Knowledgeable blue water sailors glimpsing Irie will immediately identify her as an all-ocean voyager. The windvane, hard dodger, mast steps, preventer system, solent headsails, solar panels, wind generator, and oversized deck hardware reveal a yacht meant to go places well beyond the shores and protected harbors of North America. Closer inspection of construction materials and details of this classically Scandinavian-built cruiser leave no doubt of her strength and seaworthiness. An invitation below decks to her warm and inviting interior lets the observer know her crew will not suffer for lack of warmth or well-prepared meals.
Irie’s original Scandinavian owners thoughtfully outfitted her for extended passages into remote areas. They voyaged far and wide including Alaska and Antarctica with many exotic places between. As recognition of their achievements, they were awarded the highest reward of honor from Swedish cruising association SXK. A blog of their voyage including many technical details for Lindisfarne (her original name) can be found at www.sailaround.info .
The current owner purchased Irie two years ago in Friday Harbor and cruised the Pacific Northwest. Recent change of plans requiring his Portland presence leave little time for voyaging beyond the Columbia river. This turn-key and capable yacht deserves to be crossing oceans and exploring far flung destinations. A new adventurer is sought who will load provisions, cruising guides and dreams of sailing over the horizon on a capable blue water cruiser priced and sized for those with mid-tax bracket financial means.
The Forgus 37 is a solid blue water cruiser built by Forgus Yachts on the island of Orust, an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of the other yards from this area: Hallberg-Rassy, Malo, Najad, Vindo, and Sweden Yachts. This small-scale builder slowly and meticulously hand crafted each of these boats. In northern Europe, the Forgus 37 has a cult-like following as a capable offshore cruiser. 37’ is a size that will keep one’s cruising budget in tact will while still having the payload, speed, space, and comfort most couples require to stay happily married when living aboard year-round. After all, it’s about the journey and destination, not replicating the bed, kitchen, and bath you had in your large flat(home).
The interior spaces are accessed via the well-protected companionway. A fiberglass sliding hatch with wood trim can be locked by a stainless steel bar and padlock during times of maximum security. Stepping over the 7” high teak threshold one descends the four step companionway ladder. Two removable washboards close the companionway. Stainless steel grab bars outside, teak grab bars inside, and four handholds on the companionway ladder provide the utmost in offshore safety. Natural teak treads on the companionway ladder make for positive footing. Once below, a warm, elegant and functional interior contrasts the harsh environment this boat can comfortably navigate.
The interior is constructed and built in the traditional “Orust method.” All furniture is glassed and tabbed to the hull and deck. The cabin sole is fitted last, after the furniture so it can be removed for access to every bilge area; and any water finding its way to the cabin sole drains to the bilge. Joinery is African Mahogany and satin varnished. Mahogany stave “ceilings” cover hull sides. Overheads are finished with padded white vinyl over marine plywood and fore and aft mahogany staving. No sharp corners are to be found. Partial bulkheads and door frames are trimmed with bent/curved solid wood. Handholds abound. Bookshelves and countertops are fiddled. Abundant opening ports and overhead hatches ventilate and provide natural light. Insect screens are available for all hatches and ports. Cabinet doors are positively closed with brass elbow latches inside finger holes. The cabin sole is teak and holy plywood and screwed securely down. Headroom measures 6’ 2” through most of the interior.
Starting forward is a guest stateroom. Entrance is through an oval-shaped opening in the main bulkhead. The “V” berth measures 6’ 6” long by 6’ 2” aft and 12” forward. A board with cushion infill’s the “V” for small children or romantic couples. Four lockers with hinged doors take advantage of space up high and outboard, under the deck edge. Hanging lockers are located aft to port and starboard. Four hinged-door lockers are found beneath the berth aft. The bow thruster and the “extra” fuel tank are forward beneath the berth. A Refleks diesel hot water heater is located aft to port just forward of the main bulkhead. reading lights, a cabin fan, an overhead hatch with roller blind, and storage net complete this cabin.
The centrally located salon is well configured for offshore passage sleeping or in port entertaining. A centerline drop leaf table measures 43” long by 36” wide and has top accessible bottle storage in the center portion. The starboard settee measures 71” long by 32” wide aft by 20” wide forward. A removable back board lifts and stows for sleeping and nests into the top slat/backrest. The “L”-shaped port settee measures 6’ 3” long by 33” wide aft by 20” wide forward. Leecloths are fitted to both settees. A 21” long by 4-1/2” deep bookshelf is mounted on the main bulkhead. Outboard and above the settees on each side, two lockers with hinged doors flank and open bookshelf. Four reading lights, and overhead dome light, and cabin fan complete this space.
The navigation station is aft facing and to starboard with seating on the settee. The chart table measures 31” by 35” and a 5” deep drawer beneath a hinged lid. A beaker/switch panel is outboard beneath an open bookshelf. Additional bookshelves, the radar, Icom radio and VHF radio are aft above the chart table. Three drawers are located aft, beneath the chart table.
Located to starboard of the companionway the head is entered through a locking privacy door. A white-gel coated fiberglass molding comprises the lower head for water resistance, and ease of maintenance/cleaning. An oval sink/vanity is integral with this molding. A single lever faucet with pull out shower nozzle and hose and a soap dispenser are fitted at the sink. The head compartment’s upper half is fabricated with varnished mahogany. Cabinet doors and drawers in the lower half are also of wood. A removable, unfinished teak grating covers the sole pan for showering. A medicine cabinet is concealed behind sliding mirrored doors. Additional storage is in two drawers beneath the vanity and in a hinged door cabinet under the sink. Behind this door is a trash bin and toilet paper holder. A Raritan manual pump head is aft and oriented fore and aft for use when heeled.
The “L” shaped galley is to port of the companionway with amazing storage space and counter top area for a 37’ blue water cruising sailboat. Countertops are white Corian and surrounded by 1” high white integral fiddles. A fold down wood countertop is located inboard of the sink. Underhung stainless steel sinks measure 12” x 12” x 6” deep and 9” x 12” x 6” deep. A single lever faucet and soap dispenser serve the sink. Outboard, beneath the galley counter is a top-loading, stainless steel lined 20” x 14” x 17” fridge/freezer. The gimballed SMEV stove/oven is outboard and protected by a stainless-steel safety bar. A hinged door beneath the stove covers a nice storage locker for pots and pans. Outboard and above the stove, upper and lower sliding door lockers house dishes in dedicated storage racks along with pantry storage. Aft of the stove, beneath the counter are four drawers, two pull out cutting boards, and a hinged door cabinet. Cleaning supplies are found in a large cabinet beneath the sink.
A passageway to the aft cabin is up one step and aft of the galley. Upper/lower storage cabinets are forward and outboard in this passageway. Proceeding aft, a 7’ long by 13” wide bench upholstered seat runs along the hull side terminating in a wide dressing seat adjacent the bunk. The bunk measures 6’ 5” long by 56” wide forward and 40” wide aft. Beneath the bunk is a huge, open storage bin with access to the steering quadrant and autopilot aft. A tall hanging locker is forward and outboard to starboard. Additional lockers and shelves are located behind the dressing seat and forward on centerline. An overhead dome light, two reading lights, stereo remote control, 12V outlet, two speakers, two opening ports, and overhead hatch with roller blind complete this stateroom.
Irie has a white gel coast hull with molded-in rub rail capped with a brass strip to protect her sides. Her bottom is painted with black antifouling and a 4” high sheer stripe accents her graceful sheer line on each side. The bow has moderate overhang and flare to keep her cockpit and deck dry when beating or motoring into head seas. The reverse transom has a scoop stern with integral swim platform.
An aluminum toe rail with oval holes is fastened to the deck edge where mooring cleats, chocks, and stanchions are mounted. 24” high double, uncoated wire lifelines run from the Swedish-style bow pulpit aft to the boarding gates and extended stern pushpit rails. Stainless tubing handrails from the cockpit aft, replace lifelines for better security and also mount “swing-up” solar panels on each side. A transom gate opens to allow stern access. Teak and rubber overlay the fiberglass side decks and cabin top.
The scoop stern is an import design feature for any cruising sailor to provide safe and easy access to dinghy, dock, or water. A hinged stainless-steel swim ladder can be deployed from the water. Solid, natural teak boards sit atop the swim step. A mount for the Windpilot steering vane is on centerline. A stainless steel “A” frame, hinged stern anchor roller, stern anchor electric windlass and stern anchor roller are well configured for “bow into the rocks” Scandinavian moorages. A hot/cold deck shower is located at the stern. Stainless steel poles on each quarter are topped with wind generator to port, radar and other antennas to starboard and bridged by a solar panel. This arch-like assembly also holds a stern spotlight, and outboard motor lift.
Deck lockers are numerous as would befit a world cruising sailboat. A top opening anchor locker is all the way forward and drains overboard. The anchor windlass motor and gear box are aft of the anchor locker bulkhead, inside the forward cabin where they’ll stay dry and corrosion free. A locker in the port quarter holds the cooking gas bottle and stern anchor rode with some storage space left for fishing and cleaning gear. A very large locker is located below the starboard cockpit settee.
The well-protected center cockpit is low, deep, and optimized for sailing and lounging with superb ergonomic details. 12” Wide coamings allow comfortable sitting or stepping on. Seats and sole are overlaid with teak and rubber. A raised, curved helm seat is aft of the wheel. Cockpit seats measure 6’ long and 16” wide with nicely angled 16” high backs. Drain channels are molded outboard of the cockpit seats to keep butts dry in the rare event spray makes its way into this extremely well-protected area. The engine panel is recess-mounted outboard of the helm to starboard and protected with an acrylic cover.
Cockpit protection is nothing short of spectacular for a 37’ sailboat. One can understand why they prior owners were able to comfortably voyage to Antarctica on Irie. An aluminum-frame safety glass windshield is topped with a custom fiberglass hard dodger top. Three manual windshield wipers allow for all-weather visibility through the forward glass panels. An opening forward facing hatch in the hard dodger lets air flow into the cockpit for ventilation. Two LED overhead lights illuminate this forward cockpit area. Stainless steel grab rails are everywhere including: hard dodger sides (inside and outside), hard dodger aft edge, and around the companionway hatch. An array of cockpit canvas allows the area under the hard dodger to be enclosed like a pilot house. Additional canvas encloses the entire cockpit. Mesh shades for tropical weather attach to bimini sides for shading. Sailing instruments are mounted over the companionway sliding hatch and visible from anywhere in the cockpit. A removable wood seat slips perfectly into the companionway grab rails; a nice piloting/watch standing location in wet/cold weather.
Irie is fully outfitted and set up for extended blue water cruising. Sail controls are led aft to the cockpit where powerful self-tailing winches make sure work of sail handling. The top of the mast is painted international orange making Irie visible from ships in heavy seas.
The engine space is located beneath the center cockpit. Removing the companionway ladder allows the 2’ x 3’ forward engine compartment door to swing open and lift off the hinge pins if desired for front engine access. A 28” x 19” port side door can also be removed from the aft stateroom passage to access the back of the engine space. A dome light is fitted to the overhead. The Volvo engine has high hours but is amazing clean, well-maintained and showing no signs if demise. Overall systems design, component selection, access and capability is what one would expect of a world cruising yacht.