A24

Contents:

  • Dating an A24 by sail number.
  • Sail number register.
  • Introduction.
  • History (by Butler Mouldings).
  • Principle Dimensions.
  • Rig and Sail Dimensions.
  • Standard Specification.
  • Standing Rigging.
  • Running Rigging.
  • Brochures.
  • Deck Hardware.
See also pages:

A24 Sail Numbers by date.

Estimated year of production derived from year boats were displayed at shows.

Sail number register.

Notes on the sail number register:

  • Where the sail number is not known then the boat is listed randomly at the end.
  • Boat names in brackets are previous names.
  • Keel & Rig - If there is no note then it is assumed to be fin keel and masthead rig.
  • Location: If from Butler’s list then location is location of owner or first owner if more than one. The full addresses are not listed for privacy reasons.
  • Underlined links are to the an owners page in the Flickr Achilles Group, email or web site / blog, this may not be the current owner. Those from the old site found to be invalid are omitted.

If you spot an error or omission please comment on this page or send an email to admin.

Introduction.

An Ajax 23 racing off St Mawes.
Picture: John Lashbrook.
The Achilles 24 was built by Butler Mouldings at Gowerton near Swansea, designed by Chris Butler and Oliver Lee she is a modification of the Ajax 23 open keelboat designed by Oliver Lee in the late sixties. The Ajax 23 is described by those who sail her as 'an excellent one design boat' and I have heard the Achilles 24 described as 'an Ajax with a lid on'.

Around 600 were built from 1968 until production finished in 1985 with some completed from kits by their owners. With her moderate beam and fine lines the Achilles 24 has an easily driven well balanced hull.

In an April 2006 review  of the best second-hand yachts between 22 and 24 feet, Practical Boat Owner magazine noted of the Achilles 24 that 'If looking for performance you won't do much better than this slippery little number from the board of Oliver Lee'.

Sailing Today magazine published a comprehensive and well illustrated review of sail number 463 in their September 1999 issue, and much earlier in April 1971 Yachts and Yachting magazine reviewed sail number 50 which was the Achilles 24 demonstrator boat at that time. The reviews said things like 'This is a boat from which I could get lots of enjoyment', and 'The Achilles is a joy to sail'.

History (by Butler Mouldings).

In 1967 Oliver Lee produced a design for a 19ft open keelboat. A wooden hull was built and sailed and on being found to be a excellent boat she was used as a plug for a G.R.P. mould, and so started production of the Squib. The Squib is still in production today with over 800 having been built, surely testement to any designer and design. The Squib was first built by the Essex Boat Company, and a request was made that Oliver Lee should design a full deck with coachroof for her. This he did and the version was called the Hunter 19 with the Essex Boat Company becoming the now well known Hunter Boats. The Squib had been derived from a larger design by Oliver Lee from 1966, a 7/8ths rig 23 ft keelboat called the Ajax. Some 60 Ajax's were built by around 1968 and she proved a successful boat, her sailing qualities such that she was put forward as a contender for selection as a class for the 1972(?) Olympics, losing out to the Soling. However the Ajax was also an open boat and it was considered that she would have more appeal as a cruiser/racer and a deck moulding was designed and produced as for the Squib. The decked version of the Ajax was called the Achilles.

Achilles 24 "Goskar" and "Chilli Pepper"
A Family affair, Father and son in Goskar and Chilli Pepper
respectively. St Mawes in the background.

The first Achilles design was improved by Chris Butler of Butler Mouldings. He added four inches to her freeboard which increased the headroom below and gave the Achilles the distinctive knuckle below her sheer line. This also increased her overall length and she became known as the Achilles 24. The rig was changed from 7/8ths to masthead and the draught slightly increased with the shape of the ballast keel altered to lower the centre of gravity and give the keel a very efficient bulb shape.

Achilles 24 "Hot Foot"
A24 "Hotfoot" sailing by A9m "Sancerre", St Mawes, 2020,
before coming alongside.
Picture: John Lashbrook, Video below by Ron Dustow.
 

Butler Mouldings began to build the Achilles 24 and sail number 17 was exhibited at the 1970 London Boat Show. The class soon gained a good reputation reaching sail number 350 after only four years with the class being exhibited and sold all over Europe. The Achilles 24 was also available as a kit for completion by the owner. An early review concluded that for a small yacht the Achilles was 'hard to fault' and 'exciting to sail'.
Achilles 24 "Mischief"
A24 "Mischief" just arrived in Baltimore harbour at the end of 
the 2019 Jester Baltimore, "Bernie" is a big lad and makes the
boat look even smaller! Photo: John Lashbrook.

Two keel options were available, a single fin or a slightly shallower draft triple fin that allowed the boat to take the ground safely without any other support. The triple keel version retained a 7/8ths rig until about sail number 170 after which a masthead rig was used.

One of the Triple keel A24's, pic by Jason McIntyre.

The deck moulding was also redesigned during the Achilles 24 production. The earlier boats had a chain locker but no anchor locker so that the anchor had to be stowed on the foredeck or elsewhere below. This was changed at around sail number 250 when an anchor locker was added. Sometime later, possibly sail number 350 onwards, the cockpit coaming at the main hatch was raised from its original height of two inches and a bridge deck was made across the companionway at the height of the cockpit seats. For the record my boat, sail number 302, has the anchor locker but retains the low coaming in the cockpit.

There were also detail changes to the design. The cabin widows in the earlier boats were rubber mounted perspex with three separate windows on each side. This was later changed to a single tinted sheet of perspex on each side. At the same time the shroud chain plates were moved inboard to the coach roof from just inside the toe rail, allowing a tighter sheeting angle with the headsails. On the foredeck the single cleat was discontinued and twin cleats used, and in the cockpit the locker hinge scuppers were redesigned. There were also changes to the galley during the boats production. By the time production ended some 600 Achilles 24's had been built.

Achilles 24 plan

Achilles 24 Sail plan

Principal Dimensions.

  Overall length    23 ft 9 ins  (7.24m)
  Waterline length   19 ft 6 ins  (5.94m)
  Beam     7 ft 1 ins  (2.14m)
  Draught fin keel  3 ft 9 ins  (1.14m)
  Draught triple keel  3 ft 3 ins  (1 m)
  Hull      GRP
  Deck     GRP balsawood sandwich
  Displacement    2600lbs  (1180kg)
  Ballast     1314lbs  (596kg) iron bulb
  Sail area    206 sq ft  (19.15 sq m)
  Accommodation  4 berths
  Headroom    4 ft 6 ins  (1.37m)


Sail Plan Dimensions.

I.O.R. Rig Measurement Details.

I = 25.75ft.
J = 7.67ft.
P = 22.25ft.
E = 10.00ft.

Luff

Leech

Foot

Area
Sq ft

Mainsail

22' 3"

24'

10'

111

Max IOR Genoa

25' 9"

25' 7"

11' 11"

154

No2 Genoa

24'

23' 3"

11' 3"

129

Long Luff Jib

24'

23' 3"

9'

101

Working Jib

21' 3"

18' 6"

9' 4"

87

Storm Jib

17'

13' 6"

6' 9"

42 Max

Spinnaker

25' 6

25' 6"

Max Width - 13' 91/2"

350

 

Achilles 24 Standard Specification - 1 Sept 1979

Hull/Deck Unit.

The hull is a one piece GRP moulding of exceptional strength for the size of craft. Only Lloyds approved materials are used. The weight of glass fibre used in the basic construction ranges from 9.6 oz/sq.ft in the topsides increasing to 25 oz/sq.ft at the keel. Over almost the entire hull two layers of woven glass fibre rovings totalling 5.4 oz/sq.ft are included in the construction giving immense strength with minimum weight. The GRP keel is further massively reinforced by the lower part of the accommodation moulding which forms the top skin of a sandwich: the filling consisting of a resin/glass mix, and in this area the keel is upwards of 2 1/2 inches thick.

To concentrate the ballast keel weight as low as possible the GRP keel is carried 24 inches below the waterline, at which point the ballast keel is secured. The resulting bilge provides considerable stowage space. The GRP accommodation moulding extends to the bow and almost to the stern to add further strength and rigidity.

The construction of the deck moulding is basically the same as the hull except that the main area of the horizontal surfaces are of end grain balsa construction to increase rigidity and strength and to reduce condensation. Anit-slip surfaces are moulded into the deck and cockpit surfaces. GRP hatch covers are moulded for the various lockers, the sliding main hatch and the forehatch. The main hatch slides into a storm cover.

Two pigmented gelcoats of isophthalic polyester resin are applied and the layup resin is unfilled and unpigmented to ensure thorough impregnation of the glass fibres. Standard hull colours are light blue or white. Standard deck colours are mist grey or cream.

After bedding onto an adhesive base, the deck is riveted to the hull then the two units are joined internally with fibre-glass. At this time the lifeline stanchion bases are bonded into the hull deck joint after having been carefully jigged into position.

Ballast Keel (Single Fin).


The hydrofoil cast iron keel carries most of its weight of 1314 lb. in a bulb section at its base. It is secured to the hull by four 1 in. diameter studs, two of which pass through a wide 3/4 in. steel plate; the aft end of this plate is formed into a lifting eye to enable the yacht to be craned.

Ballast Keel (Triple Fin).


The ballast central fin is reduced in depth by 9 in. and its weight is 1140 lbs. It has a longer base to allow the yacht to take the ground safely. The two side fins weigh approx. 100 lbs. each and are angled outwards such that the leeward keel gains maximum efficiency when the yacht is heeled to approximately 20 degrees: the bilge keels are of hydrofoil section and make a most valuable contribution to the remarkable windward ability of these craft. As with the Fin Keel Achilles the 1 in. bolts pass through a 3/4 in. thick steel plate/lifting eye.

Rudder, Skeg and Tiller.


Both rudder and skeg are glass fibre mouldings. The rudder is solid with a balsa core while the skeg fairing is carried by a galvanised rectangular steel tube to give massive support to the skeg. The rudder post is of stainless steel locked internally to the rudder moulding by welded on lugs. Rudder bearings are also of stainless steel. The teak tiller is fitted to a heavy duty tiller head that is secured to the squared end of the rudder post.

Accommodation.


Four berths provide two 6ft. 6in. quarter berths in the main cabin, and vee berths with an infill cushion to convert to a double berth in the forecabin. The galley, with a GAZ double burner stove, lies between the quarter berths and the main bulkhead. Water is pumped to the galley from a flexible water tank in the forward cabin by Whale galley pump. Stowage is provided beneath both galley units. Chart table and dining table are standard.

All timber in the interior is teak veneered and the cabins are fully lined with textured beige Ambla on the cabin sides while the deckhead is lined with a most attractive veneered ply. The hull is lined throughout with an expanded vinyl material to minimise condensation.

The cushions are of 4 in. Vitafoam high density interior filling covered in textured Ambla. The cabin sole is teak veneered. A concealed chemical toilet is fitted in the forecabin. Stowage is provided under all berths and in teak fronted shelf lockers on each side of the cabins. An Ambla curtain separates the two cabins.

Spars and Rigging.


The masthead rig sail plan is based on an anodised Proctor mast and boom fitted with "through mast" roller reefing for the mainsail. Stainless steel standing rigging is of 5mm. diameter for the forestay, backstay and cap shrouds and 4mm. for the lower shrouds; they are swaged onto stainless steel bottle screws.

The bottle screws are fastened direct to the "U" bolts that form the chain plates and thus render toggles unnecessary. Terylene halyards are led internally down the mast to emerge from the base of the mast and are then brought back to the cockpit. A powerful kicking strap is fitted on a boom claw ring, retained by a compression strut. An adjustable backstay tensioner is also fitted. Terylene genoa sheets and multi-purchase main sheet with cam cleat on lower block are standard. An adjustable outhaul is fitted to the boom.

Spinnaker Equipment.


All spinnaker equipment is fitted except sheets, downhaul and spinnaker pole.

Ground tackle.


A 14 3/4 lb. anchor is supplied with suitable chain and 30 meters of 1 1/4 in. Nylon anchor warp.

Engine.


While an inboard engine can be fitted, we feel that an outboard engine is more in keeping with Achilles. To this end we provide, as standard, an outboard well in the cockpit to keep the propeller as close to the centre of the boat as possible. Two outboard well plugs are included; one to fair off the bottom of the hull when the engine is not in use, and the other plug carries the engine within the well, minimises any upsurge of water into the cockpit and remains attached to the engine when stowed.

The cockpit drains through the outboard well and in extreme emergency the plugs can be removed for massive cockpit drainage.

Under most circumstances a 5 hp engine will be more than sufficient to propel Achilles, but room is available for an 8 hp motor. The engine may be stowed beneath the cockpit sole. Should an inboard engine be required we recommend the water-cooled Volvo Saildrive, 7 1/2 hp petrol, twin cylinder, four-stroke.

Standard Safety Equipment.


Double row lifelines made from plastic covered 4mm diameter 1 x 19 stainless steel wire are carried by eight tapered alloy stanchions. The stanchion bases are moulded into the hull. The lifeline wires are swaged at the aft end into stainless steel bottlescrews and at the forward end to stainless steel fork terminals. Stainless steel forward and aft pulpits are fitted and securely through bolted to the deck.

Two fire extinguishers are fitted, positioned such that they can be reached from the cockpit or the galley. A heavy duty Henderson Mk V bilge pump is fitted in the stern locker and is operated from the cockpit without removing the hatch via a handle fitting into a deck gland. The self-draining cockpit empties through a large diameter drain.

Standard Deck Fittings.


Only top grade deck hardware is fitted. Where aluminium alloy is used it is of anodised marine grade. Other materials are Tuphnol, Nylon and Stainless Steel. Solid teak is used for the gunwhales, handrails and companionway framing, while the lockable companionway drop boards are of teak veneered ply. Sockets are moulded onto all fin keel hulls for the attachment of Mooring Legs.

Note - This specification has only two small differences from the otherwise identical specification from the 1st of January 1977. They are the standard hull colours which were then Medici blue or white with the deck in mist grey only, and the recommended inboard engine was the water cooled 12hp RCA Dolphin twin.
  

Standing Rigging (1977).

 Lengths EXCLUDE bottle screws which are 8"/203mm long. 

Cap Shrouds (2 of)

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

25' 10"

swaged end bottle screws.

Forestay

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

26' 8"

swaged end bottle screws.

Backstay

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

24' 8"

swaged end bottle screws.

Fwd Lower Shrouds

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

13' 8"

(2 of)

swaged end bottle screws.

Aft Lower Shrouds

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

13' 9"

(2 of)

swaged end bottle screws.

Divided Lower Backstay

5mm 1 x 19 S/S complete with Hasselfors

11' 0

swaged end bottle screws.

 
Notes 
  • Do not use these dimensions to order new rigging – CHECK on your own boat.  
  • The dimensions for the backstay and divided lower backstay do not add up?

 Running Rigging (1977).

Mainsail Halyard

8mm Prestretched 3 Strand Terylene

62ft (19 Meters)

Foresail Halyard

8mm Prestretched 3 Strand Terylene

62ft (19 Meters)

Main Sheet

10mm 8 Plait White Matt Terylene

45ft (14 Meters)

Foresail Sheet

10mm 16 Plait Gold Terylene

50ft (15 Meters)

Reaching Sheet

10mm 8 Plait White Terylene

23ft (7 Meters)

Topping Lift

6mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

50ft (15 Meters)

Mainsail Clew Outhaul

6mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

8ft (2.5 Meters)

Kicking Strap

8mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

10ft (3 Meters)

Cunningham Eye

6mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

8ft (2.5 Meters)

Backstay Tensioner

6mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

12ft (4 Meters)

Foreguy

6mm 8 Plait Prestretched Terylene

15ft (4.5 Meters)

Burgee Halyard

2mm Plaited Terylene

45ft (14 Meters)

Spinnaker Halyard

8mm Prestretched 3 Strand Terylene

62ft (19 Meters)

Spinnaker Sheet Port

10mm 8 Plait Red Matt Terylene

35ft (10.5 Meters)

Spinnaker Sheet St'bd

10mm 8 Plait Blue/Green Matt Terylene

35ft (10.5 Meters)

Spinnaker Uphaul

6mm 8 Plait Gold Terylene

30ft (9 Meters)

Spinnaker Downhau

10mm 8 Plait White Terylene

27ft (8 Meters)



2 Page Flyer


3 Page Brochure.


Deck Hardware:

This section is probably not that relevant today but we don't want to loose information.

Item numbers refer to deck plan drawing 023A.

Item 1.

1 off Stemhead roller (Yacht Services 7134).
6 off 1/4" UNC c/sk screws,
1 1/4" to 2", c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 2.

1 off UB7 "U" bolt for forestay (Main Marine).
c.w. 1 off forestay tack snap shackle MD.126 (Brookes & Adams).

Items 3 & 26.

2 pairs handed fairleads (Yacht Services 4" No.7120).
8 off 5mm x 1" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 5.

1 off water filler cap (SL.1786-1) & label (SL.1787).
March 1978 added key (SL.1788).
4 off 5mm x 1" screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 6.

2 off Forward mooring cleats (Y.S. No.7106 - 9 3/4" size)
8 off 1/4" UNC x 1 1/2" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 8. Spinnaker Deck fittings, as under:-

2 off Mast step turning spool assemblies.
2 off 5/16" UNC x 2 1/2" screws, tapped in.

(Please note the above assemblies will become obsolete during 1977/78 as Proctors will be re-designing their mast foot).

Item 11.

2 off Cheek blocks (Main Marine NCD-3).
4 off 5mm x 1 1/4" screws, c.w. nuts & washers.
2 off 5mm x 1 1/2" screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 14.

5 off Bullseye fairleads (HA.152)
10 off No.10 x 1 1/4" red. c/sk s/t screws.

Item 17.

2 off cleats (Camcleats No. 201).
4 off 1/4" UNC x 1" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Items 20, 21, 35 & 36.

3 off UB.3 "U" bolts and 3 off 4-SK blocks (Main Marine).

Item 33.

1 off uphaul cleat (Camcleat No. 209).
2 off 5mm x 1" screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 9.

1 off Mast step (Proctor 13A.103) c.w.
1 off Mast step pivot bolt (Proctor 202P97 and nut 3345)
4 off 1/4" UNC x 2" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 10.

6 off UB.9 "U" bolts for shroud plates (Main Marine).

Item 11.

4 off cheek blocks (Main Marine NCB-3).
8 off 5mm x 1 1/4" c/sk crews, c.w. nuts & washers.
4 off 5mm x 1 1/2" c/sk crews, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 12.

1 off S/S Ventilite (Simpson Lawrence 1115-3) c.w. screws.
4 off No.6 x 3/4" p/h screws.
3 off No.6 x 3/4" c/sk rsd s/t screws.
4 off No.10 x 1 1/4" screws, c.w. nuts & washers.
1 off GRP moulding with sealant, as below.

Item 13.

2 off Foresheet tracks (BML-FT-40).
20 off 6mm x 1 1/4" c/sk crews, c.w. nuts & washers.
4 off 1/4" UNC x 1 1/4" panhead screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 14.

2 off Bullseye fairleads for halyard (Holt Allen 152).
4 off No.10 x 1" raised c/sk self-tapping screws.

Items ? & 34.

2 off Halyard winches (Barlow No.15 stubby).
8 off 1/4" UNC x 1" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 16.

2 off Foresheet sliding blocks (RWO No.266).

Item 18.

2 off Foresheet winches (Barlow No.16).

Item Un-numbered.

1 off Winch Handle (Barlow 10" Chrome).

Item Un-numbered.

1 off Winch Handle pocket (Plastimo 44.01.30.5).
4 off self-tapping No.6 panhead screws.

Items 19, 31, & 32.

4 off Halyard and foresheet cleats (Camcleats No.201).
8 off 1/4" UNC x 1" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 22. Mainsheet horse assembly comprising:-

1 pair brackets (Saunders), 1 Mainsheet track (BML),
1 Mainsheet traveller & 1 pair adjustable end stops (IYE),
2 off 5/16" UNC x 2 1/4" hex. bolts c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 23.

1 off Tiller head fitting (Yacht Services 7152L).

Item 24.

1 off Backstay anchorage UB3 "U" bolt (Main Marine).

Item 25.

2 off Aft mooring cleats (Y.S. No.7110 - 6 3/4" size).
8 off 5mm x 1" c/sk screws, c.w. nuts & washers.

Item 27.

2 off UB.7 "U" bolts for backstay (Main Marine).

Item 37.

2 off Teak handrails (BML).
12 off No.10 x 1 1/4" c/sk screws and teak plugs

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