Sovereign 17B


Proper Yacht

by Roland S. Rodwell
Illustration by Marya Butler

Small Boat Journal #50, August/September 1986

Selecting a new pocket cruiser isnít easy. But after much thought and trips to the boat shows, I decided on a Sovereign 17B (Sovereign Yacht Co., Inc., 233 Commerce Dr., Largo, FL 33540). This boat was going to allow me access to all the gunkholes my previous 23 footer couldnít go, had lots of storage space, and could be single-handed easily. Only the creature comforts of a larger boat were missing. Therefore, I immediately made plans to upgrade the looks and utility of the Sovereign.

On Deck

I fashioned a toe rail cap and installed it on the molded inrail. This give the boat a skippy look and provides places to tie on fenders. The anchor is hung from the bow pulpit with 1/4-inch eye bolts.

On deck in front of the mast, I bolted a pair of standing blocks as well as a double turning block. Both Halyards run back to the cockpit and cleat through an Easy-lok sheet stopper. A pair of cheek blocks are mounted on the coamings for the genoa sheets, which lead to a cam cleat. I also added jam cleats on the inside of the cockpit to keep the sheets from jumping out of the cam cleats. A 3/16-inch line tied to the jib shackle and led through a small block mounted beside the stemhead and back to the cockpit servers as a downhaul.

The local sail maker put in two rows of reef points on the mainsail and a Cunningham cringle. I installed a small dingy boom vang and added a cheek block to the boom for an adjustable topping lift. The topping lift now runs from the boom to a block on the original lift and back down to the cheek block. It is cleated off on the port side.

The factory supplied mainsheet attached to the end of the boom and exited on the rear port side at the transom. Because this was awkward to handle, I mounted a 30 inch traveller with an adjustable car on the bridge deck abaft the companionway. With a bail fixed to the boom, and 4-to-1 sheet system installed, I could now hold both sheets with on hand on either tack.

For self-steering, I tied a piece of shock cord to each coamings and through a jam cleat on the tiller. And for safety, I attached a deadeye to the bridge deck, to which I then tied 30 feet of 3/8-inch 3-strand nylon line. This is fastened with a clip to my safety harness. I use it when I go forward to change headsails, or when I sail at night. With a long line, should I fall off, I can pull myself to the boarding ladder I put on the transom. I backed up all hardware bolted to the boat with 2 inch flat washers.

Sovereign uses a folding companionway door, to which I affixed an Aquamarine compass. With the offset companionway, I can see the compass easily from either seat by opening or closing the door.