Regardless of thinking, size, price point or power options, all good boats meet their designer’s objectives. They are fit for the purpose, but not at the expense of the basic principles of seaworthiness, sound construction and performance. 

They need to be comfortable when under way, mindful of human factors when swinging on the anchor, and in this day and age they must offer a smarter way of doing things.

Enter the launch.

A design that has stood the test of time, the humble launch is in effect a simple open boat with an inboard engine, plenty of seating, and a swooping bow to cut through the water and shed the spray.

Judging by recent launches, pun intended, the traditional launch is staging a comeback. Everything old is new again. But then with the advent of leaner, smaller, faster engines, the launch has been, ahem, relaunched.

This brings us to David Sampson, a Sydney-based professional sailor, who found himself admiring a fetching launch tied to the waterfront in Portofino, Italy, during a regatta way back in 2002.

Sampson took a mental snapshot of that pretty boat and, over the ensuing years, moulded it to fit his family needs. He realised his dream earlier this year following the input of Sydney-based naval architect Andy Dovell.

A confidante and partner of Iain Murray, Dovell’s designs run the gamut from fast racing maxis to the Sydney brand of production yachts, from those chic Palm Beach lobster-style boats to this pretty little launch dubbed the Rushcutter 25. A year was spent toying with the design, I’m told, before this boat finally hit the water.

Based on the carpe diem principle, Sampson sought to create a dry, stable, safe, comfortable and simple pleasure boat for seizing the day. With a single 110hp Yanmar diesel inboard engine, the Rushcutter 25 can zip to your favourite anchorage at a flighty 20kts.

But while speed might come in handy when you want to hightail it back home on a Sunday afternoon, why the hurry? I find far greater pleasure idling along at seven knots, where the engine is sipping the fuel and you can soak up the vistas like a human sponge.

At rest, there is a big cockpit shaded by a bimini top, with useful lunch table, a forward sunlounge that lifts to reveal a decent cabin, vee-berth and toilet. Like all good launches, plenty of seats encircle the boat and offer clear views and connection with the water. With a draft of just 0.5 metres and a keel, you can nudge the Rushcutter 25 into a beach without worrying about damaging the running gear.

“I wanted to build a boat for my wife and kids, something comfortable and safe, with a big cockpit for doing lunch and a cabin for getting changed or grabbing 40 winks,” explains Sampson, who has a six-month-old and a two-year-old kid captain in tow. “It’s a boat for day trips, for camping at The Basin, and for taking it fast or slow.”

You’ll find a lot of knockabout carvel launches about the waterfront these days. Many are wrecks. But others, with a repower and a backyard makeover, would make a fantastic dayboat that serves as a foil to the hurried workaday life. Add a Torqeedo electric outboard and battery bank and you can plug-and-play for a song.

But if that sounds like too much work then something like the Rushcutter 25 could be your answer. It’s a timeless modern-day launch for today’s time-poor boaties. And at the end of the day, you can put it away in the time it takes to load the empty picnic hamper back in the car.

DETAILS: The Rushcutter 25 with upgraded 110hp Yanmar diesel engine (a 75hp model is standard) bowthruster, blue hull and bimini top was selling for $137,000. Cold drinks, chicken and salads cost extra.

For more information contact, Tower Marine, David Sampson: phone 0414 390 017.

David Lockwood, Editor at Large, Trade-a-Boat