Classic Cruiser is a “New Sensation”

New Sensation has been a special boat from the outset. She was ordered with custom features by author Don Dodds who wanted her to be the definitive cruising boat in the 1980s. Indeed, Bird of Time as she was called then, was a star of his book “Modern Cruising Under Sail.” She’s made it to the South Pacific and the far north.

After the second owners never realized their sailing plans, New Sensation fell into the hands of the currently owners. As luck would have it, they were meticulous in their care. Systems were overhauled, upgraded and kept at their peak. One of the owners, an experienced sailmaker, created a top-notch canvas package that includes an amazing full cockpit enclosure.

The owners still love the boat and would be keeping it but for a switch to a power boat (or the “dark side” as they call it).

The Design

Yves Tanton was, along with Bob Perry and Chuck Paine, one of the designers to spend time in the Dick Carter design office. And the careful eye can see common threads of all their design work which determined to a large extent what modern cruising boats look like today.

There were two dramatically different sailplans for this hull. As the Tanton 43 cat ketch, the design received a lot of attention with its novel wishbone rig. Rigged as a cutter like New Sensation the design presented a much more conventional and performance-oriented approach.

New Sensation has modest beam and displacement, but has an exceptionally long waterline. She doesn’t have the powerful and voluminous stern sections of today’s cruisers, so doesn’t drag around a lot of excess wetted surface in light winds. With her balanced lines, New Sensation is a forgiving passagemaker that can reel off mile after mile on every point of sail without excessive tweaking.

The rig is not only powerful, it’s stayed extremely well. There’s an intermediate forestay, perfect for a hanked-on saysail that can double as a storm sail to keep the center of effort low and over the middle of the boat. The current owner has replaced the wire running backstays with aramid fiber ones to reduce weight and chafe. The intermediate forestay and runners are only needed in tough offshore conditions.


The Tanton was built by Ta Chiao in Taiwan, number 8 of 18 hulls. The yard was known for its woodwork and solid construction. As an offshore cruiser, there was no skimping on layup ,hull thickness, components or structure. Over the last few years New Sensation has been rewired and re-plumbed.

The Current Condition

New Sensations has a pristine paint job (2018), courtesy of the insurance company for a boat that scratched her topsides. The black paint, applied by CSR Marine in Seattle, is striking. A white stripe at the top of her topsides accentuates the sheer sweep and silver graphics, which garner looks in any anchorage.

The engine is the original Perkins 4-108. While not new, the engine runs smoothly its accessibility (under the galley sinks) is remarkable. The current owner has installed a heavy duty transmission to handle the 4-108s ample power.

The Bowmar high-output alternator charges a total of eight golf cart batteries. As Bird of Prey, she was ahead of her time with three solar panels.

There are new dinghy davits. The sails are Neil Pryde offshore type and are in excellent condition. Over the years all the running rigging has been replaced.


New Sensations is for the sailor who appreciates a solid classic design, excellent maintenance and the famed Taiwanese workmanship. Her large cockpit will be the gathering place at many a port of call and if she’s asked to head offshore, she’ll dig her shoulder in and reel off many comfortable miles.

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