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Etap 22i
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2 7442 Mon November 16, 2015
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Description: Etap 22i
Keywords: Etap 22i

Junior Member

Registered: August 2003
Review Date: Wed August 20, 2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


We have had an Etap 22i for 7 years and confidently use it to cross the North Sea or English Channel to Europe. We have no intention of selling it.

I have given the headline 'Possibly the best trail-sail boat' because it is the best compromise between I have yet seen between being small enough to tow on a road, and big enough to sail safely over deep waters (or shallow creeks). Being unsinkable adds to confidence, but at the cost of very little stowage space in the cabin. (The double skin keeps the boat cool in hot sunshine, and warm on frosty nights.) The boat is reasonably fast, even without tweaking the sails, and can frequently keep up with 30ft boats.

A down-side is the cost : Good examples are expensive when compared to other 22ft trail-sail boats, and are seldom on the market for long.

Other owners seem to share my views, as very few ever sell their boats. The 22i is the most actively used type in the Trail-Sail Association.

Colin H.
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Junior Member

Registered: November 2015
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mon November 16, 2015 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


I have owned an Etap 22i since 1994, and such is my opinion of the boat that there is no way that I will sell it. As far as I am concerned, it is just about the ideal trail-sail boat. On the road, it is just about the largest boat that can be towed behind a car. (I use a Subaru Legacy, and have towed it some 20,000 miles or more.)

On the sea, it is just about the smallest boat that one can put to sea in and feel confident that it will meet anything that the weather can do. (The biggest wind we�ve experienced was a Bft 10 or 11 that suddenly arrived in Scotland when it was forecast to be Bft 5 dropping to Bft 4. It took about two seconds for the wind to pipe up and less than ten minutes for the colour to return to my white knuckles on the hand holding the steering stick when I realised that the boat was coping with the blast. Bear in mind that 20 minutes after sailing down-wind at 9.4 knots, we reached the harbour we were originally heading towards. Therefore, there was not enough time for boat threatening waves to build up.)

I don�t recommend putting to sea in an Etap 22i with a Bft 10 wind, our normal limit is a forecast Bft 4, as this allows for the Met Office to get it wrong, and let the boat confidently deal with Bft 5 sea state. This opinion is based on sailing the boat some 4,000 miles or so.

In terms of the boat�s sailing abilities, it depends on where you sail it. In UK waters, where the abilities of many skippers don�t seem to extend to getting the best out of their boats, my Etap 22i can occasionally overtake boats up to about 30ft. I don�t claim to be a good sailor � few cruising sailors indulge in the effete tweakings of a dinghy sailor, for all that it can be done on the boat if you are so minded.

The main reason for the boat�s speed is its hull shape and the extra power that comes from a much higher sail area to displacement ratio than is found on other cruising boats. This would suggest that it is easy to tip the boat over, but when I point out that there is a cast iron torpedo at the bottom of the keel, doubts about stability evaporate.

Having claimed that we can overtake bigger boats, I should add that in Holland, the best we�ve done is keep up with a 24ft yacht.

I mention Holland, because we�ve had many agreeable summer cruises starting with launching the boat into Ramsgate harbour, and then coast hopping with the aid of the tides to get there and back.

The longest open sea voyage in a 22i that I know of was done by a friend who also sailed his Etap 22i to Holland and back single handed, using the direct route of Lowestoft to Ijmuiden. It�s a passage of about 110 Nautical Miles.

The above comments should indicate what the boat can do.

The fact that it is foam filled and unsinkable obviously gives one a vast amount of confidence when out of sight of land, or passing along a coast where harbours are widely spaced. There is another advantage, one we discovered on the Norfolk Broads one Easter when, after we�d retired for the night, about an inch or so of snow fell. The insulation properties of the foam meant that we were genuinely surprised to see the snow the next morning, as it did not feel that cold inside the cabin.

Launching is easy if the boat is on a break-back trailer, although it depends on the angle of the slip-way as to whether the engine needs to be lifted out of the well, lest the skeg scrapes on the surface of the slip-way. It will have to be a very shallow slip-way for the break-back trailer wheel�s bearings to risk getting wet, although the lower part of the brake drum always needs washing out with clean water.

Recovery is a different topic. It seems that if the boat is on a trailer built by RM Trailers, the boat will obediently climb back on board without any fuss. If the boat travels on a trailer made by SBS, then things are different, requiring a degree of pushing and shoving to align it properly. (Much measuring and comparing of the two trailers has not revealed why this should be so.)

Mast raising and lowering can be easy or difficult, depending on the kit used � the mast is too long to be �walked up�, partly because of a lack of places to stand whilst doing so. People either use the spinnaker pole as a pitch-pole, or as I do, have a dedicated pitch-pole with a jaw that fits over the tabernacle. (This requires the Etap made heel pin to be replaced with a stainless steel M20 bolt, long enough for the shanks to project out of both sides of the tabernacle for the jaws to rest against.)

I designed my mast raising kit to let me walk off and have a cup of coffee at any time with the mast at any point between horizontal and vertical, whilst the boat is floating cross-winded and being rocked by the wake some idiot driving a motor boat too fast. Norfolk Broads bridges are therefore not a worry. The down-side of the kit is that it takes longer to rig. My wife stands and watches out for the shrouds catching on anything � it�s usually behind me that the back-stay gets enamoured with the transit crutch or steering stick.

The engine mounted in the transom well is ideally located to prevent the propeller from ever cavitating in rough seas, and so remains useable at all times. The down-side of the engine�s noise being directed into the cockpit is easily eliminated by installing an acoustic barrier between the engine and cockpit.

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