Category Archives: Yacht Design

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 svrover.com. 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?

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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

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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