Mast & Mallet Boatworks
in the news
about us | our boats | news | on the move | photo album | home

from Soundings June 2003
Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

Thomas Point Series

Part Chesapeake Bay, part Down East Maine

By Mike Kaufman

Thomas Point 34 looking graceful

Photo by Alison Langley

At the Annapolis, Md., powerboat show in 1991, I was approached by Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet Boatworks to design a 30-foot overnighter cruiser to be built on a semi-production basis. Joe and I liked many aspects of the Chesapeake Bay-built boats, as well as certain aspects of the New England lobster boats that are so popular now. We took the substantial rise of sheer forward from the lobster boat, combined it with the Chesapeake flare, and added the tumblehome found on the Southern Chesapeake and Carolina sport-fishermen. This design, begun in late '91, was called the "Rabbit," and later became the "Thomas Point" series.

The hull

We wanted a soft-riding boat that would be quick, efficient and easily maneuvered throughout her speed range. A chine boat is the most efficient planing boat, and when properly designed it is seaworthy and soft riding. A modified-vee or warped plane configuration is one that can be easily handled at low and high speeds although it doesn't have the high-end speed capability of a deep-vee or prismatic hull form. (In the case of the Thomas Point 34, that is a speed in excess of 20 knots.) On the other hand, the deep-vee hull has less desirable low-speed handling characteristics.

The Thomas Point bottom shape has a high, 30-degree deadrise (deep-vee) at a point that is 25 percent of the waterline length aft of the stem. This is the area of highest slamming loads when running in a seaway. The deadrise decreases aft to about 9 degrees at the transom. The low deadrise aft contributes to stability, and because the bottom is near the waterline, the boat throws little wake at low speeds.

While developing the bottom form, several aspects had to be kept in mind:

  • The quarter beam buttock had to be kept nearly parallel to the at-rest load waterline, or slightly rising as it went aft. This helps minimize the amount of rotation (bow rise) as the boat passes through the "hump" range, and helps in promoting planing stability.
  • The center of the planing area needed to be sufficiently far forward relative to the center of gravity to avoid planing instability.
  • Chine immersion had to be far enough forward so static stability was sufficient and felt comfortable.
  • The chine beam-to-length ratio had to be kept moderate — in other words, a narrower rather than wider beam for the given length. This helps overall efficiency and helps lower the rotation angle as the boat gets up on a plane.

The basic hull shape has been well tested on a variety of models in the Thomas Point series, from 26 to 43 feet (LOA). The shape is soft riding and comfortable in a seaway, stable at low and high speeds, rotates little through the hump range, and throws a low wake at both low and high speeds. She tracks well and han­handles easily in all speed ranges and sea conditions.

We built one Thomas Point 34 with twin 260-hp Yanmar 6-cylinder diesels at the owner's request; top speed is about 34 knots. Most are built with a single 230-hp diesel, which gives them a 21 ­knot top speed, and a 17­ to 18-knot cruise speed.


The hull construction is an epoxy-wood composite system using double planked western red cedar laid longitudinally over transverse fir frames. Four substantial longitudinal stringers are laid down over the frames and are joined to the hull skin with blocks between the frames. Each piece of wood in the hull, deck and superstructure is coated with WEST SYSTEM epoxy to completely seal it from moisture penetration. Each piece is glued along all faying (joining) surfaces with epoxy reinforced with high-strength filler.

The exterior of the hull is sealed with epoxy and sheathed with two layers of 10­ounce fiberglass cloth for strength and abrasion resistance. All interior surfaces are coated with an epoxy barrier for an especially clean, finished appearance.

The resulting structure is a one-piece unit with the wood fibers running in the direction of the anticipated loads. The strength meets or exceeds that of high­-speed boats of other materials, while the weight is 2,000 to 3,000 pounds lighter than that of an equivalent fiberglass boat. The combination of longitudinal double planking and longitudinal stringers that tie into the engine mounts and support the tanks results in a structure with excellent longitudinal strength and stiffness, while eliminating the maintenance problems associated with traditional wood construction. The epoxy coating seals out moisture and rot, and the Awl­grip coat requires only cleaning - no buffing or waxing.


interior -- looking forward in a TP 34

Photo by Alison Langley

The arrangement is that of a "week­ender." A large V-berth forward sleeps two adults, and a galley and head provide more than basic necessities. Electric refrigeration and a propane stove are standard. The berth can be made as a three­sided dinette if desired.

The 34 set up with twin 260-hp Yanmars required engine boxes because of the size of the engines. Twin 100-hp Yanmars on a previous 34 fit under the pilothouse sole, as will a single engine. The remainder of the boat aft is cockpit for entertaining.

Early in the design process it was decided that the boats should have wide side decks for the person who has to handle the lines forward. The decks are wide enough to walk along facing forward, and the 1-1/4­inch stainless steel rail is substantial and a comfort when the footing is uncertain.

All our owners have been pleased with their Thomas Point boats. (Hull No. 15 is under construction.) All sizes handle easily, have a soft, comfortable ride in a sea­way at all speeds, and are well built and beautifully finished by Mast and Mallet.

As a result of the popularity of the boats, Mast and Mallet now offers 30- and 36-foot Thomas Point models built of infused, molded, single-skin fiberglass.

Naval architect Mike Kaufman is president of Kaufman Design Inc. in Annapolis, Md., designing custom and production power­ and sailboats for 30 years. In addition to the Thomas Point series, Kaufman's designs include the Dickerson 50, Albin Nimbus 42, and Kaufman 47/49, as well as custom designs.


Mast & Mallet Boatworks
PO Box 759
Edgewater, Maryland 21037-0759