Buyer’s Guide

Brochure_1_thumbnailThe Anderson 22 was designed in 1973 by Oliver Lee of Burnham. He had already made a name for himself with great success in the fiercely competitive world of model yacht racing in the ‘Marblehead’ class, and then in full-size craft such as the early Hunters.

Picture left is the front page of the original brochure – click for a PDF version

These Hunters, the 490 micro-cruiser, Squib then 19  ( later Europa ) and 701 were selling like hot cakes in the boom time for G.R.P. boats – the 701 in particular was very much the basis of the Andersons’ format.

The differences with the 701 compared to the Anderson are:

The 701 is a foot longer, and thinner at the stern. It has no outboard well, is masthead rather than 7/8ths rig, and has a central moulding ridge on the front of the coachroof.

Although many 701’s had a lifting keel very similar to the Anderson’s, it was hydraulically actuated, so had potential for problems with pipe corrosion, seal integrity etc compared to the Andersons’ simple ‘trailer winch’ arrangement.

A large proportion of 701’s had fin keels, but only two such Andersons were built; both for Scottish customers. The lifting keel was vital around the East & South coasts, not so much for ‘ditch crawling’ up shallow creeks, as to allow the use of drying moorings.

It is fair to say that in premium priced areas such as the Solent one can barely give away a small fin keeler – marina fees here for an Anderson would be around £3-4000 a year, compared with a mooring ( with sailing club membership ) of around £3-500…

It is not often appreciated that drying, half-tide moorings are a very pleasant option; they are close inshore, sheltered, and usually have a lot going on including wildlife to peer at while sitting on the boat.

In soft mud she settles completely upright

In soft mud she settles completely upright

Deep water moorings, however, can be in the middle of nowhere, therefore a lot more vulnerable to thieves, still have tidal restrictions on dinghy launching/recovery – and harbour entrance – plus are often rough enough to need a young lifeboat just to get out there.

As the early Hunters had been so successful, the old firm of Anderson Rigden & Perkins decided to make a move into this market.

Established in 1917, Andersons had made traditional working and racing sailing craft. In his book ‘ My Lively Lady ‘ Sir Alec Rose mentions calling in on them for work on one of his boats.

Their main ‘bread & butter’ work now was for the Ministry of Defence, building high-spec’ launches for warships etc. They also carried out sub-contract moulding work for other boat building companies.

The ’22 was an immediate success, with a fair proportion being kit built. The boat could be supplied with as little or as much work completed as the buyer requested, starting from a bonded hull & deck with the main bulkhead & keel assembly fitted.

Andersons were sold to Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Norway and Belgium, plus all corners of the U.K.

Reportedly, some boats were used as ‘caravans’ on their trailers en route – surely the only time such a term has been applied to an Oliver Lee design, he had an eye for hull form seldom equalled ( see Gallery).

One boat, ‘RumRun’ was built for the then Lord Mayor of London, the late Sir Kenneth Cork – as he was in advancing years, he specified a BMW inboard which virtually doubled the price of the boat, if not her sailing performance !

‘RumRun’ originally had a ‘Jester’ style junk rig, as Sir Kenneth was a close friend of ‘Blondie’ Hasler – though I must admit I can’t see the point of this, as the normal Anderson rig is not exactly an unmanageable beast like a Sidney harbour 18′ skiff or something…

She has long since been fitted with a standard rig.

At the other end of the spectrum, three boats raced across the Atlantic in the Mini-Transat – see ‘articles’.

The standard Anderson interior was designed by two of the Directors’ wives ( in those less p.c. days ).

It is important to realise that, with some exceptions, Anderson 22’s fall into two categories;

if you are looking for a fast, seaworthy racer with potential for weekend or occasional overnight stays, an early boat will suit well.

If, however, you are looking for a really comfortable interior and a fast, seaworthy cruiser, the later boats will be for you.

Of course one could take an early boat and fit her out to any spec’ desired, but there is still the keel case.

Early keel case

Early keel case

In early boats ( up to sail no.75 approximately, but there seem to be exceptions ) the keel case is much bigger longitudinally, with the trailing edge going up to the deckhead; in later boats there is a ‘zig-zag’ in the trailing edge, allowing it to run horizontally parallel to the table. This gives a lot more light & feeling of room.

Later keel case

Later keel case


As with any boat over 30 years old, a good inspection is vital, as boats vary enormously ( + see ‘Owners’ Priority’ ). Andersons were generally very well built, and ( touchwood ! ) they do seem resistant to osmosis, though a preventative treatment such as ‘Gelshield’ would be common sense.


It is worth bearing in mind too that a lot of insurers demand all boats replace standing rigging every ten years.

The rigs themselves are pretty bullet-proof, and any snags will be down to an individual boat, with the exception of the forestay tang bolt.

This is the only actual fault on the boat to come to light; the under-deck fixing is hidden in fibreglass cladding so impossible to check visually without a lot of awkward work.

This is remarkable in that it is so at odds with the rest of the boat & rig, which are both stronger than most; the rest of the chainplates for instance are easily inspected and boast heavy backing pads.

It has been discovered – the hard way ! – that the stainless forestay deck tang, carrying the major load of the rig, is held by a hidden MILD STEEL bolt. This obviously corrodes, and by now a replacement is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.

Anchor chain locker and forestay tang - see notes

Anchor chain locker and forestay tang – see notes



Foredeck showing anchor locker – obviously lid closed in this shot
A buyer should open this lid and look forward, a torch is very useful!
Repaired Forestay tang, looking forward inside the anchor locker; the ‘L’ shaped marine grade 316 stainless steel plates and new stainless steel bolt with ‘Nylock’ safety nut are at centre of shot.

Please note the overlength bolts to either side are irrelevant, they are for the foredeck fairleads of that particular boat.

If something like this repair is not obvious, start asking questions !

The repair is simple itself for someone handy with DIY but awkward to access as it involves lying on deck with one’s head and shoulders inside the anchor locker.


The Andersons built boats used tapered Holt Allen masts, while most kit boats went for Bowman rigs. Both are very good and there’s nothing to chose between them.

One ‘nice to have’ but absolutely NOT essential thing is the main hatch garage; this was introduced on later boats, but retro-fitted on quite a few earlier ones. It’s usefulness is not so much to stop any leaks from the hatch, as to :-

A: give somewhere a little better to stand while handling the mainsail, and

B: perhaps more usefully, makes a brilliant site for a solar panel – everyone I know who has done this reckons it the single best modification they’ve done.

Newly moulded garages are now available to retrofit.

Contact Andrew Lawson via the contact form

garage00        )garage_1


Mast foot and control lines

Mast foot and control lines





One thing to check, in common with all lift keel boats, is the actual keel plate.

As boats which are hauled out on trailers etc can sit for the winter with the keel retracted, the plate itself can become neglected. For this reason I keep my boat on high trestles each winter.

Showing partially lowered keel

Showing partially lowered keel

In this shot the keel is only partly lowered, to allow fitting of a new lifting purchase block; the trestles are easy to make, ( I supply simple plans and a lot of Andersons now use trestles ) and not only allow access to the keel plate, antifouling is easier and casual thieves at least may be deterred.

If an otherwise attractive boat was found to have corrosion on the keel plate it would not be the end of the world, as the whole keel is relatively easily removed – any decent engineering firm should be able to work on the keel, and new keels, complete with ballast bulb are available brand new, from the original foundry.

By the kind effort and expense of Mr.Patrick Sinker ( yes he laughs about his name too ! ), ex-Managing Director of Anderson Rigden & Perkins, a new keel and bulb will always be available ‘off the shelf’. Patrick is very fond of his product, and supports the class in every way he can.

A handy engineering-minded person could fit a new plate to an existing bulb themselves, though it’s not something to undertake lightly.

It is a case of knowing what you’re relying on – it’s no good getting caught out in a blow then wondering !

By the way, unlike some designs the keel is secure even without the lifting wire, though the boat should not be moved in that condition . The keel is removed by tilting it aft at the top, but first the pulley assembly with its transverse stainless steel spindles would have to be removed as that prevents the keel from falling out, even if the wire should break ( unheard of ).

Keel wires fray eventually – the first sign is the odd sharp strand – but these are easily replaced with the boat in commission, though she needs to be resting aground so the keel is raised at least partly, unless a keel up-lock pin is fitted – a major improvement invented by my Father, Stan Lawson, which should have been standard.

In the unlikely event you should need one, a new keel winch is readily available, at around £ 100.00. When my admittedly hard used example failed, I was dismayed to find a ‘made in Nebraska ‘ plate, but happily the company still exists, in fact seems rather a successful business, and they were very helpful in shipping a new unit to me, even telling me which ship it was coming in on !

Trailers are not the golden solution they might at first appear, owing to the afore-mentioned difficulty in maintaining the keel. However it is quite possible to have a modified trailer made, where the tray which the keel rests upon is removable, allowing the keel to be lowered into a pit.

If possible one will be better off having the boat craned out at a sailing club and put onto trestles – they’re relatively cheap and easy to make – ask me for details, free to members -, give proper access to the keel ( plus a boat stored high up deters thieves etc ) and unlike a trailer are not a pain to store and maintain.

That’s the beauty of owning a handy boat like this, it is not a major project just to get the mast down and boat ashore for the winter.

I’m speaking as someone who once had a fin-keel 30’ cruiser/racer with a keel stepped masthead rig and Volvo inboard engine; it was like running H.M.S. Victory compared to the Anderson, but the only battles were with the sharks supplying spares ( how does £ 18.00 for a small stainless nut & £480.00 for a rough cast propellor boss, in 1988, sound ?!), plus boatyards which ‘lowered’ the mast straight through the teak headlining trim etc !

The trestles as shown are easy to make.
Silent Running on Trestles

It is possible, and has been done by my father, to make 2-stage trestles.

Tthe upper part to stabilise the boat on a flat-bed lorry for example on sale / delivery, then the lower parts added later to get the boat high allowing keel down maintenance ( & considerably more yob / thief – resistant access ) – relatively easy for anyone handy at DIY.


The features which make the Anderson 22 exceptional are:-


This boat keeps going when many others have stopped dead – in really rough stuff one can remove the engine well plug, giving a huge cockpit drain. You will not be in the lap of luxury, but she can take anything you can !


These boats are deceptively fast, remarkably so if kept reasonably light. They are easy to sail and are not stopped by waves. Remember speed is safety, allowing one to get out of tight situations, and to get to port before bad weather hits.

Engine Well

This is probably the best solution possible on this size of boat – the weight, loss of space ( and costs ) of an inboard would be ludicrous, and an outboard can always be taken home for work or security. The engine and its’ controls are easily to hand, and one does not have to dangle crew or tools over the transom to a bracket – also of course the prop’ stays immersed, and weight distribution is optimum.

There is also the very important point that tangled lines, fishing nets etc are easily cleared – try that with an inboard…

With the engine stowed and the well plug in, the hull is completely low drag.


The Anderson is not a twitchy boy-racer machine, but she does have a beautifully balanced helm, giving just the right feedback without ever getting heavy. The rudder stays fully immersed when heeling, she does not gripe up at all, and full control can be kept in surfing conditions.

When my Father ‘moved on’ to a Centaur on his retirement he was horrified by the neutral, dead helm and tried various mods’ based on aircraft development experience to give the rudder more feel – in the end he gave up, admitting he’d ” been spoiled by the Anderson “…


The ballast ratio of 40%, deep keel when loweredplus high form stability make her very stiff, a lot of experienced sailors comment that she feels like a much larger boat.

She is self righting with ther keel raised so is safe to leave on moorings like this, again unlike some other designs.

Hull Strength

Andersons were generally very well built, with strong, quality interiors – including kit boats, where the all-wood interior construction and good backup from the yard paid off.

Separate Heads

This may sound trivial, but it is a major boon having a separate loo space, closed off by curtains, rather than being stuck with a loo under the forepeak double bunk, as most boats of this size inflict on their crews.

Cruising Ability

It does not become obvious until one’s tried it, but the Anderson is rare in that she can carry all the gear necessary for extended sailing, ideally for two people, or two plus children. When it comes to stowing spinnaker poles, brushes, inflatable dinghies, water, stores etc it’s surprising how few boats of this size are practical.

In short, the Anderson is a real cruiser, and one to be proud of. She’s as capable as a thirty footer, you might not be as comfortable but she’s a lot more handy and you will be less bankrupt.

There is also the enjoyment to be had sailing past other boats which have cost many times as much !


A one-off rogue boat ‘Eclipse’ with a totally non standard keel is or was being offered for sale in the UK west country – it has been advertised as a ‘wing keel’ which it most certainly is not.

That boat should not be regarded as an Anderson 22 – a boat with a fine offshore reputation both for performance & looking after her crew.

What that keel does offer is a fraction of the designed ballast and draught.

(modified keel pics)

Eclipse one-off sawn keel, no Standard Anderson 900lb ballast bulb

ballast bulb, just girders it seems. & keel, half raised at the time.

That boat should not even be called an Anderson 22, as it is so unrepresentative of the rest of the standard boats as the designer, Oliver Lee, intended them, and it’s lack of ballast and draught is an extremely serious worry to seaworthiness& safety.

Apparently a previous owner had sawn off the keel above the ballast bulb & just bolted a girder either side of the stub and filled the bilges with concrete so that she could settle upright on a live-aboard hard ground creek mooring – I will leave it to the reader to judge the priorities & seaworthiness of doing this – let’s just say I wouldn’t take any friends or family of mine coastal, let alone offshore, in her – she’s been to the Scillies apparently, but one can get away with anything in good weather once…

In the April 2005 issue of PBO, an article entitled ‘Which boat is for you’ gives the Anderson a good write-up but the prices quoted are absurdly low – I don’t know where they got their figures – I have mentioned this to them !

A scruffy early boat might generally go for around £2,500 ish, while a good example will command around £5-7,000. This is still a bargain – try to match the Anderson’s spec. and capabilities; you can’t, even among new boats.


In 1977, when my Father and I were walking along Langstone Harbour entrance, a friend sailed up in his Robert Tucker ‘Mystic’ 22′ twin keeler, which we were considering buying as a first step into cruiser sailing.

As the Mystic trudged through a laborious six tacks at about 3 knots, a sleek blue shape shot past in one go. ” What’s that?” Asked my Father. ” Anderson 22 ” I replied. ” Right, we’re having one I ”

This is a late keelcase type example with some modifications starting from a standard ‘A’ layout, just to show what can be done quite easily.

Chart table with galley under

Chart table with galley under

Silent Running - Sink and cooker

Sink and cooker


Looking through to forward berth




Forward v-berth

Forward v-berth

Hatchway step - sail storage and quarter berths under cockpit

Hatchway step – sail storage and quarter berths under cockpit

Storage drawers opposite heads

Storage opposite heads

Mast foot and control lines

Mast foot and control lines

Hatchway showing swing out instrument panel - modification by Silent Running's owner

Hatchway showing swing out instrument panel

Anchor chain locker and forestay tang - see notes

Anchor chain locker and forestay tang – see notes

Cockpit looking aft - showing mainsheet horse

Cockpit looking aft – showing mainsheet horse

Starboard quarter berth

Starboard settee berth