About the Harbor 20



CLASSIC GOOD LOOKS – The W.D. Schock Corp. design team has deftly blended the beauty of traditional topsides with the efficiency of a high performance, modern rig and underbody to create an up-to-date day sailer. The graceful and distinctive lines of this Harbor 20 stand out in contrast to the many “look-alike” sloops on the market. The nice thing about classic is that it always looks right and never goes out of style. Modeled after the famous Herreshoff design, this new classic will turn heads in any harbor or yacht club, and provide each owner the permanent reward of a boat that’s always a pleasure to view.

COCKPIT COMFORT – The cockpit is where you live on a day sailer, and special attention has been devoted to maximizing this cockpit’s space, comfort and convenience. The seat and backrests are curved and angled to follow natural body contours. The two ice chests are within easy reach, secured by chocks and shaded by the cuddy. The seat lockers are cavernous, and the engine well doubles as an enclosed storage space. Small children are protected by the cuddy and the cockpit coaming, and there’s enough length and width to the seats to allow adults room to stretch out for a nap. Six plus adults, or the whole family can relax in comfort and electric motor can be easily deployed.

STABILITY & SINGLEHANDED EASE – By placing a significant amount (900 lbs.) of lead ballast down low, in a bulb, on a seaworthy hull, Shock has achieved an unusually steady craft with no bad habits. All lines are set up to lead to the cockpit so that one person can handle everything. The furling jib is self tacking and self vanging with the patented Hoyt Free Standing Boom. The fully battened mainsail is non flapping and powerful, and stacks itself safely between the lazy jacks. A special reefing set up allows one person to reef the main in less than 20 seconds – without leaving the cockpit. The Harbor 20 can handle a crowd comfortably – but it can also be a very satisfying single hander, so you don’t have to line up crew for what should be the simple matter of “going sailing.” These features are incorporated in one design class which is ideal for yacht club use because the need for skilled crew (or any crew) will be minimized.

PERFORMANCE UPWIND & DOWNWIND – You’d expect a modern sloop to sail well to windward, and the HARBOR 20 does not disappoint, pointing high and footing as fast as any similar sized day sailer on the market, without any need for hiking. This boat has a beautifully balanced feel that makes it pleasurably responsive and supremely easy to steer and maneuver. Downwind – where most sloops suffer the slows from non-functioning jibs – is where this boat comes alive. The jib boom keeps the jib out on all courses, and acts as an automatic whisker pole to wing out the jib. So while other jibs slat uselessly about off wind, the HARBOR 20 jib is an easily controlled, fully active drive unit on all courses – giving you full sail power, on all points of sail. You’ll be surprised how making the jib work full time adds to sailing pleasure and performance, and obviates any need for genoa or spinnaker.


For over 55 years the W.D Schock Corp. has set the standard for quality high performance sailboats. During their long history in the boat business, Schock has built over 70 different designs, including the Santanas Schocks, Thistles and numerous other popular one design sailboats. Like all Schock sailboats, the Harbor 20 is 100% hand laid up fiberglass and are engineered and built to yield maximum strength and rigidity. Their reputation for quality and service is well established.

A SMALLER BOAT THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN ENJOY – Today, most families can’t afford a large, one purpose racing boat that only one member really enjoys. And many older couples find they no longer need the trouble and expense of a large cruiser that sits idly at the mooring most of the summer for lack of crew. So here’s a boat that’s ready to go in minutes, suitable for one person or six, and it doesn’t require a major commitment of time or money. After all, the fun of sailing is more related to the ease and frequency of use than the size or expense of the boat. The Harbor 20 represents a new alternative, a classy day sailer that allows sailing to fit sensibly into modern lifestyles. Here is a boat whose stability and responsiveness will encourage you and your family to sail more often, and the One Design feature opens up simple, friendly, class competition on the race course. Safe enough to take along the kids, and simple enough to teach them to sail, the nimble Harbor 20 will please all ages.

LOA 20′
DRAFT 3’6″
DISPL. 1800 LBS.


Sailing Characteristics – The bow of the Harbor 20 has a fine entry for slicing through waves. The stern carries enough beam that the boat rides down waves nicely. The lead in the keel is concentrated in the lower half of the keel. The low center of gravity, with a 50% ballast-to-displacement ratio, combines with the ample beam to make an incredibly stiff and stable boat.

Construction – The hull is hand laid up mat and roving fiberglass. The resin is applied by brushes, rollers, and squeegees and is carried through hoses. Schock does not use a wet-out system, which sprays the resin into the fiberglass. They feel this system opens the door to potential osmotic blistering.

All bulkheads are tabbed into the hull for maximum strength. The bow is strengthened by a liner that is bonded to the hull on all surfaces. The bow structural support system includes an air tank, two bulkheads, and two platforms for ice chests. The keel grid is made of fiberglass and is bonded on all surfaces to the hull, spreading loads evenly. The keel grid incorporates two platforms for battery storage. This provides a place, both port and starboard, that is low and out to the sides, to strap down batteries, making the best use of their weight.

The hand laid up balsa-cored deck is bonded to the hull with a “shoebox” hull-to-deck joint. The deck is light and all one piece.

Cockpit – In the cockpit, at the forward end of each bench seat are two hatches that provide access to the batteries for the electrical system and extra storage. The cockpit floor holds three hatches to allow access to the sump, the electric bilge pump, the keel bolts, and the lifting eyes. The motor control panel for the electric motor is located halfway aft in the cockpit on the starboard side. This is the perfect location to reach the throttle while sitting at the tiller. The seat backs meet the seat bottoms, closing off the gap that is often found between the coaming and the seat. The seats are deep and wrap all the way around the aft section of the cockpit. The cockpit easily seats seven adults, while actually sailing . . . not just while tied to the dock. The aft lazarette contains the electric motor. The motor is mounted on an arm that rotates out and over the starboard gunwale. The deployment and retraction is assisted by blocks and line. Stowing the motor in this way keeps the prop from dragging in the water. The motor will push the Harbor 20 at about five knots without noise or smelly fumes. A charger is built into the cuddy on the port side. Just plug the boat in when done for the day. No more fuel docks, no noise, and no more rocking the boat when the wind dies.

Rig – The Harbor 20 rig comes with a roller furler for the jib, a Hoyt self-tacking jib boom, and lazy jacks for the main. The self-tacking jib makes single-handed sailing much easier, especially in tight quarters. It also allows for a much less experienced crew.

The sails that have been designed for the Harbor 20 are made of durable 6 oz. sailcloth. The main is equipped with full battens to further extend its life. The roller furling system on the jib and the lazy jacks make rigging and sail stowage a snap. Most owners leave their sails rigged and ready to go for the duration of the sailing season. Additionally, the lazy jacks prevent the boom and sails from falling all over everyone in the cockpit. When the sails can be put away so quickly, docking is amazingly easy.

The shrouds and stays are “Rigger’s Choice” 1 x 19, the highest quality stainless available. The running rigging is color-coded New England Rope Sta-Set. All hardware is Harken. The sail controls are led under deck to a shelf located on the aft edge of the cuddy and are labeled for easy identification. The contents of the shelf include the following: jib sheets, jib sock halyard, jib furling line, jib winger, jib outhaul, cunningham, main halyard, reef, and lazy jacks. Above the shelf is an 8:1 boom vang. The boom contains an internal outhaul. The backstay adjuster is lead under deck and into the cockpit. The mainsheet is adjusted from a cam swivel with a ratchet block located on a barney post. This leaves the access fore and aft in the cockpit clear. The traveler is located on the aft coaming of the cockpit. The mast is deck-stepped and can be equipped with a mast hinge. The rig is extremely simple, yet at the same time gives the trimmers a great deal of control over sail shape.

Strictly One-Design – When the Harbor 20 was used for the Championship of Champions, the competitors remarked over and over again that they had never competed in a round-robin with such undeniably equal boats. The competitors ranged in age from14 to 70. Class rules do not allow hiking, or even sitting on the rail. Greg Fisher, chairman of the event, called the Harbor 20 “a strict one-design that is both well balanced and simple to sail.” This places the emphasis on good boat handling and superior tactics rather than on athletic ability.

How the Harbor 20 came to be…..

On a beautiful Thursday evening about fifteen years ago, a group of seven salty sailors at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Southern California were sitting in the bar wondering why so few of the yacht club members were sailing. This got them to dreaming about the perfect boat. One that would get husbands and wives, families and friends back on the water.

After many more discussions on this topic, the salty seven came up with the perfect solution. A brand new 20-foot keel boat now known as the Harbor 20.

Each of the guys in the group had been an extremely competitive sailor in his day, but found himself sailing less each season. They had raced boats like the International 14, Star, Thistle, Etchells, Santana 20, Snipe, and Lido 14 but at 50+, they were no longer up to the physical requirements of these boats. And the hassle of racing larger boats had become a huge obstacle. The whole scenario of making twelve calls to get a crew of eight or nine together for a weekend race had definitely lost its appeal.

The more the guys talked, the more they realized how much they missed sailing and one-design racing. Surely there was a sailboat out there that could get the older sailors back on the water racing competitively and also get sailors of all ages out sailing with their families.

In the “good old days”, sailing had been a lifestyle. Generations of families had focused their summertime activities around yacht club events. But all of this had changed as dozens of new leisure-time activities emerged to divert their attention. The number of entries in the racing events was dwindling, and many of the boats in the boatyard sat idle for most of the year.

The group that met at the bar that day set out to change this. The man with the vision was Arthur Strock, a renowned architect with a passion for detail. He had a beautiful power boat but hadn’t entered a sailboat race in years. Recognizing that there were a lot of other sailors just like him, he set out to find a sailboat that would get Newport Harbor Yacht Club members back into sailing. He spent two years going from builder to builder, and he looked at daysailers and small racing sailboats all over the world.

In the end, he decided that the perfect boat simply did not exist. He kept detailed records of his search and compiled a 30-page document describing the boat that would be perfect for the job.

As Arthur did his homework, he continued to meet with the guys from that casual meeting at the bar. They were all staff commodores with outstanding racing credentials who definitely understood the importance of getting the members back into sailboats.

One of the members of that group was Tom Schock, past NHYC commodore, avid sailor, and owner of W. D. Schock Corp. Tom recognized the challenge faced by the yacht club, and he knew that it was a problem being faced by many other yacht clubs. He also knew that the future of sailing depended on finding new ways of making the sport more attractive. Junior programs were being enhanced to attract children to the sport, and exciting new high performance racing sailboats were being designed to entice young athletes, but nothing was being done to keep older sailors and busy young executives from abandoning the sport.

Based on Arthur’s study, the group zeroed in on the Criteria for their new design. They knew that the boat would need to be . . .

  • A beautiful, timeless design
  • Comfortable & efficient
  • Easy to sail whether sailing single-handed, double-handed, or with the whole family
  • Hassle-free
  • Fast & competitive
  • Fun for one-design racing
  • Perfect for daysailing with the family
  • Versatile
  • And really easy to maintain

The Answer –The Harbor 20 – A 20-foot keel boat with a large cockpit and a self-tacking jib.

Another important member of the group was Steven Schock, a professional Engineer and Naval Architect with a lifetime of sailing experience. Steve designed the boat, focusing completely on the Criteria.

As a result, the Harbor 20 has a thoroughly modern and fast hull shape. The cockpit is huge. And the boat is equipped with things like cushions and the roller furling self-tacking Hoyt jib boom that makes it comfortable, efficient, and easy to sail.

The first Harbor 20 was launched in April of 1998. Within twelve years there were about 150 Harbor 20s sailing in Newport Beach. About 35 of these Harbor 20 owners actively race their boats, which means 115 Newport sailors love to daysail. Most of these daysailers join the class association so they can enjoy the parties, seminars, and lots of other special non-race sailing events. And the racers find the competition exciting enough to entice them onto the racecourse for Twilight racing five evenings a week during the spring and summer months.

There are now over 325 Harbor 20s sailing throughout the United States, Canada, Chile, and Australia. The Harbor 20 has definitely put families back on the water. It has also gotten husbands and wives back into the same boat. Young dads are racing with their children, and grandparents are sailing with their grandchildren. During this year’s annual Baldwin Cup Team Race at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Jon Pinckney, one of Newport Harbor’s finest sailors, commented that “the Harbor 20 saved sailing at Newport. It has brought hundreds of sailors back into sailing.” Though certainly not in the 50+ category, Jon and his wife Gale are regulars on the Harbor 20 racecourse.

The boat is fun and easy to sail but definitely competitive. The design eliminates any advantage where crew weight and strength are concerned. Winning a Harbor 20 regatta depends entirely on the skill of the skipper. The Harbor 20 is perfect for teaching our children to sail. It is also perfect for taking friends for a delightful afternoon sail. All of the sail control lines are lead under deck to a console in the cockpit, so the lines are within easy reach for the skipper and crew. There isn’t a winch on the boat – there is no need for one.

The cockpit is 9 feet long, and you sit inside the cockpit – not on the deck. The boat comes equipped with two ice chests, and the class rules require that you race with cockpit cushions. It takes just five minutes to get the boat ready to sail. You just remove the cover and jib sock, raise the main, and unfurl the jib. At the end of the day, a clever custom-built electric motor will get you back to the dock. The motor pushes the boat along at about 4 knots. It is clean and quiet and is mounted on a special bracket that rotates out of the lazarette.

Plenty of options are provided to make the Harbor 20 fit any sailing style, and the boat is definitely easy maintenance. The Harbor 20s are generally kept in the water, and the only piece of wood is the tiller. The forepeak is a one-piece fiberglass liner. The floorboards, hatches, etc. are fiberglass. Even the floor timbers are fiberglass – no wood to decay over time. The keel is a fiberglass shell with lead and epoxy poured into the shell.

At the end of a day of sailing, you just roll up the jib, fold the main onto the boom, plug in the electrical power, and put the covers on. The boat sits ready and waiting for the next time you have a few minutes to spend sailing.