Even the proper length of a daysailer, an aspect of small-boat design that might seem self evident, has become a subject of debate, as the “daysailer” concept has come to include boats with LOAs of 40 feet or more.
Recently, in a vain effort to impose some order on the concept, we decided to break up the universe of daysailers into six categories. Bring on the letters to the editor! We’d love to know what you think.
Traditional Under 20ft
Among the most beloved daysailers are those that hark back to an earlier age. Indeed, in some cases these are boats that have enjoyed production runs spanning generations. Chief among these would have to be the cute-as-a-button Beetle Cat, which has been in production since the 1920s in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Other more recent entries in this sub-genre include Marshall Marine’s catboat line, Com-Pac Yacht’s Picnic Cat and Sun Cat, Bauteck Marine’s Bauer line, the NorseBoat 12.5 and 17.5, and the Crabber 17, 22 and Shrimper at the small end of the Cornish Crabber line.
As the old saw goes, put any two sailboats within sight of one another, and you’ll inevitably have a race on your hands. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line for a number of smaller designs originally conceived as racers: they also turned out to be great daysailers.
Other standouts include the 23-foot full-keel Ensign, Sandy Douglass’s Thistle and Flying Scot, W.D. Schock’s Lido 14, and the S&S-designed Lightning, originally created for racing on Skaneateles Lake in upstate New York.
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Another brand-new entry in this category is the Chinese-built FarEast 18, available in both a standard and souped-up “R” version, complete with retractable bowsprit. Then there’s the French-built Archambault 27.
One of the most gratifying trends in modern yacht design has been the growing number of “modern classics” out there, with sprightly sheer lines, gorgeous overhangs, low topsides, and cutting-edge fin keels and spade rudders below the waterline.
If there’s a downside to these boats it is that they tend to be pricey, especially those including lavish amounts of teak and varnished mahogany topsides. Still, there’s no getting around how well those low narrow hulls, tall, powerful sailplans and deep high-aspect underwater appendages perform out on the water.
Since the dawn of “yachting” as a pastime, there have been sailors who take an almost perverse delight in building tiny boats that not only sail well, but also have a place to bunk out—a daysailing sub-genre that is as active today as ever.
Do some of these heavier designs push your personal definition of a daysailer? So be it. Kudos to these boats and their designers for making sailors, and our readers in particular, stretch their minds a little.
And now for something completely different.
Multihulls have traditionally been difficult to pigeonhole, and that remains true when considering them as daysailers. Is the Hobie 16 beach cat a daysailer? Why not? Too wet? Not serious enough?
No matter what the specific design, it would be hard to find a better class of boats for a day of sailing.
Family boats and trainers are perhaps the toughest to categorize, given all the different shapes and sizes they come in. Nonetheless, we all know them when we sail them: boats that are both forgiving and have enough cockpit space to accommodate at least one or two passengers.
Among those boats created for the express purpose of training new sailors, the Colgate 26, created by Steve Colgate and naval architect Jim Taylor, is probably the most noteworthy.
In many ways, these small to midsize trainers are the boats that first come to mind when many people think of daysailers, and for good reason. They might not be the sexiest boats on the water, but they’re pretty and a lot of fun to sail.
So don’t forget these great ideas for your next daysailer purchase. 1) Size doesn’t necessarily matter; 2) older models can be ideal as well; 3) just choose the one you want to be in. There is no wrong choice.
They sailed a Tall Ship from Nova Scotia to France, what’d you do on your summer vacation?
Having grown up in Newfoundland and Labrador, Megan Dicker is no stranger to the ocean. But, this year, she got to sail across it.
“At first, I was anxious,” Dicker explained. “I didn’t know if I should try, because it seemed like such a wild adventure. But, at the same time, just the thought of sailing across the Atlantic encouraged me [to go].”
The 45 young people worked with the crew, learning how to put up and take down sails, and navigation techniques. She said it was physically challenging at the beginning. “By the end of the trip, it was easy-peasy.”
The youth traveled from Halifax to France on the Dutch ship, Gulden Leeuw. (Emma Davie/CBC)
When they weren’t on watch or taking tasks, the youth listened to and learned from each other. They came from all walks of life, and from many different communities.
“It was a reminder that you can do anything you put your mind to,” said Dicker. “I already knew that we have power within ourselves. But, going on that trip, it kinda amplified that feeling.”
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