Fin keel

The Surprise is really designed as a one-design : fun and getting rid of any rules. She is a small sailboat reagent and fast at all wind angle. The strict one-design rules of the class allow to race with a 1977 copy retaining almost all chances. Her qualities have indeed offered to the series a rare longevity and wide distribution.

Inside and on deck everything is simple and effective, no runner or wooden table but well positioned fittings and accommodations for 4. The Surprise is available with fin-keel, twin-keel, ballasted centerboard or lifting keel. These two latest versions are equipped with a lifting rudder on transom. Surprise racing on lakes are often equipped with a masthead spinnaker bearing the surface from 45sqm – 484sqft to 65sqm – 700sqft.

See the Surprise's specifications on

Main Features

VersionFin keel
Sailboat typeSport keelboat
Trailerable monohull
DesignerMichel Joubert
Bernard Nivelt
Building years (first/last)1977 / Still in production
Number built≈1600
CE regulationC-6
ConstructionFiberglass/polyester, monolithic hull, balsa sandwich deck
Appendage typeTrapezoidal keel
Ballast typeCast iron
Rudder bladeSingle under hull rudder
RudderSingle tiller
Main dimensions
Hull length25.1 ft
Waterline length21.7 ft
Beam over all8.1 ft
Draft5.2 ft
Mast height32.2 ft
Light displacement2976 lbs
Ballast1323 lbs
French customs tonnage3.49 Tx

Rig and sails

Rig typeFractional Sloop (7/8)
Rig materialMast and boom in Aluminum
Number of rows of spreader1
Spreader anglePushing
Spinnaker typeSymmetrical spinnaker
Upwind sailarea328 ft²
Downwind sailarea662 ft²
Mainsail area178 ft²
Genoa area151 ft²
Jib area108 ft²
Spinnaker area484 ft²

PMainsail hoist measurement (from tack to head)

29.5 ft

EMainsail foot measurement (from tack to clew)

10.8 ft

IFore triangle height (from mast foot to fore stay attachement)

26.4 ft

JFore triangle base (from mast foot to bottom of forestay)

6.0 ft

LLGenoa hoist measurement (from tack to head)

26.6 ft

LPGenoa perpendicular measurement from clew to luff.

13.8 ft

SPLSpinnaker pole lenght

10.7 ft

SLSymmetrical spinnaker hoist measurement (from tack to head)

29.0 ft

SMWSymmetrical spinnaker width

18.2 ft


Ballast ratio44.4 %
Upwind sailarea / displacement243.2 ft²/Ton
Downwind sailarea / displacement490.4 ft²/Ton
HN (French rating)19.5
IOR rating23.6 ft

Auxiliary engine

Power max (optional)10 hp
Transmission typeOutboard


Number of berth4
Headroom max4.8 ft
Headroom4.5 ft
Table dimensions2.1 x 1.9 ft
Length of berth6.6 ft
Width of berth*2.0 ft
Fore cabin
Length of berth5.8 ft
Width of berth*4.6 / 1.3 ft

Based on specification1979

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