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The Coastal Pocket Cruiser JEWELL by Francois Vivier

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October 7, 2022

The little yawl UMAMI is a twenty-foot bundle of practical charm. For quick hops and snug overnights along coastlines, she seems just about perfect.

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The Jewell design is by naval architect François Vivier.
Plans and kits for Vivier designs are available throughout the world, so depending upon where you are, this page of Vivier's partners is a good place to start in determining suppliers in your area.
In the United States:
Chase Small Craft: Plans and kits for the Jewell, Ilur and the Morbic are exclusively available from Chase Small Craft. Plus the Lilou 2, Kerisper and Stir-Ven 19 are also available from Chase.
Hewes & Company: Kits for the following Vivier boats are available from Hewes & Company:
Gazec 12, Laita 12’2″, Aber 14′, Beg-Meil 14’6″, Beg-Meil strip planked 14’6″, Ebihen15 14’8″, Ebihen16 15’8″, Kerisper 15’8″, Gabian 16’5″, Lilou 2 16’8″, Seil 18 17’9″, Ebihen18, Beniguet 19’2″, Stir Ven 19′, Stir Ven 22′, Meaban 22’5″, Pen Hir 24’6″, Minahouet 15’4″
Both Hewes & Company and Chase Small Craft are capable, quality, trustworthy people and companies that Off Center Harbor deals with regularly. Chase tends to sell kits that include more bits and pieces, and Hewes sells kits that are strictly the CNC cut plywood. Both approaches have their advantages/disadvantages.
Hull length - 5.99 m / 19'  8"
Waterline length - 5.40 m / 17' 9"
Beam (outside planking) - 2.22 m / 7'3"
Waterline beam - 1.83 m / 6'0"
Draught (c/board up) - 0.38 m / 1'3"
Draught (c/board down) 1.24 m / 4'1"
Sea water loaded displacement - 1040 kg / 2292 lbs
Boat Specifications:

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

72 Responses So Far to “The Coastal Pocket Cruiser JEWELL by Francois Vivier”:

  1. Avatar Heather Linscott says:

    Hello John,
    I was on your boat this past summer and camped near you at Reach Knolls. I just love this video and your excitement about your boat. I could never build such a boat so I have my Rhodes 19 that I am using for camping on the Reach. What kind of stove to you use on your boat? I will be back up there this summer mid July.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Heather— Good to hear from you, and happy to hear you’ll be back at Lori and Paul’s place this summer. Your Rhodes 19 seemed very well sorted last season; it is such a great design. The main stove on Umami is an origo single burner alcohol stove that I picked up on e-bay, as it is no longer being made. The Origo is nice and quiet, and is good either for high heat as well as when I am cooking a meal that wants a low simmer; I also carry a little MSR propane stove that is noisier, but good for a quick cuppa using my ancient, trusty Bialetta moka pot. The MSR is not as good at simmering, but a second burner comes in handy sometimes. Umami’s galley started as a simple carry over of my kitchen and pantry boxes from Waxwing, and are evolving into the different storage spaces aboard the larger boat. If you aren’t familiar with Roger Barnes’s videos or his book about dinghy cruising, they have a great deal of useful material regarding galley arrangements for open cruising dinghies.

  2. Avatar Dave Mortensen says:

    Hi John,
    I was intrigued to read about your work to more time on the water transition. I am approaching such a transition and also envision spending more time sailing. The video was an inspiration for me. With less experience sailing (than I sense you have) and very little experience building something like your beautiful boat, I will test the waters by purchasing a small, used boat. I too hope to do some island hopping of the kind you described. Thanks again for the inspiring and informational video.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Dave—It has been some time since I checked into this space, my apologies for a tardy response. The availability of used fiberglass boats for a small initial outlay makes them a perfectly reasonable way to get out sailing, and there are many excellent designs suitable to a broad variety of sailing environments. Best of luck as you navigate your work transition, and happy sailing!

  3. Avatar Bruce Bolster says:

    Thanks for posting the video and commentary on this wonderful pocket cruiser. I am currently building a 17 foot Shilling gaff yawl from plans by Phil Swift. I really appreciate seeing and hearing about the solutions you describe concerning stowage, rigging and sailing. I love that tiller tamer! One bottleneck for me has been sourcing decent lightweight rot proof wood (try and fiind clear Sitka spruce, for example, here in Manitoba) for the spars, so I am going to follow up with Forte to see what they can do for me in term of fabricating at least the mainmast, and possible the mizzen mast as well. That would solve three problems – procuring the material, build time, and weight aloft.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Bruce, the folks at Forte should be able to help you out—they have made spars for Oughtred Caledonia yawls and for Vivier Ilur dinghies, so they may have a mandrel already made which will work for your Shilling yawl. Good luck!

  4. Avatar Kevin Brennan says:

    John, I sail a Welsford Navigator with a gaff main yawl like Jewell. Another reefing option to try is furling the jib and dowsing the mizzen and going under main alone. I’ve found that by the time I need to be reefed down that much there are times that one tending to one sail is my better option.

  5. Captain Keith Korporaal Captain Keith Korporaal says:

    Thank you so much John and OCH for an excellent video. It was my pleasure to listen and watch a recent retiree that is enjoying a fine vessel in a beautiful part of the country. The perfect video to watch while on my treadmill, pining on a PNW rainy day 😊. Thanks again!

  6. Avatar Jonathan Thorndike says:

    Beautiful boat and thoughtful touches. Just curious – what are the dimensions of the v-berth and your sleeping platform with the added center piece? Thanks!

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Thanks for the kind words—the berth is 82 inches long, and with the filler piece, 68 inches across at the after end. The foam is 3 inches thick, medium density (open cell).

      • Avatar Jonathan Thorndike says:

        Excellent! I’m surprised there’s so much space there. Did you document your build anywhere? Instagram, forums, etc? I’d love to see how the bones as you built it to get a better understanding of the project! Thanks again!

        • Avatar John Hartmann says:

          Jonathan, there are a few images of the build on Instagram. If you search for “IlurWaxwing” you should find them. It was a pretty big project taken in total, but approached one step at a time becomes very manageable for a home builder.

  7. Avatar Frederic Pichon says:

    Great video and great boat, John! have a nice sailing retirement!

  8. Avatar Peter Thomas says:

    Love the video John and love the boat along with all the other Vivier designs. My current boat follows a similar theme, a light and relatively fast 21ft gaffer (sloop) with a big cockpit and carbon spars but GRP and built here in the UK. I also use the same electric motor but just carry a spare battery as back-up. I have however found that the electric motor seems more prone to catching weed than a petrol outboard which on one occasion gave me a nerve racking few moments as it lost power at the one brief moment when I really needed it. On longer trips I therefore now also carry a 2.5hp Suzuki at the bottom of one of the lockers just in case I think I might need it. 99% of the time it will probably just be extra ballast.

    Keeping to the electric theme I have just brought the boat home on its trailer for the winter and for the first time the tow car I used was electric. It may however be a while before I give up my paraffin anchor light.

    PS: That fully battened gaff mainsail sets beautifully!

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Yes, I have been very pleased with the sails—they are beautifully made, and they set very nicely. They were made by Gambell and Hunter in Camden, Maine.
      On my last trip of the season, I also noticed the e-propulsion’s vulnerability to heavy weed—it will be a thing to keep on the radar, for certain.
      I would love to have a fully electric tow vehicle for Umami, but the distances I need to cover are greater than I could manage without stopping to recharge along the way, and charging stations are few and far between in the rural areas I travel to as yet. Hopefully, range and charging options will improve as the technology gains traction.

  9. Avatar John Swansey says:

    Wonderful video. Jewell is the perfect size and type of boat for minimalist solo cruising. That same quest led me to my O’Day Mariner, with it’s Rhodes-design hull. About the same size and configuration. Some features on Jewell are superior for the task: carbon spars that can be raised without drama, wide bridge deck to sit on and keep water out of the cabin, comfortable sitting headroom in the v-berth. I especially like how the cockpit seats stop short of the bridgedeck, enhancing the legroom and seating options. Hope you don’t mind if I copy your friction tiller control, its exactly what I need to pop into the cabin for a moment when underway.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      The Mariner is a classic design! Very much a “jewell” of its time. If you google “Huntingford Helm Impeder” you will find links to descriptions and diagrams. It is simple to rig, simple in use, and inordinately useful.

  10. Avatar John Swansey says:

    Wonderful video. Jewell is the perfect size and type of boat for minimalist solo cruising. That same quest led me to my O’day Mariner. About the same size and configuration. Some features on Jewell are superior for the task: carbon spars that can be raised without drama, wide bridge deck to sit on and keep water out of the cabin, comfortable sitting headroom in the v-berth. I especially like how the cockpit seats stop short of the bridgedeck, enhancing the legroom and seating options. Hope you don’t mind if I copy your friction tiller control, its exactly what I need to pop into the cabin for a moment when underway.

  11. Avatar Bradford Preston says:

    Great piece – great to see an owner and boat in such harmony!

  12. Avatar Rob Jackson says:

    What a beauty and marvelous effort. I had an Oxford 400 sloop built in Oxford, MD in the 40’s. She was a lovely sailing boat. Next was a Rhodes 19 keel model for 29 yrs that i loved. Single handing was a breeze and she slid on her trailer right into my 10 ft wide driveway. I was bitten by the big boat fever and now have a 1967 Bristol 39. She’s a gem but getting in & out of my slip is nerve wracking every time

    Your little vessel and how you’ve set her up is perfect. I love your approach to your time on the water and downsizing may be in my future. “Sail on” as Snoopy said,

  13. Avatar Ronald Ernst van Dijk says:

    Dear John,

    Congratulations! Also for the video. So very well done.
    Yes indeed, it’s an excellent boat, very well designed. It’s a fast sailing boat and easy to skipper single handed.

    I built my Jewell a few years ago 2019/2020. Bought the CNC plywood kit from O’Connor (Australia), the sails via Bart Ullings (Netherlands) and used my stock of African mahogany from the Congo for the coamings, toe rails, cabin tables, etc.

    Would be delighted to post a small article with a video attached, but need someone to tell me how to do that.

    Greetings from Malaysia,
    Ronald van Dijk

  14. Avatar Pedro Rego says:

    Wonderful boat John! And some ideas that I have to steal…
    Regarding the solar power – I’m right now in the process of converting a Swedish 28′ double ender from 1962 (designed by Arvid Laurin) to a 10kW electric inbord and the panels must be huge in comparison to the size of the boat (and look… awful!) so I’ll go for the following formula:

    1 LIFEPO4 12kWh battery + shore power = much more sailing

  15. Avatar Carl Blohmke says:

    Great boat. Could you please provide the specifics on the cork product that you used throughout the cockpit? Also can you touch upon the installation procedures?
    What adhesive did you use? Appreciate the information.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Carl, the cork material is “marinedeck” that is available through Hewes & Co in Blue Hill, Maine. I used sikaflex 291 (long open time), spread thinly with a toothed scraper. The cork is pressed onto the mastic with a roller to squeeze out any air bubbles. Masking tape at the edges is your friend, and the sika cleans up with turps.

  16. Avatar Dave Newbold says:

    What a splendid tour and artful commentary of your beautiful Jewell! I have just begun building a Vivier Beniguet (the sloop version of the Jewell) and found your pointers and advise both inspiring and very helpful. I was considering the carbon fiber mast for the ease of single handed set-up and I think you have made me reconsider using one. Although I am trying to keep with Vivier’s traditional aesthetic, I am convinced that full length battens are the way to go and perhaps I should reconsider a Harkin furling rig for the jib. I am with you on the electric e-propulsion outboard and I’m hoping their new regenerative design will mature enough to permit a smaller battery.
    Thanks again for sharing all your experience and to the OCH crew for making all of these adventures in building and cruising possible!

    -Dave Newbold

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Thanks, David. I looked at the curves for power return with the regenerative version of the spirit, but at the time I purchased, the speeds required for meaningful regeneration were higher than I was likely to achieve. Technology is getting better all the time, so perhaps when you need to power your boat, things will be different. Definitely worth keeping an eye on that.
      The Beniguet is a lovely boat, one that I have long admired. I ultimately chose the Jewell because it was designed with my favorite cruising ground in mind, and because I am a sucker for yawl rigs.

  17. Avatar Steve Brookman says:

    John, great video! I’m sure you’ll find retirement very easy to get used to! Thanks again for the info on ePropulsion, it performed like a champ this summer, and silently. We look forward to having Sojourn and Umami sail together next year.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Good morning, Steve! So glad the e-propulsion unit is working out for you. Yes, we are very much looking forward to sailing in company with you and Sojourn!

  18. Avatar Neil Henderson says:

    I recently went through the “next boat” selection process and am building Iain’s Caledonia Yawl as the result. But if it keeps on raining in Australia the way it has for the last 3 years I may need to build a boat with a cabin!! And that will be the Jewell – it was in my boat selection spreadsheet but I wasn’t sure how easily my diesel Vw Passat would pull it, plus I was scared of raising a cabin roof mounted mast. But I do love the Jewell design. Great video btw.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Neil—The carbon blank for the Jewell weighed 8.2kg before I added hardware. Even now, that finished spar weighs less than Waxwing’s bird’s mouth mast which is a meter shorter. The dyneema shrouds are also light, and have a soft hand.
      I tow Umami with a 4cylinder awd vehicle; the biggest issue it has as a tow vehicle is ground clearance on the sketchier ramps which are plentiful here.

      • Avatar Neil Henderson says:

        Thanks John – very useful. My Passat has 400nM of torque so maybe that would be ok.

        Regards Neil

        • Avatar John Hartmann says:

          Neil, that is a good deal more than my tow vehicle. From a power perspective, the Passat sounds plenty capable. Here in the northeast, many ramps are either sand beach or rocky shoreline, so ground clearance and awd/4wd are very useful. Over the road is much less demanding.

  19. Avatar Andrew Kitchen says:

    Hi John,

    Another handsome Vivier creation. As always, you’ve added your own touches which combine clean design with creative problem solving, to beautiful effect. It looks as though Umami will be a fitting successor to Ilur.

    I’m committed to going with electric auxiliary power in my current build and have heard good reports of the e-propulsion outboards, I assume you are happy with your choice.

    I took a look at the web site for those Li batteries. That’s a serious investment. I understand your need to have adequate reserves when cruising. However, do you have any thoughts about what you would do differently if all you needed was sufficient capacity to get you home from day sailing?

    Best wishes to you and Gabrielle.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Andrew—
      The original integral battery should be sufficient to get a boat Umami’s size home after a daysail—the range would probably be 20 miles or so, if you are thrifty with watt output. The extra expense of the 48v bank covers the possibility of a multi day cruise with little wind and foul tides. For what it’s worth, the added ballast below the waterline makes a noticeable difference in her stiffness when the wind pipes up.

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      A second integral battery is an option as well, and you can check to see if they have a plug-and-play solar panel to charge that so you never have to take it off of the boat or plug in. A belt-and-suspenders approach for multi-day cruising can include an auxiliary solar panel battery bank system which is what we use on our Caledonia Yawl HOWDY. We have two batteries for the motor that have their own plug-and-play solar panel. Plus two Jackery battery banks with their own solar panel. The motor batteries can be plugged into the auxiliary Jackery batteries to charge overnight. It’s a system that will change and simplify as technology gets better but it works, and I cruised the entire coast of Maine for a month and was never out of power for the motor, phones, cameras, etc. Sidenote: We carry a smallish pocket battery bank for the cockpit to recharge the phone since we use Navionics on the phone for navigation. Could have even added a blender for the margarities, but we like them shaken so the slippery slope stopped there. It’s worth noting that this is the “cruising package” that we use to keep us out there in the wild, never having to stop or break up the buzz by reentering civilization — a worthwhile tradeoff that allows us to mostly stay in the moment among the natural world for 98% of the day/night. For day sails, none of this is on board except one motor battery and the solar panel to plug into when we row away.

      • Avatar John Hartmann says:

        A month long cruise….now that sounds like a deliciously slow August. Maybe I need to give a solar charger a serious ponder.

      • Avatar Neil Henderson says:

        Hi Steve,
        A video tour of Howdy showing the setup you have installed and thegear you tried & discarded would be very useful I suggest. Any chance of you/OCH doing this? I have bought my Torqeedo (which I use on my Gannet) and am building my CY – so I have a vested interest :-)

        Regards Neil

  20. Jonathan Lewis Jonathan Lewis says:

    Sweet! Bravo!!

  21. Avatar Doug Day says:

    Well, I’m continually inspired to simply know that there exist sailors who Talk So Good and Explain So Efficiently — both important talents in the kind of thinking necessary to actually enjoy sailing and take constant satisfaction from both the build and the maintenance.

  22. Avatar Peter Brackenbury says:

    So is Waxwing for sale??? 😉

  23. Avatar Brian Walker says:

    What a beautiful boat, and the video is exceptionally informative and (dare I say it?) enticing. How many hours did you need to construct it? Being also lazy as well, is there an option to have this built … in Australia?

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Brian, the build took me about 2&1/2 years, but I was still working my “day job” at that point, and there were also a couple of pandemic related supply chain delays which added some extra time.
      Tony O’Connor in the Perth area is Vivier’s representative in Australia.

  24. Avatar Wolfgang Doughty says:

    Very Neat

  25. Avatar Burke Horner says:

    Both video and commentary were excellent! I live vicariously through commentary which has terms that are sometimes like a different language to me. I have only sailed briefly in Newport Beach with friends, but only now watch from a distance. You’ve done it again fellows. CHEERS!

  26. Avatar Donald Fraser says:

    Great video and narrator!
    I was wondering if you have made any attempts at a means of charging batteries without using shore power. My next build will be without any reliance on fossil fuels onboard. Love the design….might be my next build!

    Don Fraser

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      I have not yet tried to tie in a solar panel of any kind to the system; as a trailer sailer it has been pretty easy logistically to keep my charging set up shore side, but for longer cruises away from an electrical outlet or a mooring based boat, solar panels could be an extremely useful addition to an electric set up like this. The buy-in costs to electric systems can be daunting at this point compared to petrol engines, but I agree that non fossil power is the future, and costs will be coming down as the technologies get their sea legs.

      • Avatar Steve Kelleher says:

        John; I look forward to learning of your experiences with the electric motor. I am betwixt and between regarding gas and electric propulsion on my Maine coast outings in the Norseboat. Electric is great in many ways, but the recharge time for multi-day adventures is a concern, and I don’t relish the idea of spending a day recharging at the dock.

        And thank you for the inspiration you’ve provided with your Waxwing and now the UMAMI.
        I’m a bit behind you in leaving the Type-A world and spending more time contemplating life in a small boat on the Maine coast.

        • Avatar John Hartmann says:

          Steve, my sense is that electric propulsion systems are a bit of a return to the wild west at this point, with many manufacturers having proprietary technologies that require prospective users to do some homework. It would be pretty simple to purchase a second battery pack for a torqueedo or epropulsion, and double your range. The larger batteries could easily give you more range (for a price). I have been happy with the quiet, the lack of fumes, and efficiency of the epropulsion/LiFeP04 bank, and I feel good any time I can wean myself from fossil fuels. I am confident that you can get a useful electric propulsion set up for the Norseboat without too much difficulty.

  27. Avatar Julia Graves says:

    Loved this video! Sweet boat and John spoke so eloquently throughout the entire story. He and his Jewell are perfect together. Wondering what type of padding is used in the cabin area. Looks comfy without being too thick. OCH did it again! Excellent and a joy to watch!

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Julia, the foam for the berth cushions is an open cell, medium density foam that is 3” thick. Not sure of the brand, but could ask the person who does my canvas work where she sources it if you like.

  28. Avatar Larry Cheek says:

    What a delight! As I expected (remembering John’s excellent work on his earlier Ilur), the Jewell’s systems for controls and storage are all very well thought out, and the craftsmanship does credit to Vivier’s design. And finally I appreciated his thoughts at the end about retiring from the “Type-A” work environment and simply appreciating the slow pace and beauty of small-boat cruising. Well done all around, John!

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Larry—thanks for the supportive words. I think that beyond the slower pace, I am really enjoying the extent to which not cruising to an externally predetermined schedule is a huge safety improvement. There have been times in prior seasons where I took risks with weather windows because I was expected at work by “date certain”; it is very nice indeed to be able to give my various cruising grounds full consideration with nowhere to be when the weather looks chancey.

  29. Avatar Ricardo Dacosta says:

    Thank you for another great video!

  30. Avatar Stephen Foyle says:


    Congratulations on another fabulous build. I was already in awe of you on completion of your Ilur, now you have topped it all…

    Your deep knowledge and modesty shine through in the video. Along with your patience and willingness to explain everything concisely and methodically. Well done and fair sailing now you have time to fully enjoy. We are lucky to have people like you and the crew in Off Centre Harbor.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Thank you, Stephen—I’m always happy if my experiences can get good designs introduced to a broader audience; the folks at OCH are a great resource for the boating community!

  31. Avatar Mike Anderson says:

    Sweet boat, nice video, well done on both!

  32. Avatar Christoph Harlan says:

    John, what a beautiful, elegant and practical boat and a wonderful video! I’d happily follow your lead in building this boat (as I did with the Ilur) but simply don’t have the space to accommodate such a construction project. Enjoy Umami in your retirement. I look forward to reports of your adventures with her.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Hello, Chris, and thanks for the kind words. I think you would enjoy the similarities in manner of the Jewell and Ilur; they are much of a muchness.

  33. Avatar Graham Hawley says:

    Great video; thanks.
    I’m interested to know the shaft length of the Epropulsion . I have a Caledonia Yawl with an outboard well and am not sure what shaft length to order. Should the prop be below the depth of the boat at its centre point or below the water line in the well.
    Any advice gently received.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Graham, the epropulsion lower unit is 59cm from the upper pivot point to the top of the power unit—it has no anticavitation plate. I would want the prop deep enough to prevent cavitation when a small boat pitches in waves. Hope that helps.

    • Avatar Christopher Owen says:

      The Spirit 1.0 comes in 3 shaft lengths and it’s newer version, the Evo, comes in two; their website will tell you more. A basic rule of thumb is that the top of the prop should be 4″ below the water surface to minimise cavitation.

      • Avatar Graham Hawley says:

        Thanks, Christopher for the helpful response.

        • Avatar Gary Grande says:

          I built and sail Vivier’s Stir Ven 22 and originally used a long shaft motor (Tohatsu 6hp Sailpro) which was called for in the boat specs. I was cavitating (ventilating) quite a bit when the waves picked up on Lake Huron. This season I switched to the extra long shaft version of the same motor and had no problem. With the extra long shaft, the center of the prop is roughly 17 inches below the water line. The long shaft is 5 inches shorter than the extra long shaft which would have put the center of the prop about 12 inches below the waterline. I don’t know how these numbers translate in your situation, but you might want to error on the long side.

  34. Avatar Simon says:

    Thank you John and OCH team – another great video! I also really enjoyed your Ilur video a few years ago and have been contemplating Vivier’s designs ever since. Your adaptation for the ePropulsion outboard to use Li batteries in series was much appreciated. I’d love to see some videos about your adventures and how the boat handles a variety of conditions. I’m looking for a small trailer sailer to build and then use to for short (fair weather) trips along the east coast of Australia and Vivier’s Jewell might be the one. Many thanks and well done!!

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Simon, the Jewell was a big project, as I work single handed, but the kit was very well sorted and the boat came together easily. It was a pleasure to build her. Good luck with your design selection!

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Simon, Tony O’Connor is the rep for Vivier’s kits in Australia. Great guy, very knowledgable. He cuts our kits there.

  35. Avatar Philip Myer says:

    Very pretty little boat.

    • Avatar John Hartmann says:

      Thank you! It is a testament to Francois Vivier’s skill as a designer that such a classical looking boat can be produced from sheet goods. An impressive convergence of good handling, classic looks, efficient space, and materials science.

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