Maine-based shipyard Rockport Marine has begun construction on a custom, 29-metre sailing yacht known as Project Ouzel. Delivery is provisionally scheduled for July 2025.
Project Ouzel’s owners are experienced sailors and previous owners of a 20-metre Baltic Yachts build. The brief was for a “modern interpretation of a classic pilothouse cutter”, which was assigned to Langan Design. The project will be overseen by MCM Newport.
The resulting design is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, according to MCM co-founder and partner Peter Wilson. Project Ouzel touts a classic sheer line, low-profile deckhouse and generous overhangs while also benefitting from a performance-orientated rig and “modern underbody”, including a high-aspect rudder and contemporary keel.
The sailing yacht will be built in cold-moulded Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar (a technique that Rockport Marine specialises in), with its midsection formed in high-strength carbon. This will reduce weight and internal volume and necessitate less framing compared to a traditional, plank-on-frame wooden yacht.
Interiors are owed to Mark Whiteley, whose work on the 56-metre Aquarius and 36.4-metre Audrey the First appealed to the owners. Renderings reveal a simple, airy and functional layout with a blend of contemporary and traditional yachting styles in the white-wood panelling, ample portholes and mahogany cabinetry.
"The Ouzel team meetings have a high degree of collaboration between engineers, designers, interior architects and the builder," said Rockport Marine president and third-generation boatbuilder Sam Temple. "This is a large and complex project for Rockport, so assembling the correct team around them, including structural engineers, technical experts, and mechanical, electrical, mast and rigging specialists is the key to success. It is a true esprit d'equipe."
Powered by an EPA Tier-3-compliant engine and a “state-of-the-art” hydraulic power pack, Project Ouzel is anticipated to deliver more than 1,000 nautical miles under power at speeds over 10 knots.
Once delivered, the owners plan to use the yacht for exploration and coastal cruising, as well as potentially competing in a regatta at some point in the future.