About the Rhodes 22

The Rhodes 22 is a masthead sloop, constructed of molded fiberglass. It was designed by the naval architect Philip Rhodes for General Boats International.

In the 1970's, General Boats contracted out construction of the Rhodes 22 to a series of other boat building companies, but was never satisfied with the quality of the work. In the 1980's, General Boats took on manufacturing of the Rhodes 22, initially on Long Island, then soon after at a facility in Edenton, NC. They've been there ever since.

The Rhodes 22 is 22' 0" long overall, with a waterline length of 20' 0". The beam is 8' 0".

Displacement of the boat can vary, but is generally between 2700 and 2900 lbs (boats built in the 1970's are probably lighter).

Ballast in the shoal keel is about 650 lbs.

The draft of a Rhodes 22 is about 20" with the centerboard and rudder raised. With the rudder down, the draft is about 3'. With the centerboard fully deployed, about 4'.

The 'floor plan' above shows the Rhodes 22 with the fully enclosed head option. The fully enclosed head is entered by a doorway from the main cabin. A more common configuration is the partially enclosed head, which features a partition just forward of the galley that extends to the centerline of the boat. The partially enclosed head is entered from the port side.

For many boat manufacturers, a boat in this size range is built as a 'starter' boat. They hope that in a few years you will want to move up to one of their larger, more profitable models. To increase the liklihood that you will make this move, they tend to minimize the features offered on the smaller model.

The Rhodes 22 is the only boat made by General Boats. There's no larger model to move you up to. So they put the features into the only model they have.

A partial list of Rhodes 22 features is below:

A Real Galley: Well, it is only a 22' boat, so it's not as big as your kitchen at home, but there's about 4 1/2' of counter top with a sink. Under the counter, General Boats provides an RV style front opening ice-box, and storage areas behind sliding doors. A butane stove is the most common option for cooking. Some boats are equipped with one that pulls out on drawer slides.

Customizable Cabin: On many boats, large parts of the cabin interior are molded fiberglass. This construction approach makes modifying the cabin difficult. On the Rhodes 22, most of the cabin interior can be disassembled with a screwdriver. Many owners have taken advantage of this by customizing the cabin to meet their specific needs.

Pop-Top: A large section of the cabin roof can be raised to provide 6' 4" head room. The pop-top is raised in two motions. The first lifts the rear end on telescoping arms that click into place. The second motion lifts the forward end on a slider attached to the mast which also clicks into place. Raising the pop-top changes the cabin from a cave-like cubby to a open and airy space. This is not just an option for dock-side, or while at anchor, the pop-top can be left raised while sailing or motoring in most weather conditions.

Pop-Top Enclosure: This is a tent-like structure that's supported by the raised pop-top, snaps onto the edges of the cabin top, and provides a more protected environment inside the cabin. It has large clear plastic panels both forward and to the sides. There's insect screening on two smaller side windows, and on the door panel which is closed with zippers. At the dock, or at anchor, it makes life on board in rainy or windy weather much more pleasant. This really is a must-have for cruisers. General Boats does not make these, but they might be able to sell you one.

Large Cockpit: It's big. At 7' 4", it's almost exactly 1/3 of the overall length of the boat. Sitting cheek-to-cheek, you could fit more people into the cockpit than you should probably ever have on-board at once. But, it's also an excellent space for lounging. With filler cushions, it can serve as additional sleeping space.

Storage: Many small sailboats use the space under the cockpit seats for quarter-berths; cave-like sleeping spaces accessible from the cabin. These allow the manufacturer to claim that the boat can accommodate a large number of people overnight (22 feet - sleeps eight!). In fact, most quarter-berths end up being used for storage. As storage areas, quarter-berths are difficult to access and organize.

The Rhodes 22 also uses the space under the cockpit seats for storage. However, the space is accessed directly from the cockpit, making it easier to get to and organize. As it happens, commonly available Rubbermaid 10 gallon totes fit quite nicely into this space. As many as four of these totes, or similarly sized containers, can be slid under each seat. The cockpit floor is raised slightly above the floor under the seats, which creates a lip that helps keep bins and containers in place even when heeling.

Also accessible from the cockpit, is the lazarette at the stern. This space is the full width of the boat and is large enough to crawl into. It is particularly useful for bulky items such as boat fenders.

Of course there are storage spaces in the cabin as well. The galley has storage areas both above and below the counter top. There's a large drawer beneath the companionway step. There are shelves along each side of the v-berth. And there are other nooks and crannies available for creative uses.

Inner Mast Furling: This is a feature found on some larger sailboats, but no other boat in the same size category as the Rhodes 22. When the mainsail is furled, it is rolled up inside the mast. To deploy the main, pull on a rope to pull the sail out of the mast. To furl, pull on another rope to roll it up inside the mast again. Of course the sail can be partially furled to accommodate different wind conditions. Both furling and unfurling are best done with the boat pointed into the wind.

Two Position Boom: Normally the boom is attached to the mast about two feet above the cabin top. This puts the boom high enough to be safely over the head of most adults standing in the cockpit. But by pulling a pin at the gooseneck, the boom and mainsail can be lowered about 18". Doing this lowers the mainsail's center of effort, which will reduce heeling. This maneuver is sometimes called 'the first reef'. Naturally, in order to drop the boom into its lower position, the pop-top needs to be down, and the bimini (if there is one) needs to be stowed.

Nine Shrouds & Stays: One jib stay, two upper shrouds, four lower shrouds, and two backstays. Critically, the two forward lower shrouds are forward of the mast. This ensures that the loss of any single shroud or stay will not bring the mast crashing down.

Shoal Keel & Centerboard: The combination of a shallow keel to provide ballast along with a relatively light fiberglass centerboard to provide latteral resistance, is a best- of-both-worlds solution. There are other design options, but they all have issues. A fixed deep keel can't be raised. A daggar board won't kick-up if it hits something. A heavy centerboard that is also ballast (a swing keel) needs additional machinery to lift it. Water ballast doesn't put enough weight down low enough.

As an added benefit, the Rhodes 22 centerboard can be serviced from the cabin with the boat on its trailer.

Motor Lift: Like most small sailboats, the Rhodes 22 uses an outboard motor to be able to go when not using the wind. One of the many benefits of using an outboard, rather than an inboard motor, is that the outboard can be lifted out of the water when not in use to reduce drag. General Boats was apparently not satisfied with existing motor lifting brackets, and designed their own system. Rather than using parallelagrams and springs, it uses heavy gauge aluminum rails attached to the transom that the mounting bracket rides up and down on. Power is provided either by muscule, aided by rope and pullies, or an electric motor, operated by the push of a button.

Unsinkable: Really. The areas under the cockpit and the v-berth are filled with foam to ensure positive floatation.

Mast Raising System: Naturally, General Boats has also designed a system for raising and lowering the mast. The system has two primary components: the crane and the crutch. The crane is a manual winch attached to the end of an aluminum pole about 5' long. This attaches to the boat near the bow. The crutch supports the mast while it is down. It's about 6' high and rests on the top of the transom. To raise the mast, attach it to its base on the cabin top, attach a pair of shrouds to the crane, and turn the winch handle.

Of course, some details have been left out of this description, but the process is not much more complicated than that. It can easily be done by one person.

Trailer: A trailerable sailboat needs a trailer. If you've read this far, it won't surprise you to learn that General Boats was not satisfied with 'off the shelf' models available, and so came up with their own design. The General Boats design features mostly come into play when putting the boat onto the trailer. There are guides for the keel that will help properly position the boat. Additionally there's a roller that will interact with the centerboard (which should be down) to also help in centering the boat.

The trailer also features a 10' extendable tongue, which helps in getting the trailer into deep enough water to launch or retrieve the boat, without also submerging the tow vehicle.

The Rhodes 22 trailer is built by Triad Trailers (but you can only get a new one from General Boats).

For more details about these and other features of the Rhodes 22, you should visit the General Boats website.