John Dare's Humphreys designed Apriori
John Dare's Humphreys designed Apriori
John Dare's Humphreys designed Apriori
Tiller steering configuration
Wheel steering configuration

Apriori is a boat that did much to promote Humphreys’ objectives in the cruiser-racer world, and all credit must go John Dare who was prepared to act on a shared vision of what good-sense performance sailing could be like.

Dare’s sailing and racing experience is vast – acknowledged by his periods in office as RORC Commodore and ORC Chairman – so he was the perfect client for what was in many ways a milestone yacht. With Apriori he twice won the RORC Yacht of the Year Award, once under IMS and once under CHS, and was top individual scorer in the first European IMS regatta, the John Brown Series in Holland.

Results like these are quantifiable. What is not so easy to define is the quality of life aboard a yacht, and here John Dare describes the way things were on Apriori, in a letter written immediately after the 1989 Fastnet:

‘As I have just completed 1,200 miles of racing over the past fortnight in the most wonderful yacht I thought it was about time I sent a note of thanks to my designer. Apriori is doing everything we expected of her. She is quick in all conditions, she is stable, she is comfortable and lovely and I am proud to own her and sail her.

‘We were eight on board for the Fastnet and all of us were delighted with the boat’s performance and comfort. In Force 6-7 winds going over and back across the Irish Sea she was steady as a rock. Most of the ride back to the Bishop was reaching with 1.5oz spinnaker at an apparent wind angle of around 110°. Speed was a constant 8-10 knots with bursts over 12. All this with only three on deck and we never came close to a broach. Down below five slept in comfort with four to windward.

‘With racing like that – we had hours of contrary seas – one thinks about the boat and the design a lot and it was very impressive’.

John has owned Apriori since her launch in 1987 and still does not want to sell her. She still suits his needs ideally, even though those requirements have now changed in emphasis from racing to cruising. For Apriori is the genuine dual-purpose yacht, with such changes as there have been (for example from tiller to wheel) planned in from the beginning.

Wheel / tiller interchangeability

Apriori was designed from the outset to allow optional change between tiller and wheel steering, a job which has been timed at little over five minutes.

A trench in the cockpit sole accommodates an external drag-link tiller arm on the stock, with an alloy fabrication at the forward end of the trench to which the pedestal is bolted.

The task is simple: 1. remove the tiller, 2. remove the teak grating, 3. bolt on the pedestal (four bolts), 4. connect the drag link (two pins), 5. replace the grating.

Apriori spent her racing life with a tiller; now in her cruising era she sports a wheel. The cost of change? Nil.

1st Class Lymington Spring Series 1988
1st IMS / 2nd CHS Ouistreham Race 1988
1989 RORC Yacht of the Year CHS
2nd RORC IMS Championship
1st RORC Morgan Cup race
2nd Class Lymington Spring Series 1990
John Brown Series 1990
Member winning team
Top scoring individual yacht
RORC IMS Season’s Points 2nd
Round the Island Race 3rd
IMS Nationals 3rd 1991
1992 RORC Yacht of the Year IMS