San Juan 21

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San Juan 21
San Juan 21 Mark II's from Fleet 52
Crew 2
Draft 4 ft 0 in (1.22 m) (1 ft 0 in (0.30 m) up)
LOA 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
LWL 17 ft (5.2 m)
Beam 7 ft (2.1 m)
Mast Length 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
Mainsail area 190 sq ft (18 m2)
Spinnaker area 284 sq ft (26.4 m2)

The San Juan 21 is a popular one-design sailboat featuring a swing keel, normally sailed with a crew of two or three.


The San Juan 21 was produced from 1969 to about 1984 with over 2,600 produced. There are three models, the Mark I, Mark II and Mark III.[1]


The San Juan 21 blends a combination of performance and ease of sailing.[1] They are very easy to set up and can be put in the water in as little as 25 minutes. With the swing keel, they ride low on the trailer and can be launched and retrieved from any ramp. A handful of fixed-keel variants were produced, including a small number of shoal keel models. It is believed that fewer than 300 fixed-keel boats were produced, and even fewer of the shoal-keel boats (believed to be less than 20). Clark experimented with the fixed-keel design predominantly in the production plant located near Seattle, Washington.

They handle much like big dinghies, yet with the 400-lb. keel, they are self-righting. This is not of much concern, as capsizing a San Juan 21 is not easy. Initially tender, the San Juan 21 heels to 15 degrees rather easily but firms up there, and once past 40 degrees, the helmsman has to make a rather big mistake to get it to go more. Once past 50 degrees or so, the sturdy little boat will round up and head into the wind.

The San Juan 21 is a pleasure to sail for both novices and experienced racers. Due to its light weight (1400 lbs Class Weight), it accelerates briskly in puffs and will literally sail rings around most bigger boats in light to moderate winds. There are several one-design class fleets located at various lakes across the country with active racing schedules all summer. While designed more with performance in mind, the boat is comfortable for weekend cruising for two adults with two small children. It has space for a camping toilet and ample storage for other essentials.

They are also easy to single-hand, with the fractional rig’s small jib and large main.

The sail inventory consists of a large mainsail, a small 110% working jib, a 135% genoa, and a spinnaker. Being a one-design class, rules limit the sails to be made from Dacron and the spinnaker from nylon. This keeps costs down.

Current status[edit]

Good condition boats can be had for $2,000 to $3,500, and yearly maintenance can be as little as $350 a year, which includes saving up for new sails every 5 years.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Right Place at the Right Time" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

External links[edit]