Me and my SeaRanger - Christian Hunter Simmonds

The Larkspur - SeaRanger 48


By its nature, the SeaRanger attracts the kind of owners who love to get the boat out on the water and Christian Hunter Simmonds is no exception.

He has owned his SeaRanger 48, the Larkspur, from new - since July 2000. As a family man with three young children, he finds that the boat offers an ideal base for family holidays in comfort and safety.

"We find that it's easy to go places. We tend to be only restricted by time, in that it's only possible to get away for a week or two,"he says. Daughters Louisa, ten, and Louisa eight are both keen sailors and use the comfortable deck space on the boat for games of tag. "And there aren't many boats you can do that on," says Christian. The newest addition to the family is Christian and wife Anna's third daughter Kate. She's now a few months old but took her first trip on board at just 11 days.

"One of the reasons for buying the SeaRanger was the safety aspect. We had young kids at the time; one aged just two and the other newly born. I was impressed by the big wide decks and the safe rails. What's more the big engines graze economically."

Christian is a big believer in getting out and about with the Larkspur whenever possible. "We use it for nice enjoyable family holidays. It's a safe boat. One of the girls loves being on the foredeck, and feeling the spray. It's the type of boat where everyone has space. Once it gets older you get less protective about it. We use it and abuse it.

"We've had friends stay on board for trips and we just pack in somehow. We had seven or eight sleeping on it last summer. We use the boat for fishing and snorkelling trips, for going over to the Channel Islands or across to the Brittany coast."

Before he owned the Larkspur, Christian had enjoyed his Sunseeker. He'd looked at a Grand Banks but was put off by some of the design aspects He was charmed by the looks of the Sabreline 48.

But it was an article in Motor Boat and Yachting by Dave Marsh that turned his head. "It was an article on planing boats versus displacement boats. The article praised the Corvette and the SeaRanger as magnificent boats. I remember that in the article he said that he couldn't understand why there wasn't a four-year waiting list. So I phoned up and got a brochure." A sea trial, courtesy of another SeaRanger owner convinced him.

His Larkspur looks remarkably similar to the latest SeaRanger 48. "The modifications are quite subtle. The new one has bigger window in the aft cabin, with a set of ladders. Ours is more of an escape hatch. The Larkspur also has lockers on the aft deck for ropes."

When the SeaRanger team including Jim Boulton picked one of the roughest days of the year to take the latest SeaRanger out into the English Channel in November, Christian was alongside in the Larkspur.

He recalls: "The boat can take it. We didn't have any trouble - it's a SeaRanger. There were times when it seemed we were looking out from inside a washing machine. It was pretty wet, but SeaRangers tend to peel the waves apart quite well."

The SeaRanger, it seems suits the family's needs perfectly. Some of that is due to the amount of care and planning that Christian put into the design of the boat. I put in a lot of factory visits during the build stage, changing little things such as dials, drawers and so on. SeaRanger were flexible enough to change whatever I wanted which was very refreshing to hear. "

That doesn't stop him looking at other boats though. "I still go to boat shows and have a look around, though not with any intention of changing. There is nothing on the market with the same size and performance. The Grand Banks is a big improvement on what it was, but there's still a certain Americanness to the design that doesn't suit me."

I still go to boatshows and have a look around, not with any intention of changing



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One of the reasons for buying the SeaRanger was the saftey aspect...