May / June 2019


Ed Burnett’s 24′ pocket cruiser

The 24′ Ed Burnett–designed cutter PANACEA doing exactly what her designer intended: going “for a sail around the bay” off St. Mawes, Cornwall, England.

Ever since Lin and Larry Pardey sailed around the world in their 24' Lyle Hess–designed cutter SERAFFYN, 24-footers have come to be seen by many as the perfect size for pocket cruisers. They are economical to maintain, yet big enough to feel like “real” boats. The 24' PANACEA is no exception, though her design brief was very different from SERAFFYN’s.

Ed Burnett (see page 26) drew the plans for FROLIC, the original boat of the design, for his father after years of discussion about what makes the “perfect boat.” The result was a cheerful, happy-go-lucky little cutter that makes no claim to being a globe-girdler. It doesn’t have standing headroom, an enclosed head, or even much of a galley. It’s got a large, beautiful, elliptical cockpit, but the fact that it is not self-draining makes the boat unsuitable for offshore sailing (though other configurations are possible).

In fact, the design aspires to very little except complete happiness. As Burnett wrote: “You can go for a sail around the bay, perhaps do a little fishing, or just chug up the river on a quiet evening to spend the night. After all, the things you are likely to remember more are the other boats you saw sailing around, the fish you caught (or didn’t), and the various noises coming from the mud, the birds, and the river banks as the tide went out in your favorite anchorage. The boat sets the scene—the fun you make yourself.”

Ben Harris built PANACEA to the Frolic design at his yard just outside Falmouth, Cornwall, England ( She was launched just before the Falmouth Classics in July 2018 and, after a few sails on the Carrick Roads, was loaded onto a trailer and shipped off to Perth, Australia. Her owner, Richard Allen, plans to use her to help people with mental illness, thereby passing on a bit of that fun Burnett knew the boat could provide.

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