Category Archives: Yacht Design

Rover Sea Trial Tomorrow!

By Rich

Rover is back in the water this weekend for a sea trail tomorrow for a buyer candidate! Each evening this week I have been aboard while she has been on land on the jack stands, winterizing various system in advance of very cold weather expected later this coming week (some of these systems have been un-winterized for the sea trial. Ugh!). It’s been a great bonding experience to be aboard showing her love and care – just us two, bonding one-on-one. It really has been a privilege to serve as Chief Engineer on this special boat, and as much as I might have complained at times when we had more problems than were convenient, if I am honest deep down I really enjoyed the responsibility of taking care of Rover and her array of sophisticated systems. Just look at the images I snapped over the last two days – look at the sheer beauty and the artistry of this design. She represents a totally lost art in yacht design outside of just one or two models left in production that come anywhere near her standard of style and workmanship.

Saturday evening after testing and re-commissioning every system for the sea trial. Look at those lines. Ready for battle in any one of the Globe’s oceans.
Sunday morning. I could lie and say I had more work do to today to prep for Monday’s sea trial but….nah. I spent the entire day aboard just to bond with Rover and reflect on our history to date together. I read my grandfather’s diary from WWII for a literary project I am working on and napped while enjoyed the sound of today’s gale blowing through the rig. Look at the light hitting her teak varnished interior. I love my Sabres to the moon and back but the artwork of these Hylas yachts is peerless. It’s like living in a 3D painting.

Caught On Film: How Bad Contemporary Cruising Keels Really Are

By Rich

I have been moaning for years that “they just don’t make them like they used to” when it comes to modern cruising boats, especially when it comes to comically bad keels they are putting on them these days. While anchored near Shelter Island yesterday, I noticed a late model cruising sailboat trying to beat to weather in the 15-20 knot breeze that had kicked up. The boat was being sailed close hauled with both jib and main well reefed down. Initially, I had a view of the boat’s port side, but when it tacked I had an almost perfect view from astern. I was so astonished at what I saw that I pulled out my cell phone and captured this video:

In disbelief I wondered if this boat wasn’t being swept to leeward by the current. So I pulled out Navionics and checked the chart. The current was running strong FROM RIGHT TO LEFT as seen from the perspective of the video!

Yes folks, they really are building boats that sail this badly. It’s no wonder that production boat I lined up against years ago in my Sabre 42 wound up sliding a mile to leeward of me by the time we cross the Chesapeake near Annapolis. But I guess as long as people do all of their research at the boat shows and choose boats based on interior accommodation instead of sailing characteristics, they’ll keep building boats like this and people will keep buying them.

Hylas 54: Reflections On Ground Tackle

By Rich

Fortunately for each member of Team Rover, we are all aligned on preferring to be at anchor by far over moorings or slips. That’s a really good thing because the experience is considerably different for each of the three options. Slips and (in particular) moorings are more or less tie-up-and-forget-it affairs, whereas anchoring requires more diligence and skill in choosing the right spot and monitoring to be sure swing radiuses are appropriate and the boat is not dragging in stiff breezes. So far we’ve been anchored more than half or 3+ week trip and I have the following reflections to share about the experience so far: Continue reading Hylas 54: Reflections On Ground Tackle

Sabre 42 Design Elements

By Rich

Editor’s Note: when we sold Le Saberage, we set up a full website to market her. As part of that site, we created a page detailing the Sabre 42 design elements. I enjoyed creating the content so much that I thought it would be fun to adapt and reprint it here on The timing was also appropriate given that Sabre’s founder, Roger Hewson, was recently interviewed for Sabre Yachts’ upcoming 50 year anniversary celebration. As part of that interview he said in no uncertain terms that the Sabre 42 was the best sailboat the company designed during his tenure:

Given our experiences with the Sabre 42, we’re not at all surprised this design was Hewson’s favorite! So we thought it would be fun to reprint our reflections on the design here.  Continue reading Sabre 42 Design Elements

The Late 1980s: The Golden Age Of Yacht Design?

Version 2

By Rich

Stay with me here, because even I think I sound a bit like an old fart with this line of reasoning. It could well be that we all have an affinity for things that remind us our our youth. A such, I could just be getting old and prone to lamenting the passing of the “good old days.” But just in case I might be right, let me pose the following question for debate: have the best-sailing cruising boat designs that history will ever record already been built? Are marketing and other business considerations distorting contemporary yacht design away from the best hull forms in a manner similar to the way the IOR racing rule distorted 1970s designs? Here is one article, and another that can serve as primers for the discussion.  Continue reading The Late 1980s: The Golden Age Of Yacht Design?

Boat Show Reflections


By Rich

As I suspected might be the case, we got a lot more out of sailboat walk-throughs during this year’s boat show than last year. Why? Because last year we attended almost immediately after buying our 1989 Sabre 42, while this year we had the benefit of a full year’s worth of extended cruising and living aboard. Here are my reflections after this year’s show: Continue reading Boat Show Reflections