Verl 900 Design

See also Verl 900 Specifications page. 

The Verl 900 was designed as a cruiser/racer in 1974 by Robert Clark who also designed numerous other fine yachts including Gipsy Moth III for Sir Francis Chichester and British Steel for Chay Blyth.

They were originally built by Verlvale Ltd (aka Verl Yachts and Verl Mouldings) of Melbourn near Royston Hertfordshire and then for a couple of years by a boat yard in Tollesbury Essex.  The moulds then passed to The Humber Boat Company , then to Blaxton Boats Ltd of Doncaster and were last heard of in July 2014 in the ownership of Mark Reade of Sussex.  

Verlvale Ltd  (run by Nick Attridge) was incorporated in 1973 and dissolved in 1985.

Verlvale also built other yacht models e.g. the Verl 27 (formerly built by Phillips on the river Dart and called Phillipa 27 and also designed by Robert Clark),  later the Verl 790 (designed by Ed Dubois) and Hustler 32 racers and 33 cruisers (designed by Stephen Jones) which were also called Verl 32 and 33s. They also built some SJ30s and 36s.

Here are some comments from Nick Attridge, provided in November 2015:

“For my sins I’m the man that formed Verlvale and ran it as Managing Director until the Bank withdrew their overdraft facilities in 1982. I am proud to say that when we ceased trading no customer lost any money. In subsequent discussions with the Bank they explained that no matter if a company was solvent or not, they wanted ‘out’ of the leisure industry. With hindsight, their judgement proved right with the subsequent collapse of the likes of Westerly, Sigma Saddler, Moody and Hunter amongst many others.

I worked closely with Robert Clark whom we commissioned to design the 900, with him doing the hull and me contributing the superstructure and interior. Whilst I do not have individual records of the 250 plus 900 that we built, I would be happy to try and answer questions that current owners may have.

I must say that my career in the industry was one of the most pleasurable times of my life with many customers becoming friends, including those that purchased the Stephen Jones designed SJ30 and Verls 33 and 36.
I must complement you on your Site, one of the best.”

In 2004 it was reported on a forum that very possibly the last one was being built by Blaxton Boats (for Mark Reade) with improvements such as a sugar scoop transom.

In 1980 a Verl 900 cost from £15,000 to £18,000, roughly equivalent to about £80,000 in 2012.

As at 2015 it is known that many Verl 900s are still in use, particularly on the East and South coasts. Many were exported and found homes as far away as Vancouver in Canada. At least one company in Brittany used them as charter yachts in the late 70s and early 80s.

The Verl 900 has an encapsulated fin keel with skeg hung rudder and in the original brochure the construction was claimed to be “in excess of Lloyd’s specifications”.

Owners often say that they are well-planned, sturdy and seaworthy, with good performance both on and off the wind. See also the “General Comments” page for more owners’ comments. 

Nick Vass, the well-known Marine Surveyor has commented on another website:

“They have nicely fitted out interiors with lots of teak below and a good sized galley.
Deck gear is well thought out and they are good cruising yachts.
Freeboard is high so accommodation is generous”.

In 1976 a sailing magazine said “For club racing the Verl 900 will be fast” and “For performance cruising a fine boat, being both fast and comfortable below….a sound boat that will look after her crew”.

Cabin headroom is over 6 feet and the classic six-berth layout is like this.

Layout plan

However, we know of at least two built in the 1990s with a large galley on the starboard side of the main cabin opposite the double berth, and the heads where the galley is shown above. 

There is a generous amount of storage below every berth, behind the seat backs and on shelves.

A hanging locker and wet rail are located opposite the heads.

Two food storage lockers and an under-sink cupboard are provided in the galley, together with a series of shelves behind the cooker and under the companionway.

The chart desk faces forward and there is a shelf to starboard.

The dining table can be raised out of the way or lowered to form a double berth.

The cockpit also has good locker space and is roomy enough for four people.

The steering is by lifting tiller, although wheel steering was also offered as an original option.

             

The Verl 900 could also be adapted to a cutter-rigged ‘Islander’ of 32 LOA:

Verl 900 cutter islander 1981

8 responses

  1. Hi All,
    For any interested I have just found Chichester’s ‘The Romantic Challenge’ has a great account of his opinion of Robert Clark, especially as a hull designer and how he commissioned his services for Gypsy Moth V. How he got over the disappointments of Gypsy Moth IV’s unending failings I cannot imagine. He talks about how set in his ways Robert Clark was and hard to deal with. But a client had convinced him to develop new hull shapes developed by model yacht designers who at the time were lightyears ahead because of the ease of experimenting with models. Anyway by the time it came for him to design the Verl900 he certainly had vast experience and an ocean racing pedigree and portfolio second to none. That has to be a meaningful inheritance for Verl owners.

  2. Thanks Boris, you are right.

    We found a similar pipe on Verlesque, when we replaced the wiring for the wind instrument.

    Regards

    Barrie

  3. Hello Barrie
    I’ve just seen the question of the pipe. On my Verl Riptide this pipe is also available. This tube is for the supply cable for the instrument on the companionway sliding hatch.

  4. Hello Gordon, nice to hear from you again.

    Your old pipe is most strange – never seen anything like it before!

    I’ve added your pictures to the page for Dutch Courage https://verl900.wordpress.com/links/dutch-courage/.

    Regards

    Barrie

  5. Hi, Dutch courage has been in Portavadie over the winter. On tracing a leak by the nav. Station I uncovered an odd pipe in the ceiling which lead to a vent opening behind the companionway sliding hatch. No idea what it was for and why it would vent into the ceiling area. I’ve taken a couple of pictures and wonder if this can be put on site to see if any other verlies known what it’s for….. I have sealed it up?!

    Cheers Gordon.

  6. Thank you. Those measurements are exactly what I need to sort out the boom height. I think it may be contributing to excess heeling/weather helm too.

  7. Hi Ian.

    The Sept 1977 Verlvale brochure states “The main boom to mast gooseneck is of the fixed type” but the Sept 1979 one that came with our boat does not mention this.

    A couple of pictures have been added to the ‘Sails, Spars & Rigging’ page, where you can see that our gooseneck can slide, being constrained when it reaches its highest point by a steel cable, and at its lowest point by a moveable gizmo/clamp in the slot. I’m not at the boat to measure it but I guess the travel from one extremity to the other is about 40cms.

    We took some measurements for our new sails recently, which may help you.
    The luff on our new standard mainsail (13.48 sqm or 145.1 sqft)is 9.2m.
    (As an aside, the foot is 2.85m and leech 9.56m).

    With the sail fully hoisted:

    • The distance from the top of the sail to the cabin roof at the base of the mast is 10.25m.
    • The distance from the top edge of the boom to the cabin roof at the mast is 1.05m i.e 10.25m minus 9.2m.
    • The distance between the top edge of the boom and the top of the mast gate is 50cms.

    Is this of any use to you?

    Looking at the picture of ‘Imagination’ your boom does seem to be slightly higher – by about 30cms?

    Have you any more pictures of ‘Imagination’ to add?

    Regards

    Barrie

  8. My boom has been raised a bit up the mast at some point in its life and I’d like to reposition it at the standard height from the deck as it looks weird to my eye. What is the standard measurement here? Am I right in thinking all Verl900s came without gooseneck height adjustment?

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