The Design, specs, Equipment

Holy Grail took shape on the design board of Charles Wittholz, who earned his chops in Philip Rhodes’ office for seven years. Holy Grail followed in the spirit of other famous sailboats, like 72′ Barlevento II, and 50′ cutter Rowena. During the design phase Kaufman Associates provided the deck, mechanical and keel plan, a unique adaptation of the flared Sheel keel that limits Holy Grail’s draft to just six feet. Mike Kaufman apprenticed in a Mississippi shipyard for four years, building aluminum oil industry crew boats and learning the magic of aluminum. From that beginning, he went to work for Charles Wittholz as a designer before founding Kaufman and Ladd, and later Kaufman Associates, which firms designed such boats as the Skye 51, and the Albin Nimbus 42. Holy Grail also got the attention of C.A. Surdyke in Seattle who provided a feminine curvy interior design, befitting her purpose of nurturing her passengers in comfort.

The owners required a strong metal, good performing boat for long distance exploration. From experience they knew that even careful explorers take to the ground on occasion as charts in remote regions are not always accurate or available. They also wanted a vessel that required little maintenance, so unpainted aluminum with no exterior varnished wood was the best option for strength, durability, longevity and low maintenance. Holy Grail was built for strength first and lightness second. If she had been built in steel, she would displace an additional 14,000 pounds.

With a waterline length of 42 feet, theoretical hull speed is 7.6 knots which she sometimes exceeds. Over 50,000 miles, Holy Grail’s typical daily 24 hour runs are between 160 and 190 miles. Extended range and carrying capacity was another important requirement to allow remote cruising for more than six months at a time without refueling or resupplying. Her water and fuel capacities of 320 and 450 U.S. gallons respectively ensure this.

The layout incorporates an open plan possible only with metal construction, as bulkheads are not needed for strength. However, five watertight compartments are also included in the design for safety, and sugar scoop stern accomodates easy boarding as well as an extended waterline when heeled.

An early picture of Holy Grail ghosting in the harbor


There are extensive spares for most equipment, including
Injectors for both Main and generator
Head gaskets
Extra raw water pump for main and genset
Pump rebuild kits
Winch rebuilt kits for every winch (never needed them!)
Tools and materials too numerous to list


  • Overall length 51’3″ (plus pulpit overhang)
  • Length on deck 49’0″
  • Beam 14’2″
  • Draft (half fuel & water) 5’8″
  • Draft (cruising) 6’0″
  • Displacement – design 44,500#
  • Displacement – est. cruising 48,000#
  • Keel shoe 1/2″
  • Keel and keel web 3/8″
  • Hull – keel web to toe rail 1/4″
  • Deck and house mostly 3/16″
  • Tankage: Fuel, keel & internal day 450 US gallons in integral tanks
  • Tankage: Water, 5 SS tanks 320 USG
  • Rig: Mast tapered and boom one piece anodized, Isomat with custom spreader through-bars.
  • Standing Rigging 3/8″ 316 SS – 2016
  • Fittings, Norseman reuseable
  • Backtay adjuster, manual
  • Walder Boom Brake
  • Inner jibstay with pelican hook
  • Jib roller furler – Profurl 2012
  • Insulated backstay for Ham & SSB
  • Sails: Main 2012, Jib 100% blade 2001, Staysail 2016 with reef points, Drifter 1992, Spinnaker 100% tri-radial 1992, Spinnaker 75% Storm, 2.2 oz., 1992, Storm Trisail 1992, Storm Staysail 1992


  • Engine, 80 hp Cummins B3.9
  • Max Prop 3 blade & Henderson dripless shaft seal
  • Generator, 8kw Northern Lights
  • Alternator, 165 amp shaft driven
  • Watermaker, 16-20 gph, modular, currently uninstalled
  • Batteries, 6 – 8D Lifeline, 2016
  • Frig/freezer, Fleming 110 volt R-22
  • Deck wash, Jabsco
  • Pressure Water, Groco PJR
  • Hot Water heater, Seaward 11 gallon with heat exchanger
  • Bilge pumps, 5 12 v automatic rule with alternative manual switches
  • Bilge pump, manual, two Whale
  • Shower sump, automatic rule
  • Heating: Dickinson and Custom, both with recirculating boiler systems and radiators
  • Ventilation cabin fans: 5
  • Stove, Force 10 propane gimbeled 3 burner and oven
  • Spares galore: Injectors, head gaskets, pumps for main & genset, more than can be listed.


  • Raymarine GPS Chartplotter 9″
  • Raymarine Seatalk speed, depth, wind
  • Raymarine TriData
  • WH autopilot
  • Garmin GPS
  • VHF radio with AIS receive, Standard Horizon
  • HAM radio, Kenwood 450S, with SSB mod and manual antenna tuner
  • Radar, Furuno 24 mile model 1720
  • Epirbs, 406 mhz and 121mhz


  • Hatches, 11 Goiot and Bomar
  • Prisms, 10 Stainless and glass
  • Cowl Vents, six 5″ stainles steel
  • Winches, 12 Andersen, SS size 66 to 16
  • Aqua Signal running lights, tricolor and strobe
  • Windless, Maxwell 3000 for chain and rope
  • Anchors: Primary 50kg Bruce, Stern Fortress 55, spares: Herreshoff 65# fisherman, Pekney 95# Stainless with conversions to mud, sand and rock flukes
  • Anchor rode: Primary 325′ hi test 3/8″ chain; secondary 50′ 3/8″ hi test chain, 250′ 3/4″ nylon; stern 50′ 3/8″ hi test chain, 250′ 3/4″ nylon; parachute anchor 9 foot diameter
  • Liferaft, Revere Offshore 6 person with cannister
  • Lifesling
  • Tenders: 14′ nesting hard dink w/2 rowing stations, 7’6″ oars, Suzuki 6 hp 4 stroke outboard; 13′ inflatable 2 station kayak
  • Stainless Flopper Stopper
  • Propane tanks, 2 aluminum 30# lay down in cockpit seat locker