Northbridge Eclipse


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Northbridge Eclipse

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Wayne Yeargain motoring in Big Lagoon, Pensacola Bay

 Daniel Bella's Eclipse

The Northbridge Eclipse is a 22' sloop rigged swing keel metric (6.7 meters) version of the SC 22 with some differences. It carries a main, 110 working jib, and 130 Genoa as stock sail options.

The cabin has the usual v berth (not big enough to sleep in). I pulled the cushions out and use the v berth for storage. On the starboard side it has a "small" sink and a seat / berth that runs from the V berth aft under the cockpit. I'm 6'6" and can lie down full length. Port side of the cabin has a smaller seat /berth. Between the seat and the v-berth is a built up area for the port-a-potty. I find this location amusing because the keel trunk runs down the middle of the cabin floor from the v berth back several feet. To sit on the pot you have to cram yourself between the keel trunk and the side of the boat although something is better than nothing. Originally there was a privacy panel blocking the port a potty pedestal. The panel had seen better days when I bought the boat and I promptly took it out.

Interior cabin storage is about par for a 22' sail boat. The cockpit has two storage lazarette under the seats fairly good size.

The SC 22 has boom end sheeting, the Eclipse has mid boom sheeting with a traveler right in front of the companionway. Pulling on the traveler sheets is a little difficult because the blocks are bolted flush to the seat. The main sheet is attached to the boom about mid way and the boom end does not go past about mid cockpit. With mid boom sheeting a bimini is an option, a must for summertime sailing in Florida.

There is a set of fixed jib leads and a jam cleat on the cabin top for the jib. I use the winches on the cockpit coamings to handle the jib sheets. I made a wire lead with loops in each end to raise the jib foot high enough to clear the bow pulpit and make it possible to see what's in front of me.

Sailing this boat is a lot of fun. It is very stable and easy to handle solo. I have sailed through two feel of water with the board up. The worst weather I have yet to sail was March 2000 the wind was singing in the rigging two to three foot chop in the bay, I was beating to wind.
Due to bad judgment on my part and just plain old bad luck the boat rode out hurricane Danny in an exposed slip on Big Lagoon. Although hurricane Danny was only class 1 hurricane it parked itself in Mobile Bay all day Saturday. So everybody anchored, moored or put to anchor in Pensacola took a beating. My forestay gave way Saturday afternoon around 2-3pm. I was driving out to the yacht club were I had the boat in a slip to check on it every three to four hours. What was amazing, none of my cleats were stressed out or gave way. The cleats are through bolted but have no backing plates. I lost my mast, snapped one side stay and forestay. There where four bolts holding the tabernacle to the top of the boat two of the bolts sheared off at the tabernacle and one ripped out of the fiberglass and one tried to rip out but was still holding the mast to the boat. I did get some fiberglass damage and damage to the starboard lifeline due to the mast ridding up and down against the top of the cabin. Over all not to bad I saw many boats that caught it worse.

# 1 lesson learned, pull the boat out of the water when the Gulf Coast is threatened by a tropical storm. Don't wait for it to be upgraded to a hurricane. By then the water may be too rough to get the boat safely out of the water.

Apparently South Coast Seacraft caught a lot of complaints over the SC 22 cockpit drain. It is my understanding the SC 22 drains into the keel trunk. This sounds like a good way to go, reality is a bit different. SC 22's have problems with water burping up through the cockpit drain. Many owners have resorted to putting a plug in the drain while under sail. The Eclipse drains down through a tube back to the stern and out a thru hull fitting just below the lower gudge. I have never had a problem with the drain working correctly. The only downside to the cockpit drain is the location forward end of the cockpit. Often under motor the stern is down and water collects at the back of the cockpit floor. Under sail the same can happen. My solution was the installation of a stern cockpit drain that ties into the same drain tube as the forward drain.

Flotation as with most boats the V-berth is a major part of the flotation plan. The cabin seating is a combination of storage compartments and sealed air pockets. If the hardware mounted to the cockpit coamings is properly bedded I feel certain the dead air space should help keep the boat from sinking like a rock. The big question is if the boat has positive flotation. At this time I don't have the answer.

The keel for the Eclipse seems to be the same one used for the SC22.
SC 22 has a dedicated water tank in the v-berth area. Eclipse has the tank in the starboard lazarette with appropriate tubing to the sink.

Some early SC 22 owners commented on a wimpy rudder. My Eclipse came with the factory original kick up rudder. I haven't noticed any steering problems with this rudder. The previous owner replaced the tiller with a stout hand made tiller.

Pictures of the SC 22 show a support pole for the mast. This pole helps support the cabin top from mast compression. The Eclipse has a built up area supporting the mast area from one side of the cabin top to the other. This built up area over the cabin top is like a header on a window or door in home construction. I haven't noticed any problems.

Upper part of the cabin is finished gel-coat. The hull section of the cabin is unfinished roving with a foam backed fabric liner. The fabric / foam liner is great as long as it is in good shape. If you ever remove the liner you have a mess on your hands trying to clean up the residue.

SC 22 has a cabin top hatch; Eclipse has a forward hatchway that is big enough to pass a sail bag through or an anchor. Other than ventilation it is not big enough to do much. The forward hatch of the Eclipse doesn't seal as good as I would like. It seals good enough to keep rain out, but if I ever took a wave over the bow it wouldn't prevent water from entering the cabin.

One odd to me design feature of the Eclipse is a round hole in the forward part of the foredeck. This hole has a cap on a hinge. The only thing I could think of would be for a way to pull the anchor line into the cabin. Yet there is no dedicated built in rode locker. Also it would take two people to feed the line down below. One-person topsides to make sure the anchor line doesn't snarl, and another down below to pull the line through. I suppose if you where using an all chain rode it might be a good thing to have.

From what little I have learned it seems to me the Eclipse was intended as a replacement production boat for the SC 22. I have yet to hear of a SC 22 built after 1979. It is not my intent to downplay the merits of the venerable SC 22; time has proven it's worth. Rather my intent is to categorize some of the major differences between the two boats.
If you have any questions about the Eclipse feel free to contact me.

The Eclipse is a later version of the SC 22. The major differences include different coaming boards, raising the deck about 3" off the rail, different shaped windows, and a different location for the forward hatch.


 Wayne Yeargain
Updated 07-02-2001