The McConaghy Ker 33 is an out and out racing machine optimised for competition under the IRC rating system, with the bonus of surprisingly civilised interior accommodation.

Following the many racing successes of the Ker 40 and later Ker 40 Plus designs, the latest model built by the China-based McConaghy yard is sure to attract plenty of interest among potential UK buyers. The design follows a very similar style to its larger sisters, including the near plumb bow, long dynamic waterline and flared stern sections. There’s more rocker in the under water sections than the Ker 40s have – this is more of a semi-displacement hull shape, and has the advantage of reduced wetted surface area in light airs.

McConaghy Ker 33 racing yacht

McConaghy Ker 33 on display at Southampton Boat Show.

The design has been optimised for performance under the IRC rating system, although with the growing popularity of the ORC rating system in many parts of mainland Europe, Jason Ker was also careful to ensure the boat will perform well in that environment. The first Ker 33, which was delivered to Australia earlier this year, has an IRC rating of only 1.021, although with a single-spreader rig.

Hull and deck construction is of foam sandwich, while the rudder stock is of autoclaved carbon fibre, with a corecell foam cored carbon skin rudder blade. The keel is a plain fin, with no bulb, although the bottom third is a lead shoe to keep weight as low as possible.


McConaghy Ker 33 lines.

There's no doubt about the McConaghy Ker 33's racing pedigree.



On deck and under sail

At first sight it’s immediately apparent that this boat has been designed for speed – even the stanchions, pushpit and pullpit are of an efficient aerofoil shape. These are of composite construction and autoclaved in house. In addition, much thought has gone into producing an ergonomic deck layout in which friction is kept to an absolute minimum and running rigging led in straight lines, without turning corners, wherever possible. The deck gear package is by Harken, with clutches by Spinlock.


McConaghy Ker 33 below decks

Below decks there is more style than you'd expect with an out-and-out racing boat.


Below decks

Given the pure raceboat treatment on deck, many would expect to find a bare and stripped out interior. Instead, there’s a surprisingly spacious arrangement that’s also well lit thanks to the trademark big windows and a mostly white finish.

There are three double berths, plus two settees in the saloon, a proper heads compartment, a decent navigation station, a workable galley and a stylish carbon table. Features that are all to often lacking on cruising yachts include excellent hand holds and deep fiddles. Overall it’s an efficient and surprisingly comfortable arrangement that gives this design the potential to be a genuinely dual-purpose boat.


Equipment and options

To contain costs the boat is produced on a strict production basis, with every built to a near identical specification. The biggest options therefore are in the choice of aluminium or carbon rigs, and whether to set up for either asymmetric spinnakers, set from a sprit, or conventional symmetric kites. In common with most dedicated racing designs, the choice of sail maker and electronics packages is also left to individual owners to specify.

Watch Rupert Holmes' video tour of the boat below.



McConaghy Ker 33 specifications

Hull length 10.0m
Beam 3.36m
Draught 2.0m
Displacement 3,750 kg
Sail plan: P: 13.4m; E: 4.51m; I: 12.76m; J: 3.9m; SPL: 4.25m
Engine: 20hp diesel inboard

For more information visit Ancasta.

McConaghy Ker 33 sail plan

McConaghy Ker 33 sail plan.


Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.