Nonsuch: why it’s a great family racing and cruising boat

Story by cnmAdmin2030 / September 22, 2023

Author: David Harris, President Harris & Ellis Yachts

You’ve likely heard it all before—easy to sail, safe for little ones, good performance, lots of room, great resale value, quality construction…these are just some of the reasons almost 1,000 Nonsuch sailboats were built and remain incredibly popular.

The characteristic rig tames the large mainsail and provides surprising sail-shape control. Picture a windsurfer rig lying on the beach, the foot and leech and luff all perfectly tensioned by the angle of the wishbone. In a Nonsuch, subtle controls such as draft and halyard tension are easily adjusted from the cockpit lines. Reefing is a two-step process from the cockpit, and any excess or dropped sail is contained in the cradle lines below the boom—very simple. Less-experienced sailors and kids will feel safe and comfortable aboard a Nonsuch.

Many owners are keen, capable racers who delight in the Nonsuch’s responsive performance. Under both power and sail, these boats track and respond to a light and balanced helm. Designer Mark Ellis (the Ellis in Harris & Ellis Yachts) combined a traditional “catboat” aesthetic with a modern underbody, providing sailing performance that can be likened to that of a huge Laser dinghy. Nonsuches are quick on all points of sail and remarkably effective upwind—fun family sailing doesn’t get any better. With hundreds of 22-, 26-, and 30-foot models on the water, these fast, responsive boats are even providing competitive one-design racing. Fleets gather across North America, and the International Nonsuch Association coordinates regular rendezvous.

In addition, builder Hinterhoeller Yachts’ legendary high quality and rugged hull construction make the Nonsuch a desirable cruising yacht. Interior arrangements are roomy and light, ventilation is superb, and there is lots of tankage for fuel, water, and waste. Unlike some sleeker-looking cruising boats, whose performance becomes compromised once a furling main and jib are added, the Nonsuch sails at 100% of her potential 100% of the time.

Harris & Ellis Yachts has sold and resold Nonsuches around the world, and we have a special interest in this design. If you are thinking of becoming a Nonsuch owner, give us a call.



Thank you for all your work in facilitating the sale of our dad's boat. Jake and I really appreciate all the hard work you put into it with the many visits, paperwork, etc. A special mention has to go out to Grant for teaching me how to fold the sails!

As first-time boat buyers and as foreigners wanting to buy a cruising catamaran in the US, we knew we needed a reliable broker that had our best interests in mind. John Heintzman was just that, and more! He was extremely committed to understanding what we were looking for, gave great advice, and guided us through the purchase process with great patience and knowledge. All in all, we felt very well taken care of.

I feel compelled to reach out about the absolutely wonderful experience that I have had with Grant and Patricia Bowlby. I completed the purchase of a boat yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. They were so helpful, kind, and patient. This was my first experience with a broker, and I think I’ve found the best.

I can’t thank Ewan Campbell enough for the super job he did in selling G, making up for my lack of experience in this realm and patiently searching for just the right buyer and a win-win for seller and buyer alike.

It was a wonderful experience selling A with Jeff Cole’s expert assistance. Thank you for simplifying a complicated process. Your patience and kindness are especially appreciated.

I just wanted to thank Jeff Cole for all his hard work. He was very professional and effective.

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