By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
How did I miss this little gem for so many years?
Awhile back, a friend called who was looking to replace the cruising boat he had recently sold with something smaller that he could use as a daysailer and perhaps an occasional weekend cruiser. He was attracted to the large cockpit and accommodations of the Sailmaster 22 but had concluded these aging centerboard models were too high-maintenance. The Cape Dory 25 appealed to him aesthetically but he felt the cockpit was too small and uncomfortable. I asked him if he'd considered a Quickstep 24. "What's a Quickstep 24?" he replied. This one is for you, Buck.
The Quickstep 24 was designed by Ted Brewer in the late 1970s and was originally intended for aluminum construction, which never quite worked out. Eventually the design caught the eye of Rhode Island sailor and boatbuilder Bill Stanard who purchased the rights for fiberglass production.
With moderate freeboard, a pronounced sheer line, canoe stern, and a nearly full keel with attached rudder, I think it's fair to describe the Quickstep 24 as a conservative design. As is Brewer's tradition, the keel is cut away significantly at the forefoot with a second "bite" taken out just forward of the rudder. By doing this, wetted surface and the drag associated with it is lessened and the lateral plane reduced so there is less resistance to turning and less tendency to stall halfway through a tack.
From 1977 to 1990, the Quickstep 24 was built by at least four different New England builders including Stanard Boat Works, C.E. Ryder Corp., The Anchorage and Shannon Boat Company. Prior to Shannon taking over production, the Quickstep's hulls were built using woven roving, chopped strand mat and polyester resin. Shannon chose more current unidirectional and bidirectional fiberglass materials and used Vinylester resin for the first layer of laminate below the waterline to help mitigate osmotic blistering. All quickstep hulls are solid fiberglass laminates while decks are balsa cored. The deck and hull are joined on an inward flange with a combination of sealant and mechanical fasteners closely spaced. In all cases these are well-built production boats that have held up well with reasonable care and maintenance. Dark blue and dark green gelcoated hulls were popular choices among many first-time owners and older boats, particularly those with dark colored hulls, are likely to need a paint job.
On a small boat it's tough to get too creative or incorporate too many features into a deck arrangement, but the Quickstep has several features worth mentioning. First, there is a huge cockpit which comfortably accommodates four adults and allows passengers to sit far enough forward so that, even with four or five people aboard, the boat can be sailed without the transom dragging through the water. Secondly, most Quickstep 24s have halyards led to the cabin top so that the boat can be sailed without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
The Quickstep 24 is sometimes described as a "pocket cruiser" but this is a stretch; it's best described as a daysailer with overnight capabilities. The cabin features a V-berth forward adequate for two adults. There are port and starboard quarter berths suitable for children but more commonly used for storage; in fact, some models sacrificed the port quarter berth in favor of a storage locker accessible from the cockpit seat. Galley facilities are minimal and the head, as is typical for this type boat, is in the V-berth area and offers no privacy.
According to advertisements and specifications from both Stanard Boats Works and Shannon Boat Company, their Quickstep 24 models were offered with the option of an inboard diesel engine although I have never seen a model so equipped. It is safe to say the vast majority of Quickstep 24s are powered by outboards - usually ranging from 6 to 9.9 hp. Outboards are mounted in a lazarette well which places them on centerline and further forward than if transom-mounted. This results in less pitching moment and less tendency to pop out of the water in choppy seas but has the disadvantage of not being able to be raised clear of the water when not in use and sacrifices storage space.
The Quickstep's displacement length ratio is 260, certainly moderate for a full keel boat of this length, and the sail area/displacement ratio is a modest 16.4. Generally, the Quickstep 24 is considered a fairly stiff boat owing to a ballast/displacement ratio of 48%. The sail area is well balanced and by all reports this is a great sailing little boat.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 Quickstep 24s were built, all by New England builders.
Whether it's for my friend or anyone else, I am hard pressed to think of a daysailer/weekender in this size and price range that I would recommend over a Quickstep 24.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.