When sailors, designers and builders dream of the ideal cruiser racer, it’s very likely it would be very much like, if not exactly like, Firefly. Construction and finish is first-rate, from the longitudinal stringers to the bookshelves positioned strategically throughout.
Designed by Chuck Paine as simply a fast, moderate displacement boat, she features none of the dubious characteristics associated with a designer trying to exploit a handicapping system. Naval architect Jim Taylor designed the deep bulb keel, which combined with the long waterline, carbon rudder and carbon rig is responsible for Firefly’s freight train performance to windward. Cracked off, Firefly’s powerful aft sections easily driven shape ensure excellent average speeds.
A sail area/displacement of 21.36 and displacement/length of 148 indicate the ample power available for light wind. Some interior components are designed to be removed for racing.
The 2018 Vic-Maui race featured atypical and challenging conditions, ranging from light winds and frequent close reaching to the exhilarating run in to Hawaii. Firefly led throughout, only losing on the overall handicap win by three hours. Brad Baker of Swiftsure Yachts, onboard as navigator, felt confident that had there been a few more miles of hard running, Firefly might have taken the handicap win as well as first to finish.
Firefly is well known in racing circles. She won the Down East Race Week, shortly after launch, competed at Cowes Week and won Antigua Race Week convincingly. Combined with her recent performance on the West Coast, Firefly has proven able to hold her own just about anywhere under any handicapping system.
On the cruising side, Firefly is comfortable both under way and at anchor. Utilizing a working jib and cruising main, she provides fast and easy passages. Electric halyard and main winches ease putting the main up trimming, and the non-overlapping headsail loads are easily managed by the large primary winches. In fact, oversized racing gear makes cruising under sail manageable by virtually any family crew. The windlass makes anchoring straightforward and simple.
The layout works well for a family or two couple cruising with well separated sleeping cabins fore and aft, each with their own head and shower.
Anyone stepping aboard will be struck immediately by the quality of the workmanship. Both racing and cruising sailors will immediately appreciate the top of the line sail handling gear.
Firefly is, in fact, what a cruiser racer can and should be. She has been professionally, meticulously maintained throughout her life. And since she was thoroughly and expertly prepared for the 2018 Vic-Maui Race, including a new North racing sail inventory, she is fully ready to compete or head off for serious cruising.
North Sails 3Di Inventory (2018)
New B & G Zeus² Instrument package
New LPU topsides paint (2020)
New varnish above and below decks
Offshore Spars carbon mast and boom, painted white above decks
Updated deck hardware
|Name of vessel||Firefly|
|Fuel tank capacity (gallons)||60|
|Water tank capacity (gallons)||81|
|Holding tank capacity (gallons)||40|
Firefly’s raised deck and large windows convey an open, airy feel as one step below. The galley is to port and the navigation station and aft head to starboard. There is abundant natural light. Handholds are found throughout the interior.
Starting in the forward cabin, there is a large V-berth with wood lined hull sides and shelves to port and starboard. There is a large locker and a hanging locker to starboard and a sink and cabinet to port. There are port and starboard reading lamps. Natural light is provided by the cabin house port and windows in the hull sides. Al the way forward is the anchor locker. There is abundant storage under the berths. Headroom in the forward cabin is 6’1”.
To port is the forward head. An overhead opening hatch provides ventilation. There is storage plus a shower head.
Moving aft into the salon, a drop leaf table with integral storage is on the centerline. For cruising, it seats a total of six diners at the opposite settees. For racing, it is easily removed for a more open layout and midships sail storage.
A bookshelf/locker is mounted to the port bulkhead. Outboard to port is a pilot berth, while outboard to starboard there is a locker that can be removed to create another pilot berth for racing. There is ample storage in the salon berth seatbacks. Light butternut battens line the hull sides.
The overall feel of the salon is unique. Headroom is 6’4”, immediately providing a sense of openness. The ambient light from the large cabin windows aft combine with the white surfaces and light butternut woodwork to create an exceptionally open feel. The glossy carbon keel-stepped mast at the bulkhead is a reminder that Firefly is at heart also a high-end racing boat.
Stepping up to the galley and navigation station level, the feel is again light and open, benefitting from the large doghouse windows and 6’5” headroom. Visibility is excellent, particularly for the cook.
There is a full navigation station with ample room for the array of electronics, all within easy reach. The B & G chartplotter/radar display is mounted at an angle where it can be viewed by either the navigator or crew looking over their shoulder. A B & G repeater, an backup Northstar GPS and Ritchie magnetic compass are mounted just above the chart table, and the Iridium satphone is located net to the chartplotter. A nook for a folded laptop is built in. The ICOM single sideband radio is mounted outboard above the electrical panel. There is storage in the chart table, on the facing shelf and outboard. The starting battery is in the navigator’s seat along with the autopilot junction box.
The AC and DC electrical panels are next to the navigator’s seat. It opens up for easy, fast access.
The U-shaped galley is exceptionally spacious and complete. There is an extraordinary amount of usable counter space, which is Formica except for polished granite accents next to the three-burner Force 10 stove and oven. Deep double sinks sit at the forward end of the galley, and there is a freshwater foot pump. On the inboard side of the galley are separate refrigerator and freezer compartments. Plate and food storage are outboard.
Aft to starboard, with immediate access from the companionway, is the aft head. There’s a vanity at the forward end, and a telescoping shower head and ample storage. There is a separate door to the aft cabin.
Entering the aft cabin to port, there is a hanging locker with a soft door and storage outboard. The aft cabin has berths port and starboard with a large open area between, with lockers below, for abundant storage either racing or cruising. There are cushions to make this into a large athwartships berth if desired. Natural light comes from the cabin trunk ports and opening ports in the cockpit footwell. While headroom is limited in most of the aft cabin, at the entry area there is 6’3”. Shelves line the hull sides and aft bulkhead.
All the way aft there is full access to the steering quadrant, heater and SSB antenna tuner.
Separate racing and Ultrasuede covered cruising cushions
Cabin Lights; LED 2-way red and white
(4) Hella turbo fans, (1) Guest fan
Seafrost refrigeration SA2 Model, 110 AC and engine driven, freezer and refrigeration compartments.
Propane system: (2) aluminum tanks 23.8 lb tanks
Force 10 Gourmet Galley Range 3-burner stove and oven and broiler
Double stainless sink
Hot and cold pressure water
Foot pump for fresh water
Under sink water filtration
Raritan marine heads
Kenwood KDC Stereo and built-in speakers and cockpit speakers
Weems & Plath ship’s clock
Weems & Plath ship’s barometer
Electronics and Navigation
The electronics package is very current racing in mind. Performance data is available above and below decks, and target speeds have been established. There is an exceptional communications package.
(2) 5” Ritchie compasses, mounted at steering instrument pod and navigation station.
B & G V50 VHF
Single sideband – ICOM IC 802 MF/HF Marine Transceiver
Handheld VHF – ICOM IC-M34
Handheld VHF – ICOM M-36
Autopilot – Robertson hydraulic linear drive and Simrad controller integrated with B & G navigation instruments.
Depth/Speed/Wind Instruments – B & G H5000 Network System with three 20/20 repeaters on mast bracket, two MFD on cockpit bulkhead, one at navigation station.
RADAR – B & G Broadband
Chartplotter – B & G Zeus², 7″ screens at helm and navigation station.
Northstar 952 X GPS Navigator
Panasonic CFR-53 laptop
(2) 8D AGM Lifeline house batteries (2017)
(1) Group 31 AGM Lifeline starting battery (2017)
All wiring to ABYC recommendations
Balmar Smartgauge monitoring system
Truecharge battery charger
The panel is at the navigation station and swings open for immediate, full access. DC switches are at the top and middle, AC switches below
30-amp – 120volt system
SmartPlug shore power, 50′ cord
GFCI outlets throughout
Inverter – Portawattz 1750
Yanmar 4JH2CE, 50HP, 3301 hours
Yanmar panel with tachometer, oil pressure and coolant temperature
3-blade Maxprop feathering propeller
SD-31 sail drive, Gear ratio A-2.05, B-1.86
Racor 200 series dual fuel filter/water separator
(2) aluminum fuel tanks totaling 60 gallons
(2) aluminum water tanks – total capacity 81 US Gallons
Tank Tender tank monitor
Water heater, 110V –Atlantic, capacity approximately 6 US gallons
Water Pump: 12-volt Jabsco ParMax
(2) holding tanks, total capacity approximately 40 US gallons
Electric bilge pump, Rule 12V 1100 GPH
(2) shower/sump pumps
US Watermaker Island Explorer Watermaker, 12V DC
Espar Eberspacker Airtronic L- D5 forced air diesel heater (2017)
Deck and Hull
Mast for radar and outboard hoist
Outboard motor mount
Windlass –Lewmar Sprint 1500
Anchor – Plow type 45lbs
Anchor (Secondary) Fortress
Anchor chain, 3/8s
Stainless steel anchor roller
(6) Lewmar opening hatches + (2) opening ports in cockpit well
Removable forward cleat
Stanchions with bracing struts
Edson Steering with Ultralight Vectran line drive and carbon wheel
Marelon Flowtech through-hulls
Dodger – Puget Sound Canvas and Upholstry, white canvas
Rigging and Deck Gear
Firefly’s deck gear was completely updated in 2017-8 for the Vic-Maui Race. The gear is almost exclusively by Harken .
(2) Harken 60 2-speed self tailing primary headsail winches
(2) Harken 50 2-speed self tailing mainsail winches, starboard side electric
Harken 45 2-speed self tailing halyard winch
Anderson 46 2-speed self tailing electric winch
Harken tracks – overlapping with in-coaming adjusters and non-overlapping
Harken 6:1 traveler
Double ended “German” mainsheet system
Aramid running backstays
Carbon Forespar spinnaker pole
Carbon Forespar reaching strut
Hall Quickvang rigid vang
Navtec System 50 Hydraulic backstay adjustor with (2) cylinders
Offshore Spars 3-spreader mast (2007) and boom (2018)
Discontinuous rod rigging, dye tested in 2018
Antal low friction mainsail track
Storm trysail track
Halyards – Samson Warpspeed, (2) headsail, (2) spinnaker, main
Current Racing Inventory
Race main 3Di (2018)
#1 genoa 3Di 150% (2018)
#3 jib 3D (2018)
#4 jib Spectra SRP (2000)
Spinnaker staysail (2018)
Storm jib (2000)
Storm trysail (2000)
S2 spinnaker (2018)
A0 Norlam code zero spinnaker (2002)
A1 spinnaker (2018)
S4 spinnaker (2018)
S5 spinnaker (2018)
Cruising and older sails
Cruise main NorLam triradial
S1 Spinnaker (2002) practice sail
S2 Spinnaker (2002) practice sail
130% cruising headsail
110% cruising headsail
3DL 150% genoa
While Morris Yachts was responsible for Firefly’s construction and finish, the epoxy hull and deck were molded by Mark Lindsay at Boston Boatworks.
The hull is laminate of E-glass over a 1” Corecell core utilizing epoxy resin. An additional E-glass/Kevlar hybrid layer is included at the inner layer of the outer skin. It is vacuum bagged and post cured.
The deck is of similar construction to the hull. A hard core was utilized in all load bearing areas.
There is an inside flange type deck to hull joint sealed with 3m 5200 and bolted with stainless steel bolts at 8” centers. The cap rail is also attached at 8” centers, providing a fastening every 4” on the rails.
Additional reinforcement was made from bow to stern and athwartships from shear to shear at the mast.
The keel fin is fabricated utilizing 316L stainless steel, and the keel bulb is cast of antimony hardened lead.
Bulkheads are fiberglass and foam core sandwich.
The rudder and stock are both of carbon.
Firefly has a complete bonding/grounding system.
Miscellaneous and Safety
Cruising steering wheel, teak
Avon Rover Lite 310 RIB dinghy
8HP Yamaha 2-stroke outboard
Visual distress signals – expired 2019
(4) USCG approved fire extinguishers
Automatic fire suppression in engine compartment Seafire FM 200
EPIRB – ACR 406 MHz (battery expires 1/24)
Switlik M.O.M. module (expired 2019)
Electric bilge pump Rule 1100 GPH
(2) Manual bilge pumps
BBQ Magma Trailmate
The Morris 45 hull design is aimed at all out speed under IMS or PHRF rules. There are no bumps or hollows aimed at rating reduction, just a beautifully fair shape with flattish buttocks and what designers used to call “long legs” with a long waterline and sharp entry angle. The extremely lightweight construction which is currently required for first place grand prix finishes is avoided, since this flimsy type of yacht has at most a two year useful life. FIREFLY is very strongly built, and will still be racing in thirty years time and at the same time providing her owner with the pleasure of a luxurious cruising home. The keel is a massively bulbed racing/cruising compromise, with its upper half of welded stainless steel and its lower half of lead. The hollow stainless upper half is present so that the yacht has an effective sump to contain bilge water, while stability with the huge bulb is very powerful, eliminating the need to keep a crew of ten on the rail when sailing to windward.
The interior is both beautiful to the eye and practical for use at sea. There is a pleasant abundance of beautifully finished varnished butternut. Cabin soles are of teak and butternut, while fiddles, cushion retainers, and many of the interior surfaces are solid butternut, avoiding entirely the “stripped out” look of many contemporary racers. Berths are provided for eight to sleep on comfortable, 4″ or thicker cushions. The galley is very large and has an unusual amount of usable countertop, a gourmet chef’s delight. The interior surfaces of the hull- often simply painted in racing yachts to save weight, are lined with a solid butternut ceiling. The entire interior of this yacht exudes luxury, yet she is exceedingly fast as well- a testimonial to the skill of those who built her.
The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.
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