Howmar Boats Finest 15′ Sloop: Designers Choice (“DC”)

Designers Choice: A Small Sloop

Originally designed by the naval architects Sparkman & Stephens, and built circa Edison New Jersey in the late ”70s through mid-’80s, the Designers Choice (“DC”) is a fibreglass-hulled sailboat with length overall (LOA) of 14′ 10.5″, length at the waterline of 12′ 9″ and beam of 6′ 1″. She weighs in at 315 lbs.

The draft of the DC varies from 5″ (centerboard up) to 3′ 0″ (centerboard down). Aft freeboard is 1′ 2″.

The mast is tall and the sail area of the mainsail is 82 sq ft; that of the jib is 28 sq ft. Crew capacity is 900 lbs. In my experience, 3 adults and 3 children can be comfortable on board.

DC Standard Features

She features:

  • Black anodized aluminum spars.
  • Grooved mast with loose footed mainsail fitted with luff slugs.
  • Stainless steel chain plates, headstay & shrouds.
  • Deluxe heave duty fittings.
  • Four-part mainsheet with quick release cam cleat on centerboard trunk.
  • All hardware ¬†mounted with through-bolts or drilled and tapped into aluminum backing plates.
  • Controllable outhaul, boom vang and Cunningham.
  • Kick-up rudder with foam-filled floating black anodized aluminum tiller and universal hiking stick.
  • 1.25″ vinyl rub-rail.
  • Non-leaking centerboard pin above the waterline and cockpit sole for easy access.
  • Hand laid-up heavy duty mat and roving hull construction
  • White gelcoat finish.
  • Molded-in skid-resistant side seats and cockpit sole.
  • Large covered stowage locker under afterdeck.
  • Durable dacron mainsail and jib.
  • Jib window and jiffy reefing are standard.


I have owned my DC since 2003. I have had 3 sailboats in my life and this is a decent little craft. She was built in 1979, making her 38 years. Several photographs are included below. A copy of the original Howmar Designers Choice is provided for download, as well.

1979 Designers Choice with original sails
1979 Designers Choice on the beach
Tanaka 3 HP outboard kicker
1979 Designers Choice on Trailer. Sails are original. She is launched from the yard onto the Chesapeake Bay. She is kept covered when not in use.


14 Replies to “Howmar Boats Finest 15′ Sloop: Designers Choice (“DC”)”

  1. What nice example! Thanks for posting. I have a DC 15 as well. A very well constructed, even tempered boat. Mine has new sails, but most everything else orginal.

  2. Really enjoyed sailing mine for about 20 years. But a tree fell on the hull so I am looking for a replacement hull that floats if anyone is no longer using his or her DC.

  3. Love that there are others still sailing this great design.
    If anyone has a rigged vessel that could share a close up shot of the “clew car” that holds the sail in the boom track with the aid of a ruler along side the part I’d be most grateful. Can’t find a replacement part (for ours that is missing) so I’m planning on having one fabricated if I could get some specs.

  4. Hi, I own a DC as well. I am looking for any info on a motor mount for the stern. It looks like you have one on yours. Do you have a template for a motor mount? Or know where I could get any info that would help. Thank You.


    1. I have a motor mount. The DC I have had in-built screw receivers (3 across top-bottom, left-hand hull. I used those originally but decided later on to get a new metal motor mount that raises and lowers. For this, I drilled four holes in the transom above water line (boat has this automatic bailer capability, so drilled above the hull line). I can take photos of these but do not have a template. Perhaps a template could be made from that.

  5. I have a 1985 DC 15, which I have been sailing for about 10 years. It is such a stable hull design, and it tracks so well in light winds. We have a 4hp Mercury outboard with a similar transom mount. Overkill I know, but in lake sailing, the winds die out just when you are a few miles from the marina. LOL. Nice to find the owners manual. TY

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