Whitby 42 Sail Plan
The Whitby 42 is a rugged-looking, full keeled, heavy displacement cruiser designed by Ted Brewer in 1973 but lacking the “Brewer bite” that improved the performance of her sisterships, the Brewer 12.8 and Brewer 44. Although the most commercially successful of Ted Brewer’s designs, and considered a good value, liveaboard shoal water cruiser, opinion is that the Whitby 42 is not as rugged as she might suggest. Although she has completed serious offshore passages, weaknesses in her construction mean that she is not the preferred choice for serious blue water sailors. Not renowned for performance under sail, the accommodations are perhaps the real attraction of this center cockpit cruiser as well as the 5′ draft which is excellent for shoal waters.


The first Whitby 42 splashed out of the yard in Ontario, Canada in 1973. Whitby Yachts, owned by Kurt and Doris Hansen, went on to build 200 hulls from 1973 to 1983. Previous to this, Whitby Boat Works had built the Alberg 30 and Alberg 37. With the 42′ construction quality gradually improved until 1983. Production then shifted south to Fort Myers Shipyard in Florida where another 32 of these ketches were built along with the Brewer 12.8 and Brewer 44. The Myers versions have a reputation as having the highest quality construction. The 12.8 design substituted a cutter rig instead of the Whitby’s ketch rig, added a Brewer bite to the full keel and added a centerboard. The hulls are lighter and stronger, and the weight savings are used to increase ballast and stability. The Brewer 44’s are a stretch version of the 12.8’s.

Boat Configuration

Whitby 42 Layout
The Whitby 42 has a modern center cockpit aft stateroom with walk through arrangement. Forward is a large V-berth. There is a forward head with shared shower. In the salon, a L-shaped settee dinette arrangement is offset by two swivel chairs. The swivel chairs illustrate that the Whitby 42 was geared more as a liveaboard than a serious offshore cruiser. A U-shaped galley is aft to port. The walkway has low headroom due to the cockpit lockers. The aft cabin has a full width bunk with en-suite head.


The hull has balsa cored topsides like many Canadian manufacturers of this vintage. Below are alternating layers of mat and woven roving with polyester resin. The hull and deck is secured on most by pop rivets. Enlaid is a molded liner to stiffen the hull and provide interior structure though at the expense of hull access. She has a ketch rig. The engine was a great 67 HP Ford Lehman that provides plenty of punch.

Under Sail

Sailing performance, though better than a Westsail 42, is still a bit of a weakness. Not only does she have a rather full keel with connected rudder, but her buttocks are more rounded so she is more tender than her rugged looks and heavy displacement might suggest. Without a bowsprit she has wicked weather helm. Otherwise she is a stout boat for the trades with her shoal draft of 5-feet able to access the shallowest of harbors.


LOA:42′ 0″
LWL: 32′ 8″
Beam: 13′ 0″
Draft: 5’ 0″
Displacement: 25,500 lbs.
Sail Area: 875 sq. ft.

Fuel Tankage: 210 US Gal.
Water Tankage: 290 US Gal.

Designer: Edward S Brewer
Year Introduced: 1973
Year Ended: 1990
Builder: Whitby Boatworks / Fort Meyers Yacht and Shipbuilding

Buyers Notes

Owners advise buyers to examine the water tanks which are oddly fiberglass with an aluminum top plate. Another problem is the keel fuel tank which sits down deep in the bilge. The hull to deck is often secured by stainless steel rivets although many took up the option of through bolts. The mizzen mast does not have a solid glass radii and is prone to compression. Look for 42’s with a bowsprit to reduce weather helm and increase performance.

Similar Boats

Brewer 44
Brewer 12.8
Morgan 41 OI

Links, References and Further Reading

» Kretschmer, John. “Whitby 42.” Used Boat Notebook. Pages 164 – 167.
» Hornor, Jack. “Whitby 42.” Boat US.
» The Whitby – Brewer Sailboat Association. The Whitby Owners Forum


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11 thoughts on “Whitby 42”

  1. Akis Emmanouil says:

    Do you have any experience on the Cape North 43,is a Ted Brewer design too.Thank you.

  2. lovro says:

    This is realli good ship.

  3. Joe Barnes says:

    We had our 1978 Whitby 42 from 1999 (in Anacortes, WA) until 2008 when we sold her in New Zealand to an Australian couple who have started a round-the-world voyage and are right now in Indonesia headed for Singapore and then west. We put over 15,000nm under the keel. She was extremely roomy with massive storage, enormous tankage, and a great, dry, roomy center cockpit (13 people squeezed in for margaritas one great night in La Paz). Spacious, lots of light, and excellent head room through out. She was not fast but that was okay. She did not point well (at all) and that was not okay. We motored into the wind a lot. We did not have the chairs in the salon and would not have bought one with them. She was ruggedly built and made it fine through three unpleasant groundings with only bottom paint and a couple of scratches. We did have wet balsa on the aft cabin top where the ketch mast was stepped. The top would oilcan and is a common problem. We had the top drilled, injected with wood hardener and then re-glassed. We had in mast roller furling on the main and mizzen. We could reef in high winds without coming round without going out of the cockpit except to put in a locking pin. Our port water tank did leak (common problem as noted) but not the starboard. Our center fuel tank under the bilge never leaked, was always clean and we used it often. The engine room (yes room) was a major plus. Access many only dream about. The Ford Lehman 80hp tractor motor never skipped a beat. The previous owner had lengthened the rudder which seems to be a common issue. She was very sea-kindly, although we did not have much experience on other boats. We could also balance her, without the mizzen which we rarely used, so that she would keep her course forever if the wind was steady. She was not overly tender but you could put the rails under if you kept too much canvas up in a stiff blow. Our refrigerator and freezer were both huge. We had a large cold plate which still left a lot of room and we made ice and kept ice cream in the tropics provided we could get it to the boat before it melted completely. The new owners removed the mizzen to remove all the stays on the aft deck, which were in the way all the time. All in all, she was a good, slow, cruiser with some well-known problems.

  4. Thuille says:

    This boat is for sale but I shall leave St Marteem (Carribean) with her if I still own her in october.

  5. SailFarLiveFree says:

    Ted Brewer wrote an interesting guest post on my blog about the design and inspiration for the Whitby 42 here: http://www.sailfarlivefree.com/2012/06/question-of-month-with-designer-ted_07.html

  6. alejandro varela says:

    Hello there,I am about to cheq a 42′ 1973 Whitby an would ned some advice to special isues like the balsa cored topsides,and other spesific parts of the boat;please send me your advice ;respectfully,alex varela from argentina-

  7. Ed Roberts says:

    I own a Westsail 42 but have crossed the Atlantic in a Whitby 42.  The Whitby is a very comfortable and dry boat.  While we had an autohelm, much of our passage from Virginia to Lisbon was managed without the autohelm–just balanced the sails and the Whitby sailed herself, sometimes for days.  We did not have a bowsprint.
    I am suprised that no mention has been made of the undersized rudder of the Whitby.  The owner of the Whitby we crossed in extended the trailing edge about 3 inches as do many Whitby owners. 
    I love my Westasil but would highly recommend the Whitby 42 to anyone considering a cruising vessel.  I’m not crazy about hydraulic stearing but that is a personal preferance.   The only disadvantage is that it is noisy when under autohelm.

  8. Richard Jordan says:

    The Brewer 42 shouldn’t be listed as also known as the Whitby 42 though many mix them up.  While it is not exactly clear, admirers seem to say Brewer 42’s are somewhere in between a Whitby 42 and Brewer 12.8.  They have a mixture of the two’s features such as a “Brewer bite” and upgraded construction along with a ketch rig.  My guess is that the Brewer 42’s are early production 12.8’s by Fort Myers?

    1. Wm Jones says:

      A Brewer 42 is not a Brewer 12.8 or a Whitby 42. Many differences, for example a 12.8 has a centerboard whereas the 42 does not. The 42 is not a Whitby either as the Whitby has a full keel and the Brewer 42 does not. The Brewer 42 is more akin to a Brewer 44 (sans sugar scoop) than either of the other two that it gets confused with. As is, I am looking at one and my favorite blue water site give it no respect… I am still interested though so I’ll go do deep research on the web.

  9. WhitbyOwner says:

    I would have to disagree with “opinion is that the Whitby 42 is not as rugged as she might suggest.” The information and specifications are not all accurate. The fuel tank capacity of most are 210 us gal. The water capacity is 290 us gal. Sail area varies among owners and sails but the reported sail area is low. Being an owner of a Whitby 42 and living aboard and sailing for three years she is a wonderful boat and much better under sail than described here. One must take the time to learn the boat and to balance her. Having a bowsprit model I can attest that she is a well balanced boat when trimmed well. I understand the models without a bowsprit are rumored to have weather helm. The fuel tanks are a known problem that most Whitby 42’s encounter. Most boats were through bolted vs riveted. We searched for 3 years looking at many models of boats and decided on our 1982 Whitby 42. I encourage anyone searching to not overlook the Whitby 42 too fast. A very comfortable interior matched with fine sailing. She will not win races but owners with these boats are looking for comfortable passage making with a reasonable speed. Her motion at sea is quite comfortable. We find she comes to life at 15kts and will consistently turn out 6-7 knots in a moderate sea. Find a good surveyor and inspect the boat thoroughly yourself. With many boats the condition reflects the owners dedication and care to the boat. There is an owners group and a lot of information available through other owners. Nearly all that ask what boat we’re on respond with “ah great boat.” We couldn’t agree more.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Many thanks for your input. We have amended the specs

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