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The Tanzer 22 A sensible, good-looking family coastal cruiser

By Ted Brewer
Originally published in Good Old Boat, March/April 2000

I've always liked the Tanzer raised-deck yachts as the style is a sensible solution that enables the designer to obtain the maximum interior volume in a small cruising yacht. Probably the prettiest raised-deck yachts ever built were those designed by the late S. S. Crocker and, while the Tanzers cannot compete with the Crocker designs in classic beauty, they certainly can in function and practicality.

Also, in as small a boat as the 22, the raised-deck styling can provide an illusion of lower freeboard and sleekness when compared to more conventionally styled craft and, in my opinion, the Tanzer 22 compares favorably with any cruiser in her size range when it comes to appearance as well as practicality.

Another strong point in the favor of the raised-deck yacht is that it extends the cabinside to the deck edge and this, in turn, increases reserve stability quite substantially.

In the chart at right, let's compare the Tanzer to a couple of other 22s to see how she stacks up.

First, let me say a few things before readers start to yell at me. One book gives the Tanzer 22's sail area as 312 square feet, but that is in error, and her measured sail area with 100-percent foretriangle is as I have it above. Second, yes I know there is a centerboard model of the Columbia 22, but the info I have shows that it carries 300 pounds more ballast than her finny sister, but has the same displacement. That's just not possible in my opinion, so I left it out.

Regarding the Comfort Ratio, none of these boats is going to give you a smooth ride in a choppy sea or in big leftover swells. They are simply too small and light. Still, the Tanzers are certainly the best of the batch with their extra 700 pounds displacement, and that extra weight may also translate into thicker fiberglass, greater strength, and longevity. Note also that the Capsize Number indicates that these boats are not intended for bluewater passages either. I'm sure that boats of this type and size have crossed, or will cross, oceans but not with me aboard!

These are small coastal cruisers, well suited to lakes, bays, and semiprotected waters, and intended for pleasant daysailing, weekending, and even longer cruises with some planning. The accommodations in the Tanzer and the Columbia are quite comparable and should be adequate for a couple or a small family for a week or two. The Capri's layout is more limiting due to its longer cockpit and lack of any galley facilities, although I have cruised happily for many days in boats with even less in the way of creature comforts.

In the performance category, I'd have to put my money on the Capri as her deeper fin, high SA/Disp. Ratio, and low Disp./LWL ratio should give her the edge. The Columbia numbers look good, too, but her hull appears to be considerably fuller foward than the Tanzer's and this could affect her windward ability, particularly in a choppy sea. In any case, these are not racing yachts, and any of the three will provide a great deal of pleasurable sailing and - within the limits of their size - fun-filled weekends or weeks of cruising. In the long run, on the basis of appearance, accommodations, and general cruising ability, the Tanzer 22 would get my vote.

Tanzer 22Tanzer 22Columbia 22Capri 22

LOA22 ft. 6 in.22 ft. 6 in.22 ft. 6 in.22 ft. 0 in
LWL19 ft. 9 in.19 ft. 9 in.20 ft. 1 in.20 ft. 0 in.
Beam7 ft. 10 in.7 ft. 10 in.7 ft. 9 in.8 ft. 0 in.
Draft3 ft. 5 in.2 ft. 0 in.3 ft. 2 in.4 ft. 0 in.

4 ft. 0 in.

Displacement2,900 lb.3,100 lb.2,200 lb.2,150 lb.
Ballast1,250 lb.1,500 lb.1,006 lb.800 lb.
Bal/Disp Ratio43%48%46%37%
Disp/LWL Ratio168179.6121.3120
Sail Area225 sq. ft.225 sq. ft.232 sq. ft.229 sq. ft.
SA/Disp. Ratio17.716.921.922
Comfort Ratio1414.910.710
Capsize Number2.22.152.382.48

Boats for this review were selected in cooperation with Brian Coffay at Sassafras Yacht Sales, whose database of sailboats has more than 7,000 boat records and more than 10,000 boatbuilder/importer records. Brian has been building the database since 1992 and has finally opened the closet door! He is able to search for sailboats based on his clients' wishes as expressed by boat dimensions, comparative ratios, designer name, builder name, and even configurational parameters. P.O. Box 36, Georgetown, MD 21930, 410-275-8001 (phone), 410-275-2420 (fax), email to sass@eclipsetel.com.