By GENE DIVINE
Sentinel Boating Writer - Milwaukee Sentinel - April 1, 1977
One of the newest and most exciting boats in the world will replace the Milwaukee fleet's 1976 boat of the year in May.
Encounter, last year's top boat, was sold by George B. Sletteland of River Hills to a group in Boston.
The new Encounter is a Frers 53, designed by naval architect German Frers of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The finishing touches are being put on the welded aluminum boat at Palmer Johnson, Inc., Sturgeon Bay boat builders.
The Encounter is a sister ship of the Bumblebee out of Australia, a consistant leader on the world racing circuit. Sletteland hopes to win the 1978 Bermuda race.
Last weekend in San Diego, he sailed on the Enterprise, the America's Cup defender.
"It'll be a winner. The new Swedish boat can't touch her," Slatteland said.
His new boat weighs 37,000 pounds has a 14 foot beam, and a 8 foot, 2 inch draft. The stick is 69.5 feet high on the sloop rig.
The boat carries 1,410 square feet of Genoa, 3,000 square feet of Spinnaker and 850 square feet of main sail.
"She should be especially good in light air," George said of the tall stick short boom combination.
Under the IOR handicap system she rates 160, with a projected 42.6 foot length for handicaping.
The new boat is all racing above deck and all crew below. There are two coffee grinders. Below is a full galley and refrigeration with an aft cabin for the skipper, a main salon and a forward sail compartment. She sleeps eight.
There's dual instrumentation for the navigator in the cockpit. The boat will have full hydraulics by Stearns of Sturgeon Bay, North Sails for Pewaukee, and instrumentation by Brookes and Gatehouse of England.