the new main is less baggy. We've since altered the mainsheet clew attachment back to how it should be. We've also bought a 120% jib to replace the original 140%, and this is a great improvement all round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8-yB3OpHGE

Overall, not masses of space, but enough for us, and a great boat to sail.
 
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