Boat of the Month - Dixon 60 Sea Glass

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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JOHN and VIVIEN SPENCE set off around the world, but now <I>Terra Australis</I> is their home and their amazing Dixon 60 <I>Sea Glass</I> with AeroRig is ready for the next cruising couple. Read on…

Boat of the Month - Dixon 60 Sea Glass
Boat of the Month - Dixon 60 <I>Sea Glass</I>

In 1997, we decided to look for a cruising yacht that would take us round the world in comfort and a vessel that would really look after her crew. We wanted the safety and ease of handling of an AeroRig and found Bill Dixon, world-renowned designer, happy to adapt his plans for a 60ft steel-hulled cruising yacht.

Steel plates were computer cut in Holland and shipped to the builders on the English South Coast, where the hull was welded and faired, and the yacht completed to a very high standard.

The AeroRig is an unstayed carbon-fibre mast with a boom that continues ahead of the mast to carry the headsail. It rotates freely and since there is only the mainsheet to play with under way, it would not satisfy yachties who love to continually fine-tune the rig!

It is, of course, an old principle, similar to Chinese junks and Arab dhows, but with modern techniques applied for long-lived efficiency. We have to point out frequently that while the bi-planes of yesterday had the equivalent of standing rigging, no such thing exists on planes of today.

In light airs, there is no collapsing headsail, and no deck-sweeping gennaker destroying visibility. If you do need to fiddle with something, there is always the variable-pitch prop, where seeking-to-extend-cruising-range invites attention to pitch motorsailing.

Sea Glass is a magnificent yacht for two couples, with two double cabins and two heads (master en suite, complete with bath, is a must-try passagemaking). Heads are freshwater Vacuflush minus the odour prevalent with saltwater.

We opted for a deck saloon, which enables us to have a great view outside and maximises storage under the sidedecks. There is a nav station to starboard with a flatscreen monitor for the navigation software, repeated to the flatscreen TV and to another display in the cockpit. All three are capable of repeating movies while at anchor or in port. The Furuno radar here is also repeated to a slave in the cockpit.

We fell in love with the solid wood on another yacht and decided to have Sea Glass’s furniture completed in Canadian maple, giving a light and airy feel to the interior. Seating in the saloon is all leather and fitted crew covers protect this during passagemaking.

There are two fridges plus a deep freeze, and to avoid the continual need to circulate raw water we have installed keel coolers — no more blocked raw-water filters, and peace of mind leaving the fridges running when not onboard. There is also an icemaker without which no cruising yacht would be complete!

Two watermakers round out cruising capabilities — the very quiet DC Spectra Clark pump and a SeaFresh hydraulic version for when larger quantities are needed. Power is supplied from a 1080amp/h battery bank supported by two Heart inverter/chargers, in addition to the 220amp Balmar alternator driven by the Perkins 135.

There are two generators. The Northern Lights 16kVa is for electric cooking, air-con, the hydraulic bowthruster and the SeaFresh watermaker, while the Mastervolt Whispergen 6kVa copes when lower loads are needed.

The galley is all electric, so no gas (except for the custom–built barbecue where the bottles sit in the open air aft), and a garbage compactor makes really light work of the air that occupies so much of onboard garbage. A large laundry storage locker complements a washer/dryer next to the forward head, and all lockers have air-circulation vents.

The deck has been replaced with 29mm teak and the holes left by the old screw-and-glue method welded up. To further reduce the likelihood of water ingress we had steel plinths welded to the deck to mount windlasses, etc, thereby avoiding the usual problem of compression of the teak.

Lifelines are higher than normal and stanchions have been moved outboard into sockets welded to the hull lip through the cap-rail to maximise safety and the sense of space on deck. There is a large dropdown platform in the transom giving easy access to the water and a freshwater shower aft. A further deck wash/shower is located amidships.

Davits aft hold the dinghy and optimal use is made of the aft windlass, which is used to raise it hydraulically — we make much more use of the dinghy now we don’t have to crank it onboard! The large lazarette contains a Bauer dive compressor, and a wet locker behind the forward heads stores wetsuits and foul-weather gear.

There are double windlasses and two big Danforths, both with 80m of heavy ?in chain —
we don’t intend to drag our anchor, whatever the weather! — and a hydraulic lifting swing keel which reduces draft from 12ft to about 6ft. The spacious centre cockpit is fully enclosed by screens that can be rolled up or removed.

Our aft seating area has been the scene of many a wonderful evening with friends — swimming, fishing, cooking, socialising and eating, enjoying timeless cruising round the world and stopping in the many idyllic anchorages where Sea Glass’s independence has looked after us so well. Passagemaking, too, with the Coursemaster autopilot could not have been more enjoyable.

Having crossed the Atlantic, we have traversed the Panama Canal, cruised French Polynesia and the Pacific, Australia, Thailand, Myanmar and back round the north side of Borneo, Indonesia and PNG.

The originally planned round-the-world trip turned into the "lets stay here" cruise, and we are now imported into Australia and loving it.

For more information on this boat, contact Yoti, Suite 5, Smiths Boatshed Marina, 81 Parriwi Road, The Spit, Mosman, NSW, 2088. Phone John Cowpe on 0405 409 686l; Tim Vine on 0412 382 538, email:

Designed by Bill Dixon and built by Premier Yachts Hayling Island, UK, Sea Glass is a very serious and complete world cruising yacht. Her AeroRig configuration and immense inventory allow her to be sailed easily and safely shorthanded. Truly, a remarkable yacht and ready to go world cruising.

Dixon 60

FOR SALE: $695,000
YEAR: 1998
MATERIAL: Rolled steel (hull); steel deck with laid teak
DESIGNER: Bill Dixon
BUILDER: Premier Yachts
LENGTH: 60ft
BEAM: 16ft
DRAFT: 6ft6in (keel up); 12ft6in (keel down)
FUEL: 2 x 730lt
WATER: 980lt
ENGINE: Perkins 135 diesel
PROP: Hundestedt variable pitch


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