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The Falmouth 22' Cutter: A Surprisingly Small Cruising Sailboat

Surprise, Surprise! I'm Only 22 Feet!

A very smart looking small sailboat
A very smart looking small sailboat

Who says good things don't come in small packages?! If you have ever gazed upon a Falmouth 22' Cutter, you know that they do! Most people when they think about cruising sailboats wouldn't even consider a 22' boat an option ... and in most cases they'd be right. There are surprisingly few examples of successful, small cruising sailboats out there. The Dana 24', the infamous 20' Flicka, the Nor'Sea 27, and the 28ft Bristol Channel Cutter come to mind.

And then there is, of course the Falmouth 22' Cutter. Its no surprise that the Falmouth was designed by the same man as two of the other boats on the above list - Lyle C. Hess. Hess's ability to cram an amazing amount of functionality and amenities in a small boat are well expressed in the Falmouth 22' Cutter.

As with the BCC, the Falmouth has the look of an old, turn of the century, British working boat - and that's because it is, essentially, a scaled down version of the Bristol Channel Cutter. "How do you scale down a 28ft cruising boat?" One might ask. The Falmouth is the answer.

The Advantages of a Small Sailboat

Such a SMALL boat!  Yet so good looking!  Note the wide decks and small, secure cockpit.
Such a SMALL boat! Yet so good looking! Note the wide decks and small, secure cockpit.

Many people wonder why some sailors choose to spend so much money on a small sailboat. The answer is that small sailboats have many many advantages over larger ones. For starter, small sailboats are easier to single-hand - something that many Falmouth 22' owners do on a frequent basis. Many of these small cruisers have been used as live aboards, and there isn't much room below decks for more than one person. If you are a frequent single-hander, then smaller is definitely better. Its easier to manage the sails in any weather, slip fees are exponentially less than a larger boat, maintenance costs are lower than on a larger yacht, and if something breaks, its normally much easier to replace / repair. These are all great (and rare) qualities in many smaller boats.

Most small sailboats in the 20-25ft range weren't meant for anything more than a daysail or a weekend trip in fairly protected waters. The Falmouth 22' Cutter is capable of sailing across any ocean in safety ... Big boat capabilities. Small boat price. Granted, the Falmouth 22' is MUCH more expensive than many other 20-something boats ... but its all relative. She's still a lot less than most 40' sailboats out there.

The Disadvantages of a Small Sailboat

But ... having a small sailboat is a trade off. While Hess was able to cram a lot of amenities on board ... he wasn't able to fit everything.

Below decks ... while still having a galley, spacious cut-away V-berth, port-berth, lots of stowage, and an inboard engine ... is very cramped. 2 adults could sail a long voyage on this boat together, if they don't mind always being within arms reach of each other. This boat really was intended to be sailed by a couple (who want to test their relationship) or single-handed, and the cabin reflects that.

You also won't be getting anywhere fast in this boat. The stout lines and comforting motion at sea translate to a not so stellar hull speed. Be prepared for just about any other vessel larger than 22' to pass you up quiet easily. That being said, the Falmouth 22' Cutter does sail exceptionally well, and she's no slouch for a 22' sailboat. She'll hold her own with other boats around her size.

The cramped quarters down below do contain quiet a few amenities, including galley, v-berth, and a head (next to a cut-away v-berth in most models)
The cramped quarters down below do contain quiet a few amenities, including galley, v-berth, and a head (next to a cut-away v-berth in most models)

You Can't Go Wrong With Quality

Everything about the Falmouth screams quality. From the generous use of teak below decks and above, to her gorgeous bowsprit providing extra sail area to this amazing little vessel, Lyle Hess made sure that the Falmouth would turn heads - no matter where in the world she sailed.

If you're looking for a small, comfortable live-aboard that you can take anywhere, then take a long hard look at the Falmouth 22' Cutter. While people might call you crazy for even thinking about living onboard a 22' sailboat - once on her decks you'll understand just how capable this little ship is.

A Nice Long Video of the Falmouth 22' Cutter

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Comments 10 comments

nagu01 5 years ago

Wow.. Great work.. its really amazing..

Merbau Decking Timber


Fortadam profile image

Fortadam 5 years ago from Portland Oregon Author

It really is an amazing little boat. My dream boat is the Bristol Channel Cutter 28, and this is just it's little sister :) Such wonderful and amazingly put together boats.


Alan 5 years ago

Its unfortunate that you written a review on a boat you have never sailed. Her speed is greater than most boats out there up to 30', she is an excellent light air boat which is 90% of what you will find when you venture off and handles the heavy stuff just as well. Unlike virtually all cruising boats which are motor sailors the FC is a true sailng machine. Cheers :)


Fortadam profile image

Fortadam 5 years ago from Portland Oregon Author

I would LOVE the opportunity to sail on one of these fine ships :). If you have one and are on the west coast of the US let me know!


Ol Bill 5 years ago

Very nice boat and nice video. Makes me want to get up to the lake and sail again - Big Time!! I have been out for a while after surgery, about ready to sail again, I hope, & thank God (and the medical Folks). I sail and cruise a Siren 17'2" on a highland TVA lake. Cheers and many happy sails.


Dyhannah profile image

Dyhannah 5 years ago from Texas

Nice hub. I'm considering a day sailor. Thanks for the info.


GetitScene profile image

GetitScene 4 years ago from The High Seas

Always wanted to step aboard a Fallmouth 22. How's the weather helm on her?


Fortadam profile image

Fortadam 4 years ago from Portland Oregon Author

The cutter rig and full keel really help keep weather helm manageable until the wind really picks up. But because of the cutter rig finding a sail combination that works efficiently in most winds is fairly easy.


GetitScene profile image

GetitScene 4 years ago from The High Seas

I've considered re-rigging my own boat as a cutter like a few of the other Triton owners have and I still might one day.


Yuka 23 months ago

Another great article, and so good to see them here in Falmouth. Lets hope they don't take so long to come back again. I have to say what a nice group they all were. A peaulsre to meet them.

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