Itchen | Bristol 28' 1985

Belfast, ME

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Bernie Jakits & Kate Christensen

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Basic Info

Yacht Name: Itchen
Builder: Bristol
Model: Channel Cutter 28
Year: 1985
Location: Belfast, ME
Hull Material: Fiberglass


To those that have followed us in search of their dream, of owning their ultimate Bristol Channel Cutter you will be thrilled to know that this is an amazing BCC because of her people. In about 2003 there was a knock at the door and the cutest couple in the world were outside the door. Several hours later they had made an offer on the BCC Itchen. Now after some years of sailing their socks off, they will have to turn over the helm. It’s an amazing story! More to come…

Anyhow…you have likely been following the Sam L. Morse Bristol Channel Cutter for some time and we want to tell you it will never get better. The BCC is a boat we love. Having owned two of them we have in-depth knowledge for these little sailing masterpieces. We truly appreciate every aspect of their character and strengths; if it is in the beautiful Lyle Hess classic design or perhaps the Sam L. Morse construction. This is one boat that actually is everything that you have heard about and dreamed about from the sailing characteristics, simplicity, and sheer beauty. No wonder these BCCs have enjoyed extreme loyalty in their following. These boats go where all of the big boats go, as safely, as comfortably and with the same pride or even more than yachts costing several times as much; and you can sail this boat by yourself.

In fact a few years ago one of Itchen’s owners, who was an octogenarian together with his wife sailed her home from the Bahamas to Maine! He also made two  single-handed passages from Maine to the Bahamas.. He reported that the new AIS and SSB worked perfectly. Oh and the MARPA and the Cape Horn steering. And while he might seem a bit eccentric, very brave or… well he’s actually amazing. Itchen has made several passages from Maine to the Bahamas and has sailed straight from the Bahamas to Montauk in an offshore passage. I will tell you many people buy a BCC and not many go on to sail like mad. I like to think this is a boat that will actually sail you. She will take good care of you. In fact she will. Itchen is one of those BCCs that has been truly proven and sailed. She is not a prima donna, although she has been maintained with an attention to the demands of the sea. She is well found and you could sail away tomorrow if you want.

The time has come for Itchen to find a new owner who will love her and sail her. She is quite a boat. Several years ago she got the winter spa treatment in Maine to refinish all the exterior wood and it is still beautiful. More importantly she has just about all of the equipment you could need for real cruising. Itchen is equipped with all the goodies from radar and AIS to the SSB and Cape Horn steering system. After some seasonal passages to the Bahamas she was treated to a new full batten mainsail with three reefs. The full battens make a huge difference with and full mainsail taking her to about 12 knots of windspeed with the second reef at about 15 or 16 knots. It’s nice to have that third reef as an insurance policy. The boat is way faster than she looks and very sea kindly. The sail inventory includes a 100% roller reefing headsail with a foam luff so you can really roll it up and maintain good sail trim. There is also a high cut smaller headsail great for upwind work as well as three staysails including one with reef points for serious offshore work. She heaves to like a dream for a quiet ride in a storm.The new dodger and bimini have zip on rain shields that keeps the cockpit dry! This BCC is real. She’s ready, are you?

So to those that have always waited and dreamed about getting a new BCC, my suggestion to you is to save yourself enough money to cruise for a few years and just buy Itchen. She will soon be sold at her very realistic asking price. You will be getting the better part of a bargain in this case. Itchen will satisfy your hunger to own and sail a really great boat. Life is way too short for just dreaming it away.


Length: 28'
Beam: 10' 1
Draft: 4' 10
Engine Manufacturer: Yanmar
Engine Model: 3GM30
Power: 30 HP
Number of Engines: 1
Fuel Type: Diesel


A Bristol Channel Cutter is a work of art and if you appreciate fine art and craftsmanship, you will find the interior of the BCC Itchen to be a temple. As you probably already know, the BCC has the most pleasing and functional layout you will ever find on a 28 foot boat. Recognized in Ferenc Mate’s Best Boats, all three issues for all the right reasons. The Sam L. Morse builder is famous for the highest quality of construction that equals the style, the grace, and the pure function that Lyle Hess sought to achieve. It is this attention to every detail that makes the Lyle Hess-designed Bristol Channel Cutter stand out from the rest. As you enter the companionway, the large, workable galley is to port, the chart table/nav station to starboard, and the ideally sized salon forward with a cozy heater built-in on a tiled corner shelf. The double berth pulls out on the port side creating a comfortable sleeping arrangement for two. The dinette is formed from the settee to port with a beautiful table. The starboard settee is also a comfortable sea berth with lee cloths for offshore security.. In addition, the Quarter Berth aft on the port side is a great sea berth, but also provides amazing storage. The forward cabin is designed as the head, dressing room, workshop, walk-in closet, and access to the sail locker forward. The interior of a BCC is a place you just want to sit and contemplate the magic of this world. It is so beautiful, you are happy just sitting, reading, resting, and rejuvenating.

  • Comfortable underway and at anchor
  • Ample storage for long voyages
  • Innovative double berth in the main salon
  • Table amid ships
  • Traditional salon with settees port and starboard with a beautiful drop leaf table
  • Starboard settee is a wide comfy sea berth with lee cloth
  • Pilot berth outboard to port is also a cozy sea berth under way
  • Starboard quarter berth is actually a great garage!
  • Nav station/char.t table designed so you can sit on the starboard settee and use the whole table for charts with the radio right there
  • Forward cabin for the head, stowage, workshop and sail locker
  • Forepeak chain/rode locker
  • Headroom 6'1"
  • New cushions in salon and main berth
  • Force 10 cozy cabin heater - propane
  • Comfortable and safe cruising for one or two people


Galley & Plumbing

The BCC galley is to port, right when you walk down the companionway stairs. It is incredibly well designed and totally workable. The Force Ten propane stove is a two-burner stove with and oven. The storage on a BCC rivals that of any forty foot boat. There are cabinets are outboard, a huge dry storage locker to the left of the stove and another to the right. The counter space is also amazing! There is the full hinged top of a large refrigerator which is on starboard and creates the stand-up nav station. The famous hinged counter connects to the port side to make the galley extend across the boat!

  • Huge Ice Box – they used block ice
  • New Force 10 two-burner stove and oven
  • Single stainless steel sink deep enough for a lobster pot
  • Pressure water
  • Foot pump for fresh water
  • Incredible stowage
  • Ample counter space
  • Old with Adler Barbour 12 volt cold machine was removed and is available with the boat
  • Hot water circuit for engine hot water and 110v is in place but currectly disconnected


  • Forward cabin – includes the amazing BCC utility room, which is the head, dressing room, storage area
  • Standard marine toilet is under attractive seat bench so you never have to sit in the salon and star at it.
  • Y Valve, holding tank with both deck and overboard pump out
  • Holding tank 15 gallons installed in forepeak with all new hoses and new Y valve
  • Deck pump out for holding tank
  • 70 gallons fresh water in two tanks amidships; aft tank replaced 2016, forward tank removed and inspected and reinstalled with a ground plate for the SSB glassed in
  • Deck fill for tanks


Navigation & Communication

The BCC has very special Nav station arrangement in the main salon with the SSB right there and space to spread out ocean charts. All of the electronics for proper offshore voyaging are professionally installed and integrated with the display mounted on a swing out arm at the companionway in easy viewing of the cockpit. There is a large chart table and famous BCC chart locker above the Quarter berth. There is also good shelving for books and equipment manuals.

  • Raymarine AXIOM Pro 9 Radar/Plotter with MARPA, AIS repeater display, fish finder depth sounder and internal GPS on beautiful swing out mount at the companionway
  • Raymarine CPT 120 CHIRP sonar fish and depth finder
  • Raymarine EV-1 Fast Heading Sensor
  • Vesper powered VHF splitter for AIS and VHF comunication
  • AIS Vespers Watchmate-Vision XB 9000 stand alone system with touch screen color display
  • Weems and Plath clock and barometer
  • Ritchie compass bulkhead mounted
  • VHF Radio, Icom M604 with remote Command mic
  • Single sideband radio – Icom M802 with automatic tuner 2006
  • SSB complete with glassed in copper foil RF ground
  • Pactor III modem for weather and communications
  • Radar Reflector
  • Raymarine tiller pilot (with spare ram) Simrad TP-32
  • Cape Horn wind vane steering system with new nylon vane and mahogany paddle in 2019
  • Simrad-Navico TP32 Tiller pilot new in 2018
  • Spare TP32 ready for rebuild


Mechanical & Electrical

Maybe you are an excellent experienced sailor looking to downsize to a vessel that is elegant and simple or maybe you are a first boat owner a little intimidated by the systems. Fear not. You can relax knowing that the BCC is the most simple and functional vessel you can find. This vessel is designed to be simple, easy to maintain, easy to fix, and comfortable and safe to sail far. All the systems are engineered to the form, fit and function to which she is designed. Start with the diesel engine. Itchen has a Yanmar 3GM30 27 HP diesel with fewer than 3000 hours on it. In 2016 the Yanmar received a major maintenance at Deaton’s in North Carolina with a complete inspection, new raw water pump, new seacock, anti-siphon loop, wet exhaust and exhaust elbow. The owner has maintained the engine well and it works perfectly. The engine is fuel tank is a 35-gal aluminum tank plus a compliment of jerry jugs giving her a 500 mile range which is totally respectable in any sailing vessel. The diesel pushes the boat at 5-6 knots and burns about a .7 gallon per hour.


  • Safety Equipment: fire extinguishers
  • Yanmar 3GM30 diesel engine is well maintained
  • Major maintenance 2016
  • New raw water pump
  • New anti siphon
  • New exhaust system with new exhaust elbow
  • New ignition switch, new alarm buzzer, new stop cable
  • Tachometer 2006
  • New PYI stuffing box – 2014 dripless
  • Spare parts includes basic spare belts, filters
  • Fuel tank is a 35-gal aluminum tank inspected and new hoses and vent
  • Three-blade Max Prop was factory refurbished in 2014


12V System:

  • Two 12 volt batteries properly installed under the companionway steps
  • LED Tricolor masthead light
  • LED cabin lights
  • LED anchor light auto sensor

AC Shore Power:

  • Shore power connection
  • Battery charger
  • 30 Foot 30 Amp Cord
  • AC DC Main breaker panel
  • AC DC Voltmeter


Sails & Rigging

Despite her modest length on deck and 14000-lb displacement, the BCC surprisingly fast with her true cutter rig and bow sprit providing a tight sheeting angle. While the theoretical hull speed 6.9 knots, we've surfed along at over 7 knots often. You can plan on 135 mile days, and reports of 150 mile days are not infrequent. She has the water line (26’3”) and the sail area (690 sq ft) to keep up with much larger boats! And maybe even more importantly, she gets a safety factor of 10 on a scale of 1-10 and she'll always be comfortable well behaved in rough weather.

Itchen’s rig is the standard BCC overbuilt rig. The Forespar double spreader mast and boom were pulled and painted during the 2002 refit Itchen has been well maintained. The keel stepped mast is Forespar aluminum with a double spreader. It has mast steps built in which is a great feature as it makes it easy to inspect the rigging regularly and maintain the mast and hardware in good condition. The rigging has been frequently inspected and maintained. The mast was pulled and painted in 2003. In 2013 she had a complete rigging inspection with stays replaced and indicated. In 2018 and 2019 the whisker stays and boomkin stays and chain plates where replaced. Itchen has nice reefing tackle on the boom as well as roller reefing headsail. The line stoppers were all maintained so all runs smoothly. She has a very nice downwind pole with a track for ease of handling by one person and a nice newish (1997) . Everything about this boat spells quality. The shrouds attach to overbuilt stainless steel chain plates that wrap around the yacht's beam.

  • True cutter rig
  • Oversized standing rigging with robust configuration
  • Rigging inspected 2016
  • Headstay replaced in 2014 
  • Profurl headsail furler rebuilt 2014
  • Outboard chain plates
  • New whisker stays and boom kin stays and backing plates 2018-19
  • No running backstays required
  • Reefing system on the boom with winch and line stoppers
  • Roller furling headsail
  • Profurl furler rebuilt with a new turnbuckle and headstay
  • Downwind pole on a new mast track
  • Topping Lift
  • Line clutches for easy sail handling


  • Bronze Winches- Barient #22 ST Primaries
  • Bronze Winches-Barient #10 Cabin Top for staysail
  • Halyards on the mast - three
  • Boom gallows
  • Sheet winches on the combing 


  • New full battened Pope mainsail with three reef points in excellent condition 2017
  • Genoa is 100% furling headsail with foam luff
  • Old Tanbark Yankee serviceable
  • Three hank on staysails and one has reef points



Hull & Deck

The BCC is an incredible yacht to look at and even more incredible to contemplate the build and design. Itchen is hull #73 built by Sam L. Morse in Costa Mesa CA. She is completely factory finished to the high standards of the Sam L. Morse factory. The hull is solid fiberglass, hand-laid by skilled craftsmen. The results are beautiful. The deck and cabin top are marine plywood and hand laid fiberglass an inch thick. Her topsides were awlgripped hull in 1997. She's the standard cream BCC with an off white deck and dark green cove and boot stripes. Her sunbrella canvas completes the picture with a dodger and bimini new in 2017 as well as the sail covers, hatch covers, and tiller cozy. The windlass has been refurbished! The bottom is well maintained. The woodwork has been professionally refinished about two years ago and is in lovely condition. The bronze opening ports are real and salty.

Like all BCC, Itchen's side decks are very wide, 2.5 feet in one spot. The eight-inch bulwarks ensure safety like a baby's cradle. You feel really comfortable working or playing on deck. The bulwarks are beautiful, constructed by solid mahogany planks slightly raised off the deck, supported by massive posts on 20 inch centers. This means the entire deck is a scupper, guaranteeing you quick drainage in any sea. The entire top of the little forward doghouse opens, making passing sails, an easy job. The forward cabin and roomy forepepkcabin is designed so that you can easily pass sails up or down. The cockpit is comfortable, safe and with good coamings around, making for a good back rest. Massive Samson posts support the mooring lines and make her a little ship

Deck Details:

  • Fiberglass sandwiched marine ply about 1.25 inch thick
  • Molded nonskid
  • Mahogany exterior trim
  • Dodger and bimini
  • Bronze cowl vents aft
  • Bronze portlights
  • Boom gallows
  • Double Lifeline
  • Boarding gates
  • Bowsprit
  • Large hatch on the foredeck
  • Massive Samson posts
  • Bronze oversized cleats fore and aft and amidships
  • Fast draining deck
  • Really wide side decks
  • Eight inch bulwarks for safety and security

Ground Tackle:

  • Double anchor rollers
  • ABI bronze windlass
  • One hawse pipe for primary anchor 44lb Delta fastest anchor with 60’ HT chain and 220’ 5’8 Novabraid nylon 8-plait rode
  • CQR 22lb with chain and approx 250’ nylon rode
  • Danforth fortress anchor with chain and approx 200’ ½” rode
  • Stern anchor hass hole of bronze anchor rode fairlead on boomkin


  • Achilles 8’9” inflatable roll up dinghy, old but good, stows in the quarterberth
  • Two part wooden sailing dinghy that stows on deck (available separately)


Safety & Additional

  • Winslow six person Ultralite offshore liferaft new in 2013 and recertified 2016 with emergency kit including EPIRB
  • EPRIB ACR good through 2021
  • AIS Vespers Watch Mate
  • Life sling man overboard system -five part tackle
  • Personal tethers
  • Wichard Jack line system 2016
  • Wichard pad eyes installed in the cockpit as hard points for tethers 2016
  • Lee cloths
  • Fenders and dock lines
  • Assortment of grapnels, lunch hooks, fish gaffs, small stuff, life jackets, shock cord, docklines, and other stuff
  • Jerry jugs
  • Honda 4-cycle outboard 2.5 HP with new carburetor 2017, serviced in 2018 starts on the first pull
  • Professional winter cover frame (available)


Design & Construction Details

The Bristol Channel Cutter was built by Sam L. Morse Company in Costa Mesa California for about 40 years. The last three or four that rolled out of the factory cost over 300K. The mold is now owned by the Cape George Marine in Port Townsend and a new BCC will be over 350K with very little equipment. Luckily there are still a few really really good BCCs out there and you can own this lovely vessel yourself. We have owned two BCCs and we have sailed dozens of them. We have actually sold 166 BCCs and each time that I spot one at anchor, under sail, tied up to some dock in Alaska, or even sitting in some barn in New Hampshire the sight still gives me a thrill. Several years ago we went to England to Cornwall and we saw many real channel cutters; the real ones and I can tell you this Bristol Channel Cutter is the real thing…just not all wood. This boat is real.

The BCC is a traditional full keel, true cutter, with the prettiest underbody I've ever seen. Her displacement weight is 14,000 lbs. She’s 28 feet on deck, she is about 38 overall with her bowsprit and boomkin. You cannot compare the BCC to other 28 footers with her long waterline of 26’3’ gained from her plumb bow and straight transom. The BCC is surprisingly fast, especially off the wind. While her theoretical hull speed is an impressive 6.9 knots, we have seen 7+ knots many, many times. We plan on 125 mile days and those 150 mile days do happen.

HULL: The hull is hand laid using multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and resin. Thickness varies from nearly an inch on centerline to about 3/8-inch at the deck edge. The deck and cabin structure are a sandwich construction utilizing marine grade plywood rather than balsa core. The hull and deck are joined on an inward flange, bolted on six-inch centers and sealed with 3M 5200 adhesive sealant. There are no prefabricated liners used so the entire interior built into the boat like fine furniture and tabbed to the bulkheads and hull sides to strength the entire structure. The construction makes the BCC a very, very strong and well-built boat. There are 126 of these cruising the globe and many are more than 30 years old.

RUDDER: The rudder is a massive external rudder that makes the boat track well and steer with the wind vane and heave to. The rudder on Rogue is the new improved Sam L. Morse rudder with solid glass construction in all the areas where hardware is attached.

DECK: The BCC has parallel cabin sides, the side decks are astoundingly broad-2.5 feet in one spot, which with the very high 8 inch bulwarks, make for comfortable and safe cradle for working on deck or hanging out. The bulwarks are beautiful, constructed by solid planks slightly raised off the deck, supported by massive teak posts on 20 inch centers. This means the entire deck is a scupper, ensuring quick drainage in any sea. The entire top of the little forward doghouse opens, making passing sails, an easy job. The cockpit is comfortable, safe and with good combings around, making for a good back rest. Glasswork is done by the same folks that built all the Westsail, Crystaliner, who have over 25 years of experience in building world cruising fiberglass sailing vessels. The results are beautiful. Massive Samson posts support the mooring lines and make her a little ship.