Everyone prefers that 43s but the interior layout of the 409 seems alot brighter on more open concept and I may be wrong but seems to be a tad nimbler in light winds.
Well, that is the Saga problem. They wanted to improve in design with the 409 and they did. They hired Tony Castro a modern boat architect and he designed a new generation boat and a boat with better performance than previous Saga. The problem is that Saga sells boats mostly in America to very conservative clients that still think that older boats were better boats
Saga had said about the design intentions:
The SAGA 409 design is the first of a new series of more stylish performance orientated cruising boats. With a modern superstructure and Interior design, it is intended to respond to contemporary desires of a more ergonomic and stylish feel and blend it with all the classic requirements of a seagoing sailing yacht.
.... we asked ... about the choice of Tony Castro to design of the new 409.
"...His performance credentials are virtually unsurpassed. He's won four world championships and the Admiral's Cup under IOR, developed the new Laser sportboat, designed a world champion 6-Meter and the British America's Cup contender Blue Arrow. And he has produced some spectacular projects (like the recent 32 meter performance cruiser executed for Jongert) that combine speed, comfort, and flair.
"With the 409, we were after a more ergonomic and contemporary feel," said Poole. "In addition, Tony has a full-service office. We needed a designer to focus on performance, structure, and exterior style, but we also wanted to add to the boat’s appeal belowdecks. I felt that Tony could do that much better than we could.
"I use the metaphor of the Volvo cars," Poole continued. "Volvos from the '70s and '80s were safe, efficient, durable and performed very well, but they were boxy. The contemporary Volvos are certainly just as solid and efficient. They just look better."
And Tony Castro said about it:
"The challenge was to take the no-nonsense Saga and wrap it in a more-modern package. There's always a tension between function and style. In the end, of course, you have to blend all of the elements into a seakindly and pleasing sailboat. What it boils down to is bringing what style and design you can to what features you can without ever letting style affect use."
We must agree. From her tiger-eye portlights to her slightly-sprung sheer and saucy counter, the 409 is snappy, modern, and, well, almost sexy. It's certainly not your grandfather's performance cruiser.
The boat has a much more modern hull if compared with the 43 (and that is not surprising since the 43 is an older design) a great interior that seems to have a very high quality (never been inside one) and their specifications on materials and building techniques are very high.
Some years back I have heard some polemics about the Saga building quality by I did not follow it and I cannot comment on it.
The boat still looks modern, considering it is a 6 years old design and its outside line has some similarities with the Elan cruiser line and with the Southerly line:
ELAN Marine - Sail - Sail Yachts
The interior is more interesting and innovative and I like it a lot specially the layout even if I find that port hulls to give a view to the saloon are indispensable on today's interior boat design:
SAGA 409 Interior
The bad news have to do with performance: Even if this boat is fast by American standard's and to American clients, it would be slow by European standards. It has a sail area/Displacement of 17.6 while a boat like the Dufour 425 has more than 20 and even Conservative traditional boats like the Malo 40 have 19.7. The second has to do with price that is near the price of Malo or Halberg-Rassy and that makes it a boat that only few can afford.
But in the end I agree with you, this is a modern boat, a good cruiser and a quality one. The sail performance would not satisfy me but it will be enough for many and this one is also a good bluewater boat with a bulbed keel, a good B/D ratio and a good reserve stability.