There have been some discussions about whether the PDR is ugly or beautiful.
This is one reply I wrote
One of the really exciting things about sailing a PDR is the way it does your
When I designed the two OZ Mk1 PDRs I was really not expecting much because of
my preconceptions about the square hulls, but I was really excited that they
were introducing so many new sailors to the sport/pastime.
So I did the best job I could of designing an efficient version. And the big
sails were an OZ joke about our tendency to develop boats that are super light
with huge sails. One of our 12ft classes (and I do need to bring the Kiwis in
on this too – they were at least as responsible) carries about 270 square feet
of working sail then pops up a 450 square foot spinnaker downwind.
On the water they were totally surprising and have changed the way I think about
boat design substantially.
I’ve had guys come up to me and say after seeing the PDR sailed in high wind at
the Goolwa Wooden boat Festival a couple of years ago that they have sailed just
about everything in the Mariner’s universe and they just can’t understand how
such a little, funny looking boat can sail so well. Another guy had been a
member of the Amateur Yacht Research Society and a serious ocean racer and he
said he couldn’t get the appearance with the performance combined in his head.
The main contribution the PDR hull provides is a huge amount of stability –
making it easy to carry quite large sails with only normal risk of capsizing (or
less than normal – they rarely go over).
I would say that the appearance of the PDR is a essential component of the
interestingness. It is so counter intuitive as few can expect such a silly
looking boat to sail so well or be any where near so capable (texas200 etc) .
It kinda proves that form never follows function – form only being a bunch of
stylistic trends that are accepted by a group at one time or another.
If plywood really grew on trees, then our appreciation of “classic” design would
be very different and some of the PDR lessons would have been learned a lot
earlier in boating history. If flat panels grew on trees people would complain
of the rounded shapes that Bolger would come up with as “functional but that
they can’t stomach the strange appearance”.
So all in all the PDR highlights how many of our assumptions about performance
and capability are simply prejudice.
So the appearance of the PDR is both beautiful and educational and on its way to
become a really hallmark boat type.